Measure your paper
To figure out how much wrapping paper you need, do a dry run. Holding the papers edge to your gift, turn the object into the roll until the paper overlaps itself by two inches. Make sure theres enough paper on top and bottom to comfortably pinch together. Then cut with confidence.
Make your sheet look good
If your paper edges look like theyve lost a street fight with a pair of scissors, dont cut more to try to correct them. Instead, fold in the length of the paper edge to get it straight.
Tape it into shape
Tape one edge of the paper to your gift to keep everything secure as you work. The secret weapon of gift-wrap professionals? Double-sided tape. Hide it between paper layers so your wrapped gift looks clean.
Avoid wrinkles when wrapping
Wrap your gift on a table, not the carpet, and crease folds with a firmly pressed finger to keep your paper crisp.
Turn odd objects into boxes
If your gift has wildly different-sized sectionsa tennis racket, for instancereinforce its smaller parts with tissue paper or newspaper to create an overall rectangular shape. Not only can you then wrap it more easily, but your recipient wont be able to immediately spot what it is.
Try a looser approach
You can also disguise an irregularly shaped gift with a wrapping-paper sack. Just place your potted fern (or whatever it is) in the center of a large sheet of wrapping paper, gather the papers edges, and tie it on top with a ribbon.
Now that you're a gift-wrapping pro, you can watch these guys struggle through the process with a newfound appreciation.
(Also, score one for boxes, right?)