Want to make something extra-special for your sweethearts this year? How about custom Valentine gift bags??? They’re a fast, easy project with lots of room for creative expression and sure to bring a smile to the ones you love!
I created my design using Artesprix sublimation markers and the sketch function of my Silhouette machine, but you could also cut the design from heat transfer vinyl or use it as a stencil for fabric paint. The choice is yours!
What You’ll Need:
- Polyester Drawstring Bag
- Silhouette Studio software
- Silhouette Cameo or Portrait
- Artesprix Sublimation Markers
- Sketch Pen Adapter (Cameo 4/Portrait 3 or earlier models)
- Plain Copy Paper
- Heat Tape
- Protective Paper
- Heat Source (Heat Press or Home Iron)
- Artesprix Project Mat
- Optional: Rhinestones or Other Embellishments
Use code SUBLIMATION to save 10% on your order at Artesprix.
Does not apply to heat presses or bundle deals.
Step 1: Create a design for the Valentine Gift Bags
Open a new letter-size (8.5 x 11 inches) design page in Silhouette Studio. Draw a rectangle that’s 4 inches wide by 5 inches high. (This is the same size as the area of the bag, not including the drawstring.)
Right click on the monogram letter and choose Make Compound Path. Once you make a compound path, the text is no longer editable, but it will get rid of any white space around the letter that could cause issues when using the alignment tools.
Add a decorative element. I chose the Wreath with Hearts and Laurel Leaves by Skyla Design (also from the Silhouette Design Store) and ungrouped it to use only the bottom section.
Because I only wanted to sketch the outline of the laurel, I modified the design by releasing the compound path (right-click on the design and choose Release Compound Path) and deleting all the inside sections.
Use the rectangle you drew earlier to help you resize and align the monogram and laurel. Once you’ve got them like you want them, you can delete the rectangle or move it off to the side.
Group the monogram and the laurel together.
Step 2: Prepare the Design for Sketching
Right-click on the grouped design and choose Flip Horizontally to create a mirror image.
Draw a small circle and place it in the lower right corner of your design page. This will cause the machine to move to a different area of the page once it finishes sketching the design, which prevents leaving a bleed mark on your design.*
*If the machine still pauses between sketching the design & sketching the small circle, try grouping the small circle with the design or selecting the design and the circle and making a compound path.
Step 3: Sketch the Design for the Valentine Gift Bags
Place the grey collar from the Silhouette Pen Adapter set onto the Artesprix marker. Make sure the cap is on the white pen holder, then slide the marker into the holder until the tip of the marker touches the cap.
Twist the pen holder onto the collar to secure it in place but don’t overtighten! Remove the cap from the pen holder and insert the holder into the tool carriage of your Silhouette**. (For machines with dual tool holders, insert the holder into Tool Slot 1.)
In the Send Panel, choose the following settings:
Material: Copy Paper, Medium (20lb)
Reduce the Force to 4.
Send the job to sketch.
**If the marker leaves drag lines on the page, raise the pen adapter slightly until you see a small gap between the adapter and the tool holder. (This is the exception to the rule of making sure there is no gap between the tool holder and the tool!)
Step 4: Finish Coloring the Design
Color in the design by hand using the same marker you used to sketch the outline. (You could use the software to create fill lines before sketching, but I think coloring in by hand is faster and gives better results.) Be sure to protect your workspace with some scrap paper so that the marker doesn’t bleed through to your table – ask me how I know!!!
Step 5: Get Ready to Press
Complete instructions for each type of Artesprix blank can be found on their website.
Set your heat press to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a home iron, set it to the highest setting (usually Linen) and NO STEAM.
Pre-press the bag for about 3-5 seconds to remove any moisture.
Trim off the excess paper from around the design, leaving a margin of about 0.25 – 0.50 inches on all sides.
Use heat tape to secure the design to the drawstring bag. The design should be face-down on the bag. Tape the paper as snugly as possible against the bag but don’t allow the tape to overlap the design.
Arrange the layers in what’s often called a “Sublimation Sandwich”. The “bread” will be two pieces of protective paper, one on top and one on bottom. Each piece of protective paper should be larger than the copy paper/design. The “filling” is the sublimation blank with the design taped to it. The bag will be facing up and the design will be face-down.
When you press, the only thing that will be between the heat source and the design is one layer of protective paper. (I also placed a scrap of cardstock inside the bag to prevent bleed-through, but it turned out to be unnecessary.)
Step 6: Press the Design onto the Valentine Gift Bags
Place the sublimation sandwich onto the Artesprix Project Mat so that the drawstring area hangs off the edge. This will help you apply even pressure to the design.
Press for 45 seconds with a heat press or approximately 3 minutes with a home iron.
When you’re finished pressing, do a “peek test” before removing the paper. Lift a corner of the transfer paper and check to see that the design has transferred and the colors are bright. If not, press for a few more seconds. (The paper will be hot so you may want to wear protective gloves!!!) Allow the bag to cool.
Once the bag is cool, gently remove the paper without sliding to reveal the design.
Optional: Add Embellishments
My Valentine gift bags were cute “as-is” with just the sublimation design but I chose to add some rhinestones for a little extra bling. Again, the choice is yours so don’t be afraid to exercise your creativity!
Pin the image below to Pinterest to share the love!
This technique is great not only for Valentine gift bags, but also wedding favor bags, party favor bags, sachet bags, and more. It’s easy to vary the fonts and designs you use to customize the bags for kids or adults, male or female.
I hope you’ll try it out and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. And be sure to share your creations in the Silhouette Crafters by Design Facebook group too!!!
Until next time,
Lycia is a lifelong crafter whose goal is to help others find value, confidence, and joy in whatever they create. She geeks out on using technology to supercharge craft projects with Silhouette Studio, Design Space, Glowforge, sublimation, etc.! Lycia teaches these skills and more through online tutorials and videos as well as in-person classes at both the local and national levels.