Dollar Store Style

Free Decorating Ideas and Tips by Marlene Alexander

Kitchen and Bath




Frugal Gifts

Gift Bag Bonanza

When most of us think of gift giving, we traditionally think of gift-wrap or paper gift bags but let’s think outside the gift bag just to see what other options might be available. Reduce, reuse, recycle has become the mantra of our times so why not give a gift bag that can be used for other things once it has served its purpose as the bearer of a present? It depends on the size of the gift, of course, but for small to medium-sized presents, why not tote your offering in a reusable bag? 



This vinyl character tote is 10” x 9 ½” x 2” and comes in a variety of designs, including Barbie and Spiderman, for $1 each. We’ve dressed this one up for a little girl with pink tissue paper and substituted a hair clip for a bow, which also holds the fabric handles closed. You could use another hair clip to hold the birthday card on the bag, if you wish. These dog-shaped hair clips were two for $1. Afterwards, the birthday girl can use this colorful bag to carry toys to a friend’s house or store her favorite books.




Here’s a pair of purses that might be just the thing for presenting a small gift to a girlfriend. On the straw purse, we’ve used a fabric butterfly instead of a bow, using the attached wire to secure it to the handles and small bits of stick tac to secure the ribbon to the handles. Get either the fabric-lined open straw purse or the similarly lined vinyl purse with a zipper closing for only a buck each. For the vinyl purse, we added a strand of ribbon around  the top with a bit of lace on top of that. If you wish, add a metal key ring as a zipper pull, in this case, a pretty feline. The large fabric butterflies came on a card of two for $1. The craft ribbon comes on rolls of 6.7' for a buck and dollar store key chains come in many different styles for $1 each. These aren’t exactly high fashion purses, but they’re cute nonetheless and might be hung on a hook in the closet and used to store jewelry or other small items.



This tote bag is about 13" x 10", big enough to hold an item of clothing or other larger gift. It has space on one side to hold four 4” x 6” pictures. Turn it into a gift bag with by tying a fabric flower hair tie onto one handle and by using one picture pocket to place the birthday or shower card in.  Here, we’ve dispensed with the card envelope so that the birthday greeting shows through. Use the other photo windows to add pictures pertinent to the event the gift is for, such as a graduation or wedding. Or maybe you have a few favorite shots you want to share with your friend on her birthday. Afterwards, this tote would work well as a library bag or to carry knitting in.

So the next time you come bearing gifts, give twice; once to the intended recipient and once to Mother Earth. You’ll feel better for it.  


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