paper bag folders

I've been teaching some collage classes through a non-profit called  Arts Outreach. For the last session, I had my students use oil pastels and chalk pastels on panels from paper bags to use as covers for their books we were collaging into. After the class, I was left with PILES of small panels, large side panels and handles, which I couldn't stand to throw away after emphasizing repurposing with my kids for 6 weeks.

So! I started playing around with the extras...I've come up with two results so far using the handles from paper bags and the large front panels. With the handles I ended up weaving them into little baskets to hold my succulent plants (which I will make a post of soon, since I'll be teaching my kids this summer how to make them!)  and with the large panels I sewed them into some folders.

Cut the large front panels off of the bags, the side with the handles, right along the edge of the panel. You'll get 2 folders from one bag...

Next you'll need to take the handles off. Pull them off gently so you don't rip a hole in your folder. Toss 'em if you want or hold on to them for other projects...like weaving baskets!

 Fold them in half, or stagger them an inch or so if you want to see inside or the lining paper. Either way, make sure you fold them with the writing on the inside of the bag.

At this point, you can either leave them unlined or pick out some paper to put inside. I liked lining the folders that had the scalloped detail on the top edge...gives it a nice little pop! Cut the paper to the same size as the whole folder...or be lazy like me (and prettyful paper conservative) and cut enough to line just the visible side. Secure it with a little bit of glue to keep it from slipping around while you sew.

Time to sew! Sew the liner paper on first by going across the top and bottom edges. Then fold everything up and sew the sides. I would recommend sewing from the bottom up (or the base of the folder up to the opening).

All done! Now find stuff to put in them! I've been using them for storing small scraps of watercolor paper, scrapbooking paper, work stuff and even paper scraps from my classes with the kids! Let your kids organize their stickers or cards or what have you. You can write on them to keep more organized and if they get messed up it's no biggie!

Now I just have to find uses for all the rest of the scraps...baskets for the handles but I'm thinking handmade journal covers for the side panels...we shall see....more upcycling and repurposing projects to come!


  1. I love this!!!! I featured you this week on tute tuesday! Thanks for linking up, I'm going to have to try this very soon!

    1. Oh wow! Thank you so much! I'm glad you like it! They're very useful! I'll make sure I upload another tute once I make one! :D


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