When’s the last time you made use of a paper bag? The chances are it was such a natural occurrence you hardly noticed the bag at all. If you’ve bought something from a Post Office, a greengrocer’s, a newsagent’s shop or book store, the goods may well have been placed inside a natural brown kraft paper bag with the top folded over for protection, or a white sulphite bag torn off a string and twisted tightly at the corners.
But aside from the retail experiences, there are many other uses for the humble common-or-garden paper bag, some of which you might never have thought of.
Keep mushrooms fresh in the fridge with paper bags
When storing mushrooms in your fridge, a paper bag comes in very handy. If you leave them in plastic, the mushrooms can quickly turn for the worst, becoming slimy and inedible. Keep them at their best for a few days longer if you keep the mushrooms wrapped in paper instead.
Clean artificial flowers with a paper bag and salt
If you have silk or man-made artificial blooms in your home or office, you can easily refresh them and remove any dust lurking on the petals by dropping the heads into a paper bag containing a few spoonfuls of salt. Gently shake the bag gently a few times, and when you remove them you’ll have artificial flowers that look almost new again.
Use paper bags to create simple glove puppets
Here’s an idea if you’re caring for young children on a rainy afternoon. Get a supply of basic craft materials – crayons, paints, pens, glue, glitter, scissors and offcuts of wool. Draw some nice big friendly eyes on the front and decorate using the other materials, with wool for the hair. Call them monsters if you want to use a little more creative license and come up with designs that are less than human looking!
Ripen fruit in a paper bag
Surprisingly enough, paper bags can be an effective way to ripen fruit. Place the fruit inside a bag, and add a few pieces of already ripe fruit, peel or banana skin inside. This will accelerate the ripening process and will work with all sorts of fruits, including peaches, bananas, pears and apples. Try it with tomatoes too. When the fruits are ripe, you can keep them fresh for longer by placing them in the fridge.
Paper bags can make great firelighters
If you need to start a fire in your fireplace and you’ve run out of standard firelighters, why not have a go at making your own. You can fill them with screwed up newspaper, crumpled scrap paper and even pieces of candle wax. Place this in the grate under the logs or coals, light with a match and you’ll find the fire roars into flame in no time.
Dry fresh herbs in a paper bag
Wash and completely dry a handful of fresh herbs, and place upside down in a paper bag, removing any leaves that are lower down the plant. Tie the bag around the stems, create a few holes to encourage the drying process, then keep them like that for several weeks in a warm place. When the herbs are dry you can release the fragrance and flavours by bashing them with something heavy, and then storing in a cool dark place in an airtight container.
Use a large paper bag to cover a school book
If you have a last minute request to cover a school book for the next morning, look no further than a humble paper bag for the materials required. Cut down the sides so that you have a flat piece of paper with the crease down the middle. Lay that on top of the book and fold the sides around, fixing in place with adhesive tape. Remember to cover the book closed rather than open or else you’ll find the cover isn’t large enough.
These are just a few of the numerous uses people have found for paper bags over the years. They are a versatile and cost-effective packaging item that it’s always worth stocking up on. If you’re looking to purchase paper bags, have a look at the Online Packaging Shop website, where you’ll find a few different sizes and styles, each available at bargain prices when you buy in bulk.
Do you have any other suggestions for interesting ways to use paper bags? Send in your comments so that we can add them to our list of ideas.