Art Journaling: Brown Paper Bag Style


A few weeks ago in my supervision group, we spent some time learning more about how to create easy, simple art journals from brown paper lunch bags.  This idea was brought by one of the art therapists attending my group to share an inexpensive, easy, and fun book-making technique to use with clients and also in our own art-making.  Since then it seems like I have been coming across others doing creative things with paper bag journals and art journaling techniques.  In this post I wanted to share a few inspiring resources and tutorials I have crossed paths with recently and have inspired making and starting my own paper bag mini journal. 

– Check out this step by step visual tutorial of how to make your own brown bag art journal on the blog Yoli’s Sacred Journey as a quick way to get started, what you will need, and a nice how to overview.  

– Art therapist and mixed media artist Erin Kenepp recently posted about her process of saving paper bags from her lunch to recycle and re-purpose into art journals. Nice! 

– Over at Art Journaling as a Creative Process, art therapist Kelley Brown posted this awesome handout as a resource for inspiration and ideas to use with any kind of art journaling.  There’s lots more tips and techniques found on other postings from Kelley worth checking out! 

– Always inspiring Lani Puppetmaker’s Blogspot is also full of great ideas, inspiration, and resources related to all things altered art, journal making, and art journaling.  Lani recently reflected on how she has started to incorporate images and art journaling into her practice of “morning pages” (The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron).

Below is a little of what I have started so far with my own paper bag art journal.  I chose to punch holes along the fold and hold the pages together with textured yarn. The cover and the couple of pages I have started are a combination of collage images, distressed stamping ink, scrapbooking paper, and lettering stamping.  I really like the open edges that become pockets when the paper bag is put together to form the book.  I think this is perfect for hiding, holding, or containing even more art, writing, and other creative goodies! 

Cover- Believe: To Tell the Truth

 Here are the first couple of pages started, but not yet complete… Writing and words coming soon… 

Beginnings of Paper Bag Pages

Published by

Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC

Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC, ACTP: Registered Board Certified Art Therapist, TLC Certified Trauma Practitioner, Art Therapy Community Organizer, Artist...

10 thoughts on “Art Journaling: Brown Paper Bag Style”

  1. Well, scrapbooking and art journaling have crossed-over and comingled for years, so it makes sense that scrapbooking would make it’s way into the world of art therapy.

    What an awesome book, and a great way to upcycle!

  2. This is a great recycling tool. I was able to find old used books at the State University where I teach that were free to take and encouraged my students to take them for art journaling-it was a great success too.

  3. such great links, and such beautiful pages, so glad I found your page when searching for brown paper projects… 🙂 Will visit again!

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