How to make a paper bag star

I posted some Christmas decoration stars on Instagram that I had made from paper bags and was asked by several people for a tutorial. I need to say at the outset that these are not my invention. My Mum used to make them with us but I had forgotten how until I saw them on the internet somewhere, I’ve forgotten where – sorry!

Step 1:

Find some paper bags. You can use light lunch or sandwich bags if you are using them inside, but I wanted something sturdier so I bought these Kraft paper carrier bags from Officeworks. If you are super organised you can begin collecting them when shopping, but you will need seven of the same size and type bag, and that’s more shopping than I do.

Step 2:

Remove the handles. I keep them but they will recycle nicely. Mark the centre of the bag and measure down a few centimetres, I marked down 10cm on the big bags and 8 cm on the small, but this is a personal preference. Draw lines between your marks as shown below.

Cut the corner triangles off. You will have quite a pile, which you may find a use for. By the way, if you use thin bags you can cut them all together at the end of the making. My bags are thicker so I do them one at a time.

If you use the Kraft paper shopping bags, you will see that the bottoms are folded up like this.

Fold down the top of the edge like this:

Flatten down.

Step 3:

Each of your bags will now look like this. If you have children in your life, now might be the time to get them to decorate them.

Step 4:

You have seven bags which need to be glued together. Below is a schematic for how to do this. I have used both regular craft glue and a glue gun. The glue gun works best but is unforgiving. Craft glue takes longer to dry, isn’t quite as strong but does give wiggle room if you need to adjust your bags.

Step 5:

Your seven bags will look like this. Punch a hole in the top point of the outside two bags. I glue one of my cutoff triangles on each of these sides to give extra protection around the hole.

Step 6:

I use a couple of the discarded strings glued together for hanging up. I glue them together, overlapping one end over the other, and I wind a piece of cotton thread around the join for extra strength.

Step 7:

Thread your string through one of the holes and open out your star. Here is a rather dodgy video so you can see the opening out. This is a sandwich bag version so it’s a lot more flimsy.

Step 8:

You will now be able to thread the string through the other hole to anchor the two sides together. Play with the edges to make sure everything is sitting nicely and hang it up.

Step 9:

Step back and admire! I alternated big and small on my verandah, but all large ones would have been just as nice.

I was showing a friend how to make them and she used coloured bags. I thought it would be good for you to see how nice they look too.

I hope you try these. My aim is to make my house feel a bit festive without using plastic or non-biodegradable materials, and I think these tick that box.


10 thoughts on “How to make a paper bag star

  1. Thankyou very much Sue, will definitely give these a try with the grandchildren next week. Two questions – firstly, do you know where your friend Suzanne bought her coloured bags, and secondly, I’m not quite sure about the gluing. I expect it will be obvious when we do it, but do you mean glue exactly on the lines you’ve marked? Thanks, Jenny

    1. Thanks Jenny. Suzanne bought her bags at Officeworks. They come in three colours. Yes, you glue along the lines I’ve marked, the centre of the bag and along the bottom crease line. .

  2. Thanks Sue!! I especially like how the bottom foldy bit of the bag looks like flower stamens—I love them. 🤎 Wishing you happy holidays from the soggy west coast of Canada 🙃

  3. Merci beaucoup Sue! I have some brown paper bags here begging to be transformed into stars. I just hope that mines look as good as yours. (Nice to see your beautiful veranda BTW!)

  4. Thanks for taking the time to give us a tutorial! I’ll give it a try, though in our Pacific Northwest weatherI might have to relegate them to indoors.

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