In this craft project, see how easy it is to make simple gift bags. These bags can be used for oddly shaped presents, for food gifts, to store craft supplies, and more! With this technique, you can make bags from any wrapping paper or other decorative paper in a matter of a few minutes.
The printable bag patterns in this project make relatively small gift bags. To make tube-shaped bags of any size, see the instructions at the end of this page along with the Any Size Worksheet to help with the calculations!
Project Extras: Use the special Father's Day printable patterns to make gift bags for Dad and the Mother's Day Tube Bag Patterns to make gift bags for Mom! Or for a birthday gift, use the color or black-and-white Happy Birthday patterns.
Related craft: For another way to make gift bags, checkout Aunt Annie's Easy Gift Bags craft project. These bags require no patterns, feature gussets, and are made of wrapping paper.
Choose a bag to make. Download and print the pattern on white or colored computer paper. The bag patterns come in four sizes and may be printed on the reverse side of patterned computer paper. You can also make a more decorative bag with wrapping paper, marbled paper, or "Oriental" paper, but you will need to transfer the pattern to the reverse side of the paper. See the Shirt Box project for ways to transfer a pattern.
To make a birthday gift bag, print one of the color or black-and-white Happy Birthday or Small Happy Birthday patterns.
To make a gift bag for Father's Day, print one of the Happy Father's Day or the Small Father's Day Bag patterns. For more Father's Day gift bag options, see Father's Day Tube Bag Patterns. See the Mother's Day Tube Bag Patterns for gift bags to make for Mom.
Patterns are Adobe PDF files. The Adobe Reader is available for free.
All of Aunt Annie's 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.
Cut around the pattern on the solid outline. Note: The bag's top edge is to the left on the Simple Tube and Squat patterns.
Tip: Using a straight edge and craft knife will make the cutting easier, but be sure to protect your craft surface with a cutting mat or thick piece of cardboard. Caution: Be careful. Craft knives are sharp and should not be used by children.
Turn the pattern with the marked lines up. Score along each of the dashed fold lines using a bone folder or empty ballpoint pen drawn along the edge of a ruler aligned to the fold line.
With the pattern's printed side up, fold back the bag's top edge along the scored fold line. Glue the folded edge down.
Fold back the left edge along the scored fold line. Do not glue!
Tip: Make all of the folds very sharp by running your thumbnail or a bone folder firmly along the fold.
Fold the right edge over to meet the folded left edge. Make a sharp crease along the scored fold line, and glue the edges together.
After the glue dries, fold the bottom edge up along the scored fold line. Be sure to fold both layers. Now, unfold the bottom layer and press the sides flat, forming V-shapes.
Fold the bottom layer up on the scored fold line (a little past halfway). Fold the top layer down on the scored fold line so that it overlaps the bottom layer, and glue. After the glue has dried, open the bag by gently pushing on the base from the inside.
Use rubber stamps to decorate bags made with plain paper. A simple stamped border near the top of the bag is quite effective. Outline the stamped border with lines drawn using a felt-tip pen.
That's it! Your gift bag is done!
It's easy to make a tube-shaped gift bag in just about any size and depth—your only limitation is the size of the paper. As you have seen above, tube-shaped bags are made from a rectangular sheet of paper. To get the size of bag you desire, you'll need to calculate the paper's width and height, taking into account the bag size, plus extra for folding the top and base and gluing the bag's sides together. Use Aunt Annie's Any Size Worksheet to make the calculations easier.
Determine the width, height and depth of the bag you want to make. Cut a rectangle of paper that is twice the desired bag width plus ½" by the desired height plus the desired depth plus 1½" (w*2 + ½" by h + d + 1½"). Tip: For this style of bag, the depth cannot exceed half the width minus ½" (d < w/2 - ½").
On the back of the paper, mark fold lines. Make one line 1" from the top; a second line the bag's depth plus ½" up from the bottom; and another line ½" from the right edge. Tip: Refer to the Any Size Worksheet to see fold line placement.
Make the bag according to the instructions above. In Step 8, fold the bottom edge up ½" past halfway. Fold the top edge of the base down similarly so that it overlaps the bottom edge. Glue in place.