How to make a personalised paper gift bag


With this simple tutorial you will be able to create a fully personalised paper gift bag using a photograph and scraps from your paper, card and fabric stashes. It is quick and simple but so effective. 

You will need:

A plain kraft gift bag (I got 5 for £1 at PoundWorld)
Scraps of card, paper and fabric in your chosen colours
A photograph
An instant camera style frame (available from my shop – 
Clarty Hands Crafts)
Rhinestones, letter stickers and any other embellishments you like
Glue or a tape roller
A stapler

Step One

Cut your photograph to the size of the outer edge of the frame.
Stick the frame onto the photograph.

scissors and cut-out photograph
Cut your image to size


Step Two

Layer rectangles of your paper and fabric scraps behind your mounted photograph in an arrangement that looks pleasing to you. I find that layering different textures is really effective. Once you have your arrangement, put the photograph to one side and staple the stack of rectangles in the centre to keep them all together.

red and gold rectangles of card and fabric
Stack your scraps to make a background for your photograph

Step Three

Stick the photograph to the top of your scrap-stack and then stick the entire pile to the front surface of the gift bag.

Step Four

Add extra touches to your design with your embellishments. I used letter stickers to caption the photograph with “Happy Birthday” and used self-adhesive rhinestones to add some sparkle.

paper stack, photograph and embellishments
Add your photograph and embellishments

Step Five (Optional)

I finished the bag by using a VersaMark watermark pen (available at Crafter’s Companion) to write my friend’s name and sprinkled coordinating gold embossing powder over, before blasting with a heat gun.

Personalised Paper Gift Bag
And voila! One personalised paper gift bag

How to make your own masks and stencils for art journaling

make your own stencils

When you’re looking on social media for art journal inspiration it can get boring pretty quickly. It seems that everyone is using the same designs and tools in the same ways. I want you guys to be able to add your own personality and flare to your art journal. A great (and fairly simple) way of doing this is to make your own stencils and masks. Don’t worry – you don’t need any drawing skills. Follow these instructions if you want to be original!

Step One – Find a picture that would make an awesome stencil.

You can either use your own photography skills or find an image online. Beware of copyright infringement! When making stencils you need to pay particular attention to the silhouette of the image. If the outline shape doesn’t look like anything then it’s not going to look like anything when you use it in your journal.

peeking dog photo

Step Two – Print out your image.

Print out the image, preferably on printer paper (it’s thicker and you can get more than one use out of it). It does’t need to be in colour and it doesn’t need to be fantastic quality, as long as you can clearly see the outline of the subject. 

Step Three – Cut out your image.

Use a craft knife or a decent pair of scissors for this. You need to try and keep the inner shape and outer shape whole, otherwise it won’t work. If you need to you can make a simple snip as an entry point to get your scissors in position on the outline, then tape the split shut afterwards. Pay attention to detailed areas as these will make your stencil look more impressive.

cut out of dog

Step Four – Have fun and Experiment!

art journal dog silhouette

Your stencil and mask are finished. Now the fun begins! There are loads of ideas on YouTube if you search “Stencils and Masks” including this great link I found.

Have you tried making your own stencils and/or masks? How did it they turn out?