International Gift Wrapping ideas to suit all cultures

After 20 years in the business, I’m now finding myself travelling the globe sharing my knowledge and decided it was time to write my latest post ‘International Gift Wrapping ideas to suit all cultures’. My in laws live in Japan, my second home is in Singapore, plus I have Scottish ancestry and run courses in Glasgow and have American relatives, so I’m fascinated how to wrap presents differently to suit the different nationalities and cultures. With all of this and my courses in UK, Singapore and Australia, I’ve dedicated a section in my book ‘Giftwrapped’

I’m a firm believer that first impressions count and it’s what is on the inside that counts…we’ve all heard that saying ‘Packaging is everything’

There are obvious symbolic similarities between Chinese and Japanese theming but two beautiful and very different oriental giftwrapping styles can easily be created.  The similarities come in the use of lavishly embellished silk and symbols such as fans and chopsticks, together with their respective and beautifully illustrative, calligraphic characters. I also love to wrap items creatively and constrasting colours like Yellow and Red

Chinese styled giftwrapping.  The flag of China inspires the use of red and golden yellow, and stars are very much a symbol.  A gift wrapped in shiny, red paper or red, silk fabric, tied with a golden yellow silk, sash ribbon needs only the addition of chop sticks slotted into the bow and a gift tag in the shape of a large, yellow star to achieve the required look.  Add a carefully chosen and perfectly positioned Chinese symbol or two to your wrapping paper.  With a little practice and painted in black, these symbols will instantly define your oriental theme.

Red stitched ribbon by Jane Means

Japanese styled giftwrapping.  With its red circular sunburst design on a white background, the Japanese flag is a good source of inspiration.  With a focus on the traditional colours of red, black and white, embellishments of chop sticks or tassels and the use of painted, red, Japanese symbols onto white paper with red, silk ribbon, a very traditional, Japanese style can be created.

Reversible Gift Wrap by Jane Means
Image Courtesy of The General Co

In addition, the ancient art of Japanese paper folding is ideal to introduce to this theme.  Using origami to add embellishments of simple fans or more complex flowers will, no doubt, make your gift look very pretty.  Paper pleating is a Japanese technique, which looks rather stunning and will impress any recipient.  It is an interesting fact that, historically, an odd number of pleats on the gift was used for a happy occasion, whilst an even number of pleats would have meant the gift was intended for a sad occasion.

Image courtesy of The French Tangerine

American styled giftwrapping.  Well, it is hard to think of America and not think of stars and stripes and red, white and blue.  Any combination of these colours is a great place to start.  For example, red and white striped paper with a blue ribbon, blue paper with red and white striped ribbon (see my red and cream striped grosgrain ribbon) or a combination of contrasting blue paper with white paper, centrally separated by a red ribbon.  To add American stars, position white star stickers on the blue paper.

Tartan by Scotland Shop

Scottish style giftwrapping.  I have various tartan ribbon designs in my range and when they are used generously against navy blue, red, forest green or parcel wrapping paper and combined with embellishments of heather or thistles, the Scottish theme is clear.  Add celtic symbols in the form of brooches, trinkets or hand painted emblems on homemade gift tags to enhance the theme. Having Scottish ancestry I also love to use Tartan and Tweeds in my Gift wrapping projects.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Indian styled giftwrapping.  Famous for its vivid and spice-derived colours, India evokes thoughts of silk saris, bangles and opulent golden necklaces, lavishly embellished with precious stones.  The peacock, with its iridescent feathers, is the national bird of India and vivid blue, a rich green green and intense purple, the colours of the peacock, combined with embellishments of gold coloured chains,  pendants and varying textures of gold ribbon can form the strong basis of an Indian theme.  Brightly coloured layers of tissue paper offer the image of saris whilst tying in several golden bangles with a brightly coloured chiffon scarf adds to the embellishment of your gift.  Bright colours and opulence are the main features and the presence of a peackock feather, elephant charm or pendant or a handmade circular gift tag featuring the ‘Ashoka Shakra’, a 24-spoke blue wheel that appears on the Indian flag.

I am a huge fan of India. I have been several times and hope to run some future courses there.

Red Ribbon by Jane Means
Map Paper by Clifton Nurseries

Pick a country and try to capture the essence of its nature as you wrap your gift.  Perhaps the gift originates from that country or is to be given to a person from that location or to someone who is going to travel there soon…  Creating a personalised theme only serves to increase the meaning and quality of both the gift giving and receiving experience.

Jane Means is a Worldwide Gift Wrapping Consultant who works for Luxury Brands, Celebrities and Royalty

If you are stuck on what to give as a gift, check out Minding Manners who cover perfect Gift Giving on their brilliant etiquette workshops

Happy Wrapping

 

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A peek inside the new Jane Means gift wrapping book ‘giftwrapped’

For years this has been a dream. To put all of my creative ideas in to my very  own Gift Wrapping Book.

I’ve been approached by others, but wanted to write my signature book, with a specific look and feel, oozing with beautiful photography and simple steps.

I approached one publisher only, one whos books  I buy, read and admire, and one who was highly recommended by other authors.  It was Jacqui Small.

Jane Means book Giftwrapped cover

After several meetings and shoots, my book idea was sent off to the book fairs in New York and Frankfurt. I had to wait patiently to see what the reaction was.

Last December whilst I was in an ITV dressing room waiting to go on air with Paul O’Grady, I got the news that I had been praying for all year.  I had landed a worldwide book deal.

giftwrapped papers moodboard

On my return from honeymoon, I realised that I had no time to spare.  I had 5 weeks to put it all together, and headed up to Lincolnshire to write it, with my staff around me so I could focus without any distractions.

handmade gift bags

I had to be ready with all of the products, ideas and content ready for the four photo shoots totalling 11 long days. This was my first book and it was mentally exhausting.

Luxury marble papers were flown in from Florence, and all of our suppliers worked in record time to meet the tight deadline

giftwrapped book

The team and myself had great fun during the shoots, re arranging, styling, and getting the finishing touches perfect. Little did I realise that the area in Clifton Nurseries where we shot the majority of the book, would end up being my London ribbon shop.

Although the book will be launched in November, we’ve managed to secure some pre publication copies and we will keep you updated when you can grab one of the first copies before it’s launched to the world.  If you don’t want to miss out leave us a comment below and we’ll ensure you get a newsletter about it.

In the meantime here’s an insight and press release of the gift wrapping book from my publisher Jaqui Small…

 

 

giftwrapped book by Jane Means

Published by Jacqui Small | £20.00 | 20th November 2014 | Hardback

 

In this digital age, anything tangible somehow feels more significant or appreciated, and nowhere is that more evident than in the world of paper and giftwrapping. Wherever you look, blogs or magazines offer ideas for enhancing a humble gift by embellishing it with vintage or reused materials.

 

Giftwrapped builds on this trend, but takes it to a new and much more luxurious level while still keeping it real. ‘Gift Wrap Guru’ Jane Means, who wraps for the stars, royalty and high-end companies, offers her signature style and personal take on wrapping any present so that it is transformed into a  gloriously gorgeous gift. Whether it’s a simple box, a tube or an awkwardly shaped tin, Giftwrapped describes how to achieve wrapping perfection with simple step-by-step instructions and Jane’s myriad tips, so that you can learn what really works for impact and elegance.

 

The personal touch is Jane’s forte along with an innate thriftiness. She’ll show you her ‘tricks’ on how to upcycle vintage treasures and reuse unusual wrapping papers, such as sheet music and old maps, to the best effect, as well as how to choose the perfect style for the gift’s recipient.

 

All projects are shown with clear and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Giftwrapped delivers inventive ideas and designs along with the all-important know-how, so that you can create your own magical parcels whatever the occasion or celebration whether Christmas, birthday or wedding favour.

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