Ware­hous­ing was a big deal — manu­al hand­ling, rack­ing, stor­age of paper.  For our pur­poses we’ll start small so let’s start with wrap­ping par­cels.

  • The very first thing is the size of the par­cel
  • The next most import­ant thing to know is the size of wrap­ping paper. I have rolls of wrap­ping paper in 12, 18, 24 and 36 inches wide. All on tear off rolls. I wanted a 48 inch wide roll, but that was imprac­tic­al as we nev­er had the room. A 30 inch wide roll would have been very use­ful.
  • You have to know the size of every par­cel, so for this explan­a­tion we will use the size of a stand­ard ream of 500 sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch paper. This is 2 x 8.5 x 11 inches in size.
  • The first most import­ant meas­ure to know is the cum­france of the pack­age. That comes to 21 inches. And you will need an extra 2 inches or there­abouts for over­lap. So, this would indic­ate that the 24 inch roll with a three inch over­lap will do just fine.
  • The next length you need to know is the width and must decide here what kind of a fold one wants on the end of the pack­age. The most eco­nom­ic­al is when the ends of the pack­age are on the end and not fol­ded over onto the top of the par­cel.
  • Once that is decided one has to meas­ure the width (so to speak) of the paper and this is done by allow­ing a small over­lap for the end. About half an inch is just fine. That indic­ates that 11 inchs plus two inches, plus an inch for a total of 14 inches of paper torn off the 24 inch roll.
  • You will def­in­itely need a good flat work table to wrap this par­cel on. Lay the wrap­ping paper down and pos­i­tion the paper to be wrapped on the wrap­ping paper, being very care­ful to centre from left to right top to bot­tom. Also the paper to be wrapped must square to the wrap­ping paper.
  • Draw up the loose end closest to you and care­fully crease the edge using thumb and fore­finger to give a nice sharp crease.
  • Then while hold­ing this first edge down with one hand, draw the far edge of paper towards you. It is sup­posed to meet in the middle of the pack­age. If it does not, stop and start over gain by mov­ing the paper to be wrapped one way or the oth­er.
  • Once prop­er pos­i­tion has been obtained and nice sharp creases have been obtained, tape the edge with water activ­ated brown Kraft pack­age seal­ing tape. Rub the tape down sev­er­al times to ensure a good and prop­er seal.
  • Next item is to fold in the ends of the pack­age. I always start on the right. I use both hands and fold ends in sim­ul­tan­eously. I fold the two inch por­tion in mak­ing as tight a fold and fold­ing in as much as pos­sible. Again make as tight a crease as pos­sible.
  • I for­got to men­tion that one should pull the wrap­ping paper as tight as pos­sible, without tear­ing it. This applies for all folds on the pack­age. Fur­ther­more, I always run my fin­ger and thumb down each fold so as to give as tight and sharp a crease as pos­sible.
  • Once the end (2 inch) part is fol­ded, then one folds down the top first, then pull up the bot­tom, again all the while creas­ing and pulling as hard as the wrap­ing paper will allow. The put a piece of seal­ing tape on the end to hold the seam closed. Once more rub the tape down sev­er­al times to ensure prop­er adhe­sion. The car­ton seal­ing tape should not be any longer than 8 inches as oth­er wise the tape will run over on to the oth­er side of the pack­age. But wait; I have explained this poorly. I do hope you under­stand.
  • Turn par­cel 180 degrees and repeat pro­ced­ure for the oth­er end of the par­cel.
  • If you have done this cor­rectly, you should have a very tightly and neatly wrapped par­cel.

Further Notes from Phil

A bit more explan­a­tion here. Don’t be sur­prised if you can’t do this. Or if your par­cel is all crooked and out of square. On my first attempts it took me about ten tries, before I got any­where near nice look­ing.

Some people are nat­ur­al ‘artisteests’ and oth­ers are pro­fes­sion­al stumble bums and can’t do any­thing like this. Still oth­ers will com­ment that all of this is a load of cra­pol­la and ask why any­one would be so freak­ishly fussy. It’s up to you.

All I can say is that I am always asked to do all the wrap­ping at home and for the neigh­bors at Christ­mas and gift giv­ing time of year.

I have a very few high end cus­tom­ers who come to me because I am a crafts­man and actu­ally pay me more (than it would cost at oth­er shops) to do what I do, because, they like what I do and how it looks. There is a thing called ‘mer­chand­ising’ and that is really import­ant to some people.

On the oth­er hand, we once did a big expens­ive order for a nation­al char­ity and I did a bang up job of pack­aging. I delivered the job per­son­ally and was soundly bawled out by the pur­chas­ing agent for spend­ing too much on pack­aging. I was stu­pid enough to point out that it was a tendered and con­tract price and that the pack­aging cost him noth­ing, but he simply would not listen.

The next year that job went to a com­pet­it­or of mine and he delivered that job loose in used beer car­tons. The pur­chas­ing agent was delighted and phoned me to come over and see what ‘real print­er does’. I was able to keep my mouth closed, but it dam near killed me to remain silent.

There are sev­er­al more ways to wrap a par­cel, but that is enough for now.

Phil Ambrosi