How to Upgrade a Brown Paper Bag

Introduction: How to Upgrade a Brown Paper Bag

This step-by-step guide will show you how to spruce up a plain brown paper bag into a gift-worthy container for the holidays. I came up with the idea when I had to wrap baggies of Oreo balls for my suitemates but didn't have fancy bags and didn't want lumpy presents. Most of the materials are household objects, the other materials aren't that expensive, and it's a great way to use scraps from wrapping other presents.

Active time working: 10 to 20 minutes, depending on intricacy of decorations.
Passive time: 4 hours

Materials required: brown paper bag, wrapping paper, 3D paint, marker, scissors, glue (a glue stick works best but liquid works as well)

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Step 1: Cut Out and Arrange the Design

Cut out a design or two from your wrapping paper. If it has pictures or individual designs, you can either cut them out along their edges or cut shapes around them (like the rectangle shown).

Otherwise, feel free to cut out your own design on a regular patterned paper such as polka dots or stripes. You could even make snowflakes! I like this Instructable on making them have 6 points instead of 8.

Step 2: Attach the Design

Glue down your wrapping paper cutout onto the paper bag. Make sure to get the corners and edges or the next step will have questionable results. Using a glue stick makes this easy, but if you have to use liquid glue I recommend using a paintbrush to apply it.

The wrapping paper is thin, so try to get as thin of a layer of glue as possible. Too much glue in one area will cause lumps and bubbles as it is absorbed.

Step 3: Outline With 3D Glitter Glue

Outline your design with the 3D puff paint. Let it dry for 4 hours. If you use the Elmer's brand it will become flat, whereas the Tulip brand will remain raised.

Tips: Try to do it in one swift motion so that your hand remains steady. Shaking will make the line look a little wobbly. Put the line mainly on the wrapping paper rather than centered over the seam to prevent the paint from splitting.

Step 4: Finish Off With Markers

Use the marker to finish decorating the bag however you wish. I chose to keep it simple by writing the To: and From: labels, but you can draw pictures or even write a personal note for the recipient! You can choose to leave the top open and have tissue paper stick out or you can fold over the top and even staple it closed. Either way, you'll have a finished product to wrap up a gift for someone else.

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