Re-using Brown bags

Have you been to a Whole Foods before? If so, you are probably familiar with their reusable bag policy where they will take 10 cents off your bill for every bag you bring yourself (you can then choose to donate or keep the change). This practice is lovely, but sometimes impractical.

As wonderful as it is to bring your reusable bags everywhere (and I do recommend it), stuff happens! Maybe you are on your way home from work and receive a message from your spouse saying you HAVE to pick up xyz from the grocery store.

So what do you do?

You run in right before closing time at the store, pack your cart with the necessities listed out (maybe a little more) and rush to the check-out. As you’re in line tiredly awaiting your turn, you hear the cashier ask the man in front of you, “would you like to donate your bags?”. In that moment, you realize that for the first time in your pristine zero-waste lifestyle, you don’t have a handy reusable bag on you for the odds and ends you picked up that night. Do you dare to cradle your arms and insist the lady behind the register pile them into your open arms? No. You act civilized and take a brown paper bag!

So now what do you do with said bag?

Recycle it? Possibly

Re-use it? Definitely.

When it comes to re-using bags, the possibilities are quite endless. In the past, I have made a hanging pencil holder for my kitchen out of a Chipotle bag and wrapped presents with larger Whole Food’s bags. Cutting them up into squares makes for great shabby-chic labeling on jars and containers, whereas leaving them whole- with the exception of the bottom and a side slit- make wonderful ground cover for paintings and art projects!

Seriously, don’t stress about the occasional brown bag. Stash that sucker in your arts and crafts section and come back to it when you need some vintage gift wrap!

Here’s a quick link to some creative re-uses of paper bags!

As for my personal endeavors in the world of brown paper bags, you can find a picture of my pencil holder/chipotle bag and a vintage-inspired gift-wrap for my boyfriend below!



For the “doodle” bag: take a medium sized brown paper bag (I used a chipotle’s to-go bag) and cut out one of the sides with the handles completely and follow steps bellow!


I added a string to the front only, but if you want it to look prettier, add a thick decorative ribbon on both front and back in replacement of the handle. This holds it up on a nail (or in my case, a push pin). The front ribbon will need to be slightly longer than the back ribbon, so hold it up where you plan on hanging it first to measure how much ribbon you would need for either side.

*TIP: Ironing the bags on low heat (briefly)  can help to flatten and give a tidier appearance to the crafting project.

P.S. The ribbon I used in the picture of the present was also a re-use! It came off of a gift from the holidays last year!

Happy Crafting,



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