03 October 2011

How To Make A Paper Bag Scrapbook

Paper bag scrapbooks are really cute, easy to make and better still easy to show off. Their small size makes them great for gift giving (they are a great "teacher" gift - use photos of the class through the year), for display on a coffee table, or even just as a “brag book”. They are made by using paper bags (you know, the brown lunch kind) and are smaller than the larger scrapbook albums, usually 13 x 13 centimetres which means they are easy to carry in your bag.

Hannah has made these for birthday presents for her friends this year, using photos from parties, school, excursions, camps etc to personalise each one and they have been a huge hit. They cost very little to make if you use materials you already have and because they are so small they are good for using up scraps of paper and ribbon. I hate to waste those little leftover papers so this is a good way to use them all up.

Now since the paper bags are not acid free, it is important to only use copies of your photos. You can get duplicates made of your photos from your photo processing centre (look for special offers below 15c a print) or scan and copy your photos on your home printer if you are using old 35mm photos. If you are using digital photos you can print them straight onto photo paper. $2 Shops sell very good photo paper for yes, you guessed it, $2 a pack, just perfect for these little albums.

To get started you will need 3 paper lunch bags. You can use either the brown lunch bag kind or the white bags. I like the simple, naive look of the brown paper bags, the choice is up to you. For the cardstock backgrounds, you will need 3 sheets of 30cm x 30cm in a solid colour and 3 sheets of 30cm x 30cm in coordinating colours. For securing the book together, you will need about 60cm of ribbon. I use several different coordinating ribbons to add flair to the books. Finally, you will need whatever embellishments you choose such as stickers, brads, ribbons, tags, lettering etc. to decorate the individual pages.

To begin, lay the 3 paper bags flat. Fold each bag in half so that it looks like a little “book”. Put the 3 folded books together so that you now have a 6-page book. Hole punch 5 holes in the left side of the “book” (near the fold) . I like to use a ruler to measure the hole placement so they are evenly spaced. Then, to secure the book together use the ribbons and tie a small bow through each hole.

Once the book has been put together, you are ready for the next step. Cut the background cardstock pieces into 12.5cm x 12.5cm shapes and stick them to each page of the album. Leave the ends of the paper bag open, as you can use that area as additional storage space for photos, tags, and other special items. Embellish each page as you choose with special stickers, photos, journal entries, brads, tags, etc.

Enjoy your completed paper bag scrapbook!


  1. Ooohh, what a clever idea, do you have a photo of a finished scrapbook?

  2. Yes, I would love to see a photo of finished scrapbook too please.

  3. yes photo please.. :)

  4. Would love to see the finished product as it sounds great!


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