How To Make Professional-Looking Gift Bags

Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Hi guys! It's Mandi, from Making Nice in the Midwest. Sometimes before a party, you can find me scurrying around our house in a tizzy because I forgot to buy wrapping supplies for a gift that I'm supposed to be taking with me! I'm not always that forgetful, but when I am, being able to quickly whip up a pretty little gift bag sure is a relief. If I have a little extra time, I'll make a few gift bags at once, so that next time I'll be sure to have one or two at the ready.

Sometimes you just don't have a nice box to use when wrapping a present, or maybe you just want to give the gift inside of a specially handmade bag, but regardless of your reasons, knowing how to make a professional looking gift bag is a great skill to have. These bags can be fashioned out of any patterned wrapping paper you have around, or you can paint kraft paper as I've done here. Check out the instructions below to learn how to make your own.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Supplies:

  • Suitably sized box
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue (preferably a glue stick)
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon or rope

Optional Supplies:

  • Painter's masking tape
  • Non-corrugated cardboard (You may also use cardstock, but chipboard is too thick.)
  • Pencil
  • Paint
  • Round foam paint dabbers

Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.You may be wondering why this project involves boxes if the point of making a gift bag is to wrap a gift when you don't have a properly sized box handy. Well, I enjoy giving nice-looking gifts, and I just deplore the thought of people opening my beautifully wrapped gift only to find a junky looking, marked-up shipping box in between the beautiful wrapping paper and their gift. It's just not pretty. So even if they're the perfect size, I don't like to use shipping boxes for gift giving. They do, however, make great forms for making gift bags! Plus, if I only have one suitably sized box (that happens to look nice enough to hold a beautifully wrapped gift) but plan to wrap multiples of the same gift, I can use that one box as a form for making multiple gift bags.

If you are filling your gift bag with heavy contents, you will need to reinforce the handles and stabilize the bottom of the bag. If you are using your gift bag for a lightweight present, you may skip steps one, two, ten, eleven, and twelve.

Step One: Lay the box on its end on top of the non-corrugated cardboard or card stock and trace around it with a pencil.

Step Two: Cut out the rectangle you traced, and then cut out another one that's a bit smaller and skinnier than the first one. Cut that second, smaller rectangle in half length-wise. The first large rectangle will be used as a stabilizer for the inside bottom of the gift bag. The two skinny lengths you cut from the second rectangle will be used to reinforce the handles of the bag. They should be no wider than two inches.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Step Three: Lay your box onto the unrolled paper and cut out a length of the paper that leaves about three inches overhang on each end of the box.

Step Four: On one side of the cut-out wrapping paper, fold down about two inches of the edge of the wrapping paper and make a crease with the edge of your thumb.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Step Five: Position your box right up to the edge of the crease you just made and wrap the paper around it, so that the seam is on one of the edges of the box, not on a face of the box. Use a glue stick to close off this seam. If you're having trouble getting the glue stick to hold the paper, you can use painter's tape to hold it in place until the glue sets up. Beware of using wet glue because it might make your paper wavy.

You can make a squattier version of this bag by using the same box for the form but placing the creased edge of your wrapping paper only halfway up the box. Make sure there's only a 3-4 inch overhang left at the other side of the box for the next step.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Step Six: Stand up your box so that the creased edge of the wrapping paper is facing down. You have about a 3-4 inch overhang of paper facing upward that you will close up just as if you were wrapping a gift. I like to do this by pushing in the sides of the paper and creasing the triangles of paper that are left sticking up, as shown in the above left image. Then I push down those triangular flaps and glue then into place, making sure to only put glue where the paper touches paper, not the box inside. Again, you may need painter's tape to hold the paper down while the glue sets up.

Step Seven: Pinch each corner of the bag with your index fingers and thumbs to make creases at the edges. This will make the bag look more finished when you remove the box. You can recrease it later, but it's a good idea to get properly placed creases set in at this point while the box is still inside.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Step Eight: If you want to paint the wrapping paper, this is the time to do it. I simply used a round foam paint dabber, dipped it into gesso (and because gesso is thicker than plain white paint, it didn't make my paper wavy), dabbed off the excess paint onto the gesso lid, and then dabbed the foam onto the kraft paper. Gesso doesn't take too long to dry, so I was able to work my way all the way around the bag without waiting for the paint to dry on one side. You can also use markers to decorate the bags. Get creative and have fun!

Step Nine: When the paint has dried, wiggle out the box from inside the wrapping paper and crease the sides of the bag, as shown in the above right image. You don't need to do this all the way down the sides, just the top half of the sides.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Step Ten: Put glue on one side of your cardboard or cardstock pieces that you cut out in step two.

Step Eleven: To stabilize where the handles of your bag go, insert the skinny strips of glued cardboard or cardstock under the folded edge of the top of your bag, and then press the glued cardboard into place.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.Step Twelve: Place the larger rectangular piece of cardboard into the bag, glue-side-down, to stabilize the bottom of the bag.

Step Thirteen: Punch two evenly spaced holes in the top of your bag, being careful not to punch a hole into the creased sides of the bag. You can punch through the front and back of the bag at once so that the holes are even with each other. This is why you shouldn't use chipboard as the handle stabilizer, because unless you have a heavy duty hole puncher it'll be very difficult to punch through all of the layers of chipboard and paper.

Step Fourteen: Cut two lengths of ribbon that are about ten inches long (or however long you wish), placing each end through a hole and knotting it into place. If your ribbon is too small to keep from popping out of the bag's holes, even when knotted, you can string a bead between the knot of the ribbon and the hole in the bag to keep it in place.Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.For finishing touches, I cut out red hearts from cardstock, punched a hole in each, and strung the ribbons through the heart tags before knotting the ribbons onto the gift bags. Coordinating tissue paper made the gift wrap complete!Need a gift bag in a pinch? Here's a great tutorial for making professional looking gift bags from paper.These little gift bags would be fun to make during a craft night with friends. Everyone can get really creative with how he or she decorates each bag. Of course, you can always go out and buy gift bags at the store, but nothing beats a handmade wrapping job!


Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson

  • Thanks for giving an ideal on how to create such wonderful art like that.

  • Oh wow, It’s a creative ideas. Thank you so much for sharing. I will suggest your posts to my friends. Hope more people will appreciate your posts.

  • I love this tutorial for creating really nice-looking gift bags. It adds such a nice, thoughtful touch giving a gift. Thank you for your tips!

  • This is too adorable. I love how you used easy-to-find, cost-friendly materials, and the thoughtful details you made (like the skinny strip insert under the folded edge where the handle is) were spot on! This would make a great customized gift bag/wrap in terms of customizing according to the size of each gift. Lovely!

  • These look so cute! Great tutorial! 🙂 xx

  • So creative! Personally love getting DIY kind of gift wrappings. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Great idea to make a stack of these! I can’t believe how easy they are to make! I’ll have to give this a try 🙂

  • I love how you have a unique and simple solution to everything! Love this blog!

  • The packaging is half the fun! I never made the bag before, so this will be helpful.

  • This is such a great post! I’m always on the lookout for really neat and pretty but simple to do gift-wrapping ideas – I love to make gifts look as lovely on the outside as they are underneath the wrapping (: will definitely be trying these gift bags out! x

  • Most stores that carry shipping supplies or art supplies stock rolls of kraft paper. You can find then in the shipping aisle at Walmart, even, for about $3 a roll. 🙂

  • Lovely idea!

  • I love making my own gift wrapping and I think this is awesome!!


  • This is so useful and easy 🙂
    Have an amazing day!

  • so much cuter than all the options at the store!

  • I adore this! not only because of the looks and because it is extremely cute but also due to the fact that they can be personalized to match the receiver personality and nothing is more adorable than the thought that somebody put some extra efford x

  • so adorable! and how fun that you made them yourself, just another sweet touch when giving a thoughtful and personal gift.

  • So cute! I love the possibilities and personal touch!

  • Hey Brooke! You may want to check out the blog She posts information/ tutorials about coding and making changes to your blog. She also offers lots of tips about blogging.

  • Perfect… I can tailor my gifts in future.

  • This is a great idea. I think for creative people, wrapping (or bagging up) presents is part of the fun of giving a gift. I also love creating designs on plain brown paper–there’s something so minimalist and elegant about it We’ve been posting stamped gift wrap tutorials and they’ve been so fun to create:

  • I love this idea! Wrapping the gift has always been as (and sometimes more) exciting to me as picking the gift itself. I think the presentation can matter just as much 🙂


  • Kraft packaging is my favourite because you can do anything with it. The white is a nice pop of brightness! Homemade bags are easier than I thought.

  • Oh, these are so cute! I love gift bags; finding new designs and collecting them 🙂 Now I think I’ll have to try to make one myself! Thanks so much for sharing, this was such an inspiration 🙂


  • This was very useful!
    Most of the times, I don’t like gift bags, I can’t find the ones I really like.
    So, this DIY is the perfect solution 😉
    A fashion & DIY blog…

  • This is such a lovely idea! I am definitely going to be making some of these instead of wasting my money buying them!! xx

  • What a great idea! I always have kraft paper lying around, but can’t always get to the store on time. And even if I can, they don’t always have the best options.. they’re usually super boring. And, I love that there are unlimited possibilities for customization!

  • Wow! Nice work! I can imagine something like that with little flowers or eggs for Easter!

  • This is a great tutorial on something that we all often use! I love the idea of a make your own and bringing a good old brown back back with a personal touch!

  • I’ve never considered making my own gift bags. I bet this would be fun to do with wrapping paper.

  • I agree with Brooke. I would love a tutorial on blogging since I have been out of that world for a few years now.

  • Love this! I also prefer to make my wrapping paper and bags. Question for you: where do you consistently find undyed cardboardy looking wrapping paper. I’ve gotten from the post office a few times, but it’s pretty expensive there. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • these are so cute! definitely going to be using them next time there’s a gift to give

    xx Milly

  • great idea!!the gift bag look stuning..i usually use wrapping paper to make my gift bag and my step is not as details as your but i think for heavy duty type ur gift bag is perfect!

  • If there is one thing you can do its awesome tutorials!
    One thing I would seriously LOVE YOU FOREVER for is maybe a blog/ design tutorial for the less tech savvy people…?
    I love blogging but my blog is a bit of an eye sore which can be discouraging, especially when i know as a blog reader what really draws me in is a pretty and simple layout that is easy to navigate and use.
    I know a lot of bloggers use different things from blogspot to wordpress ect so it is probably a bit more difficult than I imagine for such a tutorial but I’m still really interest in it, if it is at all possible. especially things like your nice navigation bar at the top of the page and how your posts are linked up to social medias, ect.

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