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Monday, November 18, 2019

Transforming Paper Store Bags into Gift Bags with Spray-Paint

Do you have a bunch of store shopping bags, the kind that you get when you buy merchandise from a clothing or gift store? Since I have young adult daughters in my house, these bags find their way into our possession with moderate frequency. Some of them are quite nice as they are, and we reuse those bags for gifts within our family. Others are okay -- good bags, but with a prominent logo on each side. They're not as nice for gifting, especially outside of our immediate family. 

With a couple of cans of spray-paint (I used matte silver and matte gold), these store bags can be transformed into nice gift bags.

Here's an H & M store bag. There's not especially nice about the bag, except that it's in good conditions and has a nice gift bag-style handle (instead of just a plain paper sack).

I taped off the handle with painters tape because I wasn't sure how easy it would be to spray-paint or how well the spray-paint would adhere. For instance, I was concerned the spray-paint might rub off when being handled. So, I taped it with painters tape.

Next, I stuffed the bag with plastic bags and wraps from packages, such as the plastic wrap from a large package of bathroom tissue. With the top plastic bag, I fixed the plastic so that it was level with the top of the bag. The plastic bags and wrap protect the interior of the bag from overspray as well as hole the bag open completely, even on the sides.

After taping and stuffing the store bag, I gave it 3 light coats of one color (silver) of spray-paint. You can see that when the paint is still wet, the logo beneath shows through. 

When the paint dries, the logo basically vanishes.

(My indoor lighting is bad for photography, but IRL this bag is silver striped with gold.)

After the third coat of paint had dried, I used a second color of spray-paint (gold) to add some visual texture to the bag in the form of diagonal stripes. The purpose for this second color is to camouflage any of the logo that might show through. 

I am really pleased with how easy this was as well as how nice my new "gift bag" looks. This bag will soon be used, as I needed a gift bag for a birthday gift this week. I'll be rounding up the rest of my store bags later this week to make holiday gift bags. 


  1. Great idea especially if you have all of the materials on hand. I was very lucky to get gift bags last year from someone who was cleaning out their parents house. So presently, we are supplied.

  2. Never thought of that! Are the bags easy to handle afterward? I'd worry that the paper would get too stiff and crack.

    I've printed out appropriate clip art and pasted it over the logo, that works pretty well.

  3. I love this idea! How well do they fold down after spray paint has been applied? That gives me two great ideas for buying gold and silver spray paint. One for the leaves and now this. Such good ideas. I have lots of bags but with store logos on them that I hate using. I will try this idea. Many are bath and body works bags that are very deep colored bags so that could get tricky but I'm going to try.

    Another thing I have done...we have a "free" table at work. Sometimes there are nice tote bags available but they have emblems on them that I don't particularly like. I have taken them home and sewed on a pretty piece of fabric or anything else just to cover the emblem. Then I have a free usable tote bag. Someone always needs a tote to carry something to church, work, or any kind of event so these bags come in handy.


  4. What a great idea! The gift bag turned out lovely. I may try this, thanks for the idea.


  5. Lily, if you have done stenciling, you could cover up the logo with an appropriate stenciled shape over it using painters tape. Then either stencil inside the painted shape an appropriate design or glue on any sort of craft media that you like. This eliminates using a lot of spray paint. I have no problem with using store shopping bags that are made of brown kraft paper that have been dressed up. Joanns and Michaels actually sell decorated gift bags made of craft paper. To me, the have a charming country look, but then again, I’m an Okie! Blessings.

  6. Tis the season to think about wrapping gifts! We celebrate Christmas with my in-laws the day after Thanksgiving, so I've been feverishly preparing.

    I see lots of us have ideas on how to adapt bags. I'm including this link as I think it would work well and is super-cute (Bonnie, if you like a charming look, this might be up your alley).

  7. Hi Live and Learn,
    What a wonderful blessing, to receive all of those gift bags. One less thing to have to buy and you helped your friend who was cleaning out a parent's home.

  8. Anonymous said...
    Never thought of that! Are the bags easy to handle afterward? I'd worry that the paper would get too stiff and crack.

    I've printed out appropriate clip art and pasted it over the logo, that works pretty well.

    Good questions, and ones that I'd want to know, too. So, the paper of the bag is stiffer than it as prior to painting, but in a good way. The bag stands open easily and doesn't close on itself. The paint is not so thick that it cracks when the bag is shuffled about. When I spray paint anything, I always try for very thin coats of paint, so that the paint doesn't run, drip, or pool. You get a smoother look if you apply several think coats as opposed to one or two thick coats. Perhaps because that is my method with spray-paint, the paint on the paper bag did not at all become crackly when the bag is moved, filled, or shifted about.

    With the handle of the bag -- I did worry that because it gets more hand to material contact and it is supposed to be flexible in design, that painting it may not be wise. I was concerned the paint could flake off or rub off of a handle, if painted. So, for that reason, I taped the handle before spraying. And that worked very well.

    I think adhering images (printed out or other) is a great way to conceal a store logo, too, for the purpose of using the bag as a gift bag.

  9. I should also add, that the painted bags are stiff enough that I don't want to try folding it flat. Maybe it would fold flat, then unfold okay. But then again, maybe not. I need this bag this week for a gift, so I don't want to ruin something good just to find out. Since my goal was not to have a bag that I could store easily, but just reuse a bag as a gift bag that looked nice, foldability is not a feature that I was after.

  10. Hi Alice,
    I just answered that question above, LOL! I haven't tried folding the bag flat and I'm not sure how well they would do with that. The paint could crack in the creases if folded and I need this bag this week. I will probably try a B & BW bag that is the deep yellow and red all over for a Christmas gift. I have an idea for painting this bag that might help camouflage any show-thru on the paint. When I paint this one, I'll show a picture. I'm curious, too, if the bold coloration of those bags would show through.

    That's a great idea on those freebie tote bags. We've gotten our fair share of those, too. And like you, the logo is often something of a detraction from the rest of the bag. Covering it with a patch of some sort would take care of that! Great idea, Alice!

  11. Hi Bonnie,
    this is a great idea for covering just a logo without using a lot of paint. I have a very pretty silvery-blue bag with a logo on each side that this would work especially well on. I think the silver spray paint in a small square would look lovely! Then I could embellish that silver patch in some way. Thank you for this idea, Bonnie!

  12. Hi Kris,

    I've made the addy into a link:
    Simple Vintage Farmhouse Wrapping

    That's a really cute and simple design for a package. Thanks for sharing this link.

  13. Cheap lace makes a great stencil as well.

  14. Hi Vanessa,
    Brilliant! I bet you're right on the lace as a stencil. I've used doilies as stencils on top of cakes and brownies and that would have the same effect. Thank you for this suggestion, Vanessa! I can just imagine how lace as a stencil would turn out!

  15. If you google image search lace paint jobs on cars, you’ll see some amazing stuff! I’ve seen a couple in person at hot rod and low rider shows. It’s stunning. Something so simple can bring such depth and beauty to any paintable surface. Pinstripe tape is also fun. You can curve in ways that painters tape can’t. It comes in various thicknesses and is very pliable. Easy to remove as well.

  16. Hi Vanessa,
    thank you for all of these suggestions! I love the idea of stenciling using non-stencil items, like tape and lace. I'll check out the lace paint on cars!


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