Thursday, June 19, 2014

How to turn an envelope into a gift bag

I wanted to make some party bags for my daughter's 6th birthday. I was only making a few, so I wanted something a bit more special than your standard bright, plasticky party bag.

Brown A4 envelopes are perfect for making gift bags out of as they're much heavier than a regular paper bag, so it feels like a quality item, especially when they're embellished with stamps, ribbon and lace.

Here's a neat little trick for making a gift bag out of an envelope -

The Tutorial

Cut the flap off an A4 envelope. (US Letter is the closest equivalent.)
Using a scoring board and bone folder and a bone folder, score the left, right and bottom edges of the envelope 3cm from all three edges.

Score diagonally through the centre of the two small squares that are created in the bottom corners.

If you're going to stamp an image on your envelope, now's a good time. I used a Little Gorjuss clear stamp and some black Stazon ink .

Fold the 2 sides over along the score lines and then fold up the bottom fold. Turn it over and reverse the folds so that each score line has been folded over in both directions. Press the folds down firmly. Pinch the corners along the diagonal lines to form a sort of box shape. All of this folding just helps the envelope to 'remember' the creases when you start turning it into a bag.

Put your hand inside the envelope and open the sides out so that the side folds become the four side corner edges of the bag.  Now pinch along the diagonal line to create two triangular flaps at the base of the envelope. Two of the side folds will need pinching to change them from valley folds to mountain folds. Reverse the original side folds of the envelope by pinching them and pushing them in so that you have valley folds on either side.

Use strong double sided sticky tape to stick the triangular flaps down to the base of what is now a bag!

Fold the top 3 cm of your bag over and embellish it however you like.

I used a cupcake liner die cutter to make a lacy felt trim for the top of the bag, but a strip of cotton lace would work really well too. As you can see, the die cutter was a bit too long for my original Cuttlebug plates, but I didn't need the full length anyway.  The curve of the cupcake die cut gives it a slightly frilly effect when you straighten the top edge.

Attach double sided sticky tape to the top edge of the felt, straightening the curved edge as you work along.

Centralise the felt strip along the top of the bag front and then trim the edges.

With a pen, mark two holes for the ribbon and use a hammer and hole punch to punch two holes through all of the folded layers.

Thread ribbon through the holes and tie in a neat bow at the front.


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Nessie said...

I made these kind of envelope bags for many years. Yours is especially neat folded, I really like it ☺️

Anonymous said...

I've made similar bags from envelopes in the past. Your tutorial however has me thoroughly confused, in particular with your instruction to "Cut the flap off an A4 envelope." I don't see this action portrayed in the illustrations and I don't understand how this would work. Isn't the "flap" of the envelope the part with the glue on it that closes the envelope? How would removing this piece make a bag without a large gap where that piece of paper was? Hope this question makes sense. Thank you.

Kathryn - Craftmehappy said...

I’m sorry it’s a little unclear. The first image of the blank, brown envelope shows the cut edge along the top. This will still be the opening of the gift bag, and I chose to close it using an alternative method. I didn’t want it to look like I’d used an envelope for the gift bags so I cut the flap off.