Paper Bag Rope Garland

The next time you’re checking out at the grocery store and you get the question – “paper or plastic?” – choose paper and give this fun holiday project a try…

Paper grocery bags are cut into 1.5-inch wide strips, rinsed with water, twisted and baked into a rope that is then decorated with leftover craft supplies and stars punched out from catalog covers.

Get out all of your leftover craft supplies – you're gonna use them up on this project and it's going to look great!

Stars punched out from catalog covers are stitched on with embroidery floss.

To begin, cut down the side of a paper grocery bag and remove the base so the bag lies flat. Cut off a 1.5-inch strip from the bottom of the bag.

Quickly rinse the strip of paper under water. Just a quick rinse, do not over saturate or the paper will tear.

Squeeze excess water from paper, flatten first and then twist into a rope. Clip on clothespins every 5 inches or so to keep the paper from unraveling. Place on a baking sheet. Let rope air dry overnight or place in 150 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes to dry.

Once paper rope is dry it is stiff and will not unravel. Remove clothespins and straighten out by gently pressing the rope in the direction you want it to go in.

Now you can start decorating your paper rope. I started by wrapping sections with yarn – tie the ends of the yarn together to secure.

I wrapped embroidery floss over the yarn and stitched on bells and pom poms.

Punch out stars from cover stock paper (the thicker cover paper of a catalog works best for this).

Using a needle and embroidery floss, stitch a simple design into the star and tie it onto the paper rope.

Be sure to leave some of the paper rope showing – it's more interesting that way.

To build a longer garland, tape the ends of the ropes together and wrap with yarn to hide the tape.

The kids can definitely work on this with you. Have fun!



  1. teresina  November 16, 2012

    Cute… and super easy!!

  2. Kelly  November 16, 2012

    I was thinking…you could also cut the base off, leaving the “tube” of the bag intact. Start cutting at the bottom edge, spiraling up as you go, keeping a continuous even width. That would make one long strip of paper!

    • camilla  November 17, 2012

      Hi Kelly – Great idea! Thanks, C

  3. catie  November 16, 2012

    this is insanely awesome!!!

    • camilla  November 17, 2012

      Hi Catie – so glad you like it! C

  4. Sophie  November 17, 2012

    Dear Camilla, I visit your nice blog very often but it’s may be the first time I leave a comment.
    Just to tell you that I love the crafts you make ​​with a shoestring . All of them are always delicate, beautiful, poetic, modern. And this garland is absolutely adorable !

    • camilla  November 17, 2012

      Dear Sophie, How kind of you – thanks so much! – Camilla

  5. Lisa P.  November 17, 2012

    Stunning! I absolutely love it!!!! Got to give this a try!

    • camilla  November 17, 2012

      Thanks Lisa!

  6. virginia  November 18, 2012

    Maravillosa idea!!! Regards.

  7. Alessandra  November 18, 2012

    “Bellissima” !!!!
    xxxx Alessandra

  8. Mimi  November 27, 2012

    Wow! I love the twisted texture of this made from the grocery bag! Adding the embroidery floss and bells and stars is genius! Can’t wait to share this with my grown kids. We love finding new creative ways to create together for the holidays. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Kate  December 7, 2012

    I love love LOVE this idea. Definitely trying it on my next day off. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  10. Sandra C  December 11, 2012

    one word: genius!

  11. doro von Hand zu Hand  December 20, 2012

    that’s a very pretty idea.

    I linked to your tutorial on my blog – thanks for sharing!

    doro K.