How To: Fancy Favors with Recycled Studio Bits

It's no secret I take great care in the presentation of packages I deliver from Contrary orders. What most folks don't realize is just how simple it can be to take fancy packaging to another level with studio supplies you may have overlooked. It's not only one way to help make the most of materials, but a solid means of owning your brand and wowing your customer every time.

I make most of my shipping supplies by hand using recycled menus from a french restaurant. It's so simple to find fancy paper all over the place that would have otherwise gone straight to the landfill, not to mention many places are happy to have the extras taken off their hands. Lately, I've been sewing up these decorative little paper garlands with the menu scraps I have on hand to use as favors included in select shipments.

Love them too? Here's how to make a set of your own:

  • Scissors
  • Craft shape punch (optional)
  • Paper or fabric scraps
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Typewriter or Pen (optional)
  • Cellophane bag or wax paper (optional)
Step 1: Cut or punch desired shapes for your garland out of your scrap paper or fabric. Quantity of shapes is up to you in order to create desired garland length. Use additional scrap paper to create a label insert for the garland's final package. Below, I used a typewriter with the text: a little garland made just for you...

Step 2: Once desired shapes are cut, sew them one by one using a sewing machine. Make sure you have a little extra thread at the start for final garland to hang freely. Continue to hold down the pedal after shape has passed through the needle to create space between each shape. Once all shapes have been sewn, make sure again you allow extra thread at finish for slack on the garland.

Step 3: Finish your garland favor by bundling it flat in a cellophane bag or folded wax paper. Include your
label and voila!

I hope you'll enjoy getting creative with the free resources around your studio in order to add a little punch to your packages.

For those of you that love these little paper banners but don't want to make one, I'll send a free version to the mailboxes of the first three commenters on this post. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you for shipping info.
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  1. What a clever idea! I would love to have one :) I have been wanting to make my daughter a doll house and I think one of these would make a lovely addition!

    My email is sma(dot)grover(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Sweet! I have a 1.25" circle punch that I use when making 1" buttons and I've made garlands with those in a similar way to what you've done here - I cut the circles from pretty catalog pages, and then what's leftover gets used as stuffing to pad the mailers I ship out. Free stuff that becomes pretty stuff makes me happy. :)

    my email: brooke@brookemedlin.com

  3. mary, these are so cute! I've been punching out star shaped map scraps for months, and now I'm going to start using them!


  4. oops, forgot the email:

  5. so creative
    this is an area I still need to work on. I had never even thought about using the sewing machine on paper, going to have to borrow one from my mom I am thinking now!

  6. I have just been organizing my office area and now have a gift wrap section. Thanks for the tips and use of recycled menus ect.. I love to reuse everything!
    even had a old tablecloth once that I was about to toss out and used it for packing. Buyer was thrilled!

    Fun ideas!!

  7. What a lovely idea!!! So cute and perfect for little extras one might send in a parcel!

  8. What as great idea! I just arrived from etsy to see your blog and found a fantastic idea! Maybe I will make garlands for christmas tree like this. Congratulations.

    davirdd (at) gmail (dot)com

  9. Oh I am so excited to have found you...I just ordered your sweet little tea kettle necklace..happy dance...my daughter will love it all packaged nice under the Christmas tree. I love the extra care you take in packaging...it really does make a difference. I will be back again and again...lots of yummy stuff in your etsy shop...next time it is my turn.... something sweet for me.

  10. Got my garland yesterday - so cute! Definitely inspired me to make some for my holiday orders.

    Thanks! :)

  11. I totally want to make these to replace using ribbon for wrapping presents too. It's lovely and unique. Thanks!


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