Best Wrapping Paper

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

36 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
428 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best wrapping paper

Last Updated September 2020

When it comes to buying wrapping paper, some people love the thrill of the hunt: it’s a fun challenge to find the perfect paper for the perfect gift. Others prefer to grab the nearest roll and get out of the store. However you feel about it, it’s true that most of us will need to get our hands on wrapping paper at some point.

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s take a look at what wrapping paper is. Most wrapping paper on today’s market is made of softwood pulp that’s been bleached and inked. However, there are variations on this. You might buy kraft paper, which is unbleached and thicker than standard wrapping paper, or tissue paper, which is thinner and more fragile. And there’s recycled wrapping paper, which is produced by grinding up waste paper, mixing it with pulp, and remanufacturing it.

To obtain the perfect wrapping paper for your occasion, give some thought to the paper qualities you prefer. Do you appreciate thick kraft paper that exudes an artisan vibe or the sparkly, crinkly excitement of foil wrap? There are more choices than you might expect. Read on to learn more and check out our favorites.

In the midst of hectic holiday preparations, keep things simple by assigning each gift recipient a specific wrapping paper design. For example, Mom could have the holly berry print and Dad could have the snowmen.

Key considerations

GSM

Paper thickness can be described in terms of its grams per square meter (GSM). Not all manufacturers specify a GSM, but for wrapping paper this measure generally ranges from 30 to 120. To give you a frame of reference, newsprint has a GSM of around 35, whereas thick photocopy paper has a GSM of around 120. Much of the standard wrapping paper available today has a GSM between 60 and 80.

Paper type

Classic wrapping paper: This is the type of paper most people visualize when they think of gift wrap. You’ll find standard wrapping paper in a variety of thicknesses. Thinner paper is cheaper, and it tears easily. If you’re wrapping a gift with sharp edges, you’ll want to avoid thin wrapping paper. Thick paper usually costs more, but it’s far less likely to tear, and it emanates an air of quality.

Kraft paper: Kraft paper is thicker and coarser than standard wrapping paper. It gets its name from the chemical process used to create it. As a result of the process, the paper retains a greater percentage of cellulose than other types of paper. Kraft paper is not heavily bleached the way some pulp-based papers are. A large portion of the market’s kraft offerings are a plain brown color. Some gifters like to embellish kraft paper with their own creative additions, such as foil stickers or colorful ribbons.

Tissue paper: Tissue paper, also known as crêpe paper, is extremely thin. It’s so thin, in fact, that some people prefer not to use it as wrapping paper at all. Rather, they use it as filler inside a gift bag or box. Tissue paper comes in solid colors, including white, and some prints. You may decide to wrap a gift with tissue paper if you’re going for a gauzy or feathery aesthetic. Consider using a double, triple, or quadruple layer in order to avoid unwanted rips and tears.

Cellophane: Cellophane is transparent and therefore not a common choice for wrapping gifts. If you’re preparing a fruit basket or another type of gift meant to be visible, however, you might reach for some cellophane. It is not plastic, as some may think. It’s made from wood pulp or other natural sources, just like regular wrapping paper, and it’s biodegradable. That said, cellophane is not the most environmentally friendly type of gift wrap. It cannot be recycled, and it may release methane when left to decompose in a landfill.

Foil: Foil wrapping paper is smooth, shiny, and somewhat slick. Often, it has a metallic sheen that lends itself to holiday or birthday cheer. Some consumers prefer foil because it’s eye-catching and unlikely to rip, but others dislike it because it’s a bit slippery, and they have a hard time making the tape stick. Foil wrapping paper is not easily recyclable and, because it has plastic components, it is not the best choice for those who prefer to use environmentally friendly wrapping paper.

Your special occasion

Let’s step back a moment and look at the broader picture. You’re probably searching for wrapping paper for a specific occasion. There are no hard and fast rules, of course, but there are trends in gift-giving that may pertain to you.

Birthdays: If you’re looking for birthday gift wrap, you probably want something festive. For a child’s birthday, a gift wrap with bright primary colors or a foil wrap with metallic hues may be in order. If the child is fond of a specific TV or movie character, you may wish to buy something that corresponds with the theme. (Check your invitation. If you’re attending a child’s birthday party, a theme may already have been established.)

For an adult birthday celebration, classic wrapping paper is a fine choice, as are kraft paper and tissue paper. Patterned and solid paper would both be appropriate.

Bridal showers, weddings, and anniversaries: Much of the wedding- and anniversary-themed gift wrap on the market embodies an aesthetic of elegance. You'll find lots of white, silver, and gold choices. Some have a smooth matte finish, some have a slightly raised pattern that creates texture, and some have a finish that combines smooth paper with foil. (For example, you might purchase a satiny white paper with gold foil polka dots or a silver foil wedding bell print.)

If you prefer a more casual look, consider a white or colored background with a “Mr. and Mrs.” theme, a heart theme, or another love-related theme that speaks to you.

New baby: If you’re wrapping a gift for a baby, whether it’s to be opened at a baby shower or elsewhere, the “pink for girl” and “blue for boy” themes are still highly acceptable, but they’re not always expected. Gender-neutral colors such as mint green and pastel yellow are fine choices for those who don’t know the gender of the child or don’t wish to make a big deal out of gender roles.

Some print themes are common in gift wrap for babies, such as pastel baby animals, the letters of the alphabet, and prints like gingham and polka dots.

Holidays: During the holidays, you might decide to splurge a bit, investing in thicker wrapping paper, textured or foil paper, or even brown kraft paper that you spruce up with festive ribbons or bows. Standard wrapping paper is also completely acceptable, and you’ll find a seemingly endless array of designs, from boughs of green holly to hot pink Barbie Dolls celebrating Christmas.

But Christmas isn’t the only holiday with a collection of wrapping paper choices. Although not as plentiful, there are gift wraps designed for Hanukkah (seven-lamp menorahs, Star of David patterns, and similar), Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, and other holidays.

Graduation: Although gifts aren’t always required or expected, high school and college graduates do appreciate them. If you’re gifting a grad, consider a wrapping paper that displays the grad’s school colors or the standard graduation color of blue.

EXPERT TIP

When shopping for anniversary gift wrap, note that a 25th wedding anniversary is considered to be a “silver” anniversary, while a 50th anniversary is considered to be “gold.”


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Patterned or plain

When selecting wrapping paper, you will have to make some decisions, as a plethora of patterns and designs exist. You might prefer a solid-colored paper with one simple color, a prim polka dot pattern with an air of sophistication, or a wildly colorful geometric display. Indeed, there is a host of fun choices.

Reversible

Some wrapping paper is reversible. This is particularly common with Christmas paper. One side might be a solid color, such as green or red, while the other side displays a seasonal pattern. With reversible paper, you enjoy a bit of versatility. You can even wrap your package so both the solid side and the print side show up on the final product. (If you’re interested in doing this, check the internet for online tutorials on how to get crafty with reversible wrapping paper.)

Square footage

Somewhere on the package, the manufacturer should indicate how many square feet of paper are included in the roll. The square footage gives you an idea of how many shirt boxes can be wrapped with the paper. As a rule, you can plan on wrapping approximately 2 shirt boxes with every 10 square feet of paper. Therefore, a roll containing 20 square feet can wrap approximately 4 shirt boxes, and a roll containing 120 square feet can wrap approximately 24 shirt boxes. Bear in mind that the dimensions of said shirt boxes are approximately 14 x 9 x 2 inches.

Gridlines

Speaking of square footage, some manufacturers provide a handy way for you to conserve paper and keep waste down: gridlines. On the reverse side of this type of paper, you will find a printed grid that allows you to visualize your paper usage before you break out the scissors. With gridlines to guide you, it’s easier to cut straight lines, and you’re less likely to waste paper by overestimating what you need.

EXPERT TIP

Before tossing old wrapping paper in the trash, consider other uses for it. For example, you could use it to make bows, create gift tags, or line the inside of a box to be shipped to a gift recipient.


Staff  | BestReviews

Wrapping paper prices

Inexpensive: If you want some affordable wrapping paper that looks beautiful and won’t easily rip, you’re in luck. There are plenty of great options for $3 per roll or less, although $5 is a little more common. Pay attention to the square footage when you’re evaluating potential deals. A $3 price for 10 square feet isn’t as great as a $3 price for 30 square feet.

Expensive: If you’re purchasing a thicker paper with a gorgeous print, you can expect to pay closer to $10 or even $15 per roll. Reversible wrapping paper also costs about this much; bear in mind that reversible wrapping paper is often thicker than average wrapping paper.

Bulk: Some people prefer to buy their wrapping paper in bulk. In fact, you could choose to purchase an entire half ream if you wanted to. If you don’t want to go that far, consider investing in a collection of three to ten rolls of wrapping paper. The price may be higher than it is for a single roll, but you’ll have plenty of paper to get you through the next season or two of special occasions.

EXPERT TIP

Brown kraft paper is like a blank canvas for the crafty gift giver. Cover it with painted polka dots, flashy stickers, fun stencils, or funky loops of yarn. You are limited only by your imagination.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Try layering clear cellophane wrap on top of tissue paper for a unique look. This technique comes in handy when wrapping unboxed and oddly shaped items, such as throw pillows and stuffed animals.
  • Hide any gaps. If you run out of wrapping paper before your entire box is covered, there is a solution. Cut a band of paper from a different roll and wrap it around the bald spot like a ribbon. The result: a two-toned gift wrap that looks extra fancy.
  • Wrap your gifts on a hard surface, such as a table or the floor. This is to help you gain the leverage you need to keep the paper taut. Avoid wrapping on soft furniture or a bed because the surface could wrinkle your paper and result in a rumpled-looking gift.

Other products we considered

At BestReviews, we enjoy the thrill of the hunt. It was easy to find wrapping paper beyond our top choices that we love. Here are a few of our favorites.

If you like the look of kraft paper but don’t want to spend time embellishing it or even cutting it, consider this multipack of Haipicho Wrapping Paper, which includes ten precut sheets featuring unique holiday designs. Just make sure each of your gifts fits one 50 x 70 cm sheet, or you might have to improvise with ribbon or extra paper to cover bald spots.

The RUSPEPA white wood-grain wrapping paper is truly unique and could be used for just about any occasion. It exudes a natural, woodsy look that is at once elegant and rustic. This paper costs a bit more than some other choices, but if you’re looking to splurge on something versatile and gorgeous, it’s an apt choice.

Store your rolls of wrapping paper in a vertical box to prevent the paper from becoming torn, snagged, or otherwise damaged between uses.

FAQ

Q. I’ve got a lot of gifts to wrap, and I’m about to run out of tape. What should I do?
A.
Tape certainly isn’t the only adhesive you can use to bind gift wrap. Do you have a glue stick, a bottle of glue, or a roll of another type of tape (painter’s tape, masking tape) at home? What about nail polish or stickers? Any of these sticky items would do the trick in a pinch.


Q. I feel bad about using wrapping paper and then sending it to the landfill. Is there an alternative?
A.
Opt for wrapping paper made of recycled paper. Another thing you can do is avoid wrapping paper embellished with glitter or texture as these papers aren’t recyclable.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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