Save those pretty gift bags to create some creative crafts and DIY gift bag wall decor. Let’s make framed gift bags, DIY canvas art, and decorative banners.
Deck your halls with some DIY wall decor made from repurposed gift bags
Raise your hand if you have a hard time throwing away gift bags and greeting cards… especially when they are SO pretty. Well, with these creative craft projects, you don’t have to!
Gift Bag Wall Decor Crafts + DIYs
You can watch this video below to see how I made all of these projects:
For those who may find it helpful, here’s a transcript of the above video:
I often stumble across gift bags that are pretty enough to serve as seasonal wall décor. And that’s exactly what I have done for a few years now. One year, I covered an existing gallery wall with dollar store gift bags. I didn’t even bother removing the pictures and glass from the frames. I just cut out the gift bags and taped them right over the plexiglass on the front of the frame.
Another time, I used a single gift bag as a focal point on my Christmas mantel. (Here’s a link to my Christmas decorations from that year)
Christmas Canvas Art Made from Gift Bags
Today, I’m going to use gift bags to make some simple canvas art. Aside from just framing a gift bag, this is my favorite EASY way to create some inexpensive wall art.
I started with two Christmas bags – these came from WalMart. You’ll also need scissors, Mod Podge, a paint brush, and a canvas in a size that is just a tad smaller than the front of your bag. I like to buy my canvases in bulk packs of 8 or 10 at the craft store, especially when they are on sale.
Start with your gift bag and scissors. Cut around the edges to separate the front of the bag from the back. You just need the front, smooth side for this project.
Then lay the canvas on top of the gift bag piece to gauge how much you need to trim off the edges. I just eyeballed it, since my bag was only slightly larger than my canvas. You could also trace around the edges of the canvas and then cut.
You’ll also need to cut off the bag’s handle – and (if possible) the top section of the bag that has the two handle holes as well.
This next step is totally optional, but I think it really helps – especially with brightly colored bags. Grab some acrylic craft paint – really anything that you have on hand. Choose a color that compliments the design on the bag you have. Paint around the edges of the canvas.
Now for a “do as I say, and not as I do” moment. Wait for your paint to dry. I was in a hurry because it was getting dark out – and I wanted decent lighting in this video. SO…. I forged ahead and gave the canvas a coat of Mod Podge. It all worked out in the end, it was just a bit messier than I would have liked.
While the Mod Podge is still wet, place your gift bag cut out onto the canvas. If you have to lift up the paper to reposition it, that’s fine. You just want it to be centered as best you can. This particular gift bag gave me a bit of trouble. The paper on this bag had a protective, almost plastic-like finish on it. Because of that, the paper began to roll up. It’s not a big deal, you just have to flip the canvas over and weigh it down while the Mod Podge dries.
I flipped the canvas over and smoothed down the canvas really well. This will help prevent air bubbles from forming between the canvas and paper. Then I just stacked a few books on top and walked away to let the Mod Podge dry. This only takes an hour or two, but I waited overnight because it was getting late.
How to get that “canvas” texture on DIY photo canvas projects:
Then you want to come back with your Mod Podge and a brush. Give you canvas a good coat all over with the Mod Podge.
Then, use an extra blank canvas to press over the wet Mod Podge surface. As you press down and lift the extra canvas straight up, it will leave a canvas fabric pattern in the Mod Podge. You will want to do this several times to make sure you have created texture all over the canvas. But – when it’s all dried, it will give the appearance that this is printed on canvas and not just glued on.
This is the same technique I use when making photo canvases for gallery walls and gifts
But here are my finished canvases – I think I’m really into this teal vibe for Christmas décor. I may have to play around with that a little bit more.
DIY Christmas Wood Sign from Gift Bags
Next up – more wall décor – but this time on an unfinished wood sign instead of on canvas.
Start with a gift bag – this one came from Dollar Tree – and an unfinished wood sign. I got this at Michaels, but I’ve seen similar signs at Hobby Lobby and WalMart.
First up, you want to cut apart the gift bag so you are left with only the smooth bag front.
Cut the bag into strips to match the slats in the wood sign. It doesn’t have to be perfect at all.
Then apply a layer of Mod Podge to the wood so you can smooth your paper bag strips over each wooden slat. Just like with my last gift bag, this bag also had a plastic-like coating, so the paper started to curl.
To keep the paper flat while the Mod Podge dried, I laid the back half of the gift bag (that I wasn’t using) over the sign and then stacked books on top. Make sure the Mod Podge is completely dry before moving on to the next step – overnight is preferable if you start this project in the afternoon or evening.
Distress the Wood Sign – Gift Bag Wall Decor
Now it’s time to trim away any excess paper and then distress. Start with a penplade or razorblade – cut off the ends of the paper strips.
Then use a sanding block to rough up any edges. How much paper you sand away is really a matter of personal preference. I also used my penblade to cut away thin sections of paper – especially to cover up any sections where I didn’t have the pattern lined up perfectly. You can create a larger distressed area to hide any mistakes.
After I finished sanding, I opted to not seal with another coat of ModPodge and instead display it just as it was.
Christmas Gift Bag Banner
The last craft I’m going to make here uses smaller gift bags – that you can often find at the dollar store in 2-packs.
Cut off the gift bag handles. Cut apart the gift bags along the fold lines. For this project, you will need to use both the front and back panel of each bag.
Cut a triangle out of the bottom of each gift bag – to create a pendant shape. I found it easiest to cut out one triangle and then use that gift bag panel as a template for the remaining panels. Just trace with a pencil and then cut.
The unfinished paper bags had handles attached to the inside of bag. I’ve gone back and forth on whether it’s best to rip the handles completely off or just cut them off at the top. In the end, I think cutting them off is the best option. If you rip the handles off, you risk ripping the bag as well.
For the bags with paper handles and not ribbon handles, you will also have to punch two holes into the top of the bag panel.
String the gift bag segments together using twine, which you can also get from the dollar store.
My Finished Gift Bag Banner
I actually made this exact craft a few years ago for Valentine’s Day – here’s how my Valentine mantel looked then. And here’s a link to that DIY sunburst wreath tutorial.
And here’s my Christmas garland for this year. I’m really loving all of this green Christmas décor.
So… there you have it. A handful of creative ways to craft and decorate this holiday season using gift bags. These are great projects to make if you want to upcycle and re-use a gift bag that you receive… or else you can grab a few bags yourself at the dollar store if you can’t wait to get crafting now.
I hoped you enjoyed this video… until next time, happy making!