Some say that cellophane bags are just another way to cover your gifts, and a fancy one at that. Well, I beg to differ! Cellophane is a completely different experience, both to make and to receive gifts and presents for a multitude of reasons. These bags are more often clear or see-through than not, but it doesn't take days to find supplies of coated variations. Most people forget one important thing about gift bags, though. It's more important what's inside than the outside. Cellophane, just like any other wrapping material, is one of the possible ways to present the content in an aesthetically pleasing way. If you choose transparent cellophane bags to bag your gifts, presents and favors, you might want to make sure that these are decorative in itself.
Cellophane Bags Tips
Cello Bags are more than just gift wraps or storage solutions, here is why:
If they are less decorative, or simply less varied, a printed and / or even a personalized cello bag might be the better choice.
What makes cellophane bags so entirely unique that you have to pack your gifts in them? First of all, they're rated food safe by the FDA. In plain English that means that food can be stored in cellophane without suffering adverse effects. Unlike many other plastics or wrapping materials, cellophane doesn't interact negatively with food like cookies, biscuits, dried fruit etc that you might pack in them.
Another important thing about it is that it lets the content breathe. This makes sure that food and other items that have a certain inherited humidity don't get moldy. But you have to be careful, breathable means also that things can dry out after being stored to long in a cello bag. These bags are also water repellent, they wouldn't leak even if you put the wine right into the bag. But on the other hand, who wants to put old wine in new cellophane bags ;-)
More ideas for Cello Bag fillers
I give you an example how I have used them some years ago very successfully, perhaps that can give you an idea. For a group of friends that set out to a several days long walking tour I made little “walking favors”. I took cello bags and filled them with all kind of high energy food I could find. I bagged dried fruits, nuts, little, single-wrapped choco bars and candle mint cakes. I can tell you, they went down a treat with my friends. Closed with a colorful ribbon and with a little cart with some motivational words on it they were an incredible successful gift for my hiker friends that was practical and good looking at the same time. Oh, and don't forget, cellophane bags are featherlight, they don't add any additional weight to a gift favor.
Other things that work and look well being presented in a cello bag are candles, cigars and little soaps. All these are most often packed into cellophane for this very reason; they need to breathe in the packaging. The third advantage is biodegradability.
Cellophane put into acidic soil, compost or damp soil is broken down unlike many plastics that stay intact for thousands of years. Which makes it a real green and environmental sound choice for a wrapping material. Now you can put your gifts into a nice bag without feeling guilty of adding to the ever increasing garbage dump.
But the most important feature of all must be their versatility. Since the bag is completely transparent, you need to come up with creative designs of your own. The material doesn't limit you in any way, but everything can be seen right away, so you might as well make everything as attractive as you can. Most people think that wraps and bags need to cover what's inside because that's the whole point of giving a gift.
The surprise of opening the package is arguably a great part, but what would be lost if that moment was brought a bit earlier? It needs some leap of faith but think about the possibilities. You would no longer have to think about different styles of wrapping, no more folding and cutting to make it work the way you wish. Just choose a variety of gifts that fit in your bag, close with a nice ribbon, attach a nice mini card and you are done. You can increasing the impact even more by combining one big item with a range of smaller, supplementary ones. For example you could put a nice handmade candle, a candle dish and some potpourri all in the same bag. If you stay faithful to one color scheme, that can look very impressive. Packaging in cellophane is much like using organza, due to this feature. The bag is simple yet it lives up to expectations.
Everything can be seen right away so you need to be creative and can combine them with traditional gift wraps, so there is no need to wrap everything in see-through materials. Another advantage is that the person you give the present to doesn't need to unwrap it completely in order to appreciate it. This comes in handy when getting gifts and presents home, yours comes already in its own carrier bag!
You can also pack really big gifts in them ;-)
What to put in them?
Once you have the cellophane gift bag it's time to take a moment and think about the possible contents. That's where they get fun and let your creativity spring and shoot its branches. The possibilities are virtually endless. Mix candies, or put jewels in a box and then inside the bag. Cookies don't get damp even if you put them away while they're still hot. Remember, they can breathe as the material lets vapor through but keeps everything else in.
Make sure that you don't just dump everything in the bag and be done with it, even though it's a great way to pack gifts, don't think that the glossy transparent surface will make up for the lack of imagination. Use colorful bits and pieces, and make sure that they are balanced in appearance.
If you buy cellophane rolls you can make scones out of them and present nuts of a mixed type aesthetically. Put the small grain size in first and proceed to the bigger pieces. Top the whole thing by twisting the upper side and closing it with an organza bow. They're two completely different materials both in origin and appearance but they complement each other in a nice way.
When you put a wine bottle in, you can use dotted, striped versions, but never forget that the point is to have a good and balanced look. A funny looking wine bottle can be presented in a bag with hearts and stars, but I wouldn't suggest putting jewelry in such a bag. Unless it is Valentine's Day and you know that your Sweetheart loves romantic, over the top ways, of being presented with gifts ;-)
What to be aware of?
Cellophane is an organic, usually paper based material, produced with added viscose. That sounds incredible boring, but bear with me a moment, it is really helpful when you understand the material!
Other transparent foils are produced using plastic as their base. They may look the same at first, but an important distinction has to be made - they don't break down in soil, which is bad for the environment. Plastic bags can take several thousand years until they disintegrate making them an absolute menace for nature. Additionally they may be also waterproof but usually keep out moisture as well. It can cause for example a cookie to get damp from its own 'steam' inside a plastic bag, which seriously reduces shelf-time without the use of preservatives. Or to put it in even simpler words – things stored in plastic bags tend to get moldy!
Third difference is in the glossy look, nothing matches cellophane on this field. No matter if the transparent variety or a printed, personalized one, the look and feel of a true cello bag is a special one.
To test if you have a real one, or a fake plastic one, in your hands try to push your finger through the material. If it lets go and breaks, you most probably have cello. If it deforms and leaves a bulge, you most probably have plastic in your hands, which is inferior both in quality and in its attributes. Plastic is cheap and mimics cellophane well, but be aware that it also looks cheap, something what you surely want to avoid with a gift wrap.
Where to buy them?
Your local crafts and gift shop will have a reasonable selection and even your florist might be able to help you out with cellophane on rolls, but personally I have found the best selection – and prices – online. My personal tip would be Amazon, just make sure to have a quick read through the customer reviews to see what others thought of the cellophane bags they have bought there.
You can choose between transparent, colored and printed ones, just make sure that the bag fits the gift or favor. In the end, not every man will be happy to get his birthday gift in a bright pink bag! Better play safe and go for something a bit more traditional.