What to do With Gift Bags You Have Collected Over the Years

What to do With Gift Bags You Have Collected Over the Years

If you’re like most people, you probably have a collection of gift bags hidden away in your closet. They are hard to throw away because they’re beautiful and once contained a sentimental gift. If you just cannot get rid of them but do not want to throw them away, consider upcycling them. Gift bags and brown kraft paper bags can be reused in many different ways so you can pass the sentimental value to the next person.

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper produces about 4 million pounds of waste each year, which is enough to cover 5,787 NFL football fields. Most traditional wrapping paper cannot be recycled if it has a texture, has glitter on it, or is metallic. Instead of purchasing new wrapping paper and adding to the waste, consider upcycling your gift bags into wrapping paper.

If you have paper gift bags with handles, simply remove the handles and cut the bag to size so it fits the package. Wrap the present as you would with traditional wrapping paper. The many colors, patterns, and variety will look striking when placed together for a party or celebration.

Book Covers

If you have brown kraft paper bags lying around, you have the perfect material for book covers. Reusing the kraft bags reduces waste while protecting the book cover. This is a good idea for textbooks that your kids need to return to school at the end of the year. Cover the book with the brown kraft bag and secure it in place with tape. The textbook is protected from scratches, coloring, and other damage throughout the year. Best of all, your child can color on the cover to personalize their book with doodles.

Greeting Cards

Instead of spending hours at the store trying to find the right greeting card for your loved one, try making your own. Choose a gift bag based on the color scheme you have in mind. Once you choose the gift bag, cut it up to the size of a greeting card and fold so it opens on the right-hand side. Next, decorate the front, and then write your own personalized message on the inside. Your loved one will appreciate the thoughtful gift.


Do you keep all your memories in a scrapbook? Are you constantly searching for the perfect patterned paper? Instead of buying the paper from the store, cut up the gift bag from a special event to use as your scrapbooking paper. 

scrapbooking supplies laying on table

If you had a birthday party for your child, what better way to commemorate that even by reusing the gift bags to highlight pictures of the event in your scrapbook. As a bonus, keep the name tags from the gift and put them on the paper, near the pictures of your loved ones from the event.


Are you getting ready for another party but don't want to pay for cutup paper a.k.a. confetti? Make your own by shredding some old gift bags. You can either use a paper shredder or have your child use scissors (safely) to practice their fine motor skills. Use textured scissors for a unique confetti look. 

Once your event is finished, clean it up and save it for your next project. You can reuse the confetti as lining for a present or glue it as a mosaic on to a gift card for decoration.

Seedling Pots

Gift bags can be repurposed into seedling pots. If you choose this option, note that the seedling pots cannot be planted in the ground because of the dye and laminate on the gift bags. Yet, seedling pots are a good way to start your seeds indoors before transplanting them to the garden outside.

Drawer Liners

Do you have drawers that are discolored, or just downright ugly on the inside? Cut gift bags to the size of the drawer and place them in the bottom. Keep the drawer one color or create a pattern with different colored gift bags. This will add a pop of color to your dresser or nightstand. 

Paper Chains

Paper chains are a fun decoration for holidays or birthdays. They are simple to make and can be turned into a family activity. Cut a strip of paper from the gift bag. Create a loop and glue the end pieces together. Next, cut another strip from a different colored gift bag. Put it through the first loop and glue the end pieces together. Repeat until the paper chain is as long as you want. 

DIY Name Tags

Cut different shapes out of your old gift bags and reuse them as name tags. Create shapes like circles, squares, diamonds, or hearts. The only limit is your imagination. After you create your shape, put a hole punch in it, put a string through it, and tie it onto your gift.

Frame It

Do you need some last-minute Christmas decorations? Or have you run out of ideas for Halloween decor? Seasonal gift bags can be cut up and put into dollar store frames for a unique decor idea. Keep the seasonal paper in the frame and rotate it, so you have a themed look all year round.

Ripen Your Produce

If you want your produce to ripen faster, store it in brown kraft paper bags. The ethylene created by the produce gets trapped in the bag, which ultimately helps the fruit ripen faster.

fresh peas in a pod and bag

Make Masks and Puppets

Masks and puppets can easily be made out of kraft paper bags. These bags have a good texture for this type of craft because the bags can handle lots of glue and glitter. The bags are also durable, so your kids can play with their craft for a while after they create it.

Upcycle Your Gift Bags

Get your gift bags out of the closet and give them a new life with these upcycling ideas. They will save you money, and it is good for the environment.