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Weekend Project: Paper Bag Treatment

Posted by on October 7, 2011

With Columbus Day right around the corner, I thought this would be a nice project to do in honor of the explorer. I used a map in this project because of this, but you can use anything or nothing at all as the accent. This project will help you learn how to do a paper bag treatment which can be applied to walls, ceilings or in this case, a blank canvas to be framed.


GlueOr Wallpaper Paste (For Larger Jobs)

Paint Brush


Map (Or Accent of Your Choice)

Paper BagsOr a Roll of Brown Paper (For Larger Projects)

Cardboard or Chipboard Or Whatever you would like to cover in the paper bag treatment

Lighter (Optional)

I also Framed mine out with some leftover wood but you can use any type of frame as well.

1. Tear up the paper bags or brown paper into different size and shape sections. Be sure there aren’t any straight edges- every side should be a torn edge. Tear enough to cover the area you are working with. (You can always tear more as needed throughout the project) I have also done this project before and painted the paper different glazes and brown tones at random spots and then torn up the paper. It gives it a different look- I will post example pictures at the end.

2. Wad the paper up into balls. You are trying to distress them, this will give it a leather look once on the board/wall/ceiling. You can straighten out and crumple up over and over again as needed. (I have also done this project where I singe the edges at this point- again another look you may or may not want to try)

3. If you are doing a small project you can pour some glue into a small bowl and mix with a little bit of water to make the glue a little more spreadable. You want to be able to spread the glue onto the paper bag/brown paper easily. If you are doing a larger project, use wallpaper paste.

4. Take a piece of the crumpled paper and flatten out. Spread the glue onto the back of it and paste onto the board/wall/ceiling. Try to use straighter sides for the outline/borders of the project. Keep pasting the pieces of paper until the space is completely covered. You can overlap and layer as needed.

5. Once you have covered the space, I would apply a thin layer of glue/paste over the entire area to ensure corners or edges don’t curl up.

6. I then took my map outside and singed the edges with a lighter to go with an “antique” look. This is completely optional. You can always do less or more.

7. Glue/paste the map onto the project area in the desired location. Remember you don’t have to use a map at all or you can use another accent piece. Once everything is dry, its recommended to seal it for longevity purposes.

8. I framed my project with some wood I had leftover from another project- nothing fancy- I was going for a rustic look. You can frame it with whatever materials you have on hand or use a frame you already have. The possibilities are endless for this project- I’m just trying to give you the base concept for the paper bag treatment. Have fun creating your own creative masterpiece!

Here are a few other paper bag treatments I have done:
Ceiling: I singed the edges on each piece of brown paper- it was time-consuming but the end results were worth it!

Wall: I glazed and painted the brown paper in different spots before tearing it up. It gave it a unique and rustic look.

Ceiling with Map Accent:

Don’t forget to send us pictures of your own projects! Thanks!

Related posts:

  1. Weekend Project: Antique Paper
  2. Weekend Project: DIY Fall Wreath
  3. Weekend Project: DIY Candlescape
  4. Weekend Project: Mosaic
  5. Weekend Project: How to Make a Pillow

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