Creative Paper Bag Crafts to Upcycle Old Paper Bags

January 31, 2023


Paper bags are a great crafting material to repurpose around the house. They come in many different shapes and sizes and can easily be transformed into fun and creative projects. Not only are they versatile, but they are also eco-friendly and budget-friendly, making them a perfect material for crafting.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to upcycle paper bags into exciting projects:

Overview of the project

Whether you look forward to preserving the environment, or crave a creative use for discarded paper bags, crafting with paper bags provides an array of project possibilities. With just some basic supplies and creativity, anyone can create items such as personalized cards, bags with interesting twist folds, or even a mobile book shelf. Constructing these useful and interesting items from pre-existing materials can help you recycle in an attractive and efficient way.

Using old paper bags is an ideal way to stock up on supplies for your craft projects. Put all those empty paper bags that you received from the store to good use by turning them into something new and exciting. These materials are both sturdy enough for stationary but flexible enough to twist fold into decorative shapes. Depending on their thickness, they may also be able to accept paint add-ons—allowing you to personalize and customize whatever item you make even further!

The possibilities for creating crafts using paper bags are infinite—you won’t run out of ideas anytime soon! So why not explore this creative idea further? Let’s find out how we can put our old empty paper bag collection to good use!

What you need to get started

Reusing materials and upcycling old items gives us a way to become better stewards of our environment. Paper bags, which can easily be discarded, make perfect crafting material that can have many uses in creative projects.

To get started, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Paper bags (Any size and colors, preferably with minimal printing)
  • Acrylic craft paints (various colors)
  • Paint brushes
  • Mod Podge or other suitable glue/glaze/sealer for crafting
  • Scrap paper for tracing shapes or cutting templates
  • Scissors or an Xacto knife for finer details
  • Ruler for measuring straight lines

For simple projects, that’s all the supplies you need! However, depending on the type of project you plan to create with your paper bags, you might also need items such as: beads, glitter, pipe cleaners and other embellishments; ribbons; and anything else that adds a unique and creative feel to your project. With these supplies at hand and a bit of imagination, you can create some amazing things with paper bags!

Paper Bag Tree

Paper Bag Trees are a creative way to upcycle old paper bags! This craft project is easy enough for kids and adults to do together, as it doesn’t require any complicated skills or tools. With a few simple materials, you can create a fun and unique decoration that looks great in any home. Let’s get started and make a Paper Bag Tree!

How to make a paper bag tree

Paper bag trees are a fun and simple craft project that you can do with old paper bags. With just a few basic supplies, you can make an attractive tree to decorate your home or office.

You will need:

  • Paper bags
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Cardstock (optional)
  • Various decorations (optional)


  1. First, cut off the handles from the paper bags. Cut the bottom of the bag off, forming two rectangular pieces of paper.
  2. Trim one of the pieces into a triangle shape for your tree trunk. Cut it slightly larger so it has a bit of a flat base to stand on when you’re finished assembling it. In addition, cut out two smaller triangles for branches at each side of your trunk (it helps to draw these first and then cut).
  3. Using scissors or an Xacto knife, make four holes along one of the long edges near the top on each side of your tree trunk and branches (or if using cardstock, use a hole punch). Make sure these holes are not in line with each other so they won’t tear when you insert the tapping later in step 7 below.
  4. Take your second rectangular piece and cut it in half lengthwise; then fold over approximately one inch along both long sides forming tabs that will hold your branches together later on in step 5 below….and so forth!

Step-by-step instructions

Making a creative paper bag tree for decoration is an easy and cost-effective way to upcycle old paper bags. This craft does not require any special crafts supplies, only simple materials you probably already have at home. Here are step-by-step instructions to help you make your own unique paper bag tree:


  • Paper bags (preferably brown)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Cardboard


  1. Cut off the handles from the paper bags. Make sure that each handle is cut into a smooth line so that it looks neat when glued onto the cardboard.
  2. Fold each paper bag into one long tube and glue it together. Make sure that the glue does not seep to the outside of the bag as this will create lumps in the final product.
  3. Cut five cardboard circles of equal size so that you have five separate paper tube rings when folded over them.
  4. Place each paper tube ring on top of a cardboard circle and glue together, making sure all sides are properly secured to create one circle shape per piece.
  5. Glue all five pieces together in ascending order and let dry completely before using as decoration or gifting it away as a unique present!

Paper Bag Wreath

Paper bag wreaths are a fun and easy way to upcycle old paper bags and add a bit of personality to your home. Not only can you create a beautiful statement piece with paper bags, but you can also use them to express your creativity and style.

In this section, we’ll discuss the steps to creating a paper bag wreath:

How to make a paper bag wreath

A paper bag wreath is a stylish and creative upcycled project made from reusing old paper bags. This paper bag craft requires surprisingly few supplies and is fairly easy to make and assemble. Follow the steps in this how-to guide to create your own unique wreath as a festive addition for any room, wall, or specialized event.

Materials needed:

  • Three 12″ white paper bags (pre-cut with handles removed)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun with extra glue sticks
  • Stencils or stamps for decoration (optional)
  • Spray paint in the color of your choice (optional)
  • Ribbon or string to hang the finished product (optional)


  1. Begin by cutting each bag, beginning at the bottom corners, into 2-inch wide strips. Try to keep the sides of each strip as even as possible as this will give you more even fringes when you bend them outward later on. Trim any handles off the bags before starting this step.
  2. Once all three bags are cut into pieces, begin hot gluing them onto what will become the outer frame of your wreath by gluing each fringe roughly 5 mm apart and spiraling out from one side until you have reached the other side an equal distance away from where you began. Hot glue works best for sticking papers together, but some people may find that using double sided tape works better for their finished product.
  3. Once all three bags are glued together in one large circle, use scissors or a blade to define individual “petals” along the edge of each segmented piece of fringe – like petals on a daisy flower – so that it shows clearly when bent outward from the center with two hands.
  4. If desired, use stencils or stamps with paint/spray paint to decorate and personalize your wreath prior to hanging it up on a wall or door with coordinating ribbon or string tied around it once dry!

Step-by-step instructions

This paper bag wreath is unique and an easy-to-make craft. You can use this wreath to decorate your house or create extra special gifts. With a few items around the house and some creativity, you can make something impressive with leftover or recycled paper grocery bags. Follow these easy steps to make a paper bag wreath.


  • Paper grocery bags (white or brown) – 5-7 medium sized
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun/sticks
  • Heavyweight cardboard (about 8×12 inches)
  • Twine or ribbon
  • Embellishments such as fabric flowers, glitter, pom poms, etc.


  1. Cut out the two sides of the bag and flatten each side into a rectangular piece about 8×12 inches in size. This will be your “paper” for the wreath – each side of 4 grocery bags should provide about 4 front and 4 back pieces of your paper for this project.
  2. Cut out another piece of cardboard to use as the base for your project, about 8×12 inches in size as well; it doesn’t have to be exact but try not to stray too much from these measurements so that you have a nice background on which to work with.
  3. Folding together all the cut pieces one by one, glue each layer together making 2 thick layers which will form your circular base (like an L shape). Make sure you align all edges well as this will make for easier cutting later on when you start adding more dimension to the basic shape before final assembly of your pieces.
  4. Next up, fold both sets inward forming half circles until they meet in the center like a closed oval shape; make sure you roll/press/hold firmly so its shapes holds up nicely when removing from off workshop surface table). Glue edges securely together facing down; let them cool completely on worksurface before flipping up again.
  5. Once done, flip over outer edge glued circle onto tabletop surface; using twine measure circumference X2x around measuring point located at center where both folded sides meet ; cut straight length half measurement obtained at spot setting prior.. using same method used above simultaneously glue remaining sections leftovers meeting halfway set other spots partial circles remaining .. repeat steps 1+2+3 above if necessary depending space left remaining partially shaped circle.
  6. Finally flip over completed structure onto final setting mate endplace where wanted residing location within surrounding environments’ home..
  7. Now it’s time adorn it embellishments! Decorate with favorite usage items – fabric flowers, glittering, ribbon yarns etc., feel free get creative artistic within mastering craftsmanship design experience learnings adding uniqueness touch masterpiece completion perfectly!
  8. Add ribbons roped twine ends hanging loops ceiling tying door etc., voila project complete!

Paper Bag Garland

One creative way to upcycle old paper bags is to make a paper bag garland. A paper bag garland is a great way to bring some color and texture to your home. With some scissors and glue, you can easily make a beautiful garland that is sure to look great in any room of your house. Read on to learn how to make a paper bag garland.

How to make a paper bag garland

Bring a creative touch to your home with this paper bag garland. Not only does it look great, making it is also an excellent way of upcycling old paper bags and turning them into something new and eye-catching. This garland looks best with mixed colors, shapes and sizes for a truly unique look that will brighten any space.

To make your own paper bag garland, you’ll need the following materials:

  • 10-12 old paper bags
  • String or yarn
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue
  • Drawing utensil (optional)

First, open the paper bags and flatten them out. Cut out different shapes such as stars, hearts, animals or other iconic symbols to get a really unique look; this step is completely customizable so you can create your own design. If desired, draw on features with a drawing utensil for extra detail. Once you’ve cut out all the pieces, get your string/yarn ready by measuring off the desired length of garland – longer lengths are great for Christmas decorations or above an entryway – and cutting it off. Then tie one end of string to a piece of scrap cardstock or fabric and attach it firmly with tape or glue; this will act as an anchor point at the edge of your garland so the segments don’t move around too much when draped over furniture or walls. Finally adhere each individual piece to the string/yarn using tape or glue until complete; be sure to keep spacing in mind when placing pieces on the string/yarn as they may overlap if placed too close together. Hang up your finished product near windows, doorways or anywhere in need of a little festive flair!

Step-by-step instructions

Creating a paper bag garland requires very minimal supplies and can possibly be done with items already in your home. This fun craft is perfect for upcycling old paper bags and adding some extra decorations to your home.


  • Old paper sacks from groceries, gift bags, etc.
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape or string

Step 1: Start by taking all of the papers bags you will be using for your garland and flattening them out on a flat surface. Then, draw the desired shape (star, hearts, etc.) on each bag. This can be done by tracing a template or by drawing your own shapes freehand. It is a good idea to draw lightly so it’s easier to erase if you make mistakes or change your mind while crafting.

Step 2: Cut out each shape from the paper bags with scissors in one clean cut so that they look neat when they are hung up as part of the garland. It helps if you use sharp scissors so it will be easier to cut through the paper bags without creating tear marks or jagged edges that could ruin the look of your design.

Step 3: When you have finished cutting out all of your shapes for the garland, start hanging them up! To do this, measure how long you want it to hang and add another foot before cutting off excess tape/string from both edges. Then begin attaching each shape at approximately four inch intervals on both ends of the tape/string until you have achieved desired length and shape of your garland.

Paper Bag Lanterns

Making paper bag lanterns is a great way to upcycle old paper bags and add a bit of decoration to your home. This project is easy to do and requires very few materials, such as scissors and glue. With a few simple steps, you can create a beautiful paper bag lantern that can be hung in your home. Let’s get started!

How to make paper bag lanterns

Paper bag lanterns are an easy and fun way to upcycle old paper bags. With a few basic supplies, you can transform flat paper bags into creative light-up decorations that will add atmosphere to any room. Making paper bag lanterns is a great activity for children and adults alike. The end result is an attractive, softly glowing light source which can be used as a decorative centerpiece or hung up in strings around the house.

To make your own paper bag lanterns, you will need:

  • flat paper bags
  • paper scissors
  • a pencil or other pointed object
  • battery operated tea lights
  • or other color changing LED lights (optional)
  • miniature fairy lights (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Begin by cutting the flat paper bags down to the size that you desire; for example, for a small lantern, decrease the bag length by about 2/3rds of its original size. Your chosen size should comfortably fit around your chosen light source with some room left to fold over at the top of the bag and secure it so that it is snug but not too tight.
  2. Trace a pattern onto them with a pencil if desired; there are many different designs available online. You may even wish to create your own! Keep in mind though that intricate patterns don’t work quite as well with this craft as simpler patterns do, so keep it relatively simple if possible.
  3. Pop open one end of each flattened out bag and insert either battery operated tea lights or other colored changing LED lights such as mini fairy lights inside each one before folding the end back over and tucking it in place securely; if needed add small pieces of tape to hold everything together snugly.
  4. Place them all onto baking trays lined with foil before baking their contents at low temperatures (~170°F/80°C) for approximately 15 minutes or until all perforations have been opened completely.
  5. Carefully remove from oven once pierced through completely and allow cool before carefully stringing together multiple pieces using festive ribbons.
  6. Hang up near windows, across porches during night parties or anywhere needed in order to add extra soft lighting wherever needed!

Step-by-step instructions

Creating paper bag lanterns is a great way to upcycle old paper bags and add a unique, handmade accent to your home decor. These hanging paper bag lanterns offer a soft glow in the evening and provide an imaginative display during the day. Follow this step-by-step guide for making your own paper bag lanterns.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need two medium or large sized grocery bags, scissors, craft glue, string for hanging, paint or markers for decoration, and tea lights or LED lights (for use indoors only).
  2. Cut off the handles from each grocery bag. Using a ruler to measure out the sections evenly can help you make sure they are uniform in size.
  3. With your scissors, gently round the corners at the top of each panel of the bags to achieve an interesting shape. Then use craft glue to attach one panel on top of another in an alternate design; it’s like folding an accordion along its sides but alternating panels from each side to get one bigger x-shape when you’re done attaching them all together with glue. Once you’ve glued all 4 panels together lengthwise and 6 panels together widthwise you should have a large boxed frame with no top or bottom; this will be your lantern frame!
  4. Paint or draw designs on both sides of your lantern frame if desired; let dry before going onto Step 5.
  5. Turn over and fold down inner edges along entire perimeter 1/2 inch all around while still flat on table – this forms a hem that allows light inside without allowing it to escape out hems when later filled with light source (you’re folding down like you would on fabric edges so that it lays flat when finished looking like a stitch line). Glue base hem edge in place when finished folding over entire perimeter at once.
  6. Turn folded base hem line side of box upright – after here this should look like a box but closed completely at top except for hole opening left exposed along base “hemmed inside” area where light source will ultimately be placed from beneath which is used as hole instead by turning box upside down – see diagrams above : ). Above diagrams show what we have now after turning cardboard box structure rightsideup again and now glue folded sides of top flaps inward onto inside surfaces forming “boxed lid closure” atop our beloved creation looking just Boxy enough 😀 .. tight fit works perfect !


Upcycling old paper bags can be great for kids and adults alike. Not only are paper bag crafts fun, but they are also a great way to give old paper bags a second lease on life. From paper bag animals to handmade lanterns, paper bag crafts can be enjoyed by all ages and can be used to bring some art and creativity into your life.

Now that we’ve explored the various paper bag craft ideas, let’s take a look at the conclusion.

Summary of the project

In conclusion, there are countless creative and fun ways to upcycle old paper bags as a craft supply. Old paper bags can be transformed into exciting décor, such as flower garlands or 3D stars. Paper bag crafts can also be a great way to express your creativity with projects like faux wooden tags or homemade postcards. And of course, you can make all sorts of useful items like totes and stylish handbags to carry around everyday items.

Not only is upcycling old paper bags an incredibly easy and enjoyable craft project, but it’s also an environmentally conscious option for dealing with excess paper waste. So the next time you clean out that drawer full of paper bags, remember that with a few simple supplies, you can repurpose them into something useful and beautiful!

Tips for making creative paper bag crafts

Craft projects made with recycled paper bags are a great way to keep your old grocery bags from ending up in landfills. Crafting with old paper bags makes for a fun and educational activity that teaches kids about repurposing and reusing materials.

Here are some tips for making creative paper bag crafts:

  1. Collect your supplies: Gather all your necessary supplies before you begin the craft, such as scissors, markers, paints, glue and glitter.
  2. Choose the right bags: Try different sizes and colors of bags to create a variety of shapes, sizes and textures in the final project. Brown lunch sacks are great for puppet-making while larger grocery bags can be used to make a storage bin or purse.
  3. Experiment with embellishments: Adding decorations like pom-poms, twine, ribbon or decorative buttons can take an ordinary paper bag craft to the next level!
  4. Have fun and stay creative: Be creative but don’t be afraid to experiment! There’s no right or wrong way to make a craft out of paper bags – just use whatever inspires you!

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