Upcycle & Make Your Own Christmas Bows and Gift Tags

Upcycle & Make Your Own Christmas Bows and Gift Tags

No more holiday misfits! With all the Christmas cards we get and pretty gift bags that get tossed away, why not upcycle them into something that can be used again? I think this is fun craft to do with kids or by yourself! Granted, springing for fresh new bows and gift tags aren’t going to break the bank, but I think there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes from reimagining and reusing what you already have. Making your own bows? Come on! You can make them out of anything, really. Holiday catalogs, magazines and wrapping paper…you name it. I try to save bags to use again because so many of them are ornate and pretty, so it’s a shame to toss them. And what about all the Christmas cards we get? Save them up and give them new life next year and so on!


Ok, so gather the kiddies and get your supplies together. You’ll do the cutting and hot glue magic and let the kids do the embellishing. (You can do that part, too) As for the Candy Cane Oreos*, all crafters for themselves. Ok, let’s make some gift tags and bows.



Here are the two cards I’m using. To see what I was working with, I just sliced them up into sections.

PC101504 PC101507Time to trace and cut and prettify!

You can make your template any size you want. Or if you don’t want to go with a template, just cut out areas you think are cute and make it work for you. There’s no rule to what size or shape your gift tag needs to be. As you can see on this piece, there was some really pretty embossing on the back side (happy surprise) so I decided to make it stand out with some silver marker.


Here’s another one I did.

And here’s how they all turned out!

PC101559 PC101561

I also made some from one of the gift bags!


Ok, ready to tackle some bows?




Plug in your glue gun so it’s ready to go in the last step. Then, start with cutting along the seams of your bag and discarding areas that are damaged.

PC101534With an Exacto knife, carefully cut your bag into 9 strips, each 1/2″ wide.

STRIPSOk, get your stapler out. Now you’re going to bring the ends together in the center and secure it with a staple. Takes some finger gymnastics, but you can do it. Note how the inside of the paper is facing up here. That’s how you want it so the print is in the right place when you’re done. For the last short piece, just leave that as is for now. No stapling. PC101541Here’s how they should all look! (sans the little guy)

PC101543To create the bow, start layering each piece, starting with the biggest ones first. Secure each one with a dot of hot glue. Watch those fingers! :)


For the last piece, take the left over little guy (3″ strip) and connect the ends together with a little hot glue.

PC101544Then add him to the center to finish your bow. You just made a bow!PC101548

And here it all is together!

endpicWait until you tell everyone you made all this! I’m sure the kids will announce that before you even get a chance to boast. I encourage you to try all types of media for these two projects and just have fun. Are you doing any DIY gifting this year? What do you have planned to surprise and delight your friends and family? It’s going to be a big gift wrapping weekend for me, so good thing I got these tags and bows done! Well, one bow. (ha) Better get busy! Happy Holidays everyone.

*I was not paid by Oreos or given any free Oreos. I know, bummer.

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  1. A.R. Cruz - December 22, 2013

    Great idea and beautifully created handmade gift tags. I think it is unique to create handmade packaging and gift tags brings more personalization and thought to the presents given out. Very creative and pretty.

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