6 Ways to Decorate With a Paper Bag

Recycle, reuse and restyle for Thanksgiving with these clever DIY projects from HGTV Magazine

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Photo By: Emily Kate Roemer

Photo By: Emily Kate Roemer

Photo By: Emily Kate Roemer

Photo By: Emily Kate Roemer

Photo By: Emily Kate Roemer

Photo By: Emily Kate Roemer

Paper Bag Turkey Tail

1. Cut a 6-inch-by-17-inch rectangle out of a brown paper bag. 

2. Place strips of colored washi tape horizontally across the paper.

3. Fold the paper accordion-style. Place dabs of glue between the folds along the bottom edge of the rectangle, and pinch the folds together to create a fan. Secure with a small binder clip until the glue dries. Remove the clip. Attach the fan to a faux pear with two pushpins.

4. Stick two straight pins into the pear for eyes. Cut a small diamond out of the paper bag, and fold it in half for the beak. Attach the beak to the pear with double-sided tape.

Tape: Scotch Expressions washi tape in blue, $9 per roll, overstock.com; Masking tape in salmon pink, wakamidori, and shocking orange, $3.50 per roll, mt-tape.us; Faux Pear: Ashland 5"-tall plastic pear in red, $3.50, michaels.com

Paper Bag Votive Wrappers

1. Cut a rectangle out of a brown paper bag that is the height of a votive candleholder and wide enough to wrap around it plus half an inch.

2. Use a foam pouncer to coat a wood grain stamp with white crafts paint. Lay the paper flat and stamp it so the wood grain pattern runs vertically. Let dry.

3. Wrap the paper around the candleholder, and secure it with double-sided tape where the ends overlap. 

Crafts Paint: Wedding Cake by Martha Stewart Crafts; Stamp: Wood grain rubber stamp, $16, papersource.com; Votives: Clear glass votive candleholders, from $0.35 each, 100candles.com

Paper Bag Place Cards

1. Cut brown paper bags into 8 ½-inch-by-11-inch sheets. 

2. Scan real leaves and save them to your computer. Print the images onto the sheets of brown paper, and cut them out (including the stems).

3. Write guests’ names on the paper leaves with a metallic paint pen.

4. Tie ribbons around folded napkins, and tuck a leaf under each bow.

Paint Pen: Metallic fine-point paint markers, $13 for a mixed set of 3, papersource.com; Napkins: Funfetti cotton napkins, $48 for a set of 4, yaochengdesign.com; Ribbon: ½"-thick cotton twill tape in 83 orange and 73 hot pink, $1 per yard, purlsoho.com

Paper Bag Feather Garland

1. Click here to download the feather templates. Print feathers in various sizes, and cut them out.

2. Cut a brown paper bag into rectangles roughly the size of your feathers. Paint the rectangles with crafts paint (the feathers will come out better if you paint the paper first, then cut out the feather shapes later). Leave some pieces unpainted for brown feathers. Let dry.

3. Trace the feather templates onto the pieces of paper, and cut them out.

4. Apply gold leaf to the tip of each feather following the package instructions. Let dry.

5. Glue the feathers to a cord or twine, as shown. Let dry.

Crafts Paint: Assorted colors by Americana, Craft Smart and Folk Art; Gold Leaf: Gold leaf starter kit, $14, joann.com; Cord: Bead Landing hemp cord in metallic twist, $5, michaels.com

Paper Bag Doily

1. Cut a large square out of a brown paper bag.

2. Put the paper into a circle edge paper punch, and follow the punch’s package instructions to create a doily. We used a flower arches attachment to create the border shown.

3. Use a fine-tip marker to label the doily.

Paper Punch: Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Edge paper punch starter kit, $21, amazon.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Edge paper punch attachment in flower arches, $16.50, amazon.com; Marker: Tombow dual-brush pen in black, $3, joann.com

Paper Bag Faceted Vases

1. Click here to download the vase templates. We designed them to fit around 7 ½-inch-tall and 10-inch-tall cylindrical vases. Print the templates and cut them out. 

2. For each vase, cut out a piece of a brown paper bag that is a little larger than the template. Lay it flat with the template on top. Score the lines on the template using a ruler and a bone folder to make impressions on the paper. Using a pencil, trace around the edges of the template onto the paper, and cut it out.

3. Paint random triangles inside the scored lines on the paper with crafts paint. Brush white glue onto a few triangles, and sprinkle with gold glitter. Let dry.

4. To create the faceted look, fold all the diagonal lines into mountain folds (see Fig. A below). Then fold the horizontal lines into valley folds (see Fig. B below).

5. Wrap the paper around the vase, and secure it with double-sided tape where the ends overlap.

Vases: Cylinder 7 ½"-tall glass vase, $6, and Cylinder 10"-tall glass vase, $6.50, both jamaligarden.com; Crafts Paint: Assorted colors by Americana, Craft Smart, and Martha Stewart Crafts; Glitter: Martha Stewart Crafts Florentine glitter in gold, $5 for 1.5 ounces, joann.com