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Project: Make a paper bag album

Project: Make a paper bag album

A paper bag album is a fun project for or with kids!

Labor Day this past weekend is the traditional end of summer. (Never mind that where I live in southern Florida, it can still be hot enough to wear shorts on Thanksgiving Day.) This past summer, one of my projects for Summer Camp at Home was to add one photo each week of each of my sons to a paper bag album. I don’t know who came up with the idea to use flat paper bags as an album, but it’s a fun idea!

The first paper bag album I made was for my preschooler for Valentine’s Day last year. Each page had a picture of him and a reason why I love him.

Our summer paper bag albums show what the boys did so they will have something to remind them of those 10 weeks. I still plan to decorate the pages with stickers and doodles. Maybe someday it will be a fun keepsake for the boys. I think paper bag albums are fun for kids because they aren’t too fancy, and it’s OK if the kids rough them up a little. Or, I suppose, even lose them. Gulp.

A paper bag album is a great project for older children who can make this all by themselves. Or if your kids are still little like mine, you can put the album together before they even notice you’re doing something without them.

You’ll need at least three small paper bags (the kind you’d pack a lunch in — you can usually get a package of lunch bags in a store’s food container aisle for under $2) and something to keep all the bags together. That’s it! Then you can add your photos, stickers and anything else you like.

Fill the inside pages with your pictures and mementos


1. To assemble the album, place your paper bags lying flat on top of each other, alternating which side has the folded bottom end. The folded bottom end should face up so your outside covers don’t have that little flap. If your paper bag on the bottom of the stack has the flap on the left side, then the next paper bag in the stack should have the flap on the right side. Get the idea?

2. Next you need to secure the bags together. I used my sewing machine to create the “spine” of the albums. After I put the paper bags in a stack, I folded them in half to create a book so I knew where the seam should go — right down the middle. Sewing is probably the fastest and most durable way to keep the bags/pages together. You could also use staples, either inside or outside the album. (You might want to cover the sharp ends of the staples with a strip of decorative paper or fabric.) Some people use a hole punch on the outside of the album and thread ribbons through the holes, tying the pages together, for a frilly effect.

3. Then, fill your pages! Add a cover! This is the fun part. You’ll need to crop photo prints that you paste in (use a good scrapbooking photo glue) or resize them in photo-editing software to fit. When you get to a page that has a folded bottom end flap, put the picture right on top of it like it’s not there. Or, incorporate the flap into your page in a creative way. Some pages have open ends, and you can put keepsakes there (I saved Cars 2 and Winnie the Pooh movie ticket stubs) or glue them shut.

In keeping with the “paper” theme of the album, I printed out pictures on regular office paper. I also used digital scrapbooking images to create a layout for the covers. (For my son’s Valentine’s Day paper bag album, I created mini digital scrapbooking layouts for each page.)

Three paper bags was just right to give us one page per week of summer.

What will you make a paper bag album for?

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