DIY Project Ideas

DIY Project: Printable Paper Bag

Are you already tired of those regular brown paper bags? Want to make something a little sturdier and decorative – maybe even a gift bag? If you have some old magazines, newspaper, or craft paper lying around, make a decorative paper bag following these instructions.

1. Cut a piece of paper into 9.5 x 15 inches. Colored or patterned craft paper is ideal for this project, but wrapping paper or newspaper will do if you had something more delicate in mind

2. Place the paper in front of you on a flat surface. Make sure to place it in “landscape” orientation. Example, long sides up and down, short sides to the left and right.

3. Fold the bottom edge of the paper up to 2 inches (5 cm) and sharply crease the fold. When you are done, unfold. Note for later that this will become the bottom of the bag.

4. Fold the sides of the bag into place. Be sure to maintain the landscape orientation as you work.

  • Locate the center points on the top and bottom edges. To do this, either measure with a ruler or simply lift the paper. Maintain the landscape orientation. Bring the short sides together as though you were folding the whole thing in half. And pinch the top and bottom of the would-be fold to mark the center of each long side. Lightly mark these spots with a pencil.
  • Mark the paper again a half inch (13 mm) to both the left and right of each center point. When you’re done, you should have six marks total: three centered within one long edge of your paper and three centered within the other.
  • Bring the right edge of the paper to the leftmost pencil lines and fold. Once the fold is properly creased, unfold. Repeat the inverse on the opposite side.
  • Flip the paper over, re-fold the left and right sides downward toward the center, and glue them where they overlap. Be sure to fold along the same lines as before (but note that the folds will be inverted). Let the glue dry completely before moving on to the next step.

5. Flip the bag over so that it sits glued-side-down. Make sure to orient it so that one of the open ends point toward you.

6. Fold the side-creases inward to create a slight accordion effect.

  • With your ruler, measure inwards about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) from the left-hand side of the bag. Lightly mark this with your pencil.
  • Push the left side-crease of the bag inwards toward the interior of the bag. Do this until the left-hand mark you made in the previous step sits on the outer edge of where the paper is bending.
  • Press-fold the paper downwards so that the pencil mark lines up with the new folded edge. Try to keep the top and bottom edges symmetrical as you press the paper down.
  • Repeat on the right-hand side. When you’re done, the body of the bag should fold inwards on either side just like a grocery-shopping bag.

7. Fold and glue the bottom of the bag into place. To determine which end is the bottom, look for the crease lines from Step 3 that marks the bottom of the bag. Keep the bag flattened for now.

  • Fold the bag four inches (10 cm) up from the bottom and crease it along this line.
  • Keeping the rest of the bag flattened, prop open up the bottom of the bag. The inward-flaring creases should pop open, forming a square edge. Inside, you should see a triangle of folded paper on either side.
  • Fold the left and right sides of the open, square-shaped bottom completely down. Use the outermost edge of each interior triangle as a guide. When you’re done, the bottom area should have 8 sides like an elongated octagon instead of 4 sides like it had before.
  • Fold the bottom strip of the “octagon” upwards towards the center of the bottom of the bag.
  • Fold the top strip of the “octagon” downwards towards the center of the bottom of the bag. The bottom should now be neatly folded shut; glue the edges where they overlap and let dry.

8. Pop the bag open. Make sure the bottom is completely closed off and that there are no gaps at the glued edges.


9. Print it! The trick to printing on a paper bag is to create a custom printing size within your printer settings .Be sure to feed the bag in with the bottom of the bag facing up (see image above). Finally, in your printer settings be sure to flip the orientation of your print horizontally. That way when it prints on the bag, the words and design will be right reading after you fill your bag.

Let me show you our finished product. Happy Printing!


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