DIY Gift Bag Journal

Looking for an engaging new journal idea? With a few supplies from around the house, you can transform a regular gift bag into a fun journal!

Items to Gather:

  • gift bag (approximately 11 inches wide by 13 inches tall)
  • decorative duct tape 
  • two brass fasteners
  • lined paper
  • velcro dots


1.  Remove the hard cardboard piece from the bottom of the gift bag. Tip the bag on its side and cut down the center line of one side, as shown below.

2.  When you have finished cutting down the one side, continue cutting down the center of the bottom of the bag. When the bag is opened it should look like this:

3.  Cut on the folds of the bottom flaps, so that when the bag is opened it looks similar to the picture below.

4.  On each bottom flap, fold the corners in and fold the flap up.

 5.  Tape the bottom flaps. Then fold in each side and tape it. You may want to add additional tape for aesthetic appeal.

6.  Fold the bag in half by bringing the right side over onto the left side.

7.  Fold the right side back, but leave a small fold in the center. The pictures below will show how the fold should look.

8.  Now do the same on the left side. Fold the left side over, and then bring it back to leave another flap in the center.

The pictures below show how the flaps should look when you are finished the folding.

9.  Use a three-hole punch to make holes in the center flaps.

10.  Place a brass fastener in each of the three holes.

11.  Put a stack of lined paper between the punched holes, and secure it using the brass fasteners.

12.  Place a sticky velcro dot on the inside of the journal. This will hold the journal closed.

Other Tips/Suggestions:

- Fasten a hook to the side of each student's desk. Student journals can be hung on the hook so that they are handy at all times. Alternatively, you may choose to designate a bulletin board for student journals. Hang each journal on a tack and keep them all in one place. 
- Have each student bring his/her own gift bag so that each journal is personalized. 
- When you make these journals with your students, try to have a couple of parent volunteers on hand. The journal is fairly simple to make, but the folding can get tricky, especially for young students.

Hope you enjoy!

Teaching in the Early Years
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