How to Print on Paper Bags


Printed paper bags

Have you wanted to give a special gift recently but weren’t feeling particularly creative? Seen lots of adorable gift wrap on Pinterest and your favorite blogs, but discouraged and overwhelmed? Let me help you be the generous person you want to be, even if you aren’t feeling bit by the creative bug.

Personally I LOVE giving gifts. I get so much joy out of giving thoughtful gifts. Sometimes I feel restricted by my budget and time; but whenever I do get to give, even the smallest thing, it’s always such a blessing to me and I think to the recipient too.

I have been wanting to attempt to print on paper bags for awhile. This week I got the chance as part of a teacher appreciation project I was part of at our school. My friend Kristi created these amazing bags for her wedding (and are ALL over Pinterest and the internet) that I adore. I knew I needed to print them at home, using my HP printer, so off to the land of pins I went. I found a ton of examples (this, this, and this are just a few of my favorites) and some great instructions like this one.

With some trial and error I printed 80 bags! (Two nights of conferences, times 40 teachers) I only had to trash two bags. I was pretty pleased with that. So, here’s how I figured out how to do it. It’s simple, I promise. (HINT: the better you know your printer, the easier this will be.)

FYI: I did try to send the bag right through the printer. I was really hoping this would work. It didn’t jam. The bag was just too thick to make it through at all. But might work for you. It’s worth a try if you are feeling patient. If not, skip it.

folding the paper bag before printing


If you are using a regular paper lunch bag, fold the back down, and work out as many wrinkles as you can.

(In my printer, anywhere that was “raised” rubbed the ink cartridge and left some extra ink in a few places. I decided this gave the project “character”.)

tape paper bag before printing


Center the bag on a piece of card stock. I secured with masking tape. I also tried scotch tape. I think I liked the scotch tape better.

Smooth the tape REALLY well. You don’t want it to get stuck in your printer. Take it from me.

teacher appreciation paper bag art


Create your artwork. If you like my teacher appreciation artwork, you can download it here.

You might have to flip the print direction in your print settings depending on how your printer works.


Try these other designs and fill with lunch for your spouse; a muffin for your boss; a ball of yarn for your friend who crochets; the options are endless. (Click on image to save PDF)

Let me know if you found this tutorial helpful or have any questions. 

01-paperbags_art4 01-paperbags_art3 01-paperbags_art2

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