How to Make a Paper Bag Book

 

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Looking for a unique way to display keepsakes or mark a special day? Paper lunch bags make a very interesting base for memento books – the folds & pockets create ideal nooks & crannies to tuck in notes, photos, ticket stubs & small souvenirs.

You will need:

3 paper lunch bags

Something to bind the lunch bags together (eg. paper fasteners, decorative twist ties, ribbon, cord, raffia)

Color coordinated papers & foils in a variety of textures

Photos, keepsakes, embellishments, ribbon & other trims

Glue stick

Scissors

Optional but nice to have: double-sided tape, pens, paint or ink

To create paper bag book

Place your lunch bags on top of each other (do not nest them). Alternate the ends – this will add visual interest & create places to tuck in little notes & pull-out places.

Fold the bags in half to create the spine of your book. Along the folded side punch
3 holes 2” apart & about ½” in from the folded edge.

Optional step: If you want to add a decorative binding to go over the spine, it’s best to do this before fastening the bags together. Cut a strip of your decorative paper about 5.5″ x 3″ & fold it in half lengthwise. Wrap it around the folded spine side over where you just made the 3 holes & glue it down. Once the glue dries, mark the decorative paper where you can feel the punched holes in the bags beneath.
Re-punch the holes right through the decorative paper.

Push the 3 brass paper fasteners through the holes (from front to back) & open them full wide. Now you should have 3 bags securely bound together. (You can trim the fasteners if you don’t want their “legs” so long & also the ends of the decorative binding if needed.)

Now the fun begins! Decorate your pages as you choose, using the papers, foils, photos, keepsakes, embellishments, ribbons & other trims. There are no rules as to how to do this but it can be easier build your pages with a theme in mind (eg. my vacation, holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s, people I love, my favourite things, whatever…).

So look at all your papers & trims to see what combination of colours & textures appeal to you. Imagine how you might combine pieces of them together to make page backgrounds, backdrops for feature images like your own drawings & photos or special keepsake items, pull-out tags that slide out of the pockets & nooks, other embellishments. (Tip: If you are using cord, especially the metallic kind. try pulling the ends between your fingers – they often frazzle into exciting firecracker-like features that really jazz up your book.)

Now go ahead & start creating your pages. Don’t feel you have to completely cover every page with paper – the brown kraft paper bags add a special look.

Below are some pictures showing the pages of my Valentine themed book. (Some show the same page with one of the features changed.) And if you need more inspiration try searching the Web for “paper bag books” to see what other folks have done with theirs.

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