DIY Monday: Recycled Kraft Package (by Mandi)

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Hi fellas and ladies! This is Mandi with a useful and fun DIY project for you. I'm constantly packaging goodies for my vintage shop customers and friends across the world, but buying packaging products is expensive and also contributes to environmental waste. I wanted to find an inexpensive and sustainable way to personalize pretty packages without paying for envelopes, tape, and labels.  I ended up coming up with a kraft package made from recycled grocery bags. To obtain supplies, all I need to do is say "paper" instead of "plastic."

2For this project, you will need:

1 paper shopping bag
1 pair of scissors
1 black gel pen
A sewing machine with thread

Leftover rub-ons (optional) These are made by Hambly Screen Prints.

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Step One:

Cut open the sides of your bag and fold the flaps over to maintain an even width across the length of the paper. Then fold the bag into thirds, or however many times you need to obtain the desired size of your package.

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Step Two:

Use some leftover rub ons from past scrapbooking or craft projects to decorate your paper. I like to match my rub ons to the color of the thread I will use to close the bag.

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Step Three:

Now stitch all but one open side of your folded bag. Try some different stitch settings for variety and added decoration.

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Step Four: Trim the uneven sides of the bag

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Step Five:

Using a gel pen, write out the return address and recipient's address in the prettiest handwriting you can muster. I always think a handwritten address is much more lovely to receive on a package than a printed label. Then, insert the goodies being delivered and stitch closed the opening.

That's it! So easy. And such a small footprint in your wallet and the environment. I can't tell you how much money I have saved since I started making my own packaging materials. And the best part of all are the lovely notes I sometimes receive thanking me for taking a little extra time to make a simple package extra special.

Project Notes:
I have received returned packages in the mail, and was delighted to see that they survived splendidly the rough and tumble delivery process. Also, I have incorporated bubble wrap into the package creating process for items with harder edges, like purses and shoes. It helps the package survive the delivery and also keeps the goodies safe.
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Thank you, Mandi, for this adorable and very practical D.I.Y.! XOXO. elsie
  • This is brillant. I have been trying to come up with other packaging ideas that don’t cost me a ton at office supply stores. This rocks! Paper instead of plastic! Brilliant!

  • This is absolutely a great idea! I find myself spending waaay too much on packaging, so I’ve got to try this.

  • What a great idea! I’m always looking for a way to recycle. I also use the paper bags to make patterns. I’ll have to try the packaging thing – always seem to be in need of one. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  • i was just thinking over the weekend of getting paper bags to use for packaging! i like the way you have personalized it as well. i heart handwritten packages too…perfect!

  • Great idea, I like it a lot. I always use plain wrapping paper and decorate this with cute and colorful images, I think this is the best way for shipping. πŸ™‚

  • I can’t tell you how in love I am with this. What a great idea and now I know why I have been saving all my bags.. it is meant for this!

  • very cute!

    I love paper bags.

    I don’t think paper shopping bags exist in this country anymore, so we would still be buying products, but it’s a nice thought.

    Plus, the postal system has specifics about what can and cannot be mailed. I like the idea of pretty packages but here we’re not allowed to have patterns or images in the “wrong place” or anything like that. boring.

  • Awww, man, Melle, that’s too bad! The ladies at my Post Office always enjoy seeing what new packaging I have come up with. πŸ™‚ I love decorating kraft with rub ons or lace packaging tape.

    Also, I sometimes buy rolls of kraft paper to make my shipping bags. At a dollar-something a roll, it still comes out way less expensive than buying packages- and kraft is just so cute!

  • Just wanted to let you know I LOVE your blog. Its had me captivated for the past week..and inspired me to start my own πŸ™‚

  • These look super cute, but I’d say it’s a bit of a stretch to call it recycling. You are still consuming a paper bag that you wouldn’t have in the first place if you had used cloth shopping bags. I heard somewhere that it actually uses as much or more energy to produce paper bags as plastic ones.

  • this is cute, but do they even offer paper bags at stores anymore? I haven’t even seen any lately haha. They’re always plastic.:-(

  • I *love* it!! Thank you for the great idea, I would be thrilled to receive a package like that in the mail!!

    Becca

  • that’s so clever. I will definitely use this diy for packages I give to my friends. thank you! `=)

  • That’s an awesome idea! Luckily I have friends’ b-days coming up so I get to make some right away! πŸ™‚

  • I package all my etsy orders this way, only I use scrapbook paper. I’ve found that it’s very handy to keep a separate sewing machine needle for paper, as they get dull extremely fast this way and won’t be good for sewing on fabric.
    Great post!

  • i’ve been making my own packaging too! bubble wrap is like four bucks for a giant roll and i can make lots and lots of envelopes! πŸ™‚ i love your handwriting. have i told you that before? xoxo.

  • This makes me want a sewing machine BAD! I know you can do it by hand too, I suppose…but wow…majorly cute. <3 it.

  • this is a really good idea. unfortunately we don’t tend to get paper bags here (uk) πŸ™

    but i’m sure i have enough other paper laying around to try an adapted version πŸ™‚

    x

  • Since we have to buy all the bags in the store and the paper bags are more expensive than the plastic ones I always use reuseable fabric or thick plastic bags that can be used like a zillion times or a shopping basket. But it’s a very cute idea and I’d love to try that.
    I am always keeping the mailing bags that I receive and send those out again, but they look really dull and I need tons of tape to have them closed. Maybe there is a way of cute recycling of used mailing bags? I really have tons of them.
    Oh and: I could NEVER use such cute rub-ons on a packaging. That would break my heart *sigh*
    πŸ™‚
    Sandy

  • hi there!
    it’s a really nice idea, but same here, in Switzerland we usually don’t have paper bags πŸ™

    btw i love your DIY and blog πŸ˜‰

    sunny greets from Switzerland
    Elo

  • Fabulous idea! I wrapped all my Christmas gifts in craft paper and then tricked it out with yarn and vintage ornaments.

    I wish we had the “paper” option in the Toronto area =(

  • I do something similiar with Tyvek envelopes. I cut them open, use the sewing machine to sew on them with colored thread(lines, squiggles, etc.) and put them together with the pre-printed side now on the inside. I often use velcro for a closure and put gifts inside so the envelope can be reused by the recipient.

  • So cute! Make sure you check

    the USPS site. I was looking

    at it and there is instructions

    to put tape over the threads.

    Sometimes the threads get caught

    in their machines and the package

    might get damaged as a result.

    God Bless You and Yours!!!

  • what a great idea. i never would have thought about it. but i am so going to make some of those. i have birthdays coming up. that would be a great way to package their presents!

  • Very cute packaging, but I have to agree with the others who point out that it’s not really green (the motto is “_reduce_, reuse, recycle” so please take a cloth bag to the store instead of consuming a new paper or plastic one). I suggest reusing packaging that has been mailed to you instead. If you need more, ask friends and neighbors to save their packaging for you, or post a request on Freecycle.

  • Useful article,and the pictures are incredible!

    Since we have to buy all the bags in the store and the paper bags are more expensive than the plastic ones I always use reuseable fabric or thick plastic bags that can be used like a zillion times or a shopping basket. But it’s a very cute idea and I’d love to try that.

    I am always keeping the mailing bags that I receive and send those out again, but they look really dull and I need tons of tape to have them closed. Maybe there is a way of cute recycling of used mailing bags? I really have tons of them.

    Oh and: I could NEVER use such cute rub-ons on a packaging. That would break my heart *sigh*

    πŸ™‚

  • hey there! loved the blog!
    i guess your rss feed link isnt working!
    could add my email? thanks! πŸ˜€

  • Thanks for sharing your article. I really enjoyed it. I put a link to my site to here so other people can read it. My readers have about the same interets

  • Thanks for sharing.I was just considering over the past weekend break of getting document packaging! i like the way you have individualized it as well. Great Idea.

  • I think this packaging idea could be used for any hard to wrap gift that you might not have a box. Decorate for birthday, Christmas etc. presents. I like the pillow effect.

  • What a great idea! I just ran across this on pinterest πŸ™‚
    To be honest, I am quite confused about the folding in half part. Can anyone help explain this to me? I got all the way down to cutting the bag down the sides and folding the flaps over.

    Im so confused on the next part of the folding…