Up-Cycling: How to Create A Gift Bag with Everyday Household Materials

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle so the saying goes!  But even recycling requires energy to to create another product.  Why not first see what we can re-purpose or up-cycle first?  When my daughter was taking a nap, Austin & I decided to try to make a gift bag that would fit one of the jars we have been canning.  We used brown filler paper that came in a box from Amazon and used newspaper to to line it to make it stronger.  I had planned to use flannel for the handles but my son wanted to use this pink fabric we had left over from shopping bags we made.

I received my latest edition of Urban Farming and this was one of the suggestions included, so my son & I decided we would give it a go together.  He loves to help me do anything!

Choose your size of bag you wish to make.  You can really use any box to make your bag from-cereal box, gift box or for us we wanted our bag for a jar so we used an empty Horizon milk carton.   Cut your paper to the approximate size if you were going to wrap your box as a gift leaving a couple of extra inches at the top.

Wrap each layer of paper and tape well but be sure not to tape the box.  Tape the bottom as if you were wrapping a gift.  Then slide out your box or milk carton from inside.

Next take your bag and press the sides in slightly while you fold it close.  I couldn’t take the picture and use both hands 🙂


 Next fold the bottom in.  Can you tell my three year old was in charge of the tape!  He loved it so we used much more than is actually needed!

Next cut a piece of cardboard either from a cereal box or any type of cardboard you have to recycle the size of the bottom of your box to add to the bottom of your bag for strength.  Also cut out two strips about 1″ tall and the width of your bag.

Next add one of the 1″ strips to both sides at the top of the bag and fold down the edges to cover the cardboard.  Punch holes or cut a small x where the handles are to be inserted.  I did this about two inches from the edge on both sides.

Then feed your handles through the holes (I used a needle to help my son).     


Double knot the ends so they don’t feed back through the holes.  If you want to make the inside look more finished then tape down the raw edges.

We used strips of newspaper for our tissue since we were going for a recycled look.  It only took about 10 minutes with a 3 year old helping every step of the way and in the end we turned paper we would have recycled into a gift sack!  Give it a try it is super easy and you could use any type of extra paper and string or fabric you have around!  For small bags use a magazine page or two and use ribbon, twine or any type of fabric for the handles!  Why spend money even if it is on sale when you can make it with everyday items you already have laying around!

Check out how you can make cute bows from magazine pages!

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