Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Make Your Own Gift Bags & Boxes

-- Christmas Wrapping Paper Woes --

A great way to reuse wrapping paper and paperboard boxes is to create beautiful, and reusable, gift bags and gift boxes. 

The term paperboard boxes refers to cereal, cracker or pasta boxes and the like. For the suggested gift-box project you can also use shoe boxes or any similar box with a lid. Alternatively you can build your own boxes simply by taking a larger box, undue all the folds and lay it flat on the working surface. Simply design the box according to the dimensions that you require – all you need is a little know-how, a ruler, pencil and a sharp craft knife or scissors and some glue. Be sure to allow the glue to cure, once the box is constructed, before going on to the next step.

To make seasonal gift-bags, wrap a paperboard box as you would a gift, except you need to leave the top open. Fold the top inch or two of the wrapping paper over the edge of the top of the box, and glue in place. Punch two holes at the top of the side panels of this wrapped box for the handles. You can use strong ribbon, or thick yarn or anything like this for the handles. When I am wrapping these gift-bags, just like the gift-boxes below, I like to use a craft sponge and some glue to paste the wrapping paper on, rather than relying on tape. This prevents wrinkles and tears, making the home-made gift-bag more durable against the test of time.

Paperboard boxes are a fantastic material for creating gift-boxes of any size to suit any occasion.  Take a little craft sponge (a little sponge on a stick) and pour some glue into a recycled lid from one of old mayonnaise jars or something like that. Then, using the sponge, spread glue evenly on one side at a time - covering it with sheets of reused wrapping paper, comic strips or art that you or your children have created… – or new wrapping paper if you must. Do only one side at a time or you will find yourself having some potential issues with this.

Decorate with a little ribbon, tiny pine-cones, glitter, bows or whatever you wish. If you’ve been saving all your bits and pieces – decorations, cloth, wrapping paper - from gifts you’ve received in the past, they will come in handy now. Reusing that shiny foil wrapping paper you’ve been saving works best for this – especially since it is not recyclable. Scraps of wrapping paper work well for these crafts too, so don’t throw away those little 4-inch bits of wrapping paper anymore!

These two fun projects allow you to make the holidays more special by offering handmade, interesting gifts - ones that come with a reusable bag or box that the recipient can pass along to someone else whenever they are handing out presents. These craft ideas do not only apply to this holiday, but can be done for any celebration throughout the year. The bonus is that at same time as saving up to $130 in wrapping and decoration costs every year- you increase the life of the "waste" by finding a new purpose for it. The gift bags and boxes can be used for many years, and when they finally reach the end of life - they are recyclable.

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