Now don’t go getting all “this sounds weird and trashy” on me. I was actually pleasantly surprised when I discovered this reuse technique. You keep the thin cardboard boxes – things like granola bar boxes, the little box that your Tylenol bottle came in, cereal boxes, etc. Ones that are white on the inside look the nicest but even cardboard brown on the inside works fine too.
Take your box and carefully take it apart at the glue seams, one on the side and the bottom of the box. You then flip the box over and glue those seams backtogether with the printed side of the box on the inside. You may have to use a little tape in the inside to hold it. Or- you could glue the side first, flatten the box and put it under a book or other weight to dry. Glue the bottom second and then put a weight of some kind inside the box to hold the bottom down to dry. After you have remade your box with the plain side on the outside, you can decorate it any way you want or wrap it with wrapping paper.
To make a gift bag, follow the same procedure above except- before gluing the box back together, cut the top (the flip closure) off at whatever height you want your finished product to be. Then use a hole punch to put ribbon or yarn on for handles. You can punch one hole in each of the narrow sides and and string one ribbon or you can punch 2 holes in each of the wide sides and make two ribbon handles. (look at real gift bags at the store to see how this is done). After you’ve made the handles, then glue the box back together.
A faster gift bag would be to simply cut off the top of a box that you have not taken apart, cover it in gift wrap (leaving the top open of course), add your handles and there it is!
At $1-5, per gift bag and ribbon, yarn, and gift wrap at a price of pennies in comparison- you have just saved quite a bit!!