12/16/2011 02:23 pm ET

How To Wrap A Present

Need a system for wrapping rectangular boxes? Here's one of the best: simple, beautiful, even kind of eco.

You'll save paper and ribbon with these directions from Wanda Wen, author of "The Art of Gift Wrapping: 50 Innovative Ideas Using Organic, Unique, and Uncommon Materials" (Potter Craft).

The cornerstone of her technique: accurately sized paper, eliminating the gaping and clumping that torment amateur wrappers. The flourish is a ribbon that looks clean and classic, yet goes on without an inch of waste and comes off with a single pull.

You wrap the box with ribbon without cutting it until you're done, ensuring "that you're not cutting a piece of ribbon that's too long or too short," Wen says, "because that's another pet peeve of people, especially if you're using expensive ribbon."

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