Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tiny Paper Gift Bags

Every year I dream of making oodles of edible treats to give to loved ones for the holidays. And every year I make only a few treats that rarely manage to leave my home (and if they do they're never packaged as nice as I imagine).
But this is the year that I'm going all the way. I'm going to make smaller batches of all my favourite sweets, package them in adorable little containers and deliver them around the town like a jolly little elf.

My dream was somewhat crushed when I saw the outrageous price tag on those adorable little containers at the local craft supply shops. There was no way I was dropping that kind of cash, when I knew I could make something even cuter with my own two hands.

I started by taking apart an existing bag to make a template. 
I wanted my bags to be smaller and ended up using paper* measuring 16" X 7 1/2" that created bags that are 3 12" high and just over 4" wide.

I folded and glued down 1 3/4" on the top to reinforce where the handles would be as well as create a finished edge  on the tops of the bags. 
Next I made a lengthwise crease 2 " from the bottom which will define where the bottom of the bag will be. 
To create the sides, front and back of the bag, I made a series of creases 1 1/2" apart for the sides, leaving 4" spaces for the front and back of the bag. There is an extra 1 1/2" of space on the right side which will overlap with the first fold on the left to join the two sides.
Fold the creases for the sides of the bags so they create a V shape pointing towards the inside of the bag. Apply glue along the inside of the extra 1 1/2" fold of paper from the right side, and fold as pictured above, gluing the appropriate pieces together to form the shape below.

Next fold the bottom 2" into the inside of the bag.
Standing the bag upright with the 2" fold closest to the table, use your fingers flatten the folded 2" piece of paper down onto the table. It doesn't really matter how the paper overlaps as long as it creates a relatively flat surface for the bottom of the bag. 
Check the underneath to make sure the folds look good, and glue down the folds on the inside and outside. If you feel like your bag might need more reinforcement (or a neater finish) glue down an extra square of paper onto the bottom of the inside of the bag.
Fold your bag onto itself in both directions to create strong creases.
I stamped the bags with cute little label-like designs so I can write the names of the gift's receiver on them. 
Use a hole punch (or if using an exacto knife cut an "X") to create holes on either side for handles.
And there you have it! The cutest little handmade gift bags ever.
I think Martha would be proud.

*I am lucky to have a constant source of heavy brown paper that is packed with our coffee that we order every week for our cafe. I think my favourite part of these bags is that I didn't have to go out and buy anything to make them, and I encourage you to try to recycle some old paper to make them too. 
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