Easy Gift Bags
What you will make:
In this project, you will see how easy it is to make reusable gift bags from wrapping paper. With this
simple technique, bags can be fashioned in just the right size for your gift.
You will simply use a stack of books or boxes as a form for the bag's base. Wrap one end of the form
like a box, and remove the form to reveal your bag!
This is the first in a series of craft projects on gift-wrapping that focuses on
making your own boxes and bags in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Related craft: To see how to add a sturdy twine
handle to the top of a gift bag, checkout the
Halloween Trick or Treat Bags craft project.
Here's what you need:
- Wrapping paper
- Glue or tape
- Stack of books
- Optional: Cardboard, ribbon, yarn, hole punch, and reinforcing rings
This project is rated EASY to do.
How to Make Easy Gift Bags
Read all of the steps before starting.
- Step 1: Determine Size
Look at the gift you want to wrap and estimate the size of the bag you will need. You can do this by drawing
a rectangle around the gift on a piece of scrap paper and then measuring the gift's height. Stack books until
the side of the book stack is the size of the rectangle you drew or larger. You may need to make two or
more stacks of books side-by-side if your gift is large.
This stack of books will be used as a form to create the bag. You can also use a box or a stack of
boxes as a form.
- Step 2: Cut Wrapping Paper
Cut a sheet of wrapping paper to use in making the bag. In one
direction, the paper should be the desired height of the bag plus 3/4 of
the bag's depth, plus 1 inch extra (2 cm). In other words, the paper
measurements should be the height of the bag plus enough paper to fold
over the end of the stack of books, plus 1 inch. In the other
direction, the paper should wrap around the stack of books, with 1/2 inch
extra (1 cm) for overlap.
- Step 3: Fold Top Edge
Place the wrapping paper right side down. Fold back 1 inch (2 cm) along the top edge, crease, and
glue in place.
- Step 4: Books on Paper
With the wrapping paper right side down, place the stack of books in
the center of the paper near the bottom edge. Be sure that the stack sits
above the bottom edge by about 3/4 of the stack's height.
- Step 5: Wrap and Glue
Wrap the paper around the stack and secure the seam with glue or tape. Be sure that the top edge meets evenly at the seam.
Be careful not to wrap too tightly, or it will be difficult to remove the stack of books from the bag.
- Step 6: Form Bag's Base
Make the bag's base by folding the paper over one end of the stack of books like you are wrapping a box. Run
your fingers down each edge of the stack to crease the bag's corners. Remove the stack of books from the bag.
- Step 7: Fold Gusset (optional)
To make gusseted (pleated) sides on the bag, pinch the sides of the bag together and crease down
the middle of the side. Do this on both sides of the bag.
You may also fold the bottom of the bag up and crease it flat—like a grocery bag. This will allow the bag to
be stored flat.
- Step 8: Finishing Touches (optional)
- Make the bag stronger by reinforcing the bottom with a piece of cardboard cut to size
and placed in the bottom of the bag.
- To add a ribbon to tie the bag closed, punch two holes in the top
of the bag, while holding the front and the back together. Thread ribbon through the
holes. Make the holes stronger by adding notebook reinforcing
rings. Tip: For a way to add sturdy handles, see
Halloween Trick or Treat Bags
If you used solid-colored wrapping paper, you may want to decorate
the bag. You can color it, stamp it, or apply paper cuts. Make your
own paper cuts, or print one of these Scottie dog or flower appliqué sheets.
For more paper cut sheets and how to use them, see the
Simple Paper Cutting
Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The
Adobe Reader is available for free.
All of Aunt Annie's Crafts project patterns are designed to be printed on standard letter-size paper (8.5"x11" or A4).
When printing from Adobe Reader, you may need to select Auto-Rotate and Center or Choose paper source by PDF page size to ensure the best fit.
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