Cheap shipping envelopes

Not sure if this is idea is a new one or an extremely obvious one, but I thought I’d share.  Awhile back I was scouring the house for a shipping envelope big enough to fit a book and came up empty.

I thought about what I did have– TONS of gift bags in many different, lovely colors and patterns.   I decided to use clear packing tape to turn a sturdy gift bag into an envelope.  Not only did it work, it also looked way cuter than your standard yellow envelope.  Since then I have used this tactic at least a dozen times, and found that it is accepted at our local post office and at 3 separate local shipping outlets, even one that had a big sign stating they didn’t accept paper-wrapped packages anymore.

Here are a few pictures of my tweak.   Basically I flatten the bag, remove the string-handles, cover all edges with clear packing tape, and then fold over the top edge to seal the package, taping that end too.  Easy, peasy.  And your package ends up looking like you gift-wrapped it.

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  1. Cute!

  2. I love this idea and I will be using it very soon!!! Thanks!

  3. You. are. a genius. What a great idea!!!

  4. And they brighten the mailbox of the recipient beyond all belief – I was so excited about the package it took me half an hour to get around to opening up my wonderful book! I still have the “wrapping” on my desk as a bright spot on a dreary dark desk!

  5. Smart! I had never thought of that before either. I hate using a box to send one small item, but I don’t like buying a small expensive box either. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Mary, I received my book today in the cute wrapping. I had read your post earlier and when my son came in with the mail I knew what it was. Thanks so much! I can’t wait to sit down with some hot apple cider and look through it!

  7. Brilliant, my friend!

  8. The wrapping sure does look nice in a mailbox. I buy gift bags at thrift store and Clearance for almost the same purpose.
    Getting into one of those with the tape around all edges does take something sharp. I use a boxcutter.

    I sent my mom some paperwork in a cardboard sleeve that a calendar came in. She said after such pretty outside, what a disappointment to find legal small print and a line for her signature.

  9. Mary,

    I, too, received the cookbook last week in the mail in its cheery envelope-thanks so much! My 18 year old daughter whipped up a recipe and we loved it!

    BTW I didn’t know you were an Idahoan! We used to live in the Twin Falls area (Jerome specifically) and then moved to Moscow for 7 years and now are Washingtonians.


  10. Now why didn’t I think of that?! Wonderful idea! Thanks! : )

  11. Wanda Foley says:

    Wow! What a great idea! I sell books on Amazon and am always looking for shipping containers to keep the costs down. You can get these at dollar stores for fifty cents sometimes, not to mention the ones you have laying around the house. Wrap with recycled bubble wrap and you have saved some money. Thanks. Wanda

  12. Thank you for sharing your idea! It’s great to see the creativity that springs from resourcefulness. I plan on celebrating my blog’s 1-year anniversary with some giveaways and I’m going to keep this idea in mind for when I have lots of little packages to put in the mail.

    Thanks again,

  13. Oh, I am going to be snatching up gift bags at garage sales from now on! Thanks for the tip!

  14. These shipping envelopes sure look nice. I will try making one later this weekend. Thanks for sharing.


  1. […] last idea: I wrote awhile back about making shipping envelopes from gift bags.  What about you?  What do you use in unconventional ways to keep costs down at […]