Trashy and Delightful

by BUST Magazine

It goes without saying that we here at BUST love a good craft, and we’ve been receiving a ton of great DIY titles on the subject lately. Below is a clever take on paper crafting that’ll make you take a second look at your recycling pile.




thin cardboard (from a cereal or similar box)





paper hole punch

ribbon or cording for the handle


boxes of different sizes



1. Choose a box the size and shape you want your finished gift bag to be. A closed cereal box works great.


2. Layer two sheets of newspaper on top of each other. Wrap the box just like you’re wrapping a present but only around the sides and one end. Make sure you don’t tape the paper to the box. First, wrap the paper around the box lengthwise. Tape one edge of the paper where overlaps the other. Then fold in the edges at one end of the box and tape these flaps together. Leave the other end open. This will be the top of your gift bag. Trim the paper with scissors if it hangs more than one inch over the top edge. Pinch along the four corner edges along the box at the bottom edge of your bag to crease the paper.


Here’s a tip: You can use just one sheet of paper. But, two sheets will make a stronger, sturdier bag.


3. Slide the box out of the paper and set it aside. Pinch the bag again along the creases to sharpen all the edges.


4. Measure the bottom of your bag. Cut a piece of thin cardboard from your cereal box to be the same size as the bottom of your bag. Place the piece of cardboard into the bottom of your bag for extra strength and form.


5. Place the bag on one of the wider sides so you can flatten it. Fold the bottom of the bag up and, at the same time, press the two shorter sides inward with your fingers. Make a crease where you’ve folded up the bottom. Make another crease lengthwise down the middle of the shorter sides. This will give you neat fold lines to flatten the bag for storage.


6. Measure and cut two strips of cardboard as wide as the wider sides of your bag and about 1 inch tall. Fold the top of your bag down about 1 inch and insert a piece of thin cardboard inside each fold on the wider sides. This provides a little extra strength for your handles.


7. Punch two holes through the paper and cardboard on both of the wider sides of the bag. The holes should be about ½ inch down from the top and about 1 inch inward from each edge. Make sure they are lined up with the holes on the other side.


8. Make two handles for your bag. Tie a double knot in one end of your ribbon. Thread the unknotted end of the ribbon through the hole from the inside of the bag. Thread the ribbon back through the front of the other hole and tie the other end in a double knot. Repeat this step on the other side of your bag. These newsworthy gift bags are sure to make headlines.


Project by: Tiffany Threadgould, excerpt from the book ReMake It! Do-it-yourself recycling projects from the stuff you usually scrap!

Photos courtesy of Sterling Publishing


About the author:

Tiffany Threadgould is a design junkie who gives scrap materials a second life. She’s the founder of RePlayGround (, where you can find her book, ReMake It! (Sterling Publishing), a series of do-it-yourself recycling kits, and online instructions for projects that you can make yourself. She’s also the head of design at TerraCycle ( where she designs new products from loads of different wastestreams. Tiffany thinks that garbage has feelings too, and sometimes can be found talking to her pile of junk at her design studio in Brooklyn, NY.


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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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