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Gift Bag Ideas

Don't bag the wrapping, wrap it in a bag! You'll find a huge variety of beautiful, cute, and funny gift bags in all types of gift stores. One of the keys to making your bag work is choosing an appropriate filler. You might want to make your own filler out of shredded crepe paper or several colored sheets of tissue paper. There are tools you can buy that will shred and crumple paper for this purpose. Colored saran wrap is also a good choice for filler. If you're not interested in making the filler, you can buy bags of it in craft or party stores. For example, I bought colored, crimped tissue strands to place in a matching bag. The colors complemented the country-style stenciled vase I was giving to a friend.

If you really want to get creative, you could make your own gift bags by using plain white or brown bags found in a craft store and decorating them with stamps or paint. This would be clever wrapping for a gift of stamps, stamp pads, art paper, and cards with envelopes. See the following directions for making a reusable gift bag from material.

Sponging It On

Present Pointers

You can make your own homemade stamps by cutting a raw potato in half and carving a design in the middle. Just make the design on the potato first using a sharp knife and cut away the edges so the design is raised. Use a regular stamp pad or pour some craft paint on a paper plate and begin stamping your creations.

A variety of sponge shapes and some craft paint can transform a plain paper bag into a lovely gift bag. After you're finished with the bag, try making homemade wrapping paper using the same technique on brown or white craft paper.

Time frame: One to two hours

Level: Easy

What you need:

  • Paper tote bag
  • Dark-colored spray paint (optional)
  • Craft paint
  • Paper plate or foam tray for paints
  • Sponge shapes
  • Curling ribbon
  • Scissors for curling the ribbon
  • Tissue paper or shredded crepe paper
  1. If you're using a recycled commercial shopping bag for this project, you'll have to spray out the printing on the bag with dark-colored spray paint and allow it to dry before stamping. Dark blue or green would work well. Then choose lighter colors for your sponges. Otherwise, you could purchase a plain, ready-to-decorate bag at a craft shop for under a dollar and save the cost and time of the spray paint step.
  2. Place about 14 cup of paint on your tray in a small pool. Dip one side of the sponge shape into the paint and press the painted side onto the bag. Continue stamping different designs in a pattern on your bag. Start at the front of the bag, allow it to dry, and then proceed to the back of the bag.
  3. You could do rows of shapes, circles of shapes, or random shapes; use your imagination. They all look nice!
  4. Allow your bag to dry thoroughly and decorate the top with curling ribbon in colors that match the stamped shapes. Use scissors to curl ends of the ribbon. Fill your bag with crumpled tissue paper or shredded crepe paper in a matching color.


More on: Crafts for Kids

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Great Gifts © 2001 by Marilee LeBon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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