Paper Bag Scrapbook DIY

Check out one of our resident tweens demonstrate how to make your own upcycled scrapbook journal out of a paper grocery bag!

My dear girl Miranda has been going nuts over this upcycle paper bag craft – and I had to share! Inspired by a school art project, she has been busy making paper bag scrapbooks with a handy pencil holder. She hasn’t yet figured out how she wants to fill the pages of her scrapbooks because she is having too much fun assembling them. This is a perfect rainy/snowy day project – especially if you are looking for an alternate use for your stack of shopping bags. Preparing for a family vacation? Use this craft to prepare a portable journal that can be filled during the trip. It would also make a perfect homemade gift for a friend – just dress it up with pictures and special notes, and give to your BFF!

Here is what you need:

  • Paper shopping bag with handles
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Stapler

(yes- that’s it!)

How to make your own paper bag scrapbook:

  1. Remove handles and set off to the side
  2. Cut down one corner crease of the bag
  3. Cut off bag bottom leaving approximately 3/4″ from the bottom of the bag – set aside for later
  4. Glue down the side edges and then fold in half (this is now your book cover with clean edges)
  5. Fold over side panel horizontally in half
  6. Estimate the width of the pages using the bottom panel folded in half as a guide – proceed to fold the side panel back and forth in accordion fashion to prepare the pages of the book
  7. Cut off any remainder that does not fit as a full page size
  8. Pick one side of the folder paper to cut at every fold point on that side and along the top edge that has the fold—you will be left with separate stacks of pages (approx 3 depending on the size of your bag)
  9. Stack the pages and perform any final trims for neat edges and sizing to fit
  10. Align the stacked pages with the folded edges in the crease of the cover and staple to secure
  11. Staple handles onto the cover – leaving a gap between staples for a pencil slot
  12. Decorate and fill

The final product!

Miranda loves her simple cover- but feel free to spruce it up with various craft materials like ribbons, paint, and stickers.

Here is one decorated with scrapbook paper, colored duck tape, decorative washi tape, stamps, and a cut-out photo. This would be a perfect homemade gift between friends!

This one was painted first in a variety of Spring colors, and then assembled. Finishing touches were put on using decorative washi tape.

We also made a couple of mini versions for her American Girl® dolls using coffee bags and decorated with ribbon.

For more paper bag upcycle inspiration- check out our upcycled paper bag painted rose bouquet or Tinkerlab’s DIY paper bag book with Japanese binding.

Have fun paper crafting!

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Lynnee Jimenez

Lynnee Jimenez -> I am a wanna-be crafter who is inspired by my crafty sister Pauline, my tween daughter and niece. By day, I work in high-tech. By night, I dream of learning how to best use gloss, glitter & my daughter's glue gun. I really want to create memories with my daughter to last a lifetime. 

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  11 comments for “Paper Bag Scrapbook DIY

  1. Janie
    April 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    She was purely delightful. As much as it was a fun project, the “teacher” was fantastic. She was animated, articulate and clearly relaxed and professional in her presentation. Thanks for the tutorial AND the entertainment. This young lady will go far in life – you can tell.

    • May 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

      I shared your kind & powerful words with my daughter (shown above). She had the biggest smile. I am sure she will come back many times to draw strength from your feedback. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

  2. m
    May 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Miranda is a wonderful teacher. She is focused & creative & one gets a real sense of love & pride in what she does. She is a great crafter……wow!!

    • May 6, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Thanks for the great comment! We are definitely proud of Miss Miranda!

      • Susie
        February 23, 2013 at 4:31 am

        You go girl:):):)

  3. Susie
    February 17, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Good Idea for adults also I want to make. One but prefer this thank

    • Susie
      April 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      It didn’t work

      • April 15, 2014 at 9:01 pm

        Hi Susie. Please let us know what didn’t work so we can help you and help make the tutorial more clear. If you would like to send a picture for us to review- you can send a picture to

  4. previous
    July 4, 2014 at 12:23 am

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    • August 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm

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Comments are closed.