Decorate your own gift bags.
You will need...
kraft paper bag (there are all sizes)
I bought mine at Hobby Lobby (love to use those 40% off internet coupons), but I have also seen these at Wal-Mart.
Spray adhesive (Hobby Lobby).
Scrap fabric from my fabric stash. (This is a great way to use those little pieces that just aren't good for anything, but you really hate to throw them away.)
I cut out an apple shape (out of a red homespun plaid fabric). I did mine by free hand, but you could use a child's simple coloring book or google "apple coloring page." I also cut a leaf shape out of a green stripe fabric. Turn the fabric to the wrong side and in a well-ventilated area on a protected surface, spray the back of the fabric with spray adhesive. (You could also use Heat-N-Bond instead of spray adhesive just follow package directions.) Then place fabric (wrong side down) on bag, let dry.
I took a brown marker and drew a stem on it.
The finished product.
You can use scrapbook paper and scrapbook adhesive for this project, but I really like the look and texture of the fabric. For another great look, slightly 'rough' up the edges of the fabric (or unravel them slightly), it gives it more texture.
There are also colored bags (I just love brown kraft paper).
You can use any shape/design you like.
Use a yellow fabric and cut out a duck shape for a baby gift bag.
Use balloon shapes and assorted colors and sizes for a child's or birthday gift bag.
Cut a letter out of fabric using a large stencil and monogram the bag.
Use a large number stencil and do the same as above (for child's birthday).
You can use the apple design that I used above as a teacher/principal gift.
You can use the school mascot and colors for a teacher/principal gift.
You can use tool/sport shapes for a man gift.
You can make theme bags for party favors (use them as table decorations and allow guests to take home after).
You could also take a brown stamp pad and using a clean makeup sponge (dollar store), 'dirty' it up a little. (You could also tea or coffee stain it - google for directions - be very careful doing this on a paper bag.)
There are lots of ways to use these plain gift bags. You could paint them (if you are that talented - I am not). You could stencil or rubber stamp them. You can personalize these bags to the recipient (whatever their interest/taste is).
The nice thing about this project is...it is very unique. It depends on the fabric (paper) you are using, the person designing the bag, etc. It becomes part of the gift itself.
If you have ever done this project, I would love to see pictures and hear your ideas.