If you’re looking to create a handmade, personalized, and painless gift that’s perfect for any occasion, look no further than … a paper bag. Yes, you read that correctly. Customized paper gift bags check off all the DIY boxes: They’re hip, easy to make, affordable, and fun to put together.
We’ve broken down step-by-step instructions on how to print on paper gift/goodie bags, along with how to use your creations for any event, occasion, or milestone. This craft idea will add that special touch in whatever way you use it.
How to print on paper bags
If you’re lucky, you likely have everything you need for this project in your office drawer. Here’s what you need:
- 5” x 11” printer paper
- Something to print on the bags, like a designed template (don’t worry, we’ll explain this)
- Paper bags in a size of your choosing
- Ink (we suggest HP ink, which is known for its reliability and bold colors)
Now, there are countless slightly different ways to print a custom design on a bag. These variations typically depend on your printer. Below is one of the most common (and easiest) ways to get the job done, but we recommend doing a few test-runs to make sure the design prints exactly how you want it.
- Create a template
The most creative part of this DIY gift bag process is the design. Depending on the occasion (birthday, wedding, housewarming, etc.) you will need to either download a ready-made template or create your own. If you’re design savvy, you can use a program such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to create your design. Just remember to measure your bag and create a file with these dimensions. This way, you can center the design and know how big it will look once it’s printed on the paper bag.
- Rotate your design
This is important: In your design program, rotate your design so it’s upside down. If you opt for a template, still make sure it’s rotated. The reason for this is because most printers print from the top down.
- Position and prepare your bag
Grab your bag, tape the opening shut, and secure the flap down. When you load it into the printer, make sure the bag faces up and you feed the taped opening into the printer first.
With your design rotated, it should print directly onto the bag. Be patient. It may take a few times to get it exactly right since every printer works a little differently. Plan for a few trial runs before you’re perfectly satisfied with the final product! Make sure you have a printer that’s stocked with ink, too.
DIY custom paper gift ideas
Now that you know how to print on a paper bag, the next step is figuring out what to fill it with. This is the fun part! Since you can print whatever you want on a paper bag, you can use your bags for just about any occasion. Here are some ideas.
Create a “happy birthday” design and tuck in a special goodie, such as homemade brownies, a new phone case, or a gift card.
Bridal and baby showers
Gift brides and moms-to-be with something personalized before they embark on a new and big life change. A small onesie or a gift card to a home goods store fits perfectly in a custom paper bag. You can print any wedding or baby design right on it.
Your Christmas or Hanukkah cookies just got way more impressive. Once you stick them in a decorative bag customized with your own creative flair, the whole gift just gets that much more personal—and may just make your baked goods taste better too.
Kids lunch bags
Jazz up lunch time with personalized lunch bags. Soon enough you’ll be the most popular parent in the grade.
Mother or Father’s Day
Mom and Dad appreciate when their kids go the extra mile. Print a note telling them how much they mean to you right on the bag. We can guarantee they’ll love the personalization and thought that went into it.
Your kids can show how much they care with custom bags and small goodies for their teachers—either on teacher appreciation day or any day of the year. You can use teacher-themed graphics like an apple or a bookworm or use just text.
If you’re already in the business of making your own crafts, why not go the extra mile and place what you make inside a custom branded bag? Put your products—it’s best to stick to small and/or mostly flat items such as jewelry, knick-knacks, or stationary—in a bag with your logo printed front and center.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do with a paper bag. After a few test runs, you should have the printing process down and design something special for any occasion. Your DIY artistry will help you give unforgettable gifts, all with a simple paper bag.