Paper Bag Scrapbook Instructions

Updated on April 15, 2016
VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne loves crafts and scrapbooking. She shares her original ideas and tips for how to make crafts quickly and easily.

Paper Bag Scrapbook Designs

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Friendship Paper Bat ScapbookFinished Paper Bag Scrapbook with tags and photosMy Son Paper Bag Scrapbook Fall theme Paper Bag scrapbookBaby Scrapbook made with EnvelopesBirthday Paper Bag Scrapbook for girl
Friendship Paper Bat Scapbook
Friendship Paper Bat Scapbook | Source
Finished Paper Bag Scrapbook with tags and photos
Finished Paper Bag Scrapbook with tags and photos | Source
My Son Paper Bag Scrapbook
My Son Paper Bag Scrapbook | Source
Fall theme Paper Bag scrapbook
Fall theme Paper Bag scrapbook | Source
Baby Scrapbook made with Envelopes
Baby Scrapbook made with Envelopes | Source
Birthday Paper Bag Scrapbook for girl
Birthday Paper Bag Scrapbook for girl | Source

What is a Paper Bag Scrapbook?

Paper bag scrapbooks are made using paper bags for the pages. I love to make mini-scrapbooks for a personal and unique teacher gift or a brag book for grandparents. Since you only need 12 photos, this can also be a nice friendship book. If the books are assembled ahead of time, kids can put on papers for a party activity.Tags inserted into the pages with open sides (inside of the bag) can be for journaling or more photos are elegant for a gift but easy enough for kids to make.

Paper Bag Scrapbooks make a Good Group Project or Gift

In this article, I will tell you how to make these books for yourself, for gifts or for a large group. I also explain how to use the same technique to make Envelope Scrapbooks.

Because paper bag scrapbooks are a fast project which always turn out well, I've also frequently used this mini scrapbook for large groups. Here are step-by-step instructions.

Materials for Paper Bag Scrapbook

For each scrapbook you need:

  • 3 paper lunch bags (brown or white are widely available but you might look for other colors too)
  • 6 different coordinating scrapbook paper (you need 1/2 of six different 12x12 inch scrapbook paper sheets for each book, or you can use 6 sheets of 8/12" x 11" paper).
  • ½ of a 12" x12" sheet two-sided sheet of cardstock for tags
  • Yarn, Rafia, String Fibers or ribbons (approximately 18" for holding book together and three 5" strips for tags--you can use a single piece or several coordinating pieces as I use in my sample)
  • Embellishments and decorations (flowers, buttons, stickers, alphabets)
  • Glue stick, glue dots or another adhesive
  • Scissors, hole punch, paper cutter
  • Photos—about 12-18 (Print out Wallet Size Photos, or trim regular photos to fit)
  • Ink or paint (optional)

Paper Bag Scrapbook Kit Instructions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Paper Bag Scrapbook kits in BagsWhat is in Paper Bag Scrapbook KitPut bags top to bottomPunch holes in middle and put yarn through from inside and then tie on outsideTag fits inside pocketCut corners of cardstock into tag shape, punch hole and then put yarn through and tieUse ripped paper decorationUse simple rectangle of paper decorationDecorated with squares of paper and buttonsCover with rick-rack and button
Paper Bag Scrapbook kits in Bags
Paper Bag Scrapbook kits in Bags | Source
What is in Paper Bag Scrapbook Kit
What is in Paper Bag Scrapbook Kit | Source
Put bags top to bottom
Put bags top to bottom | Source
Punch holes in middle and put yarn through from inside and then tie on outside
Punch holes in middle and put yarn through from inside and then tie on outside | Source
Tag fits inside pocket
Tag fits inside pocket | Source
Cut corners of cardstock into tag shape, punch hole and then put yarn through and tie
Cut corners of cardstock into tag shape, punch hole and then put yarn through and tie | Source
Use ripped paper decoration
Use ripped paper decoration | Source
Use simple rectangle of paper decoration
Use simple rectangle of paper decoration | Source
Decorated with squares of paper and buttons
Decorated with squares of paper and buttons | Source
Cover with rick-rack and button
Cover with rick-rack and button | Source

Instructions for Paper Bag Photobook

  1. Use scissors or a paper cutter to cut two 4 ¾ squares from each of the six scrapbook papers (save scraps). You will have a total of 12 squares.
  2. Cut cardstock into three rectangles 4 by 4 ¾ inches. Cut the corners off one of the longer sides to make it look like a tag. Punch a hole in the middle of the top of the tage and then tie a ribbon in the hole so it can easily be taken out of the pocket.
  3. Fold lunch bags in half. Place together top to bottom with folded bottom inside. Punch 2-3 holes with a hole punch in the middle. Thread holes with about 18" of yarn or ribbon and tie together on the outside. Alternatively, you can staple the pages together or even sew them with a needle and thread or a sewing machine.
  4. If you like, you can paint or Ink the edges of bag, papers and tag (optional). This gives it a contemporary "shabby" look. You can either do this step now and let it dry, or wait until the end. Just be careful not to put ink or paint where you don't want it to go!
  5. Use a glue stick or other adhesive to put squares of paper on every page.You can either put contrasting colors on opposite pages or else use the same paper on the side by side pages.
  6. Tie 5" fibers or ribbon on each of the tags, slip them into the open sides of the bags.
  7. Your book is now all put together and now it is time to use glue dots, glue stick or photo squares to put on the photos. Or if you are making this as a gift for someone else to put the photos in later, you can head to step #8.
  8. Here's the fun part! You get to decorate the tags and pages with your leftover scraps of paper, buttons, stickers, flowers and other embellishments. Here are some easy ideas:
  • Tear one side of a strip and put it across front of tag or on the side of paper.
  • Make 3 small squares of paper and put them in a row, each with a button or flower on top.
  • Put a flower with a brad or button in the middle on the right-hand corner of a page (maybe on top of a larger square of contrasting paper.
  • Use a flower punch through a page and put a flower underneath it on the page below.
  • Use contrasting straight strips of paper, with or without flowers or stickers.
  • Use letters or word stickers on top of contrasting papers.
  • Put three or four buttons on a strip of paper.
  • Use rick-rack or ribbon across one side of a page or across the top of the tags
  • Make a collage of torn paper as a cover.

Baby Book Envelope Scrapbook

After making many paper bag scrapbooks, I began to wonder whether I could make this sort of mini-scrapbook out of envelopes. I had some large envelopes which opened on the short side. Using the same sort of assembly as paper bag scrapbooks, I made a similar but actually more elegant looking Envelope Scrapbook.

The size of the papers need to be adjusted to the size of the envelopes. Because envelopes have flaps, I didn't always make a tag, instead, I used the inside as a pocket to store memorabilla. I like to use these envelope scrapbooks as baby gifts. It is always so hard to know where to put the little tags on the baby in the hospital, the first haircut, and other items. These little envelope scrapbooks are a great present for a new mom or grandma because she just needs to put in a few pictures and she has something to share!

Using Paper Bag Scrapbook Kits

What to include in each Paper Bag Scrapbook Kit (I put in a Ziplock Bag)

  • 3 paper bags
  • 12 co-ordinating squares of 4x4 inch scrapbook paper
  • 3 squares of 4x 4 2/3 inch double-sided colored cardstock
  • yarn for holding the book together and tags
  • scraps of paper leftover from cutting the squares
  • instructions for making the scrapbooks
  • optional: some matching buttons, flowers, word art stickers or other embellishments that co-ordinate with paper

On the tables set up for making the books put:

  • glue sticks, glue dots or another adhesive
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • flower punch or any other equipment
  • stamps and ink or any other embellishments you want people to use

Making Paper Bag Scapbooks with a Group

When you are making a craft project with a group, you can prepare it two different ways.

Set Out Materials and Let People Choose:One way is to have all of the materials available and set out in a row so that people can choose their own items and then put their craft together. If you are making paper bag scrapbooks with a small group for a birthday party or with a group of crafty people, this method works great.

Make Kits for Paper Bag Scrapbooks: If you are working with kids or adults who are not scrapbookers, you may want to prepare kits for people ahead of time. I've found that when I'm doing a very large group, it helps me to prepare kits in order to pass everything out quickly and efficiently. By putting the papers and elements together for each kit, it really helps non-crafters because it eliminates their fear of not being able to choose things that match. It also helps to distribute everything quickly if you have a limited amount of time. Moreover, it keeps the mess more under control when you are working with kids.

Paper Bag Scrapbook Ideas

Use for
Along with Photos use:
Theme Ideas
Birthday party
cards or notes from friends
Celebrating You
Father's Day or Mother's Day
10 things I love about
Goodbye to Teacher
drawings of teacher
What you taught us
Baby Book
My first Birthday
Friendship Book
favorite sayings
How we are alike
Church or Scout Group
Bible Verses
Memories of the Year
Mom's group
stories or memories
How we've helped each other
Graduation Gift
awards or ribbons
Travel Book
tickets or soveniers

Ideas for Using Paper Bag Scrapbook

More Ideas of How to Use Paper Bag Scrapbooks

Even non-crafters are surprised at how well these mini-scrapbooks turn out! This craft works great for lots of group events like:

  • Mom's group
  • Scout group
  • Birthday party
  • End of year party
  • Retreat
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Youth Group

If you print out pictures ahead of time, then the whole group can make their own book to take home as a memory of the event.

I've also seen people use this project without pictures, letting teens write notes of encouragement to one another on note cards that they put on each page. Other ideas could be printing out Bible Verses, favorite quotes, favorite events of the year, or memories. If you make a paper bag scrapbook as a going away present, you can have people include why they will miss that person. For Father's Day or Mother's Day, you could make a "10 Things we Love about ..." book.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some paper bags, some scrapbook paper and make your own paper bag scrapbook for yourself or a friend!


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Ideas!! and very well laid out.

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      8 years ago from United States

      Thanks Shirley, I have taught this many times and it always goes well. You are right that we need to learn to reuse things we already have!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice project and explained in a way that makes it less frustrating. I find that if you look around the house you can find many things without having to buy. Recycle!

    • purplepoodles profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      I do scrapbooking and was very happy to see this on papper bag scrapbooks. It is very well explained and that is not something you see often. I can't wait to try it.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      9 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great hub with lots of detail! This is a wonderful, relatively inexpensive project that makes a great gift for a number of different occasions.

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      9 years ago

      Love all the details you included in making this project. Very well laid out and the books look delightful!


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