a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Dec, 2006

DIY gifts part three: Paper bags

Posted by andrea tomkins in: File under crafty

Okay, maybe this isn’t a gift per se. But I like creative containers, and the wrapping is part of the present, n’est ce pas?

These are very easy to make, they’re ideal if you have small giftings are are looking for original/personalized presentation.

Supplies: scissors and tape.

Go through some old magazines and find a page for your bag. If you’re like me you’ve kept every cool magazine you’ve ever bought. Vintage Woman’s Day is great. Covers are ideal because they’re made from a heavier stock of paper, but the inside pages work just fine.

Tear the page out of the magazine. Try to do a better job than I did.

Trim the edge and fold in half, like this:

Cut the corners out like in the photo below. It’s best to measure and get a proper 90 degree angle. Um, I didn’t, but it’s about one inch by one inch. (Note: Oops! The photo shows it taped up at the bottom. Don’t do this yet.)

Make vertical folds as shown below. This will come in handy at a later stage. Fold it back in half again (like in the photo above) and tape the bottom and the long side.

Pop it open and tape the bottom. This is the reason you cut the corners out.

Take the time to do a good taping job. This might be the moment you realize you didn’t measure your corners very well.

Poke your finger in where you made the folds.

Fold/collapse it like a paper bag. Use a hard surface (like the scissor handles) to press the folds down.

This is the finished project!

These are some others I made. The one in the middle is a dirtbiking granny, the one on the left is an ad from the back cover of a magazine. Easy huh? Try it and let me know how yours worked out.

7 Responses to "DIY gifts part three: Paper bags"

1 | Claudette

December 16th, 2006 at 10:06 am


I forgot about these bags, thanks for reminding me! The first time I made them was in grade 3 or 4 in a little town in Swizterland where I grew up. Instead of magazine paper we used gift wrap. Cool!

2 | Sarakastic

December 16th, 2006 at 2:42 pm


I love these bags, I’ve enver seen anything like it, it’s so much cooler than anything you could buy. Thanks for the tip

3 | Zachary Houle

December 18th, 2006 at 12:41 am


Make mental note: Get Andrea to make cool sh_t for me next time I see her.


4 | Lex

December 18th, 2006 at 12:28 pm


These are TOO excellent for giving Xmas cookies. Now if I can just get the house “clean” and the cookies baked I’ll be allowed to start making a mess again… urm I mean crafting.

Happy Ho Ho Ho!!!

5 | erin

December 18th, 2006 at 6:40 pm


I know I’m going to sound a little daft, because, really these are just paper bags, but Andrea, these are awesome! I am the least crafty person in the universe, and I just finished my very first bag. I’m inordinately proud of myself. I used a scrap of wrapping paper, because a bag made out of New Scientist magazines just didn’t seem very festive. Thanks for making me be crafty!

6 | Jennifer

January 1st, 2007 at 5:23 pm


Hi Andrea: Visited your blog from a link at Andrea-formerly-Beanie-Baby’s & got caught up in your archives. I wish I’d seen this series about a month and a half ago!

Anyway I tried to make one of these bags. My idea was to create a lunch bag for my son to take to preschool; for material I used a large brown grocery bag. My first attempt was too hasty (I didn’t measure the corners, ignoring your suggestion!) but viola, it is a bag.

My son, age 5, has appropriated this bag for use with a contraption he’s made. He’s filling a New Year’s Eve horn with marbles, then pouring them down the long box in which my husband’s skis were shipped. The box is open on both ends — so the marbles empty into the bag I made, tink tink.

Cool, eh?

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  • andrea tomkins: I'm happy to hear! Thank you for letting me know Inge. :) Merry Christmas to you!
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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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