We all give our loved ones a gift whenever we commemorate a birthday, wedding anniversary, Christmas, Easter or any significant day. Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you are in a hurry to wrap a gift but don’t have a bag or a box or even better a gift box? No problem! Making your own homemade gift bags is a fun and simple way to wrap your gifts. Add a beautiful bow with ribbon, your special gift in it and you are ready!
You probably already have the materials you’ll need. Any decent wrapping paper, coloured sheets, or plain kraft paper would be enough. In this guide, you will learn how to make your own DIY paper gift bag with or without a handle and any size you want. Let’s get this party started!
Table of Contents
Why make your personal gift bag?
It is simple. People always like to put their artistic imprint on everything. When you make your own DIY gift bag, you will have the chance to come up with many gift wrapping ideas and the bag will be something as distinctive and unique as the gift itself.
Plus, you will not only have lovely packaging, but you will also save loads of money. You can make creative designs for a fraction of the price of a store-bought one. The beauty of such DIY projects is that you can make your own gift bag in any size you want, which is ideal for huge or weirdly shaped items that are not suitable for gift wrapping.
The materials that you’ll need
You can easily make bags from wrapped paper. Here is all you need to have:
- Wrapping paper
- Tape or glue stick
- A stack of books
How to make a gift bag with handles step-by-step
Follow this gift bag tutorial below to get you started:
1. Cut a 24 x 38 cm piece of paper
Measure the proportions with a ruler and mark the shape with a pencil. Alternatively, you can cut any size you want in rectangle shape. You can save time by using your paper’s straight edges.
2. Decide on the design
It’s sometimes easier to decorate your bag before putting it together. If you’re making a pattern or painting the bag a different colour, it’s easier to keep your pattern and colour consistent by using a flat piece of paper to decorate.
Only one side of the paper should be decorated. If you want to show off a creative pattern inside the bag, you can adorn both sides, especially if you’re using a newspaper.
3. Place the cut paper on a flat surface
Make sure it’s in “landscape” mode, with the long sides facing up and down and the short sides facing left and right. Make sure your decorations are dry and facing down.
4. Fold the paper’s bottom edge up 5 cm and crease it
Unfold after you’re finished. This end will eventually become the bag’s bottom.
5. Determine the top and bottom centre points
You can either use a ruler to determine the centre points or fold your paper to find the centre.
Bring the short sides together as if folding the whole thing in half, and pinch the top and bottom part to identify where the centre of each long side is.
Use a pencil to lightly mark these areas. Make another 9.5 cm mark on the paper to the left and right of each centre point. When you’re through, you should have a total of six marks.
6. Fold the bag’s sides into place
As you fold the sides, make sure to keep the landscape orientation in mind. Fold the paper in half from the right side to the centre. Unfold once it has been suitably wrinkled.
Then, glue the edges together where they overlap. Make sure to fold in the same direction as you did before. Let the glue dry completely before moving on to the next step.
7. Turn the bag over so that the adhesive side is facing up
Make sure one of the open ends is pointing in your direction. Measure inwards about 3.8 cm from the left-hand side of the bag using your ruler.
Make a light mark with your pencil here. Push the bag’s left side inwards. Fold the paper in half so that the pencil mark is aligned with the new folded edge. As you push the paper down, try to keep the top and bottom edges symmetrical. When you’re finished, fold the body of the bag inwards on both sides, exactly like a grocery bag.
8. Prepare the bag’s bottom
Look for the crease lines you folded earlier that identify the bottom of the bag to determine which end is the bottom. For the time being, keep the bag flattened. The bottom should be folded and glued in place.
Once you’ve decided where your bag’s bottom is, piece it together. Fold the bag 10 centimetres up from the bottom and wrinkle it on this line. The bottom should now be folded in half nicely. Allow it to dry after glueing the edges where they overlap.
9. Open up the bag
Make sure the bottom is entirely sealed, and the bonded edges are free of gaps.
10. Add the handles
You can make the handles out of ribbon, rope, or string. Close the two tops of your bag and punch two holes in the top using a pencil.
If you punch your holes too close to the bag’s edge, the weight of the bag plus anything within it may cause the handle to shatter. Line the edges of the holes with transparent tape or glue to reinforce them.
Slide the ends of your handle string through the holes and tie a knot on the inside of the bag. Ensure that the knot is large enough to prevent it from slipping through the opening. To make the knot bigger, you may need to tie another knot over it.
The handle will be held in place as soon as the knot is well tied. Your bag is now complete and ready to use, so you can tuck your gift inside and add a gift tag with some tissue paper to fluff it out.
How to make a gift bag without handles step-by-step
Before you begin, read through all of the following steps:
1. Determine the size
Determine the size of the gift bag that will be required and the size of the gift you want to wrap inside. This can be done by drawing a rectangle around the gift on a scrap piece of paper and then measuring the height and width.
Stack books on top of each other until the edge is the same size or greater than the rectangle you drew.
If your gift is substantially large, you may need to create two or more piles of books side by side. The bag will be made using this stack of books as a shape. A box or a stack of boxes can also be used as a template too.
2. Cut the wrapping paper into strips
To make the bag, cut a piece of wrapping paper. The paper should be the desired height of the bag plus 2 cm.
To put it another way, the paper dimensions should equal the height of the bag plus extra paper so that you can easily fold it over.
3. Fold the top edge
Fold the top edge back 2 cm, wrinkle it, and glue it in place.
4. Put the stack of books on paper
Place the stack of books in the centre of the wrapping paper near the bottom edge. Make sure that the stack sits about 3/4 of the way up from the bottom border.
5. Wrap and glue
Wrap the paper around the stack of books and tape or glue the seam shut. Make sure the top edge meets the seam evenly.
If you wrap the stack of books too tightly, it will be difficult to remove them from the bag.
6. Make a base for the bag
To make a bag base, fold the paper over the books. Fold the paper over one end of the stack of books as you make the bag’s base.
To wrinkle the bag’s corners, run your fingertips down each edge of the stack.
7. Fold a gusset in the bag
Pinch the bag’s sides together and wrinkle down the centre to create gusseted (pleated) sides. This should be done on both sides of the bag.
You can also flatten the bottom as if it were a grocery bag. This will allow you to store the bag flat later on.
8. Add finishing touches
Reinforce the bottom with a piece of cardboard cut to size and inserted into the bottom. You can also embellish the bag if you selected solid-coloured wrapping paper. You can colour it, stamp it, or use your own paper cuts to decorate it.
All in all, this project should take roughly ten minutes if you follow the steps above to the letter. The end result will certainly be worth the effort, and you won’t be buying pre-made paper gift bags for your next Christmas gifts!