Friday, July 6, 2012

craftypants: personalized gift box

I promise I have not been ignoring you guys! I have about a half dozen half-completed posts in the queue which I'm hoping to get to next week while Jason's out of town. Until then, since I only have one week with him while he's home from this marathon of traveling, I've been trying to soak up every second of not having a big empty house to myself.

But just to prove I haven't disappeared, I wanted to put up a quick post from a recent easy craft project. I had a few people on Facebook and Twitter show interest in this little idea so I thought I'd post it here.

Last weekend was my mom's 60th birthday party and we celebrated by having a big family dinner at one of her favorite restaurants in St. Augustine. Now, my mom is the kind of lady that never expects gifts on her birthday. Maybe a card or two, maybe a bottle of wine, but in general she just wants the whole family to be together and having a good time. Which is why my brothers and I all wanted to do something special for her. It's her 60th after all!

After doing some subtle recon over dinner one evening, I remembered that she and my stepdad are visiting Italy in September with my aunts and uncles. My uncle rented a villa and they've been saving up for this trip. Words can't even describe how excited I am for my mom who has wanted to go to Italy her entire adult life, and I'm so glad she's finally getting this opportunity. As a gift, we thought it would be thoughtful and practical to get her some shopping money to spend while she's over there. Normally I don't think of a generic Visa gift card as a very thoughtful gift, but in this particular situation I knew it was exactly what she wanted. My parents don't really have discretionary funds to spend on shopping and mementos while they're over there, and I wanted her to feel the luxury of seeing a pretty scarf or piece of jewelry in a shop window and snatching it up with no hesitation or guilt.

Of course, if you know me at all, you'll know why I couldn't simply slap the gift card in a an envelope and call it a day. I wanted the packaging to reflect the thought in the gift. I love decorating my own gift bags or personalizing gift bags I purchase because I feel like it immediately lets the gift receiver know that time and thought was put into the gift. (I'm also terribly insecure when it comes to gift-giving and by adding some form of crafty element to a gift, you're pretty much guaranteed that the person isn't going to hate it or else they come off as a real wench. Clever, huh?)

Now, originally with this craft I had grand ideas of doing a gift bag that looked like an old suitcase and plastering travel stickers and stamps on the outside. However, after going down that route it became crystal clear to me that a) what I was creating did not look like a suitcase and b) whatever it did look like was UGLY. So I decided to go a much simpler route and this is what I came up with:

I thought it turned out pretty cute and it's kind of evocative of that suitcase-sticker feel without being too obvious. The materials were super easy and super cheap, and you could recreate this for absolutely any occasion or any gift theme by simply buying different scrapbooking stickers.


  • Cardboard gift box: $2.99 (a part of the Spritz brand at Target which I absolutely love for personalized gifts because it's all about solid colors which are very easy to add embellishment to. I used their plain white wrapping paper to wrap Jason's 30th birthday gifts which I decorated with markers myself.)
  • Scrapbooking stickers: $2.99 (visit any Michael's or Joann Fabrics and there are walls and walls of these things commemorating every occasion. Just pick your favorites!
  • Ribbon: burgundy grosgrain and parchment twill: $4.00

Which makes for a grand total of... $10! Now I know it's not the $3.99 you'd pay for an off the rack gift box or bag, but still I'd like to think that the couple extra bucks are worth it when your gift receiver realizes that you spent time on customizing their gift. 

So there you have it. An easy DIY gift box that will make any gift more personal. 

Do you ever make your own gift boxes or bags? Would you spend the extra bucks to make your gift wrapping more personal?

(Pro tip: don't tie the ribbon in a double knot...)

"...just loop, swoop, and..."

"I swear it's not hot glued to the box...."

I think this is the point where she finally got it. But hey, she got to spend more time admiring the outside of the box, right? Right.

Me with the birthday girl.

These two love birds. Mom and Tom, my stepdad. Are we sure this isn't a 50th birthday instead? 


  1. Packaging SpecialtiesMarch 11, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    Nice personalized gift box. I like this design very much.

    Boxes and Bags

  2. Great details about personalized gift box.

    Gift Bags and Boxes