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graduation gift

Two of the young girls I teach at church on Sundays are graduating high school today. In honor of this momentous occasion, I gathered a few of my favorite things from when I was in college and packed them all in a simple tote with their first initial (clearly inspired by here, which I feel badly about, but they are in England, and I needed a cute bag pronto!).

A freezer paper stencil was an easy way to transform the $3 canvas tote bag I bought at the craft store into something a little more special. And it took all of 20 minutes. I won't go into the ins and outs of freezer paper stenciling, but for this project you just need to print out one letter in a nice typeface (I used Bodoni). Trace the letter onto the papery side of your freezer paper and then cut it out carefully with an exacto knife.

Iron the freezer paper onto your bags, taking care to adhere all the edges of your stencil so the ink won't bleed. (The waxy side of the freezer paper will stick to the bag.) Lay a sheet of freezer paper inside your bag as well in case any paint bleeds through. Then paint with fabric paint and let dry overnight.

The next day, peel off your freezer paper and iron your letters to heat set the ink. Then fill with your favorite things (my list included Burt's Bee's lip balm, my favorite Uniball pens, transparent flag post-its for marking text books, thank you cards (a good habit to get into), metal binder clips, and some swedish fish for late night study sessions.

Congratulations Shelby and Ashley! Spread those little wings and fly, fly, fly!

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Reader Comments (40)

This is a great idea! It's very customized and special! I have to say, you are very thoughtful to take the time to do this and it has inspired me to remember that with a little time and effort you can make a wonderful gift out of simple things.

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Lucky girls! I had no idea that you could do that with freezer paper. Thanks so much, your ideas are always so inspiring and clever!

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

What a wonderful gift idea! The same could be done for a wedding, engagement, or birthday gift :)

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commentererica

I was hoping I could make my mom something like this for summertime {which means I would make myself one too}. It's funny because my initial is A and hers is S.

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAbbie L.

So adorable. I totally want to try the freezer paper, I've never heard of it.

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy@OldSweetSong

I've got freezer paper in the house :) I don't have anything to stencil, but I now want to iron it on something lol

The bag is a great idea and will be very handy for those newly graduated.

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

that is the best graduation gift!! thanks for the idea.

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commenterkathryn

very cute! i did something similar for my sis in law who just graduated from college. i put a much of 'big girl' things in her bag:

- pretty file folders for all those important job documents
- sandals for those casual fridays
- a candle for after a long stressful day at work
- a small clutch for all those paychecks!
- a rubbermaid container for taking her lunch to work

so loved it!

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commentersammyw

Love these! How sweet and thoughtful of you. The freezer paper stencil is new to me, but I'm sure I will be using it in the future. Thanks so very much for sharing!

Love this - so fun and special. And I also love Burt's Bees, Uniball pens and post-its for flagging textbooks. Very useful! :)

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Such a great gift idea! I love how you wrapped and labeled each of the individual goodies so they had lots of presents to open. Very thoughtful and crafty!

very cute! i might steal this idea someday! :)

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commenterleni

i love your cute wrapping and labels on each of the gifts! such a thoughtful and sweet project. i'm sure they will adore them!

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commenteralissa

what a wonderful idea! thank you for sharing!

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

I have been looking for canvas bags for quite a few months now...I want to make my son a set of alphabet bags....would you please, please, please tell me which craft store you bought them from?

Thank you so much!

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commentershelley

i love when you share your gifting practices. they are always so thoughtful and a real reminder that it can be simple to give beautifully.

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commentermamie

love these! I think we're on the same page. I was just researching doing a stamp on canvas bags in Lena's book 2 nights ago, and went to Michael's today! too funny.

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commentersara malone

these turned out so very darling! great idea!

06.19.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjessica

Oh, what an awsome project! I love it and the great goodies you put inside. Now, where can I find freezer paper over here...

06.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBenita

What a beautiful, clever idea. I wish someone had done that for me.

06.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSammi

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