Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Paper Bags: What To Do With Them?

In elementary school paper grocery bags were for one thing only and that was for making protective covers for our school books! This crafty upcycle project always mystified me because in our throw away society it was rare we re-used anything growing up.
Upcycling paper bags for new uses may seem a little on the crunchy side at first but there are a few cool ideas out there and I am looking for ideas from you too!

1. A Cat House - As shown in the picture above almost every cat I have had the pleasure of knowing loves a grocery bag. They will play in it, tear it up, sleep in it, shoot like a cannon into it...the fun only ends when the bag is destroyed and ready for the recycle bin.

2. Holding Recycles - I frequently use paper bags to hold my paper recycle together because the bag can be recycled with it's contents. It keeps things more organized and helps cut down on the funk ass smell of junk magazines.

3. Stationary/Drawing Paper/Diary - Why buy paper to write on when you can cut out cute little squares and press a stamp or sticker on it and write a friend a letter!?!! It's also great for drawing on with charcoal, pencil, & ink, or putting a bunch of pages together to make a diary. Just punch some holes and put scrap fabric or twine through them to hold the pages together. Everyone needs a journal to write privately in!

4. Seed Packet Business Card - Check out Autumn's fantabulous tutorial at Crafting A Green World on how to turn your brown paper grocery bag into business cards that double as seeds packets... all done on your home printer!

5. Puppets - This is either a project to do with your kids, nieces and nephews or for your inner child. Which ever you choose these easy animal puppets from brown paper bags are so super cute (my favorites are the raccoon and frog!), check out how to make them HERE. (The animal eyes, legs and smiles can be made with junk mail or magazine cut outs too!)

6. Recycle (the obvious!) - When the life has gone out of all these ideas, don't forget to recycle the paper and help contribute to saving a few trees.

What do you do with paper bags? Please share all your ideas to reuse paper grocery bags no matter how crunchy, crafty or crazy!


ruralmamma said...

love love the seed packet business cards.. I am going to whip some up!...with the four bags I have from the day I forgot my own bags..they have been tucked in the pantry for like a year! Yay thanks!

The Oko Box said...

Hey Rural Mamma!
If you make them, put a link on here to your success! :)
I always bring my own bags too, but occassionally a bag is forgotten...then I gotta make something with them!

Nick Got Creative said...

AWWWWWWWWWW toots is crazily cute. I love her!

I hadn't put a whole lot of thought into reusing paperbags. For some reason tear away clothes sprang to mind! I think I'm going to start that project right now....

Lou Cheese said...

Lou Cheese on a unencrypted network said...
Making book covers are a great way to recycle used gift wrapping paper too.

The Oko Box said...

Nick - Sound like an idea you can only share/test out with 'special' kinds of friends... or maybe strippers.

Lou Cheese - That is a good idea, would be way more colorful then the usual brown book. As long as it's santa free so the kid doesnt get made fun of all year ;)

Mokihana and Pete said...

We use still bring home the paper bags because it's what we use for garbage, until it's recycled or composted. And, since my super-sniffer nose doesn't do 'stationary' anymore notes on the bag is a perfect solution. And @ruralmamma, what a great idea to spread the good acorn squash seeds we've been collecting. Thank you, The Vardo People

Ruth R. said...

My cat loves to dive into brown grocery bags, too! The thing I use them most for is to wrap packages for mailing, instead of buying those padded mailers or expensive brown paper to wrap stuff in. works great! Remember in Sound of Music: "brown paper packages, tied up with string...these are a few of my favorite things!"..etc. etc.
I love that you ask questions like these, Leslie...it helps all of us!