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Cheap Gift Bag Ideas

By Edited Jun 23, 2016 3 13

Birthday Bag

Gift bags are available with more themes than you can imagine. But is it the theme you really want?  And how much are you willing to pay?  If your friends get a new dog or  your in-laws are going on vacation, use your computer to create colorful gift bags with images and messages that perfectly suit each occasion. Here's how.

things you'll need:

plain gift bag



craft knife or scissors



    1)  Start with a plain gift bag. 

    Plain Bag

    Chose a colored bag if you prefer.  A gift that fits in a bag that measures approximately 8"x10" or smaller, is the ideal situation. But don't worry, you can decorate larger bags too. See the instructions for those at the bottom of the page. Get the exact vertical and horizontal measurements for your bag.

    2)  Open a letter size page in Photoshop or a similar program and set up your guides to match your bag's measurement.

    3)  Find images on your computer or online that suit the occasion and design your bag image. Maybe a photo of the recipient could be incorporated. Also include a message if you like.

    4) Fill the letter size page on your computer screen to the edges with the image you've chosen. But be sure that people's faces or words are positioned at least 1/2" from the guides so they are not cut off when you print and trim the page.

    5)  Print two copies of your page. Since most printers won't print to the edges of the page, cut off the white borders. Hold your page over the bag front to see if an adjustment to the size is necessary.

    6) The ideal adhesive for this application is Tombo roller adhesive, but you can also use double-sided tape or glue.  Apply to the back of the page on all edges.

    7) Position the page on the bag and smooth into place. Repeat for the other side of the bag.

    Create A Matching Hang Tag
    Create a hangtag that will match the theme of the bag. It could be something like a life jacket hanging on a voyage theme bag.

    Bon Voyage Bag

    Print the tag image you've chosen on card stock, then die cut it carefully with small scissors or a craft knife. Punch a hole in the top and attach it to the bag handles with ribbon.

    You can also try grabbing a portion of the original bag image for your tag, like the small paw print hanging from the handles pictured below.

    Doggie bag

    Copy it into a new document and reduce the size. Print it out on cardstock, then cut it out with scissors or a craft knife.

    Ribbons And Bows

    Look to the colors in your bag image to choose colors for gift tissue, ribbons or bows.

    Larger Bags

    Nearly any size bag can be decorated using the steps above. For bags larger than a letter size page, open Photoshop or similar program and set up guides to match the size of the bag. Create your image then save it as a .jpg. Take the .jpg to Kinko's on a memory stick. They can print your page to the size you need. Don't forget to get two copies.

    • Consider jazzing up your finished bags with glitter, or jewelry parts.
    • Try using glossy paper instead of mat.
    • If you're not comfortable designing images for your bag, just copy the front of a purchased greeting card, or a small portion of it, and use that for the image on the bag.


    Jul 2, 2011 4:28pm
    Wow. What a great idea!

    Love the lifejacket!
    Jul 5, 2011 1:21pm
    Thanks! Appreciate the comment!
    Jul 4, 2011 7:43am
    Gee they look terrific, You sure come up with some great ideas. I love the home made gifts. It really shows that you care rather than just racing in and buying something.
    Jul 5, 2011 1:23pm
    I agree. Nothing like a gift made with your own hands. Thank you!
    Jul 4, 2011 8:21am
    These are brilliant and they look so easy to make. They look better than shop bought ones to be honest and I'm sure the gesture would be appreciated.
    Jul 5, 2011 1:23pm
    Thank you Emmy!
    Jul 4, 2011 10:32am
    Excellent ideas with great instructions. Thanks for sharing. I'll be using these tips and tricks in the near future I'm sure.
    Jul 5, 2011 1:23pm
    Thanks! Good luck with your version!
    Jul 5, 2011 3:07pm
    Great ideas they are all great really like the paw prints.
    Jul 5, 2011 5:45pm
    Thanks for visiting.
    Jul 5, 2011 4:36pm
    I love your creative gift bag ideas! They are fabulous, and the possibilities are limited.
    Jul 5, 2011 5:45pm
    "No limitations" is the big appeal of this project. Thanks for your comment.
    Jul 5, 2011 9:05pm
    This is a really unique Idea! Thanks!
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