Reduce and Reuse: DIY Fabric Gift Bags

Every year, after spending hours wrapping gifts and then witnessing the trash bags that get filled with discarded paper, I promise myself that I will find an alternative solution. A forward thinking friend of mine started investing in fabric gift bags. They become a a lovely addition to any gift and can be reused over and over. Fabric gift bags are wonderfully earth friendly and make gift wrapping fabulously easy!

Reduce & Resuse: DIY Fabric Gift BagsInspired by the notion, we decided to design some of our own fabric gifts bags. We started out by revisiting the importance of reducing the amount of paper that we use and choosing to use products that can be reused a number of times.

Next, we gathered our materials…

Reduce & Reuse: DIY Fabric Gift Bags

Then the sky is the limit!

Reduce & Reuse: DIY Fabric Gift Bags

When you are finished let the paint dry overnight.  If you would like you can also add a touch of recycled tissue paper.

What are some of your favorite gift wrapping ideas this holiday season?

Mariah Bruehl is a parent, educator, and author of the book Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder (Shambhala Publications, 2011). In 2008 Mariah brought her expertise online, creating the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal award-winning Web site Playful Learning. In 2011 she launched the Playful Learning Ecademy, which takes virtual-learning experiences to a new level by incorporating the best practices in education with engaging hands-on lessons, bringing parents and children together from all over the world into a unique, creative, community environment.


  1. Liz ~ A Natural Nester said on December 12, 2012 #

    LOVE this! I’m planning a paper-free Christmas this year… I scored some handsewn fabric gift bags at my community food & craft swap (!/photo.php?fbid=4927372739932&set=a.4927371219894.2192489.1166836294&type=3&theater), but I don’t sew, so I hadn’t figured out what to do for the rest of the gifts. Then yesterday, I picked up some fallen star fruits from a neighbor’s tree, planning to use them for a stamping activity with my girls. Now I know what we’ll be stamping!! Thanks for the idea.

    • mariah said on December 12, 2012 #

      That sounds lovely Liz! I love the idea of using natural materials as stamps…

  2. Sarah M said on December 12, 2012 #

    We have been paper-free for gifting for years and years. It started with my husband’s Oma, who is from Germany. This may have been a tradition in her family (?) or she just had the initiative to do it, passed down to my mother in law, and then to us girls in the family. Love it that we see the same gift tags and same wrapping every year, and it never costs a cent and nothing gets thrown away, just folded and put away until next year. We do this for birthday bags, too, and people LOVE getting them!
    Sarah M

    • mariah said on December 12, 2012 #

      Sarah – I love that it is a family tradition. How wonderful that the familiar wrap becomes nostalgic…

  3. Kirstylee said on December 12, 2012 #

    I love this idea! I always feel bad about all the paper that goes in the garbage at Christmas, but I never knew there could be such a cute solution.

    • mariah said on December 12, 2012 #

      Thanks Kirstylee! I am really excited about trying a new approach this year.

  4. Victoria Hackett said on December 13, 2012 #

    Wonderful! Now to think of what to put in them! Love your ideas and blog!

    • mariah said on December 13, 2012 #

      Thank you Victoria! I am still figuring that out as well…

  5. Teresa said on December 17, 2012 #

    I usually put my gifts in store reusable shopping bags. Most stores make Holiday themed bags and they can be used for shopping afterwards. Target has good ones, but even Dollar stores have nice holiday reusable bags.

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