Gift wrapping… unwrapped

IT’S (almost) CHRISTMAAAS! Yes that’s right, in approximately 150 hours it will be Christmas Day. This means next Wednesday morning, there will be people of all ages around the country tearing open around 230,000 miles of wrapping paper to discover what presents await inside. And that’s just Britain.

I’ve always wondered the point of wrapping presents neatly and efficiently, just for the paper to be torn apart in sheer excitement but I guess there’s an art of wrapping presents gracefully. A few years back I remember hearing in the news the discovery of a ‘formula to wrap presents’ and having conducted some research, I’m glad to find this memory was real (you can never be too sure). There were two different formulae I found; one involved efficient wrapping and the other ‘perfect’ wrapping.

In relation to my earlier statistic, it is perhaps more relevant to discuss the best way to wrap a present and avoid wasting paper – to reduce both costs and our waste footprint. The following formula works for a cuboid (and thus cube) shaped present and ensures enough paper is cut to make the folds of the wrap too:

A1 = 2(ab+ac+bc+c²)

where A1 = area needed; a, b, c = dimensions of the cuboid where a is the longest and c the shortest.

You can find more info about this here, as well as see how to wrap a cylindrical present or bottle:

Oh and by the way, this formula was created by a former member of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Leicester – Dr Warwick Dumas – yay. Have fun wrapping and don’t forget the cute little ribbon on top!

Merry Christmas! 🙂

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About Pamela

Pamela graduated from the University of Leicester and is no longer blogging for this site. Pamela was in her third year of university, studying Mathematics with Astronomy. From learning about supermassive black holes to calculating statistical models for big firms, her course really covers anything you could ever imagine that is maths related!

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One response to “Gift wrapping… unwrapped”

  1. Tim

    I’m so bad at wrapping presents that I always deliberately set out to find things that are approximately cuboid in shape (or can be made into that shape) before I buy them. Sadly, it doesn’t always work out as the rest of my family would be able to testify to at this very moment. I’m currently surrounded by torn wrapping paper, badly wrapped presents and pulling Sellotape out of my hair.

    I hope that you have greater success than me!


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