Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Paper String Bags

Posh pastels with "leather" handles.
"No-frills" brights from notepad paper.
Holiday weekends are coming up - in a summery mood - so here's a sunshiney project idea. These fun-to-make party favour bags are inspired by string shopping bags - those expandable net ones that come in rainbow colours. I'm thinking atmospheric markets in faraway places...  You can give a paper string bag in place of a Bon Voyage card - nice, because the recipient gets the enclosed treat, plus your good wishes.

To create the net effect, you cut a paper lattice - a pattern made of rows of staggered slits, like an openwork pie crust. Choose paper that has some give - thin enough to stretch, but that doesn't tear easily. Use a craft knife held against a metal ruler to cut the slits, and use a protective mat underneath. The pattern outlines can be cut with scissors. 

Tip: print the pattern on the wrong side of your paper, then cut out. Set your printer on draft quality to reduce show-through on the other side of the paper.

Here's the bag pattern:

You can cut constrast handles out of heavier cardstock, if desired - I used Bazzill Basics with a nice texture to it. Fix the bag handle onto the bag top with a glue stick or double-sided tape. Fold the bottom tab under and join the two bag pieces together at the base - I used double-sided tape. Fold the side tabs under and glue bag front to back with thinly-applied tacky glue. The handle tabs can be glued in place with double-sided tape. When the glued side tabs have dried, work in your bag a little - gently stretch the lattice, flexing it to create the net effect. Pull it downwards - don't be afraid - the construction is surprisingly robust.  Now you are finished - just add the gift tag.

The paper lattice looks like net.
Basketweave-look - but nothing to weave!

For easy-make versions of these mini-gift bags, omit the slits. You can leave the bags flat, or crease horizontal folds for an accordion effect.