How to Make Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings

comments (9) January 12th, 2009     

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Jeff_Rudell Jeffery Rudell, contributor
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Nothing could be less trouble than putting a few stitches in a paper bag, but this simple operation will likely add dozens of uses to it (and keep it out of the landfill for at least a little while).
The tools are simple (and safe) enough for little hands to use, so consider getting your children involved. Ive found that kids are much more likely to reuse things that they themselves had a hand in making.
It is, after all, JUST a paper bag, so dont be shy about it; dare to be daring.
Nothing could be less trouble than putting a few stitches in a paper bag, but this simple operation will likely add dozens of uses to it (and keep it out of the landfill for at least a little while).

Nothing could be less trouble than putting a few stitches in a paper bag, but this simple operation will likely add dozens of uses to it (and keep it out of the landfill for at least a little while).

Photo: Jeff Rudell
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We all have seen it at some point during the holidays: a limp paper plate loaded with cookies and covered in cling-wrap that's not clinging. Is there a drearier way to transport baked goods, treats, or gifts from point A to point B? This past holiday season, I vowed to make every effort to put an end to this unsightly and ineffective mode of conveyance. I bought premade boxes and tins (expensive and NOT particularly green—though the tins were reusable), I made my own boxes (a substantial investment of time and energy and again, not particularly green because most of them ended up in the trash once the treats they contained were gone), and I recycled plastic containers that I attempted to tart up with fancy labels, pieces of gingham, and ribbons. All these efforts were modestly successful in one way or another, but my simplest effort, by far, garnered the best response from recipients: a humble brown paper bag.

In my household, brown bags are usually reserved for packing lunches for my nieces whenever they come for a visit or for applying breadcrumbs and cornflakes to chicken the way my grandmother used to do. As useful as even these traditional uses are, the brown bag usually can expect a single use before it's shipped off to the landfill. But with the aid of a simple hole punch (or two), a box of ribbon remnants, and the eager participation of the aforementioned nieces, we created a collection of whimsical and attractive bags that delighted their recipients. Most people reported back to me that they carefully folded their bag and tucked it safely away in a drawer to be used again. A few people said their own children commandeered the piece as a stylish lunch bag. One woman took hers into her 4th grade class and made a craft project out of it. All in all, it may not empty the landfills, but it will, in some small way, keep them from filling up so quickly.


 

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Comments (9)

Soil writes: How long having you being doing brown bags like this? Where did you get the idea from or where did the idea originate from?


Posted: 7:19 pm on September 27th
Mjoy writes: I think this will be great and its so easy

Posted: 10:21 pm on September 10th
Stile writes: elegantly simple. Lovely idea. Also great use for the ribbons I tend to collect.
Posted: 1:29 pm on January 17th
lling writes: Gush! You are really very creative !!! I love all your work!
Posted: 9:59 am on April 11th
Isobelrose writes: What a great idea !!! They look so good !
Posted: 9:39 pm on February 20th
eveh writes: You are just totally amazing. I want to make everything you come up with. I will use this idea over and over.
Posted: 7:32 pm on January 17th
AWilcox writes: Very neat idea! I love it. I attend many dinner parties and always bring a bottle or two of wine for the host. I am going to attempt making one of these nifty paper gift bags for the next dinner party I attend. I am sure it will definitely stick out among all the other wine bottles! The other guests will be envious.

Thanks for the great and very stylish ideas, you are the best!
Posted: 4:34 pm on January 16th
pinsandneedles writes: Thanks for the great ideas!
Posted: 4:59 pm on January 13th
dany4bec writes: Wow, perfect timing. Thanks!
Posted: 11:55 am on January 12th
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