How To Make A Gingerbread House Garland

November 6, 2023

Just in time for the Christmas season I'm sharing a very cute and easy Christmas craft that I made with last year's Trader Joe's Christmas shopping bags -- a gingerbread house garland. Gingerbread houses are all the rage this Christmas!

collage for Trader Joe's paper bag gingerbread garland

You don't need to spend a lot of money on craft supplies to make a fabulous craft project. So grab a cup of your favorite hot drink and let's get started!


two Trader Joe's paper bags with gingerbread houses on them

Last year my daughter and I made a trip to Trader Joe's for some holiday inspiration, and both of us came home with a few paper bags full of goodies. Lucky for us, the paper bags were imprinted with an array of adorable gingerbread houses of different designs with a dreamy snowflake background. 

We both knew there was crafting potential as soon as we laid eyes on them. So we promptly stored them away for this year's Christmas crafts!

While I recently learned that many people used the paper bags as Christmas wrapping paper and gift tags, I decided on using them for something else. Why not a one-of-a-kind Christmas garland?

Before starting the project I searched online for some guidance -- and wouldn't you know I found a Facebook Live video by DIY Dreaming explaining how she used her Trader Joe's bags to make a Christmas garland last year! I was happy to have a tutorial to get me started. While I generally followed her tutorial, I did make a few changes.  


SUPPLIES FOR MAKING A GINGERBREAD HOUSE GARLAND 

gingerbread paper bags craft paper roll scissors twine

1. gingerbread house paper bags

2. scissors

3. twine

4. roll of craft paper

5. glue gun

6. glue sticks

7. Poly-fil Stuffing

8. masking tape

three paper gingerbread houses with blue windows

I began by cutting out all the houses, even the house that says "Trader Joe's" on it. (I'll fix that later.) I left a bit of a buffer around the images and didn't try to cut them out perfectly. Then I traced around those cut out houses onto brown craft paper to create the backs for the houses. Yes, they needed backs because I was going to stuff them!  

While there are six houses total (and I stuffed them all) I only used four houses due to the size of my garland. Obviously, if you have a longer area to cover and more than one bag you can make many more houses!

NOTE: You'll initially need to cut down one of the side panels of the the bag and then cut out the bottom of the bag which is of no good use for this craft project. Then you can spread the bag out flat and cut out your houses.

I hot glued the craft paper "backs" onto the front of the houses, leaving an opening at the bottom for stuffing the Poly-fil into. Once I inserted the Poly-fil into each of the houses, I hot glued the bottom openings closed. And they were ready to string up.

NOTE:  Poly-fil usually comes with a stuffing stick. It’s really just a thin stick you can use to shove the poly-fil into whatever you're filling. In order to fill the houses you will need one of these sticks or a wooden skewer or even a pencil! I found that when it comes to filling for this project “less is more.”

pennant template on lined paper and paper bag pennant

I also wanted to have some type of pennant to place between the houses. So I drew a pennant template free hand and used the snow-covered areas of the paper bag to create them. For reference, my pennant measures 3.25 inches across (at the top) by 4 inches (tall).  

paper bag pennant on garland

I love how the pennants turned out!

Trader Joe's paper bag gingerbread house

As for the house that said Trader Joe's on it, I just cut out a piece of craft paper to cover the area and hot glued it over the words. It worked like a charm! From a distance you can't even tell. I did still leave the word Welcome on it, though! 

So how did I attach the houses and pennants onto the twine? 

back side of paper bag house

I originally used some left over paper bag pieces to make little square "flaps" that I glued onto the back of each house (like DIYDreaming did). The flaps were supposed to act as a way to attach the houses to the twine and still be able to move the houses freely on it. 

Unfortunately, that didn't work for me -- the houses fell forward and then fell off the twine. 

back side of paper bag house with flap and masking tape

Ultimately, I had to go back and secure the little paper flaps with masking tape and then thread the twine through the space left under the flap.  

back side of paper bag pennant

As for the pennants, I just folded a small portion of the top down and used the fold as a means to hang them on the twine. That worked pretty well. 

paper bag gingerbread garland hanging on shelf mantel

And here's the finished gingerbread house garland. I love the simplicity of it. It's a no muss, no fuss project that I think turned out beautifully!

gingerbread house with blue windows and smoke in the chimney

I think the houses are definitely generic enough to be left up as winter decor even after Christmas. I think they have sort of a scandi vibe going for them.

two story gingerbread house


gingerbread paper house Christmas garland


yarn-wrapped Christmas tree on wood pedestal and winkle lights

The yarn-wrapped Christmas trees with stars added texture and color contrast to the vignette. And twinkling lights? Well, it doesn't get any better than that! 

gingerbread garland hanging from mantel shelf


white yarn Christmas tree with wooden stars

This large tree was pre-lit and only $3 at Target! I also could have used my DIY white wool yarn Christmas trees, but I haven't dug out all my Christmas decor yet!

And since this craft only needed one Trader Joe's bag, I have extra bags to use for wrapping paper and gift tags! And honestly, I can’t wait to see what kind of Christmas bags they’ll be giving out this year!

While they no longer give out these bags, I did see where you could actually buy some used ones on eBay and Mercari! And if you’d just as soon buy your gingerbread garland ready-made there are certainly ways to do that as well. Why not check out this Gingerbread House Garland, ready to hang on your mantel or anywhere else in your home that could use a little Christmas cheer. 

yarn wrapped Christmas tree on wooden base


shelf mantel with paper bag gingerbread garland

Well, that's it for today, friends!
I hope you enjoyed reading about 
How To Make A 
Gingerbread House Garland
and that I've inspired you in some way.

Don't Forget To Pin It!   

collage for Trader Joe's paper bag gingerbread garland

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Leave a Comment!

My thrift store addiction said...

Kathleen, LOVE this garland and now once again, I have TJ envy, lol.
(The nearest one to me is 60 miles.) Blessings, Cecilia

Junkchiccottage said...

Kathleen this is so cute. You should take a set of these back to your Trader Joes and let them see how you made them and they could hang them in the window of the store. How cute would that be. Gotta love Trader Joes. Have a great week. Hugs. Kris

Christie's Mobile Home Diary said...

Your banner is adorable Kathleen! I wanted to stop by and tell you that and thank you ladies so much for hosting the Vintage Charm Party! I appreciate it!

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