Hold up a cheap gift bag, and compare it to an expensive one, and you’ll see the difference right away. Ordinary gift bags can be printed and colorful but they just don’t hold a candle to the more expensive ones. High end gift bags have embellishments and features that plain bags don’t offer. Select from various techniques for decorating plain bags, though, and the recipient will think you spent a fortune on the bag alone! It’s easy to add your own enhancements, and it’s even easy to change the entire look of the bag, without spending much money.
One way you can change a gift bag without spending any money at all is to add a picture window. Actually, you can add as many windows as you want. They can be put in a particular order or can be added, here and there, randomly. Draw a square, circle or other shape on the bag. Place a piece of thick cardboard under the drawing. Use a craft knife to cut out the shape. The tiniest dot of hot glue, on the four front corners of the picture, will secure it inside the window. If you want you can use a piece of cling wrap to cover the picture before placing it in the window. For pennies more you can cover the photo with clear laminate paper. The pictures can be of family, pets or just images cut from magazines, like lighthouses, flowers or pyramids. This technique allows you to make any theme you want on the gift bag.
There are any number of things you can glue around the top edge of a gift bag to add flair and glamour. Check your local dollar-theme stores for things like boas, leis or fur pieces. Sewing supply stores also carry fake fur, in all sorts of colors and designs, as well as roping, ribbon or ruffled lace. Use hot glue to attach any of these embellishments around the top edge of the bag. Bows or roping can be cut to where the ends hang low in front. Small novelties can be attached to the ends of the roping. There are lots of ways to apply this technique.
Whether the gift bag you’re using is plain or printed you can use stickers to change the look. Lots of stores carry a wide variety of stickers, but at a craft store, you’ll literally find thousands. Choose one huge sticker, like Cinderella or Barbie, and place it on the front of the bag. Or, select smaller stickers, and randomly decorate the bag with them. The stickers can be holographic, glittery or just colorful. Stickers don’t have to be cartoon characters or child themes. Look in the scrapbook section of your local craft store to find sticker stripes, borders and more. If you don’t have stickers you can punch or cut out foil pieces, wrapping paper or even colored paper. Glue the shapes onto the gift bag to jazz up the bag.
Cookie cutters make it possible to create all kinds of fabulous looks on ordinary gift bags. The cutters can be found in literally thousands of different shapes and will help you create any number of patterns. Cut out stars, circles, numbers, letters, or even holiday shapes. Place colored cling wrap behind the designs to create one look. For a different design place photos or magazine cutouts inside the shapes. If you don’t have cookie cutters you can do something similar by just cutting out simplistic pictures, like from a coloring book. Trace around the images onto the gift bag. Cut the shape out and place colored cling wrap or other embellishments behind the bag. Instead of cling wrap you can place a piece of colored paper behind the shape, on a patterned bag, or a piece of patterned paper behind the shape in a solid-colored bag.
Giving someone a gift feels great but you’ll really be feeling good when you see how much appreciation the bag itself gets. Choose to let others know you made it or keep that secret to yourself. Either way the bag will be impressive and unique. You’ll have so much fun making the bags that you’ll never purchase an expensive bag again. Even so, yours will be the nicest one received!