Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Gift Bags

Happy Easter, everyone!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday. In Seattle we're actually having a sunny day after about four days of rain in a row so it's been a nice break for the holiday. I've spent the day getting ready for my family to come over, since I took over all the Easter duties this year: getting candy and baskets, roasting some lamb, etc. I decided that I didn't want to buy baskets this year...we never keep them for the next year and it just seemed like a waste, and besides I thought it might be fun to make something to put the candy in. I decided to get out my seldom-used-so-far We R Memory Keepers gift bag punch board and make some bags for candy. (Btw, the WRMK envelope punch board is, in my opinion, the Greatest Tool for Cardmakers Ever. Last year it unseated the previous champion, the Martha Stewart Scoring Board, finally breaking her 3-year undefeated streak. I LOVE that thing) The problem with the gift bag punch board, however, is that if you follow the instructions exactly, it only makes really skinny bags, which I didn't feel could hold enough candy. =)  So, inspired by the feats of engineering achieved by Jennifer McGuire with the aforementioned envelope punch board (see her awesome envelope boxes here), I set out to bend the gift bag punch board to my will and force it to make larger bags.

The trick, I soon discovered, is to use two pieces of paper, and make two bag halves instead of one whole bag as the board instructs, and then put them together. This does present the problem of needing two identical pieces of paper (or could have a sort of Two-Faced bag and that might be kind of funky). I just used plain cardstock for my bags and then decorated them after the fact. I've laid out a little tutorial for this, but since I don't have any video equipment it has to be a photo tutorial, so this is kind of long. You have been warned. =)

After doing some measuring of a standard sized gift bag I figured out that a piece of paper cut to 10 inches wide and 10 and a half inches tall would give me a bag about 7 inches wide and 9 inches tall. To make things easier you could just cut your paper to 10 inches square and it would just make a slightly shorter bag. Put the paper into the punch board with the 10 inch side up against the top of the board, and punch:

You will need to score the entire width of the paper horizontally, so I just did it all at once so I wouldn't forget, moving the paper across the board and scoring it using the horizontal score guide on the board:

Now for the tricky part....because I wanted the bag to be about 7 inches wide, I needed to make my first score line at 7 inches across the paper. Since there's no guide for this on the board, you need to lay a T-square or ruler across the paper and line up the 7 inch mark with the "L" score mark of the board. I like to use the scoring tool to make sure they're lined up:

Once you've got it lined up, remove your ruler and score along the score line:

After this part, you can follow the board's instructions for making the side of the bag: you line up your score line with the notch on the board, punch, and score the side and triangle lines as shown:

Then you slide the paper over and line up the side score line with the notch and punch to shape your bottom tab. The last little half-inch or so is going to be a tab for assembling the bag later. 

At this point, even when I'm using the board in the standard way, I like to get out a larger scoring board to extend the score marks the entire length of the paper. 

Then you can add the ribbon holes, if desired. First line up the edge of the paper with the notch on the reverse punch, and punch to put one hole in what will be the front (or back) of your bag. 

Then line up the side scores with the notch and punch:

You are now left with one half of a bag. It should look like this:

Repeat this whole process with another sheet of paper....cutting, scoring and punching in the exact same way. You should end up with two identical halves, like this:

The next step is to assemble the bag. You want to use some strong adhesive, like Scor-Tape. I placed a line of it along the folded edge of the tab, so that the cut edge of the other half of the bag will stay flush. 

Somehow I didn't get a picture of this, but you want to take the other half of the bag and line up the edge without the tab along the side score line where your adhesive is. Then apply adhesive in the same way to the other tab, and fold the bag in half onto itself, so the edges line up again. 

You assemble the bottom just like any bag made with the board. I like to apply the same strong tape to the two side tabs, and one of the long tabs. 

(See that torn paper on there? That's where I applied the tape too far from the would have been exposed and the bottom of the bag would have been sticky. You will not do this. Right? =) Don't Do What Donny Don't Does!

Fold the two side flaps in, and then the long flaps so that you get a nice bag bottom like this one. Ta da! A nice gift bag with plenty of room for candy or goodies. =) 

Here's some photos of the bags all embellished and full of candy, and some close-ups of the embellishments:

Congratulations! You made it to the end of this post! =P There're no prizes, but I will say I admire your perseverance. Hopefully you can make some of these awesome bags. It seems complicated, but once you make one and see how it all comes together it makes a lot of sense. After making just two bags, I was cutting and punching the rest like an old pro. 

Happy Easter all! =) 


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Thank you to everyone who takes the time to comment. I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement! =)