How to Make Paper Bags From Newspaper

Updated April 17, 2017

Making paper bags from newspaper is a great way to recycle. Gift paper bags have become very expensive, but crafting your own gift bags using newspaper will save you money while recycling something that would ordinarily be thrown away. The whimsical nature of this project will have all the recipients of your gifts raving about the bag and wanting to know how to make their own paper bag from newspaper. This craft is very easy to do and can easily be constructed at the last minute.

Choose a box that is the size you want for your paper bag made from newspaper. It does not need to be empty. Once your are done shaping your bag, you are done with the box. Check your pantry for cake mixes, cereal boxes or any box that seems the right size.

Layer two pieces of newspaper together on your work surface. Two pieces will give you a good thickness to keep your bag from tearing too easily. Fold the newspaper around the box. Overlap an inch on the centre of one side of the box. Cut away the excess.

Lay the paper out flat again. You will be wrapping the box like a gift, so you need to determine how much excess you will need for the bottom of the newspaper to close the bottom of the gift bag. Place the box on this edge using that measurement. For the other end of the box, leave newspaper as tall as you want the bag plus an inch.

Wrap the newspaper around the centre of the box and hot glue the centre seam. Be sure to apply glue to both thicknesses of newspaper. Do not glue the newspaper to the box.

Fold the bottom of the paper bag newspaper like you are wrapping a gift and hot glue the flaps down. Do not glue the bag to the box. Remove the box from the newspaper gift bag.

Fold the top edges of the newspaper to the inside of the bag an inch. Cut two pieces of lightweight cardboard an inch wide by the width of the newspaper gift bag. Place the cardboard strips under the top fold of the bag and hot glue in place.

Punch two holes a few inches apart along one edge of the bag. Center these holes on the one inch strip. Match the holes with the other side of the bag and punch two holes. Thread ribbon through two holes on one side of the bag. Adjust the height for a handle and cut the ribbon. Knot the cut ends together on the inside of the bag. Repeat the handle on the other side of the newspaper bag.

Set the box you used to form the bag on the lightweight cardboard. Draw around the bottom of the box and cut out the cardboard. Insert the cardboard into the bottom of the newspaper bag to give it stability.


Twine, rick rack, leather shoe strings and raffia are all excellent alternatives for the newspaper bag handles.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Various sized boxes
  • Ruler
  • Lightweight cardboard
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paper hole punch
  • Pencil
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.