Decorating Gift Bags

Decorating Gift Bags main article image
Posted on November 23, 2021 by Natalie Ballard
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This time of year, gift bags are everywhere in shops… but what about when you want your gift to stand out. Here are some tips on modifying a gift bag to suit you, your gift, and its recipient.

Idea 1: Foiling

Firstly, we are going to work right onto the bag. Now, this needs a fairly plain bag or a slight pattern with low contrast. It also needs to have no texture or raised sections.

Now, this takes a little planning (even for ScanNCutters – no background scan here to cheat) as you want to limit how much of the bag will go through the machine. Instead, we are going to first place your bag onto your mat and use the grid to help you. Start at 1 square in from the top and left sides of your mat. The thicker areas of your bag should be placed away from the machine. These are the handles mainly, but if these can be removed, you should do so. Tape around the bag so the transition to the bag is as smooth as possible using wide masking tape.

Loading the bag

In your design software, you are going to set up your design so the thicker areas of your bag do not go through your machine. Remember to take your masking tape into account when setting up your design. Set all the elements to draw, especially in machines that have both pen and blade carriages.

Designing the file

Overlay the design area with foil and use a Foil Quill/Foil Transfer tool or place a Quickie Glue Pen in your pen holder.

Send your design to your machine and draw the design onto the bag.

Text designs work great for this style of direct design transfer; try playing with combinations of hairline and bolder fonts, fill patterns, and decorative elements.

Idea 2: Pattern

Following on from the method above, this time swap the foiling tools for a sketching pen, fineliner, or another drawing pen.

Limit the pattern boundaries to the flatter areas of your bag. Finish it off with an open border to the edges of the pattern.

You can then add additional decorative elements which feature in the later stages of this article or just leave the pattern as a feature.

Idea 3: Decorative panel

If your particular cutter doesn’t have the ability to fit your selected bag, you can still use your cutter. Use a fancy finish cardstock such as mica/pearlescent finishes, metallic or mirri finishes to create a topper with a touch of luxury.

Measure your bag so you leave a border at the sides. Add a guide shape to your design software to represent the base card; set this to cut for now. Offset this guide shape inwards and set it to draw; this will give you a lovely decorative border that you can use either as is, or set to dashed for a stitched effect.

Inside this border add your desired text or design and set this to draw including a fill if you wish. Use a decorative font to add additional embellishments to your design.

As you are working on a separate panel, you can also cut some elements into the panel.

Send to your machine and draw/foil the text and then cut out your panel.

You could also use this approach onto vinyl with foiling for a flatter finish.

Idea 4: Going 3D

You could also go 3D, using a combination of layered elements and 3D embellishments. This style works much better with thicker, weightier bags that can support the additional weight. You could also use this same approach with gift boxes and other 3D projects.

You could also create a base bag of your own making using thicker cardstock and a scoreboard. No cutting files are required but you may want to download a template to help you with the scoring.

Once you have built your bag, you can build your layers using foam tape and slot in flowers, foliage, and other embellishments to build your design.

Idea 5: Cutwork and lining

With this idea, instead of using pens, we are going to use the cutting blade to remove a design from the bag. Once complete, we are going to highlight this cutwork by adding a colourful lining. This should be 2-3mm smaller than the original bag in each direction so it slides inside easily. You can then fix this inside at the top.

Idea 6: Adding lights

Gift bag decorated with stamps from Chocolate Baroque

Another option is to cut out a panel using a die if your bag can fit through your die-cutting machine. Then, cut a piece of translucent paper, frosted acetate, or vellum to go inside this. This piece has two functions: firstly to keep the bag contents inside the bag, and secondly, to soften any lights you put inside. However, before adhering this piece inside the bag, you can add stamping to decorate it, use an embossing folder to add texture, or even tint it using ink blending.

Light in the bag spooky gift bag


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Decorating Gift Bags

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