Recycle or Upcycle? What would you do if this is the only bag you have, and you need one for tomorrow? Some people may rush to a store, while others may say “repurpose it!”
This was the decision I had to make last night. Actually, I had no choice other than to choose the latter.
In this tutorial, you’ll find how to upcycle a paper bag.
What you need for an upcycled bag
- used paper bag
- decorative paper (I used scrapbook paper)
- any decorative items (option)
How to upcycle a used bag
Step 1: Design
Before you begin, think about a design. For this, the scribbles that were already on it needed to be hidden. Identifying things like that is the best way to come up with a rough idea.
Step 2: Cut & Glue
First, cut the decorative paper into your desired size. For this design, the bag has both sides decorated. You can certainly just choose one side or both.
When you are done, glue it/them onto the paper bag. Let’s take a look at the bag, and see if it needs more decorations.
Step 3: Search for additional decorations
During my search for some additional decorations, I found paper flowers that I purchased almost 20 years ago. It’s like a treasure hunt!
During many art/craft projects, you will always find something more to add. Just like our life, we need to be flexible and open to any new ideas. So feel free to add anything you like. You are the creator!
So I placed the flowers where I wanted them to be, and glued them on with liquid glue. Then I glued the green strips on each side. You might have noticed the big crease on the bag. I wanted the green strip to hide it nicely.
Final Step: Completion of the upcycled bag
Prior to making the upcycled bag, I made a multi-purpose jar for the teacher I work with. The pink and purple strips of paper in the picture above were created by our students.
This time, I asked each student to write a message for her in the heart. You guessed it right! They are also bits and pieces of scrap paper from our art projects.
Then I placed them in the jar, and I put them in the bag. Lastly, I added reused tissue for a splash of colour to complete.
By now, many of you know I repurpose items rather than buy new ones. My mom was the opposite, and she was an ideal consumer!
Growing up in Japan, I learned how to present myself just like others. Like a nail sticking out, someone always hammered me down… So when I entered a fashion design course in high school, it changed my world!
It’s good to be different!!
That’s why I ended up living in Canada where diversity is valued. In the beginning, I was shocked by the west coast lifestyle being so laid back. It was like adjusting from military life to a hippie community. And it’s totally OK to express who you really are!
Well, I struggled with it as well. But I realized how important it is to be who I am! People in general definitely appreciate individual creativity.
Unlike a brand new bag, a repurposed bag can tell you a lot about me. Whenever we create something, we are also telling our stories. Sometimes it’s much easier to express than using words.
Now that you’ve read this, would you choose to buy new or Upcycle?