Special occasions call for special items. One of the easiest and most thoughtful things you can prepare are customized party favors. And if they’re sustainably minded—all the better.
If this catches your fancy, burlap gift bags are the perfect way to go. They’re durable, reusable, and can be personalized to your heart’s content—from the size to the design. Learning how to make mini burlap bags from scratch takes some work, but it’s well worth your time and effort.
Preparing Your DIY Burlap Bags
Remember to treat your DIY project as you would any other aspect of the occasion. Set a few days to prepare the materials, resources, and work you need.
Things You Need
In the same way you need to anticipate food and drinks, you need to know how many gift bags you’d be arranging. The more people there are, the more of the following you’ll need:
- High-quality burlap fabric
- Pencil or tailor’s chalk
- Adhesives (Tape, glue gun)
- Tape measure
- Sewing kit and/or sewing machine
- Art and craft supplies (paint, ribbons, and other decorations)
A Step-By-Step Guide
Once you have your materials sorted out, it’s time to put your crafting skills to use. Remember to set aside a fabric or two for trial-and-error purposes.
Prepare high-quality burlap fabric
Burlap fabric is your base and canvas. If you choose one that’s flimsy or too thin, you won’t be able to create favor bags as you please. Watch out for unevenness in texture and color. Burlap fabric is naturally coarse, but you shouldn’t find any visible loose ends. On the other hand, inconsistencies with color are much easier to spot. Too much bleach can cause the hue to lose its signature neutrality.
Another easy option is to get more common, pre-made burlap bags, which you can then cut into pieces for your DIY project. Here’s where you can buy a burlap bag if you’re still on the hunt for a trusted supplier.
Know your measurements
To be safe about size, divide your fabric no less than 6.5 inches by 10 inches long (17 cm x 25 cm). You should be marking a couple of rectangles on the fabric with chalk or pencil. Cut them out carefully.
For each bag, you are going to need two pieces to stitch together.You can also have the option to cut longer rectangles instead of two pieces, which you will then fold in half and seal.
This can be a more practical alternative, especially if you’re making small burlap bags. Just make sure to adjust the measurements accordingly. (For instance, an original 6.5 in. x 10 in. would approximately turn into 6.5 in x 16 in for optimal results.)
Depending on the method you chose, you’ll be sewing either three or two sides of the fabric. If you opted for two rectangle pieces of burlap, lay them flat together with their matching measurements.
Hook them up on your sewing machine, and sew three sides together. Try to sew as close to the edge as you can to maximize space. Leave one side untouched—this is where your bag’s opening will be.
If you have chosen the other method, fold your long piece of fabric crosswise before you start pinning and sewing its opposite sides. As with the previous method, leave one side open.
Iron it out
Once you’ve sewn your fabrics shut - leaving a side open and untouched — you can turn it inside-out to hide the seams. But if you prefer the bags to be more rustic-looking, skip this step and leave them as-is.
Don’t forget to iron your burlap bags after working on them. This way, the material is flattened with no creases or flaws. You can also start testing out how the bags will hold the items you’ll be giving away.
This is the most exciting part of your project, especially if you’re already overflowing with great ideas. Use your pencil or chalk to outline your design. Once you’re satisfied, whip out your favorite art supplies and decorations.
Don’t be afraid to be unconventional — the more unique your design is, the more memorable your party favor bags will be.
Add the finishing touches
Never underestimate the importance of details. The smaller they are, the more intricacy they’ll bring to your favor bags. For example, you can turn your burlap creation into a tote bag.
With extra burlap fabric, create long, lengthwise rectangles of equal sizes. Then, fold them into thinner strips and sew them onto each side of the body as bag handles. This is a great idea if you’re giving away small potted plants.
You can also seal your DIY burlap, similar to a drawstring bag. This option requires some extra stitches, as well as twine, ribbons, or any kind of craft string.
To do this, simply do running stitches with the ribbon or twine onto each side of the bag opening. Once they meet in the middle, pull the ends of the twine and tie them into a bow knot.
If you want something way simpler, you can just tie the opening with craft strings. Stick it on one or two sides using a glue gun or tape. Be as subtle as you can to conceal the adhesive.
Tips on Decorating Your Mini Burlap Bag
It can help you to be around someone with an eye for design, but that’s not mandatory. The vital thing here is to have loads of fun!
Your DIY project won’t be complete without your unique touch. Here are a few decor ideas for your small burlap bags.
Burlap fabric can hold many kinds of paint — from fabric paint to acrylic paint, your choices are endless. However, it’s typically suggested to avoid oil-based paint as it takes a longer time to dry.
When painting on burlap, make preparations accordingly. The slightest carelessness can taint all your hard work. Don’t forget to insert thick paper or cardboard inside your bag to make sure paint doesn’t spill over to the other side.
For a more uniform design across your DIY burlap creations, a stencil will help you. Take out pieces of cardboard or thick sticker papers, cut them in any shapes you like, and use them as a guide for painting. This technique will make your favor bags look clean and seamless.
Utilize old craft supplies
Got old scrapbooking materials? You can use just about anything—from resin embellishments to ribbon and lace. This is the fastest and most practical way you can decorate your favor bags.
It takes the least effort but can be the most thoughtful, especially if you have themes in mind. Don’t forget to stock up on regular supplies as well, such as glue guns and other adhesives.
Add burlap flowers
If you’ve got extra burlap fabric after your project, you can use them to make DIY burlap flowers. Depending on your time, skill, and patience, you might want to check different kinds of inspiration on sites like YouTube and Pinterest.
Some flowers — like this realistic rose — require no sewing, which is ideal if you are not too skilled with a needle and thread.
You can even add more details, like painting it all over or giving it a button center.
If you were able to make burlap bags from the get-go, then these flowers should be a piece of cake. It might take some effort, but it’s a great idea if you’re up for a challenge.
Find Burlap Bags and Other Organic Needs at Standish Milling
Burlap is always a safe and easy option for any occasion. It’s durable, reusable, and easy to personalize according to its purpose. You can store sweets, jewelry, tea and coffee, potpourri, and other little trinkets in them.
Now that you know how to make mini burlap bags, stock up on the most essential thing of all: high-quality burlap fabric. Standish Milling has an array of premium burlap bags that can serve as your starting point.