Frugal Living » 20+ Clever Crafty uses for Brown Paper Bags

20+ Clever Crafty uses for Brown Paper Bags

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Many areas are returning to paper bags in an effort to reduce the use of plastic, but if you’ve accumulated a stack, you might have found yourself wondering what to do with them all. Here are 20+ clever crafty uses for brown paper bags to give them a new purpose!

Weed Blocker

Eliminate the need for pricey landscaping fabric by repurposing brown paper bags instead! Lay the bags down directly on the soil, spray them with water to soak, then cover with mulch or pine straw. This will prevent weeds from growing up through and will naturally compost into the soil.


Origami Pendant Lampshade

If you’re feeling particularly crafty, transform a boring paper bag into a pendant lamp!

Paper Bag Pendant Lampshade

Pest Control

Save money and control household pests with ease by making your own sticky flypaper.


Poison Ivy Remedy

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being afflicted with an oozing poison ivy rash, you’ll love this handy trick. Cut a brown paper bag into strips and soak them in apple cider vinegar. Apply the strips to the poison ivy rash and leave it in place to draw out the urushiol oil.

Store Mushrooms or Strawberries

Mushrooms (or strawberries!) will last twice as long if stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. Simply place unwashed, whole mushrooms in the bag and fold the top over. The bag will absorb any excess moisture, preventing the mushrooms from becoming soggy or moldy.

B101 Store Mushrooms in Brown Paper Bag

Store Rice

Place rice in a brown paper bag before placing it in a sealed container. The paper bag will absorb any excess moisture, preventing the rice from becoming stale or potentially molding.


Pet Hideaway

Cats are notorious for loving to climb in and out of bags. Let your kitty have a little fun, place a small toy or a bit of catnip in the bag and let her enjoy herself.


Ripen Fruit

Here’s a basic kitchen hack you might not be aware of! You can easily ripen avocados, bananas, tomatoes or peaches by placing them in a paper bag. As these fruits ripen they produce a hormone known as ethylene. This hormone is naturally emitted as a gas and by trapping the ethylene with a paper bag, the fruit ripens faster.


Cover Books

Back in the day, every kid covered their schoolbooks with paper bags and then decorated them with graffiti. While this isn’t common practice anymore, it never hurts to add a protective bookcover to your favorite books. Hopefully, it’ll make a comeback!

DIY Paper Bag Book Cover

Decorative Luminaries

Transform a pile of bags into festive luminaries for any holiday!

Clever & Crafty Uses for Paper Bags
Keith Hinkle /Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Make Popcorn

Did you know that you can make your own microwave popcorn with plain corn kernels and a paper bag? You don’t even need to add oil to whip up a batch of freshly popped hot popcorn in less than five minutes flat.


Faux Leather Vase

Turn a plain glass vase into a faux leather vase by gluing torn pieces of brown paper bag to the glass with mod podge. Once the paper dries completely, spray it with a sealer.

Faux Leather Vase

Wrap a Gift

Cut the sides of the bag so it will lay flat and use it as wrapping paper for a gift. Add a piece of twine to finish the rustic look, or even a splash of color using a ribbon.


Decorate it further with stamps or personal drawings if you’d like. This rustic appearance is perfect for handmade gifts such as soaps, lotion bars, and bath bombs.

b101-brown-bag-wrapping (2)

Faux Hardwood Floors

Transform boring floors into faux hardwood flooring! Cut the bags into plank-width strips, paint or stain the strips using a graining tool and glue it to the floor. Once it completely dries, apply Varathane as a sealer.

Paper Bag Floor

Weave a Paper Bag Basket

Cut the bags into strips and weave them into a functional, sturdy basket. These are great in the kitchen for storing potatoes, onions or apples. They also make lovely gift baskets or rustic home decor. Place some toiletries such as sample size lotion or soaps in the guest bathroom of your home.

Weave a Paper Bag Basket
denise carbonell/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

What else can you do with Brown Paper Bags?

  • Make Puppets with the littles and decorate them
  • Make a ball toss game to keep the kids busy, space the bags apart for different scoring options.
  • Compost the bags
  • Remove wax from table cloths or carpeting- cut the bag open and place it over the wax stained area. Apply a warm iron quickly over the spot and it will absorb the wax. Immediately replace the paper with clean paper and repeat until all the wax is removed.
  • Scrunch the paper bag into a ball and use it to wash windows, it’s particularly helpful for scraping dried bug guts off vehicle lights.
  • Create blackout curtains- if you, or someone in your house happens to work nights and sleep days, paper bags work wonderfully to block out the light. Simply apply them to the windows.
  • Paper Mache- create sturdy paper mache pinata’s, bowls and more
  • Use them as a pet cage liner- shred bags to line the cages of hamsters, ferrets, and more for additional odor and pest waste protection

What are your favorite ways to repurpose paper bags? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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