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8 innovative uses for paper bags

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Provided by Networx.com

Paper bags have a whole litany of fun and interesting uses beyond the obvious. I took a look at our friends over at Hometalk to pick out some of the most creative to get your inspirational juices flowing: hopefully once you finish this list, you'll be tempted to get your craft on, or you'll have suggestions for paper bag projects of your own!

1. Paper bag floors

This supercool floor, put together by Ashley in San Antonio, Texas, looks like aged leather, but it's made out of paper bags! She layered torn and crinkled bags on the floor and then coated them in stain and a polyurethane seal. The project took a while, but check out the amazing results.

2. Party bags

Stenciling transforms humble paper bags into eyecatching party bags; you could use them for presents and party favors, or you could stick an LED votive into the base of each bag to create a colorful light display without making a fire hazard. Consider making extras so you have a stock around in case of emergencies.

3. Patchwork wall

Don't feel like painting? Mimic Daune's patchwork wall, made with a variety of papers. You could include paper bags plain in the display, or consider stamping, stenciling, or drawing on them to make them more visually interesting. A very cool craft project, and one that can involve all members of the family.

4. Sander

This absolutely beautiful credenza has a little secret. After applying the stain, Leone used a brown paper bag to smooth the credenza and clean up excess stain without marring the surface. Once the surface was totally smooth and buttery-soft, she added the final coat of seal to keep the credenza looking beautiful for years to come.

5. Lampshade

Paper bags make great lampshades, too. They can be textured, painted, stamped, embossed, stenciled, and more, depending on the look and feel you want, while the natural glow of the lightbulb will turn your paper bag into a dynamic visual. Consider thinking outside the box a little; use crafting glue to attach leaves or other flat shapes that will cast interesting shadows and add interest. You won't even need a San Diego electrician for this one!

6. Paper bag garland

Seasonal garlands can be a great way to make a home more fun, but they can be pricey. Lisa Conforto came up with a totally free and very cool solution: make them out of paper bags. Her crafty garland is homey, fun, and a darn good idea.

7. Brown paper bag pumpkin

You know those hideous plastic bright orange pumpkins they sell at the store every fall? If you're thinking "no" because you've never let something like that into your house, I feel you. But what about as a base for a brown paper bag project? The mold for this rustic brown pumpkin is one of those plastic cheapies, and the brown shade fits in perfectly with fall decor.

8. Paper table top

Similar to the paper bag floors discussed above, this project uses paper bags to create a brand new finish. If a table, desk, or other furniture item is scarred, stained, and funky, paper bags can quickly refresh it without costing you a lot of time and money. And the results are pretty cool!

Have these projects got you thinking about that pile of paper bags in the back of your kitchen in a whole new way? Tell us about it!

Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.

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