We’re big fans of thinking outside of the (gift) box when it comes to wrapping presents. But it can be hard to get the creative juices flowing when faced with wrapping something as basic as a book. Luckily, with a little thought given to your own personal style and the kind of book you’re gifting, as well as a couple of expert tips to guide you, you can make a book the best-looking present on the pile (even if you’re mailing it to an out-of-town recipient).
Lisa Fu of NYC Gift Wrapping shared her favorite tips for wrapping a book—regardless of style or genre, paperback or hardcover—with us below.
If you usually take a minimalist approach to wrapping, you’re already on the right track. “Kraft paper and twine is a classic, and always appropriate for a book,” Fu says, adding that the simplicity of the wrapping lets the gift shine: “Much like the butcher wrapping a prized steak in butcher paper, the act of the book revealing itself is the treasured action for the recipient.” Taking this route is also a great chance to practice your seam-free wrapping technique. Fu adds that you can write a gift message or greeting directly onto the paper, so that your very words become an element of the overall wrapping design.
Of course, if you want your gift to be a little more eye-catching, Fu has plenty of advice for the maximalists out there, too. She suggests layering wrapping papers in contrasting colors (say, a deep blue with a soft camel), tying on ribbons of varying widths, or even adding a personal touch like an ornament—a bookmark tucked somewhere in the wrapping feels particularly appropriate here, she says. Incorporating these details will give your gift a more luxurious feel overall, making it a great route to take if you’re giving a book to someone very important (or someone you really want to impress).
When selecting a color scheme for a book’s wrapping, Fu says she usually ends up choosing black and white, “to mimic words on a page if it’s a book of fiction.” However, if she’s wrapping a cookbook, art book, or book on architecture, her choice will be different. In other words, the genre of the book you’re giving can help determine how you wrap it. For example, a book set in the French countryside would pair well with paper in a toile print, while a book on the brutalist movement would be better suited by the aforementioned minimalist approach.
To make the process of unwrapping more tactile and interesting, Fu recommends using handmade papers, which tend to be higher quality and available in a greater variety of textures. This is yet another opportunity to use your wrapping to nod toward the book’s content, Fu says: “If you are gifting an Italian cookbook, you can use Italian marbleized paper. A piece of fiction set in Mexico can be wrapped with beautiful bark paper.” If paper isn’t your thing, you can incorporate additional texture to your wrapping by opting to wrap your book in fabric, perhaps in the traditional Japanese style known as furoshiki, if you’re giving it to someone who’s particularly eco-conscious, she says.
“I’ve seen soft-cover books ripped over by enthusiastic recipients, and gift wrapping that is too weak to hold up to sharp corners of hardcover books,” Fu says. This is no place for dainty lace or flimsy paper. “Choose a weight of paper that is thick and can hold up to sharp angles, and do not over-tape,” she says, adding that Washi tape, a decorative Japanese tape that peels off easily, is a great alternative to ultra-sticky tape that might be difficult to remove.
If you’re delivering your gift by mail, you’ll need to take a few additional steps to ensure that it arrives safely, with its gorgeous wrapping intact. In a blog post earlier this year, the gifting pros at Hallmark recommended cushioning your gift with newspaper, fabric, or even scented sachets to keep it from sliding around in its shipping container—and topping the padding with some confetti will add another festive touch.
As far as the wrapping itself goes, you may need to omit any chunky ribbons or ornaments from your design if you plan to mail it, as larger decorations may get crumpled or crushed in transit. If you simply can’t part with your elaborate design, Hallmark’s post suggests covering the gift with half of a clamshell container, then padding around it, to protect the exterior.
Which books are you buying as gifts this year? Tell us in the comments below!