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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)

Oh my gosh, I love the alphabet bag and never thought of making my own! I might have to try that out soon. Sounds like you packed them full of wonderful goodies!

06.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

This gift it beautiful and thoughtful---I'm going to make my own bag this afternoon! You're always so inspirational, Brooke!

06.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

A wonderful idea, beautifully executed! I love the individually wrapped gifts inside rather than just stuffing the bag with tissue paper :) Now I'm craving Swedish Fish!

This is heart warming!!! All those little gifts make me SMILE!

06.22.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJujube

Great gifts! The stenciling turned out perfect.

06.22.2009 | Unregistered Commenterdana

what a great sunday school teacher you are! the best i've ever done for my girls is make a few pins for them. i'm inspired now. :) thanks for the idea!

but my main reason for commenting...

i've been searching high and low for freezer paper and have had no success! i've tried the regular supermarkets, gelsons, target, etc. but no luck! where did you get yours? thanks!

06.22.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjanete

this is such a great idea! what a thoughtful teacher you are, and what a lifetime gift to them - enriching their memories of Sunday School...

06.22.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLecia

You are so thoughtful and clever. I love this idea. Thank you for sharing it.

06.22.2009 | Unregistered Commentergreta

That is the sweetest gift idea...I would LOVE to receive that. My cousin is having a baby in October...I'm trying to think of how I can incoproate that into a baby gift! Adorable!

06.22.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

LOVE this idea! I would love to know what was written on each piece that you included in the bag.

06.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLily

I love your blog. I could tell right away that you must have worked for MSLO!

My question is: what exactly are the items you placed in each bag? I see that the tiny packages are labeled, but I cannot read the tiny print. I'd love to know!


06.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterGenevieve

so clever! I love the way the tote bags turned out. And I can never get enough of initials, it seems.

06.24.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjen jafarzadeh

What a great idea, thanks for the how-to!

06.25.2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Design Boards

I can read most of your tags, but I can't seem to make out the small green one. What does that say?

07.1.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

well done! what an awesome gift--and good inspiration for some future projects (:

07.2.2009 | Unregistered Commenterlillie

Just curious which Uniball pens you favor? Thanks!

08.5.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAli

so adorable. i bet they loved it!!!! what did they say?

08.5.2009 | Unregistered Commenterb.

Could you tell me where you bought your bags?

What an awesome way to make a stencil!! I love it! Thanks for posting.

09.19.2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrandie

That was oh so thoughtful and very inspirational of you! And oh probably the easiest most straightforward lesson on using freezer paper - well done!

09.20.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

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