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How To Measure How Much Ribbon You'll Need


How to measure how much ribbon you'll need to wrap your gift? A picture of a yellow silk ribbon on a yellow background.

By using this simple calculation, you may avoid the discomfort of under or overbuying on the ribbon.


Determine the box's size before you begin wrapping it.


  • Determine the height of the box (a)

  • Find the width of the box (b)

  • Find the depth of the box (c)

Given that ribbon is typically sold by the meter (1 meter = 100 centimeters), if you measure in inches, you will need to double your decimal conversion by 2.5 to convert to centimeters.


Determine the box's size before you begin wrapping it.   Determine the height of the box (a)  Find the width of the box (b) Find the depth of the box (c)

Now consider where you want the ribbon to go around the box


In order to demonstrate, we'll wrap the box in the ribbon on each of its six sides, as shown in the diagram:


  • Take the box's height (a) and multiply it by 4 because the ribbon will go down four times.

  • Multiply the width (b) measurement by two, given that the ribbon will go down the box's width twice.

  • Multiply the depth (c) measurement by two, because the ribbon will wrap around both sides.


Add the three sums together  You will then know how much ribbon you need to cover the box's sides.   For example, let's use the measurments below:   5 in. height (a) x 4 = 20 in. 4 in. width (b) x 2 = 8 in. 5 in. depth (c) x 2 = 10 in. The total length of ribbon needed to wrap all sides (20 + 8 + 10) = 38 in.

Add the three sums together


You will then know how much ribbon you need to cover the box's sides.


For example, let's use the measurments below:


  • 5 in. height (a) x 4 = 20 in.

  • 4 in. width (b) x 2 = 8 in.

  • 5 in. depth (c) x 2 = 10 in.

The total length of ribbon needed to wrap all sides (20 + 8 + 10) = 38 in.



Don't forget about a pretty bow on top


Make a bow out of a piece of string that is the same size as the genuine one.


Untie the bow now, then measure the length of string you used.


Add everything up now


You will then have the total amount of ribbon required per box, including the bow. Even with a tiny margin for error, your estimate of the ribbon per box should be rather accurate.


While most ribbon is sold in meters (1 meter = 100 centimeters), keep in mind that this calculation is done in centimeters.


Hence, given the example I gave above, I discovered that we need an additional 6 in to build a bow after using a ball of string to do so.


  • 44 in total (38in plus 6in) needed for each box.


To determine how much ribbon you'll need, multiply this figure by the number of boxes you'll be wrapping.



To determine how many rolls of ribbon you'll need


Read the roll label and determine how much ribbon comes in each roll. Now compare it to the total length needed.


In my example, the length per box is 44 in or 1.2 meters; contrast this with a roll of ribbon that is 25 meters long.


One roll of paper may wrap 20 boxes of the same size since 25 divided by 1.2 equals 20.8.


Think about the waste.


Will one roll of ribbon be enough to wrap how many products, or will the remaining ribbon be wasted? Will a larger ribbon roll result in less waste? Depending on how frequently you use something, there might be ways to cut down on waste and roll changes. (Waste is reduced if you are wrapping a variety of box sizes or very small boxes.)



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