How to Make a Cowboy Vest From a Paper Bag

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How to Make a Cowboy Vest From a Paper Bag
Kids can make their own western cowboy vest out of a paper bag. (Sunset Cowboy image by Rob Duffy from

Many children like to play cowboy games, especially if they get to dress the part. Children can make their own western vest from a recycled paper grocery bag that will be even more fun to play with once it is finished. This project uses basic craft supplies and takes an afternoon to make. It is a very good art project for children and they will be able to use their artistic talents to decorate it as well.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper grocery bag
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or paint
  • Aluminium foil
  • Yarn
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Lay the paper grocery bag on the table in front of you with the opening pointing toward you. Make a cut starting at the middle of one of the large sides of the bag. Cut from the open end down the middle of the large side and onto the bottom of the bag. Stop cutting in the middle of the bottom.

  2. 2

    Make a hole for your neck. Do this by cutting a round hole in the middle of the bottom of the bag where you stopped cutting in Step 1.

  3. 3

    Make arm holes. On each side of the bag, cut a hole big enough for your arm to fit into. Place each hole near the bottom of the bag on the opposite, smaller sides. Now you should have a wearable vest. The bottom of the bag will actually become the top of the vest. You should be able to try it on now.

  4. 4

    Make fringe along the bottom of the vest. You can tear the paper or cut thin strips about 3 inches long all the way around the bottom of the vest.

  5. 5

    Decorate the vest with crayons or paint. Make western designs such as top stitching, cowboy hats and boots, lassos, horses, cattle or cattle brands. If you use paint, let the paint dry thoroughly.

  6. 6

    Add additional decorations such as rosettes. Make these out of two circles of aluminium foil. One circle should be smaller than the other. Put the smaller circle on top of the larger one and punch a hole in the middle. Cut a foot-long piece of yarn and knot both ends. Fold it in half and push the folded end through the hole in the aluminium foil disks. Push the folded end through a hole in the front of your vest and make a knot inside the vest to hold it in place. Glue the rosette in place on the front of the vest. The two ends of the yarn will hang down the front of the vest.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut a five-pointed star out of the aluminium foil and glue it to the front of the vest for a sheriff's badge.
  • Turn the paper grocery bag inside out once it is cut if there is writing on the outside.
  • Crumple the paper a little to help the vest fit better.
  • Be very careful with scissors. Adults should supervise young children very closely during the cutting step.

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