Friday, 23 December 2011

Bag Skirts Part 1

So – I’m finally putting you all out of your misery and revealing the answer to the question that so many of you have been asking, “What on earth’s a bag skirt??” It’s an idea I got from Penny Duncan – you can see her mouthwateringly gorgeous bag skirts on her skydrive here.

A bag skirt is basically a rectangle of card folded in half, with a slit in the fold which fits over the handles of a paper carrier bag. It holds the top of the bag closed, and the edges can be cut to whatever shape you like, and of course you can embellish it however you want.

Many of us take several presents with us when we visit family or friends over Christmas, and what better way to present them than in a pretty bag that you have decorated yourself? Gone are the days when I turn up with a grotty cardboard box or a Tesco bag!! If you don’t put the person’s name on it, they can keep it and recycle it next year.

These are the plain brown bags I used:

I got them from Unipack-Worldwide on Ebay, which supplies all sorts of cool packaging stuff, and is post free too! Unfortunately they didn’t come in time for me to use one for the presents for my aunt and cousins which I took up with me to the funeral – I did have one in my stash though, which did well enough, although it wasn’t quite as strong as these. This supplier also does them in plain white, and (I think) one or two other colours like pink, and stripes. You could decorate the bag as well, if you wanted, with some rubber stamping or distress inks. I have decided to leave mine plain, and have chosen colours for my bag skirts which will co-ordinate nicely.

In this “Part 1” post I am dealing with the first ones I did, based on Penny’s “baroque” design – I took her holly border design and amended it to fit what I wanted to do. I think Penny’s designs may be for quite small bags - she has designed the cut file all in one piece. I didn’t have any paper large enough to cut on the cutting machine for this, so I redrew her shapes to make a front and a back piece with an overlap for gluing, and created three different sizes of each one, to fit the different sizes of bag that I’ve got.

The first one is the bag I made for my aunt, and then (since we got back from the funeral) I have made two more – another large one and a medium one. This is my aunt’s one:

You can see that the handles aren’t quite so nice on this bag, and the paper is a lot thinner, too.

Penny’s design comes complete with poinsettias in the cut file, so I’ve used those, although I prefer her other poinsettia design (she’s done two). This bag skirt uses a combination of drawing and cutting on the cutting machine.

On my aunt’s (Version 1) I drew the design of the holly border using the Cricut pens in the pen holder instead of the blade; I filled the design in quite heavily with marker pens afterwards; here’s a detailed photo.

The holly leaves are actually green, and the berries red, although they look black on the photo. I also added some clear embossing powder to the leaves and berries, which I did not do on Version 2 of the bag skirt.

Here’s a detail of the front panel.

On this photo you can see the detail of the background paper I used for the text frame. This was a background I created from some scans of the ancient parish records from our church which you can read about here and here.

The main paper is some 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper I’ve got in my stash. I’ve inked all the edges of the papers with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

This is the back of the bag skirt. In this case I’ve redrawn Penny’s holly motif to form a rectangular border to fit my bag skirt, and repeated the framed text, slightly smaller, and without the poinsettias.

You can see the overlap where I joined the two pieces together. On subsequent bag skirts, I’ve overlapped the back piece on top of the flap of the front piece so that the join doesn’t show as much. On this photo you can see the metallic gel pens I used to colour in the design of the border, catching the light.

These are the poinsettias that I made for these bag skirts:

They are very simple and quick to make, and are stuck together and to the bag skirt with hot glue. The centres are yellow Stickles – Penny has created an element in her cut file for the flower centres but I don’t get on very well with these – possibly because the Cricut doesn’t cut them very well. I think the Stickles work really well!

Here’s Version 2 of this bag skirt, complete with one of the new bags.

As you can see, the handles are a lot nicer than the bag I used for Version 1, and I have also used different papers this time. The holly border is different, too – less heavily coloured in, which I prefer. I did the outline drawing on the Cricut with a gold metallic gel pen and then just added the red and green with marker pens afterwards.

Again, the papers are inked around the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

This is the back of Version 2.

You can see I’ve made a matching tag. I punched a small hole in the back piece through the slit for the handles – I’d originally thought of simply tying the tag onto the handles, but then I thought it would be difficult to remove the bag skirt; this way, the tag and bag skirt come off together, and the tag can be easily removed if the recipient wants to recycle the bag skirt next year.

Here’s a detail of the holly border on Version 2. I think you’ll agree it’s better than Version 1.

Perhaps it would have had more impact with some clear embossing on the leaves and berries as before, but I forgot to do it, and then thought it looked OK without.

Finally, here is a detail of the text on the front of Version 2.

I did the outline with the Cricut, using a black glitter glue pen (this doesn’t show up as metallic or glittery on the photo – just black!) and then filled it in with a red marker pen. If you look closely, you can see a distinct “wiggle” in the drawn line – I think Jiminy Cricut must have Parkinson’s Disease! Apparently the Cougar doesn’t have this problem and will draw nice clean lines. From a distance it’s not too bad, though.

See Part 2 for the other design, and the video.


  1. Beautifully done! Wishing you and your hubby a lovely time at Christmas!

  2. Very clever and different idea and yours look great.
    Ann B


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