How to Make a Gift Bag

Two Methods:Making a Gift BagFilling the Gift Bag

Gift bags are very handy and come in many sizes. They are also expensive, especially if you buy the heavier and larger bags, and not always exactly what you want. Make your own and set them aside for the next time you have a present to give to someone.

Method 1
Making a Gift Bag

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    Count how many guests you'll have to know how much material you'll need. Buy a paper bag as a template. Pick a size to match how large or small you want to make your gift bag.
    • You'll need enough paper to equal one paper bag plus two inches (in length) per gift bag. The two extra inches is for overlapping. For a standard paper lunch bag, it also needs to be at least 4 inches (10 cm) wider.
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    Open the seams of the brown paper bag. Make sure you also open the bottom folded area. Use scissors to cut along the crease at the side and bottom.
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    Place the roll of paper on a table with the cut brown paper bag on top. Trace around the brown paper. This is your bag template.
    • Cut around the paper bag. If the paper bag is a bit too small, leave some extra room to make yours bigger, but make it uniformly bigger (on all sides).
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    Fold the decorated paper the same way that the brown paper was folded. Use the paper bag as a model to work off of. Sizes mentioned are for a standard paper lunch bag.
    • At the top and bottom of your paper. fold down a 2" (5 cm) crease.
    • On the left side, fold over a 2" (5 cm) section of paper.
    • On the right side, make a crease 3" (7.5 cm) in. This is your right panel. 6" (15 cm) later, make another crease (this is your first main panel). 3" after that, make another crease (this is your left panel). You should now see 4 distinct areas to your bag -- two short sides and two long sides.
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    Open up all the folds. At the top of paper, on the edge of the long sides, place a 2" (5 cm) strip of cardstock. This will reinforce where your handles will be.
    • Apply glue to the backside of your cardstock and apply to both sides, from crease to crease. Crease to crease is 6" (15 cm).
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    Start gluing. To the top fold (above the cardstock), apply a layer of glue. Fold it down onto the cardstock and the short sides, forming your top edge.
    • Apply glue to the printed side on the left side. This is the 2" (5 cm) crease that will get folded under. Connect it to the right side. Make sure the sides line up evenly, as this will be visible. You should now have the skeleton of a box or bag.
      • Go over the 4 creases at this point to make the bag form more visible.
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    Form the bottom. This will be the trickiest part. Think of wrapping a gift box -- you want right angles and matched creases.
    • Fold down the short sides, creating four triangles. Form firm creases along the top edges of the triangles. Fold them down, meeting the two edges to each other, forming your bottom.
    • Apply glue to the bottom, folded down sides. Place the long sides over the short sides. On the second, top long flap, apply glue and press firmly. Fold it over the other long flap. A sort of "X" shape should be on the bottom of your bag.
    • Place a piece of cardstock at the bottom to reinforce it. Apply glue to the cardstock and insert, pressing down firmly.
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    Make a hole on either side of the bag on top. Use a single hole punch for best results. If using a 6" (15 cm) panel, place each hole 1 1/2" (3.75 cm) in.
    • Insert the rope, string, or ribbon to create the handles, knotting each end.
    • If you don't have any of those materials, you can make a handle out of your paper -- just make sure you use enough material that it doesn't break.
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    Add colored tissue paper to the inside of the bag, leaving it extend over the top. Place your gift inside, and you are ready to use your gift bag when the occasion arises.
    • To make the tissue paper feisty, place your finger in the center and pull up the paper around it, fluffing the pointy edges. Insert in the bag; it should retain it's shape.

Method 2
Filling the Gift Bag

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    Fill the gift bag. You could fill it with goodies you've made yourself from wikiHow craft and DIY articles, such as:
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    Create a decorative tag. You have a number of options to choose from if you want each bag to go to a specific person.
    • Attach a tag (folded over in the middle) made of your decorative paper to either the bag or the handle. If you want your tag on the handle, punch a hole into the tag and attach it with string.
    • Draw the person's name right onto your bag. Easy as pie.
    • Tie a ribbon around the handle with a small piece of paper with the person's name at the end.


  • When you go grocery shopping and you are asked, "plastic or paper," take the paper. This will give you the paper bags that you need to use for tracing.
  • Make little tassels for the gift bag so it looks more stylish.
  • Make the bags ahead of time, so that you can be prepared for any holiday when it comes.
  • Use ribbon or thick yarn as the handles.
  • Buy large rolls of Christmas or other holiday paper (after the holidays} so you can buy them at a discounted price.

Things You'll Need

  • Brown paper bag
  • Glue or paste
  • Drawstring or ribbons
  • Rolls of Holiday gift paper
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper (to fill)

Article Info

Categories: Gift Wrapping