Growing up, Alton DuLaney received many beautifully-wrapped presents. \u201cMy dad was a great gift wrapper,\u201d he tells Mental Floss. \u201cHe always made the holidays and birthdays really special.\u201d Those wraps clearly stuck with Dulaney, who grew up to become creative director at Kate\u2019s Paperie and, in 2008, took home the top prize in the Scotch Most Gifted Wrapper\u00a0Contest\u00a0(he wrapped, among other things, a\u00a0baby grand piano). https:\/\/youtu.be\/BuhTa7Sq1A0 These days, the artist is helping novices nail their gift wraps via tutorials on\u00a0Craftsy.com. DuLaney\u2019s motto? Put the present in a presentation. \u201cGift giving should not be stressful,\u201d he says. \u201cIt should be something fun. When you gift wrap something, it shows that you put some individual time and attention to make it something special. If you have fun with it, your gift recipient is probably going to have fun with it, too.\u201d 1. PREP YOUR WORKSPACE \u2026 \u201cCreate your workspace before you create,\u201d\u00a0Dulaney advises. Because he prefers to stand, he makes a sturdy, waist-high table or countertop his base. Whatever you choose to work on, make sure the surface is clean. Ditto your hands: \u201cYou don\u2019t want to get lotion or anything that might be on your hands onto the beautiful paper or ribbon,\u201d Dulaney says. ISTOCK 2. \u2026 AND HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS ON HAND. No workspace is complete without the proper tools. Dulaney always has a ruler and two pairs of scissors\u2014one for paper and one for the ribbon. \u201cSometimes your paper will have glitter or other things on it that will dull your scissors,\u201d he says. \u201cWhen you cut your ribbon, you want to have a very super-sharp pair of scissors to get a nice, clean cut.\u201d To tell the difference, he ties a tiny bit of ribbon around the handle of the ribbon scissors. Dulaney also has two kinds of Scotch tape at the ready: Double-sided for complicated areas, and gift wrap tape with a matte finish \u201cso even when it\u2019s on the outside of the paper, it virtually disappears\u2014you don\u2019t see it.\u201d He also keeps embellishments on hand to decorate the outside of the gift (more on that in a bit). \u201cI like to gather all of those things before I start, and that way, once the creative juices are flowing, you don\u2019t have to stop and say, \u2018Where are my scissors? Where\u2019s my tape?\u2019\u201d he says. Pinterest 3. USE A MEDIUM GRADE PAPER. If your paper is too thin, it will tear easily, allowing package corners to poke through; too-thick paper, on the other hand, leads to a bulky wrap. Dulaney prefers a medium-grade paper with a bit of a metallic finish, which creates nice, sharp creases. Pinterest 4. CONSIDER DOING A PRACTICE RUN. \u201cThis is going to sound crazy, but I always tell people to practice,\u201d Dulaney says. \u201cAt the end of the season, I\u2019ll go buy gift wrap on sale, and , I\u2019ll practice my wrapping before I start wrapping,\u201d Dulaney advises practicing with ribbon, too. If he has a special paper\u2014something hand-painted or hand-stamped\u2014DuLaney will do a dry run with regular paper to see how it will work. \u201cThen I\u2019ll unwrap and use that paper as a pattern, just like if you were working with a piece of fabric\u2014you would use a paper pattern to make your fabric pattern,\u201d he says. ISTOCK 5. CAREFULLY MEASURE YOUR PAPER. To get the most use from your roll, wrap packages with the longest side of the box facing the cut edge of the paper whenever possible. Then, before making your cut, pull the paper up over the sides of the box to measure: You want just enough paper on either side so they slightly overlap in the middle\u2014meaning, each side will be a smidge longer than half the width of your box. \u201cIf big, I\u2019ll actually break out a ruler, to make sure I have more than half,\u201d DuLaney\u00a0says. He always errs on the side of too much paper\u2014you can always trim later. Pinterest 6. PLACE YOUR PACKAGE TOP DOWN\u2014AND NEVER PUT TAPE ON IT. When it\u2019s finally time to wrap your gift, place it top down on the paper. Next, pull one edge of the paper just beyond the edge of your gift; fold it to hide the cut edge\u2014the white part, which Dulaney calls \u201cthe meat\u201d of the paper. Most people would tape that to the package, but Dulaney advises against that. \u201cWhen you take that paper off, you want both the ribbon and the paper to just fall away and reveal what\u2019s inside it,\u201d he says. Instead, grab the other side of the paper and pull it\u00a0under\u00a0the side with the folded edge. Align the folded edge with the end of the package and tape. ISTOCK Next, rotate the box to one of the open sides and fold the short sides down to create long flaps; repeat on the other side. \u201cThis keeps the package from sliding around inside the paper,\u201d Dulaney says. Fold the flap closest to you downward; then, fold the one closest to your work surface toward you and tape. That way, \u201cwhen you turn the gift over and place the bow on top, the side flaps are going down, so you don\u2019t see into the workings of the gift wrap.\u201d Finally, using your finger and your thumb, crease the edges of your wrapped package. You can watch DuLaney walk Jimmy Kimmel through the process\u00a0here: https:\/\/youtu.be\/-PMQQico558 7. IF YOU RUN OUT OF PAPER, MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU MEANT TO DO IT. If you mess up and don\u2019t cut enough paper (or are at the end of your roll), it\u2019s no big deal. There are solutions that make it look like that was part of your plan all along\u2014like creating a belly band. \u201cI cut a strip of paper, fold under each edge, and sometimes, I\u2019ll pleat that into a tuxedo fold in the middle, and I\u2019ll tape that to the other paper,\u201d Dulaney says. When he does this, he wraps the gift top-side up. \u201cI\u2019ll have the gift right-side up and will construct the paper on top of the gift, so the belly band becomes the centerpiece.\u201d Have a slice of the exposed package on the ends? Use a wide ribbon or embellishments to disguise it. ISTOCK 8. WHEN WRAPPING CYLINDERS, PLEATING IS KEY. There are two ways of dealing with a cylinder: What Dulaney calls the bon-bon method\u2014\u201cwhere you scrunch the paper on each end and tape the ribbon on it\u201d so it looks like a candy\u2014and pleating. Trust us when we say pleating is easier to do than it is to explain\u2014check out this video for a tutorial: https:\/\/youtu.be\/dH_gpSfaA6E 9. ADD EMBELLISHMENTS. Once you\u2019re finished wrapping, put the present in the presentation by adding embellishments to the outside of the package. This could be as simple as a ribbon, but Dulaney often kicks it up a notch. \u201cI like to give a little gift on the outside that\u2019s a hint of what\u2019s on the inside,\u201d he says. \u201cIf I\u2019m giving a book, I might embellish the gift with bookmarks; if I\u2019m giving a journal, I might embellish with a couple of writing instruments on the outside.\u201d Sometimes, his embellishments follow gift wrapping trends. \u201cThere are a lot of wood grain papers on the market this season,\u201d he says. \u201cYou can wrap with that and embellish with a sprig of rosemary from your garden or a bough of holly from your holiday tree.\u201d ISTOCK 10. EMBRACE UNUSUAL SHAPES. Wrapping boxes are easy, but what happens if what you need to wrap isn\u2019t box-shaped? Dulaney has several methods for dealing with this. The first\u2014and easiest\u2014is to grab a gift bag. \u201cWhen I do a gift bag, I gift wrap my gift bag,\u201d he says. \u201cI\u2019ll add a ribbon or a bow around the handle, or I\u2019ll replace the handle with a matching ribbon.\u201d Other times, he might wrap something tangentially related to a gift to place under the tree before revealing the real deal. \u201cIf I\u2019m giving someone a tennis racket, I\u2019ll wrap a tennis ball, and when they open that, I\u2019ll present them the racket with a bow on it,\u201d he says. Another method is to wrap your gift to look like exactly what it is. \u201cLast year on Jimmy Kimmel, I wrapped a vacuum cleaner, and it looked exactly like a vacuum cleaner,\u201d Dulaney says. \u201c is a gorgeous paper sculpture when you\u2019re done, but of course there\u2019s no mystery as to what\u2019s inside it.\u201d If you prefer to camouflage a gift, prepare to get creative. \u201cI\u2019ve done a bicycle before where I wrapped it in all of this craft paper, created cardboard cutouts, and basically turned it into a deer with a scarf wrapped around its neck,\u201d he says. \u201cYou\u2019re so distracted by that\u2014you\u2019re like, \u2018Oh, it\u2019s a reindeer!\u2019\u2014that you don\u2019t even\u00a0think\u00a0bicycle until you\u2019re inside it.\u201d Of course, you could buy a box to put your unusually-shaped gift in, but what\u2019s the fun in that? ISTOCK 11. USE DULL SCISSORS TO CURL RIBBON ... When using curling ribbon, sharp scissors are\u00a0not\u00a0your friend. They won\u2019t just tear the ribbon\u2014they could cut your finger, too. Dull scissors are the way to go. \u201cWhen the ribbon comes off the spool, the outside of the ribbon is the finished side,\u201d he says. \u201cThe part that goes to the inside of the spool is where you want to put your scissors or your curling tool. I put the scissors under the ribbon, put pressure on it from above with my thumb, and pull. The trick is to only do it once.\u201d Pinterest 12. \u2026 BUT DON\u2019T THINK CURLING RIBBON IS YOUR ONLY OPTION. Depending on what kind of look you\u2019re going for, you might opt for a silk ribbon (to which you'd add angled or forked tails) over a curling ribbon. Dulaney likes to use a wire-edge ribbon, which can help those who aren\u2019t used to tying perfect bows create prettier shapes. \u201cThe bow holds its shape really well,\u201d he says. \u201cYou can hand-shape the tails that are coming off that bow, and they will hold that shape. A satin ribbon is really beautiful but can be slippery, and curling ribbon has a limp finish to it, which can look sloppy in the end. With wire-edged ribbon, you can create the bow and then really shape it into something you love.\u201d ISTOCK 13. DON\u2019T CUT YOUR RIBBON OFF THE ROLL UNTIL YOUR BOW IS DONE. Do you eyeball how much ribbon you think you\u2019ll need, cut it off the spool, and hope for the best? Rookie mistake. When he\u2019s tying a bow, Dulaney starts at the top of the gift and gives himself 12 inches of extra ribbon that stays attached to the spool. And, oh yeah, he does his crisscrossing and knotting of the ribbon on\u00a0top\u00a0of the gift. \u201cPeople have a tendency to do that on the bottom of the gift, but then, when they\u2019re done, there\u2019s a bump under there,\u201d he says. \u201cYour gift rocks\u2014it doesn\u2019t sit flat.\u201d Here\u2019s how Dulaney does it: \u201cI hold the ribbon to the top of the gift with my thumb, wrap my ribbon around the bottom, and bring the ribbon back up to the top of the package, then criss-cross the top of the gift,\u201d he says. \u201cThen I wrap the ribbon lengthwise around the gift, around the bottom, back up to the top, and then I will do my first half knot with the ribbon. I will then tie the bow, and then\u2014and only then\u2014will I cut the ribbon from the spool.\u201d iStock Credits:\u00a0mentalfloss.com Share this story on Facebook with your friends.