Sunday, November 16, 2008

How to make a gift bag out of an envelope

So you're thinking of Taking the Handmade Pledge and changing the way you buy gifts this year. Maybe instead of lots of big boxes from big box stores, you are going to invest in small but high quality, beautiful handmade items (for example, buying jewelry on Etsy for all your girlfriends). Here's a ridiculously easy way to make your own little gift bags if you're thinking you'd rather not go buy Made-in-China gift bags at the dollar store. All you need is an envelope and a little creativity!

Here is what you need to make a cute little gift bag: an envelope (any size, any shape), some scissors (fancy ones that make scalloped edges are fun), a hole punch, some ribbon or yarn, and some stuff with which to decorate your bag.

At Crafty Wonderland's DIY table we had lots of options - you could cut up old holiday cards and glue images onto your bag, draw on it with pencils or black Sharpies, color it with crayons, markers, glitter glue, or colored pencils, paint it with watercolors, or any combination of the above. I like how this allowed each person to really make a beautiful, personalized, individual piece of art. However, for the purpose of this tutorial, we will just be decorating it with a simple snowflake stamp. If you want to make a whole bunch of these, as I did for Trillium's holiday sale on Saturday, then you might want to simplify it by stamping them, depending on how much time you have and how personalized you want the bags to be. The sky's the limit!

Okay - first, seal the envelope.
Then, cut it. You can cut it in half to make two little bags, or cut it near one end to make a bigger bag.
Next, fold one side over about a half inch and crease it well.
Fold the opposite side the same way.
Fold up the bottom, creasing well.
Now, unfold everything.
Stick your hand inside the opening.
With your other hand, tap down the part of the bag that will become its bottom, like this:
You are basically reversing all the folds to the inside. You will have two triangular flaps, which you can tape down if you want.
Continue reversing all the folds and re-creasing.

When you are done, you will have a cute little bag that can stand up on its own bottom, like this:
Now, you can add little handles to the bag. Punch two holes on each side of the bag.
Cut two pieces of ribbon, both the same length.
String your ribbon through and tie it on the inside.
Voila! You have a cute little gift bag.

You can leave it alone, or decorate it however you like. I used a stamp.
And here is the finished product.
Here are some of the bags I made for Trillium (along with my works-in-progress for the Viva Terra order, which I am now 78% done with):
I made them out of manila envelopes because I have a ton of them. I think colored envelopes would have turned out much better so I would suggest using colored envelopes if you can.

This project is not only great for gift-giving, but it would be a fun project at a kid's party, or a great solution for party favors.


Ant said...

Nifty! Thanks for posting about this!

queenvanna said...

that's awesome!!!

they'd be great for gift card gifts!! =D

jbramman said...

I love this! And your photographs look so nice, I almost thought they were professionally done until I recognized your dining room :)

Very cool, I must try!

LeaKarts said...

Brilliant! I will definitely be using this one :) Thank you!

SisterDG said...

How great is that? Thanks for the tutorial - loved it!

lupe said...

Brilliant , I love it !!

Bridget B. said...

Brilliant! And how fun would it be to make those out of envelopes with windows . . . hee hee

Crayonmonster said...

WOW! Super creative, thanks!
-CM said...

Oh how fabulous, I love this! I'll be linking!

randomcreative said...

I just tried making one of my own and it's perfect! Thank you so much for posting the idea. I will be making several more for Christmas presents.

Deepoceangirl said...

Very nice post

Jace said...

Wonderful! I'm going to make me some. :-D I've also shared your post at my blog.

honestyrain said...

love it! i just read your thread about this post on Etsy and had to check it out. glad i did - my daughter will adore making these!

dkj paper co.

StudioCherie said...

Great tutorial and what a cute result!

Melody said...

Thanks so much for this. That's fantastic! And so easy to make using materials that's lying around at home!

I had a go at it, although I skipped the handles part. Fun stuff!

Black Rose said...

This is a fantastic, clear and well photographed tutorial! thanks for sharing - will have to try it out :)