Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day ~ Recycled Gift Bags (DIY)

Happy Earth Day!
 Celebrate by doing something kind for Mother Nature: give a new purpose to items that would otherwise go to a landfill.   With just one magazine page and a few strips of recycled fabric or scrap ribbon, you can make a tiny gift bag- just the right size to wrap up tiny treasures.

Start by finding richly colored full page magazine ads ~ the fewer words, the better. Abstract pictures will look better than faces or bodies.  Gently tear or cut them out.  I like to score the page with a pair of scissors to prevent wrinkles and messy ripped edges.

Find a small sturdy box to use as the base you will wrap your bag around.  I found a box of tea that was just the right size to be covered by one magazine page.  The dimensions are 5"x 3" x2".  If your box is a little flimsy or worn, tape it closed for more stability.

Flip the magazine page so that the side you want to use is facing down.  Fold over the edge to create a flap about one inch wide.  This will be the opening of your bag, the double layer of paper will help the bag keep its shape and stay durable, plus it makes a good sturdy base for the handles.

Fold the paper over the box.  Hold it tight and pinch the edges along the side of the box to create the side seam of the bag.

While holding the paper in place with one hand, gently pinch the corners against the box.

Slide the paper off and re-fold the corners to make them crisp.

Fold the paper over the box again, tucking the edge of your paper under the other folded edge to create a clean, even seam.

Secure the seam with glue or tape (I used tape because I'm inpatient).

To fold the bottom: Trim off excess paper, leaving about one or one and one quarter inch of paper to fold around the box.

Add one more piece of tape to your seam where the paper folds over the bottom of the box.

Pinch in the edges, folding the paper around the box just like you would if you were wrapping a package.

Use glue or tape to secure the bottom.  Pinch the edges to the box to make crisp, clean creases.

Gently slide the bag off your box.

To make the bag have that folded, grocery bag look:  Fold in the side of the bag and pinch.  You don't need to pinch down the entire bag: by folding just the sides by the opening, you will create the illusion that your bag folds up like a store bought gift bag.

To add handles: Cut a piece of cardboard to match the size of your box.  Make two evenly spaced dots where you want your handles to be on the bag. This is a stencil.  With it, both sides of every bag will have the handle holes in the exact same place.  Make the dots 1/4" to 1/2" from the edge to prevent handles from tearing the bag.

Punch out the dots and use the stencils to mark where your holes will go on both sides of the bag.

Using a hole punch, make the holes.

For handles: You will need two twelve inch strips.  I used t-shirt scraps from another project, but you could use scraps of ribbon, lace, yarn, twine, etc.

Thread a section of fabric through both holes on one side and double knot the ends together inside the bag.  Do the same with the other side.

Finished! Your tiny recycled gift bag is ready to go!

Happy Earth Day!

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