Sunday, May 4, 2014

paper bag journal

I keep painting lunch bags, and decided to move forward with my idea of binding them into a book:

It's got a simple pamphlet stitch binding:

The open end of the bags form pockets:

Inside the pocket is a plain piece of card stock with a handy tab attached to make it easy to pull out. These could be used for collage, or writing, or more paint (or a combination of all three):

Here are the inside pages.   

I wasn't sure if this binding was going to work so I used my least favorite bags for this one.

I like these bags just fine, but there are others I like a lot more and I didn't want to use them as guinea pigs. 

The pages are pretty busy.
I'm not sure how it will work to truly use it as a journal.

 I suppose you could add photos and other mementos to the pages.

Or you could write/draw on small plain pieces of paper and glue them down on top of the painted page, leaving some of the background visible.

Some pages already have space for writing.  And you could certainly tone down some pages with gesso and incorporate your own imagery.

It's got a lot of potential.
I'm really pleased with the way this turned out, and it's such a simple project.
I think I'm going to host a "paper bag journal" swap at MMSA.

Meanwhile, I've got more paper bags to bind!


  1. What a gorgeous journal, cover to cover, page by page! why on earth would anyone want to cover it up :D?! I like those "I" tabs too ;)

  2. I love this! My first thought is to use it with the bound side down as a filing system.

  3. It is a great idea! Looks fantastic! Something like that would work well for me since I could hide my writing inside the pockets and not worry about who was going to read them!

  4. Karen, I do not have time to add in all the great ideas you have. :-) I just got that acrylic mixed media book out of the library...
    (Right this very minute, I am writing on deadline. I write three sentences, go to the Internet to look something up for the article, get distracted, here I am. Yet somehow I've gotten >1000 words with this method so I'll keep at it.)

  5. When we meet in person can you pretty please teach me how to layer like that? please? please?!

  6. totally cool painted pages. xox

  7. Oh yes -- I can think of LOTS of things to do with a journal like that!!!

  8. So clever! (send this idea to a magazine!)

  9. GET OVER YOURSELF!! This is incredibly delicious!!!!!!


    I love this. shut up.

  10. Yes, defiantly a MMSA swap. I have lots of paper bags I wanted to use in my journals. This is a great idea.

  11. Wow!!! What a fantastic journal. I love the bright colors and all the designs.

  12. What a great journal, love how you've used the paper bags!!!

  13. I love this Karen! I am still trying to figure out what to make for that swap.. I have big bags, little bags and bags under my eyes, but not one idea yet! Haha! I may try to decoupage a cover onto a small journal or something.. I'll see. :)