• Wrapping gifts is a very old tradition; it started with the invention of paper in China in 105 AD. The paper-making process itself was considered a sacred art which was kept secret until it ‘leaked’ into Egypt in 800 AD and spread into Europe by 1000 AD.

    In 1509 in Europe, wallpaper was used to wrap gifts though it proved to be unpractical because it would crack and damage easily when folded.

    During the Victorian Period, exchanging wrapped gifts was a luxurious privilege occurring only amongst the upper classes of society. Giftwrap consisted of expensive ribbon and lace; and decorated paper.

    As the printing press was developing in the late 1800’s in England , a new method was found in which endless sheets of wrapping paper could be printed with consistent quality and affordability; a method still used today to produce the wrapping paper that we know of.

  • Paper is made from cellulose fibers found in plant cell walls. A mixture of water and fibers is filtered through a fine screen and the fibers tangle together; creating a sheet of paper. As the wet sheet dries, chemical bonds are formed between the cellulose fibers that are holding the sheet of paper, giving it strength. Papermaking fibers are extracted from many kinds of plants such as: sugar cane, cotton, bamboo, rice straws as well as softwoods.

    Wrapping Paper is usually made from wood pulps that come from a kind of wood classified as ‘softwood’. Softwoods come from pine, cedar, fir and cypress trees amongst many others. The wood pulp is bleached and dyed with natural or synthetic dyes; giving wrapping paper its color. Wrapping paper that is metallic, pearlescent or embossed require special printing equipment to apply these special finished.

    Paper that is made from unbleached pulp is referred to as Kraft Paper- it is the familiar brown paper that grocery bags are made of. Long before designed wrapping papers were in circulation, Kraft paper was extremely popular for use as wrapping paper.

  • ‘Giftwrap’ is a very broad term and is used to describe any means of covering up, disguising, protecting or simply decorating a gift. Wrapping gifts has become so customary to all our gift-giving occasions that we now tend to do it without putting much thought into why we do it.

    In many cultures, wrapping a gift is done for the purpose of decorating or postponing the sight of a gift and is usually a last-minute after-thought. While in other cultures such as in Japan, the act of gift-giving is valued more than the gift itself.

    The patterns and colors used in wrapping can also be highly symbolic. For example, in Japan, images of lotus flowers on wrapping paper are used for memorial gifts. While in China, red wrapping paper promotes good luck.

    Ribbons are also used in different colors to show different meanings. Gold and white ribbon may be used for a wedding. The way a ribbon is tied is also symbolic; for example, a knot which cannot be untied symbolizes an event that should not be repeated; a marriage.

    The way a wrapping paper is folded or packaged is used to show different emotions. Hundreds of techniques are used to show a multitude of feelings; love, sympathy, gratitude and admiration being only a few!

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