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How to Wrap a Gift in 12 Seconds Flat and Prepare It for Shipping

Just in time for Christmas, here are two quick and efficient methods for wrapping presents and preparing them for shipping.
Image: A seller wraps a gift in a Parisian depa
A seller wraps a gift in a Parisian department store. JOEL SAGET / AFP - Getty Images file

With time running short, chances are, you barely have enough time to shop for gifts, much less wrap them.

You’re in luck! Here’s are two quick and efficient methods for wrapping presents and preparing them for shipping.

Dubbed the “Japanese Gift Wrapping Hack,” this method has been popularized by a number of YouTube videos. The above video, which has received over 12 million views, shows a seasoned retail employee at Takashimaya Department Store in Tokyo wrapping boxes in 12 seconds flat.

The technique, which involves starting with the gift positioned diagonally on the wrapping paper, is ideal for standard square or rectangular gifts. It boils down to four easy steps and two pieces of tape:

1. Start with pre-cut paper. Break free from the roll: The key to this technique is starting with a piece of pre-cut wrapping paper.

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“My go-to way to measure how much paper to cut off is to place the gift on the paper edge and roll the gift over along the paper and see how much you need,” says Nikki Haritatos, an event planner and creativity consultant at “Make sure you roll it both ways so you catch both the right length and right width.”

2. Place the gift in one corner: Once you have your paper cut, place the gift at an angle onto one corner of the sheet. Fold that corner up, then fold in its corresponding side. Secure with tape.

3. Flip the gift over: Starting from a corner allows you to wrap the entire gift at once. Simply fold over the rest of the paper, flipping the gift over in the process.

4. Tuck and tape: Tuck in the remaining corners, then secure with one final piece of tape.

With a bit of practice, even a gift-wrapping novice can quickly become a pro.

But if you want to take your presentation up a notch, lifestyle expert Julie Blanner recommends starting simple, then adding some fancy upgrades.

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“Stick to one solid and one pattern paper for an always beautiful ensemble,” said Blanner. “I like to use satin and grosgrain ribbon from craft stores to secure and embellish packages.”

Packing for shipping

If you’re packing your gift for shipping, use the nesting technique.

“I tend to have fragile gifts shipped directly from the store,” Blanner said. “Otherwise, a box inside of a box always works well - just fill both with peanuts and/or bubble wrap.”

Nesting gives you added protection, but be sure to insulate the inside box with packing material to ensure that it’s completely secure, Blanner said. You also want to use what shippers call the “H” method: tape all seams along the box so that the top and bottom form an “H” shape.

You can also use a few finishing touches to make a utilitarian shipping box more festive.

“Feed pretty paper, gift wrap or tissue paper through a shredder and use the shredded paper as your packing material,” Haritatos suggests. “For a fragile item that needs bubble wrap, opt for bubble wrap in colors. ... You can also sprinkle in mini gifts, confetti, wrapped candies like peppermints or other goodies in among the packing material to make it even more fun.”