As soon as my kids receive a party bag I can pretty much guarantee that within five minutes the bag will have been ripped open, the sweets will have all been eaten, the toys will have been played with and tossed on the floor (often broken) and destined for the bin.

In a bid to create a party bag with a bit more longevity, then how about filling it with something children can make? Not only can this work out to be much cheaper, as normally craft supplies come in bulk, but it also means that after the excitement of the party the kids have something to do.

The trick with giving crafty party bags is to ensure that you put them in a sealed cellophane bag. This way the child can see exactly what is in the bag and that it is something that needs to be opened at home. You can always offer a slice of cake on the side.

Here are my Top 10 crafty party bag ideas plus at the bottom of this post is a useful table to help you work out the total cost of your Crafty Party Bag.

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1. Design your own mask

Buy some fun plain cardboard masks, throw in some sequins, feathers, foam sticker shapes, pom poms, a pot of glitter and anything else you can find and the kids have everything they need (bar maybe the glue) to design their own mask. Cardboard masks come in multipacks of different designs which means you can match the masks to your party theme from fairy tale designs, insects, animals, superheroes or even pirates.

2. Make your own cookies

TPE - Party bags Cookie cutters and spoon

I really enjoy baking with my kids. Getting covered in flour and eating the raw cookie dough afterwards are all part of the joy of creating delicious sugary bites to eat.

For baking-style party bags buy a few packs of fun shaped cookie cutters and pop one in a bag with the ingredients to make cookie dough (flour, sugar, chocolate chips/smarties . . . everything except eggs and butter) along with some brief instructions. You could even add a rolling pin or a wooden spoon.

Cookie cutters come in lots of shapes and sizes. Animal shaped cutters are fairly easy to find but we also found some more unusual designs such as dinosaurs, transport and some fabulous sea life cutters.

3. Make your own friendship bracelet

Wooden beads

When I think of friendship bracelets I remember the knotted kind that you would be given by a friend which you leave on your wrist for months on end (for fear of offending them)  until they were so grubby that they had taken on a life of their own. My children are probably a bit too young to make a multi coloured chevron knotted bracelet, however, making a simple thread and tie bracelet with some fun beads will be just as enjoyable and much easier.

Multipacks of beads are an absolute bargain. You can buy 700 beads for about £4.  I suggest buying a few packets. Ensure that one packet is alphabet beads so each child has enough beads to spell their own name plus a selection of other colourful/fun-shaped beads which, again, could be themed around your party. There are lots of designs available from smiley face beads, glow in the dark beads, to butterfly beads.

All you need now is some colourful stretchy cord and you have all you need to make a friendship bracelet.

4. Make your own keyring/badge/fridge magnet

Crafty Crocodile sell these magical ‘Make your own keyring/badge/fridge magnet’ sets. They come in two different designs – Aliens & Monsters and Unicorns plus a blank badge (so that you can design your own). They come in a pack of four for £1.95. You simply colour in the picture and then slip it into the acrylic disc. You could pop these into a party bag with some colouring pencils.

Top 10 Crafty Party Bag fillers
5. Make your own Windmill

Everyone loves a Windmill and now you can make your own with these great kits which include the pre-cut paper, plastic straw and spindle. You could also provide some sequins and pencils to decorate it with.

6. Shrinkles

Shrinkles are made of ‘magic‘ paper which, when heated in an oven, shrinks. You simply colour in one of the designs, cut it to size and then pop it in the oven and watch it shrivel to a fraction of its size. There are a variety of designs (animals, fairies, dinosaurs, insects, etc.).

They can be turned into fridge magnets, pencil toppers or badges, the fixings for which, are normally included in the Shrinkles pack. As these are so reasonably priced perhaps put a couple in a party bag along with some colouring pens.

7. Plasticine

I loved using Plasticine when I was (much) smaller but I was always disappointed by how quickly it dried out. Technology has improved since I was a child and Plasticine claim that their product is non-drying which sounds good to me. For that reason I have included this in my Top 10 Crafty Party Bag fillers.

The Assorted Plasticine BaSix costs £1 and you get six different colours of modelling Plasticine plus a modelling tool. The colours are really vivid which provides lots of creative fun for the child. If you wanted to spend a bit more you could also buy some cookie cutters or other clay modelling tools (rolling pins, etc.).

8. Hama Beads

Hama beads and heart shaped coaster

Hama Beads are small plastic beads that fuse together when heated with an iron to create beautiful pictures and decorations. You simply place them one-by-one onto the pegs of a Hama Pegboard. Once the desired pattern is created – and every bead is beside another – the design is then fused together using Ironing Paper and an iron. You can then use them as decorations on a pin board, for a Xmas tree or do as we do and use them as coasters.

The Hama beads themselves are very cheap however it’s the Hama Pegboards and ironing paper that are most costly. Even so, you can still pull together a party bag for around £2 per child based on approximately 800 beads per child.

The Hama beads cost about £12 for 10,000 beads. The pegboards come in all shapes and sizes and cost from about £1 upwards. Alternatively, you can buy a multipack of square pegboards which means they are not constrained to one shape. As for the ironing paper, it’s basically baking paper so save money and just cut up some squares from a roll of greaseproof paper.

Just ensure you buy the right size Hama beads and Pegboards. Hama beads come in three different sizes, mini (2mm), midi (5mm) and maxi (10mm). Midi is the most popular range and is aimed at children five years old plus. The larger size, maxi, is for pre-schoolers.

9. Lego

Lego is one of those great toys that everyone seems to love. Even if you already have some Lego lying around at home some additional Lego always goes down well as it means you can create a whole lot more.

Buy a bumper pack of Lego and distribute this amongst your party goers. Amazon is currently selling a 580 piece bumper pack of Lego for just under £30. If you have 12 guests at your party then each child can have 48 pieces at a cost of £2.50 per child.

It’s worth mentioning that you are no longer able to buy a bumper pack of just plain bricks (as I remember with glee from my youth). All the bumper packs these days include teeny tiny parts like flowers, little eyes, etc. so whilst 48 pieces seems like an extravagant gift for a party bag once you factor in these small pieces then it seems more palatable.

10. Origami

Origami paper

Origami seems to be having a bit of a resurgence at the moment as it is the latest new mindfulness craze. I adore the Japanese-inspired patterned origami paper that is available. Add some of these gorgeous sheets to a party bag along with some basic origami instructions that you can easily find on the web.

Origami Fun is a great website for kids, as not only does it provide simple directions, but all instructions are available as PDFs so you can easily print them out and add them to the party bag. If you can be bothered, perhaps make a little booklet for them to keep.

Patterned origami paper tends to be more expensive than the plain paper so perhaps offer a mix of the two. In total 10 sheets per child is more than enough to keep them (and their parents) busy. Most origami is made using 15cm x 15cm square paper so be sure to buy the right size paper. Any smaller and it might be too fiddly for young hands.

Summary of crafty party bag fillers

The table below is a summary of all of the suggestions above which can be sorted by any field. It is based on 12 party bags.

Hopefully, you’ll find this table useful in working out not only what to put in your party bag but how much it will cost.

DescriptionFrom Price Cost for
12 party bags
No of units
Price per
party bag
Animal masks Crafty Crocodile£2.60£7.803
£0.65 (4 masks each)
Sequins Crafty Crocodile£2.80£2.801£0.23 (handful each)
Wiggly eyesCrafty Crocodile£2.90£2.901
£0.24 (8 eyes each)
Mixed pom pomsCrafty Crocodile£2.45£2.451£0.20 (handful each)
Pack of 12 felt tip pensCrafty Crocodile£0.60£7.2012£0.60 (1 pack of 12 each)
Cookie cuttersAmazon£5.00£10.002 £0.83 (1 cookie cutter each)
Mixed white cube alphabet beadsCrafty Crocodile£3.80£3.801£0.31 (approx 33 beads each)
Thick stretchy cordCrafty Crocodile£0.95£1.902£0.16 (1.6 metres each)
Glow in the dark beadsCrafty Crocodile£2.10£2.101£0.17 (33 beads each)
Unicorn keyringsCrafty Crocodile £1.95 £5.85 3 £0.49 (1 each)
DIY WindmilllsCrafty Crocodiles£1.75 £5.253£0.43 (1 each)
Shrinkles animal magnetsCrafty Crocodile£1.60 £9.606£0.80 (2 each)
Hama beads Crafty Crocodile£9.90 £9.901£0.83 (approx 333 beads each)
Hama beads pegboard - DragonCrafty Crocodile£1.50£18.0012£1.50 (1 large fun shaped pegboard each)
Large square pegboardHobbycraft£5.50 £16.503£1.38 (1 large pegboard each)
Colouring pencils Crafty Crocodile £8.40 £8.40 1 £0.70 (1 pack of 12 each)
Plasticine BaSixHobbycraft£1.20£14.4012£1.20 (1 pack each)
Lego (10698 Classic Brick Box)Amazon£34.99£34.991£2.92 (65 pieces each)
Coloured single sided Origami Paper Hobbycraft£3.00 £3.001£0.25 (8 sheets each)
Patterned Origami sheetsHobby craft£4.00 £4.001£0.33 (3 sheets each)
Over to you

As ever, let me know if you have any other Crafty Party Bag suggestions in the comments below.