The art of wrapping gifts

Tips from pro-wrapper Sierra Lei Kileleman Cody
Posted on Dec 22 2021
Sierra Lei Kileleman Cody and Mike at Good Morning Texas

Sierra Lei Kileleman Cody and Mike at Good Morning Texas mug for the camera. Cody is a professional gift wrapper who’s rocking Texas now with her gift-wrapping skills. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

It’s the holidays once more and you know what that means—gifts, gifts, and even more gifts—either in the form of stuff, service, words, or sweet little things that could make our loved ones’ happy.

If you opted to gift things and haven’t wrapped them yet, we have this little guide for you, as shared by Saipan-born and -raised Sierra Lei Kileleman Cody, a professional gift wrapper who’s rocking Texas now with her gift-wrapping skills.

Cody worked over a decade at the upscale stationery boutique, Papyrus—even becoming the most well-known gift wrapper in the company, with people paying her up to $150 to wrap one gift for Christmas. Not only that, she has done radio and TV interviews, including a segment for Good Morning Texas.

Moving back to Saipan in 2019, Cody wrapped gifts for Pena House Boutique for Christmas 2020 and Valentine’s 2021, eventually partnering with the boutique to create “pre-wrapped gifts” products that people can just purchase, until she left for Dallas just last April this year.

Cody has a YouTube channel, an Instagram account, and a public Facebook group, Wrap City Gifts, where she freely posts tutorials and other information on gift wrapping.

“Gift giving makes people happy,” Cody said. “Gift wrapping is the luxury art form of gift giving that people want to master when it comes to giving their mothers or loved ones gifts. I am not going to charge anyone who wants to impress their mothers with a beautifully wrapped gift.”

Cody also has one rule for Saipan residents: Do not ever take flat rate boxes from the post office to use as gift boxes.

“If you think you are doing something harmless, you are wrong. Ask stores for their shipment boxes, buy your own gift boxes, use your old shoe boxes, but never take brand new shipment boxes from the post office,” she said.

Now, let’s take advantage of this quick and free tutorial from Cody and learn to wrap gifts this holiday!

Supplies: Double stick tape, single-sided tape, scissors, wrapping paper, gift box (can be reusable)

How to gift wrap

1. Make sure to have enough paper to cover the entire box. Cover it all the way and make sure to snip out any excess.

2. Bring the paper all the way to the edge, crease the corners, and tape the piece down using a piece of single sided tape.

3. Put double stick tape on the edge of the paper. You can put either a few small pieces or a long strip going across. This gives a clean, seamless look when taping the paper to the edge of the box.

4. For the flaps, fold and tape the long flap down first, and then fold and tape the sides in. Next, in folding the long flap up, fold the edge a little first, put double sided tape, and then fold up. Repeat on the other side.

How to make a simple bow

1. Wrap the ribbon around the box to do a quick measure, including loops and tails. Snip the ribbon once you get your preferred size.

2. Place left strip of ribbon over the right, then over and under. Secure the bow with your finger, then make loops to form your bow.

3. When using a printed ribbon, twist, pull, and tug to make sure the print is showing over. Cut to your preferred length.

Aside from the tutorial, Cody also has these tips for the community:

– When Joeten Susupe has a discount off their ribbon by the yard, it’s one of the cheapest prices that you will find, if not the cheapest.

– You don’t need ribbon to make bows. You can make paper bows using any type of paper, plus it’s a fun craft activity for children. [Check Cody’s YouTube channel to learn how to make paper bows]

– Tape is tape, you don’t need Scotch brand tape. Cody said she has tested all brands and types of tape on Saipan and that they’re all good—except the BAZIC double-sided tape.

– You can make gift tags out of wrapping paper. If the wrapping paper is too thin for you, you can glue stick it to Xerox paper or construction paper. No one ever really needs actual gift tags.

– Don’t ever shop/gift over your budget. No one ever needs to overspend for Christmas—it’s not the point of the holidays. We’re in a pandemic, no one should ever be ashamed to say that they can’t afford gifts. That’s not the point of Christmas.

– Shop online throughout the year. Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works and a bunch of stores run two semi-annual sales (January and June) and ship to Saipan, except products with alcohol. Macy’s runs their lowest prices of the year sale in September/October and many of their products ship to Saipan. Old Navy honors their free shipping promos to Saipan (“free shipping with $25 purchase”). If you’re patient and you shop sales throughout the year online, you will save a lot of money.

– Don’t overlook buying/giving Christmas cards. The simple gesture of hand writing a Christmas card goes a long way in this tech world now. And, don’t just sign your name—tell your loved one why you are thankful for them.

For more of Cody’s tutorials, check out Wrap City Gifts on YouTube, and @wrap_city_gifts on Instagram.

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at
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