Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brown Paper Bag Crafts

The December 1890 Ladies Home Journal has been a great source of creative ideas for me this week. It gives me an idea of the kinds of things women made for their homes, that were both useful and beautiful.

This is a photograph of one of the projects illustrated in this magazine. It is made from some kind of board and satin ribbon, but I made one using brown paper bag material. These projects work with the heavy grocery bags that we get in America. This craft is longer to finish, mainly due to drying time, but otherwise, it goes together quite quickly. I think the more advanced crafters could really adapt this idea into something outstanding. This is just a sample of what could be done.

There is no tutorial for this one, because I was not sure what I was doing. I just cut a side of the bag and folded it in half, leaving a bit more on the back layer. I used the crepe paper that comes in rolls for streamers, pleated and glued it between the two layers, holding it with clothespins until dry. Ordinary school glue or white liquid glue works, but if you did not have it, you could make up a paste of flour and water, in a bowl, like we did when we could not buy commercial glue. The heavy brown paper takes craft paint very well. I used Folk Art paint, and let it dry.

Then I added any clippings I could find from magazines, and stickers, with ribbon trim. It is also painted with another layer of glitter paint.I punched holes in the back layer and threaded wired ribbon through it for hanging. It looks great on the wall. Click on the photo for a more detailed view. I like this craft, because it gets the mail off the desk and leaves me a little more space to write.

This one is much, much easier. It just requires the large side of the heavy brown grocery sack, and some clear tape. Roll it into a cone and tape it in various places.

With a hole punch or a pencil, punch a hole on each side. Thread wired ribbon, curly ribbon, or any kind of thing you like through it. Even jute rope or piece of fake ivy might look good. Bring the ends of the ribbon around to the front and tie into a bow.

I added dots of silver glitter on it, to match the silver edges of this wired ribbon.

This cone holds fresh leaves and branches and would also be great for a gift. Stuff the inside with tissue gift wrap and then load it with things to eat or bath products, pencils and art materials, sewing things, or whatever would make a good gift. The mail pouch could also be a great gift holder.

These heavy paper bags can be used for many things, which I hope to illustrate some day.


Lynn said...

Some beautiful ideas as usual - thank you - you are really helping me to "make something beautiful from very little" which my purse (and hubby) loves!!

Ace said...

I LOVE these crafts. I have found that each person has a certain organizational style and that mine needs certain things out. I have also found I am more apt to use things if they are beautiful. AND it seems that others will respect your things if they are beautiful. This is a great way to use your creativity and simple things around the house to create beauty.

These look just like something you would pay a ton for in some very fancy stores!

I am going to do this soon, as soon as Princess Grace sleeps more than twenty minutes at a time. But a Mama can dream :)

Many Blessings :)

A Mom said...

I so like the flower 'vase'! I am highly interested in learning more crafts that truly help the environment as well ;o).

candy said...

Simply beautiful!

Danae said...

I really like the unanswered mail holder idea... I think I need one of those for my home management area! I don't think the brown bags we get over here in the UK are as sturdy as yours, but I probably have some pretty card stock that would suffice...
Thank you for the inspiration :)
Sera x

Lydia said...


You can do this with a cereal box or any other empty food box, as long as it is dry food and was inside a wrapper. I cut our cereal box down so that the letters show on the top and I can easily reach them. Plaster papers and clippings on it and outline with lace and doilies or medalions or whatever you have. Use a calendar page if you like, to wrap it in, or wrapping paper. Coat with decoupage glue or white school glue. If you have no glue, make a paste with cooked cornstarch and water. Let cool and apply. It gives a sheen. Do not get cardboard too wet. I might be able to demonstrate this craft sometime i the future. You can punch holes in the sides of a cereal box and hang it or just use the handle for easy handling.

Danae said...

That sounds like a good plan; I will try that out with a cereal box :) Thank you very much, I appreciate your time Lady Lydia.

Sera x

Janet said...

What smart ways to make pretty things out of everyday things. Love your blog. Have a good weekend. Iris