Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another Altered Gift Bag

I have been on a fun, frugality kick at my house. Today I have a unique gift bag tutorial. While it is true that you can find gift bags for only a dollar, and some times even two or three for a dollar at the dollar store, we are teaching our children to be resourceful for those times in their lives when they may not have money or may not have access to a store. It is good for children to learn the quality of resourcefulness.

If you do not have enough empty food boxes, all you need is a sheet of poster paper, which will cost about 50 cents, and will make anywhere from 4 to 12 boxes. Just trace around a box you like onto the poster paper. Here, we are using an empty cereal box.

The ingredients for this are: scrapbook papers you already have, glitter glue, white glue, scissors, pen, brush and pan for glue. You will also need the blank side of a piece of junk mail for a pattern.

Cut off the top flaps of the box.

Trace one side of the box onto the scrap of paper.

Cut out the traced square from the scrap paper.

Then, fold it in half and with some kind of straight edge or ruler, draw an opening for a handle.

This is what it looks like when you unfold it.

Temporarily anchor it down onto the front of the cereal box with tape and trace inside the handle space you made.

You can see the outline of the handle here. Cut in from the top of the box to the hole and cut it out.

Tape the cut back together. Don't forget to do the same on the other side of the box.

Take two pieces of square scrapbook paper.

Trace the handle on them, using the piece of scrap paper pattern. Leave a little at the top to fold under.

Cut out the handles.

Turn the paper over and brush glue liberally on the under side of it.

Press the paper on to the box, matching up the handle area. Press down the sides. Do the same on the other side. You will need to place this project on a brown paper bag to protect your surface.

Don't worry if it wrinkles up.

Be sure to trace and cut a piece for the end of the box.

Sign it if you like.

You can outline the rough edges of the handle area to give it a nice finish by using Polymer, Scribbles, or Dimensions tee-shirt paint. Allow to dry the required amount of time. Glitter glue with a tip will also work.

For a different sort of bag, try using a glossy calender picture, like this:

It seems to glue better and does not wrinkle as much as scrapbook paper. Cover the front and sides of the box with one picture, and use a different kind of paper on the back.

Then, cut spaces in the sides to thread a wide wired ribbon for a handle. Just cut along the seam and into the side. Then tape it back up again for a finished look.

This is what the box looks like when finished. Tie bows on each side if you like.

Use paper doilies or tissue paper to line the bags, like this:

I am really enjoying using up bits and pieces that I have, and freeing up space.

These bags are tall enough to hold a coloring book and crayons for a child, or a special magazine and gifts for a friend. The boxes will not last long, but they will be thrown away anyway. If you do not have a wired ribbon you can use anything that will substitute. Just look around and you may find something in your home that will be creative and unique.


Tracy said...

What a wonderful idea!!!

Anonymous said...

beautful! may I ask where you got the paper?

Lydia said...

The paper came from a packet of scrapbook paper at Dollar Tree. You get about 8 pieces for a dollar. The calendar paper pages work better for this project, though.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that staying at home sure is a tough job. How fufilling it must be to sit at home all day and play kindergarten art class! (With kindergarten results BTW)

Lydia said...

If you have no glue you can make a paste from flour and cold water. It will give a different texture but it adds to the artistry of the project.

Lydia said...

I graciously allowed one immature comment today, just to be fair.

Many of us have homeschooled our children, or are teaching our own children at home without the help of the state. Since we do not depend on the government schools, we are allowed to enjoy crafts with our children. The more frugal I am, the more freedom I have to do things like this at home. I do not have to get up each day and go "somewhere else" for fulfillment. My home is my fulfillment and I enjoy making it beautiful so that everyone likes being here. If you were in my area I would invite you, as rude as you are, to come and have a cup of tea and take a tour.I do not stay home all day, such as visiting those who are shut in, errands, getting groceries, and so forth. Part of the fun of being out is to find a bargain or practically free things to use at home, that are still beautiful. I know a single mother in Australia that is home teaching her children and who finds great fulfillment in the time she gets to make something beautiful. Life is not all about work. Life is about creativity also. It doesn't take a lot of creative ability to buy everything, but it does require creativity to find something you already have at home and make something lovely from it. I will welcome any comments on this subject that will help this person with her critical attitude who may just have lost her focus.

Anonymous said...

Miss Critic:

There are lots of art styles, and one is "primitive" or country. I would challenge you to post a really professional looking box on your blog and let us see how it is done. Any help would be appreciated. With every criticism, must come a constructive alternative.

Anonymous said...

"Shabby" is also an art form. Your resident critic needs to come into the real world and get with it.

Anonymous said...

Has your critic ever heard of being free to make a choice of how you live? It seems to me that sometime in the distant past, that was the so-called point of feminism - women being able to choose how they lived their lives. Somewhere along the line, that ability to choose a life got pushed aside to "live like I say or I'll ridicule and mock you".

This is a fun project for little ones, who do benefit from having someone do such things with them. They learn about going through a process to reach a goal, they learn about planning their work, and they learn how to cope with disappointment (I loved the comment about not worrying if the paper is wrinkly!)

Everyone's taste is not the same. Everyone's life is not the same. Everyone's beliefs are not the same. Not every woman believes that she needs to work outside the home. These women, having made a free choice as to what to do with their lives, deserve all the support they would get if they'd decided to be a bank president.

I wonder if your critic would ever understand this? I hope someday she does.

Susie said...

What a lovely idea! Gift bags can get very expensive at the store. I've been saving and re-giving any gift bags that I get. But these are very inspiring posts!

I pray that Christ would soften the hearts of your critics, because He is the only one who can.

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in the critic's comments. The project is certainly not "kindergarten," but, even if it were, so what? Have you seen what's available in stores these days? Modern art is so ridiculously easy to do. Just slap some paint on a canvas, hang it up, and most art critics wouldn't know the difference.

Also, being someone who is newly at home, I'm finding it very challenging. It's not rocket science, but I certainly am not trained for this kind of work. Everything I do is the expensive way. As I'm learning more frugal ways of doing things, I'm finding challenges every day. And, bring in charge of my schedule is probably the most challenging. Even though I was in charge of my department at work, there were limited tasks I was responsible for. That made it easier. This job is endless with endless challenges.

Lydia said...

Some questions for Ms. Critic:

Is it better to spend money than to save it? If I were working all week and then did something like this on my day off, would you be as critical? If you had no money and there were no jobs due to a change in the economy, how would you survive without money? I assume you are as much a greenie as I am, you know, taking care of the earth, etc. Would you rather the cereal box end up in a landfill?

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed in the critic's comments about the gift bag on many levels.

Is the critic offended by the look of the project? Because, tastes vary. As others have stated, Shabby Chic is a big movement right now. If that's not your taste, you can certainly modify the craft to suit yourself. Is it the lack of craftsmanship? Because, truly, I've bought many items that have fallen apart after one use. Is it the use of scraps to make something? What about renew, reuse & recycle? Or, is it the idea of teaching young children a craft bothersome? I'd hate to think the critic were prepared to insult the entire profession of early elementary school and pre-school teachers. My 2nd grade daughter, who attends public school, brings home crafts in her homework folder every week. Most of the crafts we bring home are far less useful than these gift bags. Is it because the craft isn't "hard?" Well, I have to say most of what I do all day isn't "hard." In fact, earning my degree wasn't "hard," and working in the field of accounting has never been "hard." It's certainly presented some challenges, but it's not "hard."

To conclude, by the criric's own statement, nothing is worth praise unless it doesn't involve children, can be bought at a store, isn't Shabby Chic, and requires an engineering degree to design and build using all new materials. Is that the critic's point?

Lauren Christine said...

How cute! And how neat! I love the tips I get from this blog. Thank you for the tutorial. I am thankful for the women of the church who teach how to be frugal. :)

65656 said...

Those bags are great! You remind me of my mom because she wraps gifts in old boxes. At Christmas we would open our gifts and we would say something like, "Thanks for the Pop-Tarts, Mom! (Of course the gift was inside).

Heather said...

There are no end to the uses for cereal boxes - my children don't eat enough boxed cereal to satisfy their crafting ambitions, but when they do get their hands on one - their imaginations come to life! I'll be sure to pass your idea on to them Lady Lydia! Thank you so much for sharing!

Lydia said...

Many years ago we covered cereal boxes and cut them slightly on the narrow side, to store a year's worth of a favorite magazine.

I am getting closer to finding time to post your links.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for another step by step instruction post on the boxes! I linked to your last video and received comments from several thrilled readers. I personally cannot wait to try making one of these -- there is some special gingham paper set aside waiting for a project like this.

I've been enjoying all of your how to craft posts. I recall fondly the days growing up when my Mom took time out of her busy day to work with us children on making all sorts of crafts. We made board games on paper grocery sacks, book covers, paper machae (spelling?) masks and all sorts of neat projects. You know, it is interesting, I recall very little of the store bought fun we had.

Thank you for sharing it has prompted the recalling of so many fond memories!



Lydia said...

Oh dear!! You just reminded me of the paper bag crafts. Now what am I going to do? I know how to make a stuffed teddy bear and a doll from a paper bag, as well as Christmas stockings, baskets, banners, gift wrap, and all kinds of things from brown paper bags! I will just have to give a separate side link to all these ideas or it will keep me away from politics forever!!!

Anonymous said...

Another place to get beautiful items to craft with at bargain prices are after holiday sales!
Nearly all of my Christmas decorations were bought at 75%-90% off original price.

At after holiday sale prices you can afford to buy things that may not be very attractive "as is" and use the parts that might fit for another craft.

The stores I find the best sales at are; Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, grocery stores and drug stores. IKEA is also a wonderful source. This year I was lucky enough to be there the very moment they put all of their Christmas items on sale for $.50!

There is such joy in finding a fabulous treasure that seems as if it was placed among the shelves of post-holiday "trash" just for you. Maybe it's a beautiful ornament that you would never have spent $15 for in November. But in January it's $1.50.

~~Deby said...

Excellant project. I love it, it is re-usable and when worn out don't feel as guilty throwing it away, although time is sure priceless.
Press on dear lady, there are ALWAYS critics and usually they are on the sidelines of life critiquing instead of DOING. Be ye kind to one another....

Carolyn said...

Just surfing thru Blogger and found you. Very nice Blog! Keep up the good work!


Anonymous said...

Well, I know I'm about a month or so behind, but wanted to comment on this post. I don't know if you will see this or not, but that's ok, I'll post anyway.=)

I made this kind of box with the girls at our church Girl's in Action mission group once. I wanted to comment on the wrinkling of the paper. We actually tore our paper into smaller pieces and applied as decoupage. When you put the glue over the paper as well as under it, it will stick better without wrinkling as much. It's also a great way to use the little bits and pieces left from scrapbooking/wrapping paper and fabric. We also added glitter, stickers, buttons, etc. There's no end to the creativity there!

As far as your critic, I think the best thing we can do is pray for that person. They obviously aren't walking with the Lord right now.

God Bless,
Theresa in TX

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think I forgot to mention that you should thin the glue with a little water if you use the decoupage method. Some may already know that, but if you are a young lady without experience you might not. I just watched your little tutorial and would also like to mention that empty cans make good gift containers as well. You can spray paint them or cover them in fabric or paper and line them with a piece of scrap fabric or tissue. But be careful about the edge of the can. You can purchase can openers that open the lid without leaving a sharp edge or you can use a file to remove the rough edges. Or if neither of those work, you can always tape or paper over the edge. Well.... I guess you get the idea!=)

Theresa in TX (again)

Mrs. Taft said...

What a beautiful idea! thank you for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

I have done small gift bags using the wallpaper sample books...and received many positive comments.

I also use yarn to crochet gift bags...rectangles w/the handle opening crocheted in. They can either be "open" as your gift bag was, or crocheted "beading" below the handle through which yarn (maybe braided to make one drawstring) can be threaded to make the drawstring. These can also be purses.