In this tutorial, I’m showing you how to make large, quick, easy, and affordable paper bag snowflakes using lunch bags. I’m also turning one of them into a 3D paper snowflake lantern using fairy lights.
If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that I love snowflakes. I recently made the snowflake canvas art and a couple of years ago I made fanned posterboard snowflakes for our tree decor with a free downloadable cutting file.
I love how easy these large paper bag snowflakes are to make and they are the perfect last-minute decor and craft to do with your family before Christmas.
How to make large 3D paper bag snowflakes using lunch bags
- 9 lunch bags for one paper bag snowflake (white or natural brown) – I used brown because I wanted them to be a contrast to my ivory curtains and white walls
- craft glue
- clothing pins or little clamps
- fairy lights (optional) – I used fairy lights and not regular Christmas lights because I love the look and they also don’t get hot like standard strands of light bulbs. Please don’t leave the lights on unattended since they could get hot if torn at spots. And I’m definitely not responsible for anything that might happen!!!
my tips for making DIY paper bag snowflakes:
- I do not like using a hot glue gun for several reasons:
A. Kids can get burned way too easily
B. The glued center lines get way too thick and sometimes the hot glue dries too fast
C. The snowflake gets a lot heavier with hot glue than with standard craft glue
(But it works as well and if you don’t care about the above then use hot glue)
- I also don’t like using glue sticks because the glue lines get too wide.
- Clear or white liquid craft glue works best.
- Make smaller snowflakes with smaller-sized snack bags for size variety.
- Try out different colored paper bags. I’ve used white paper lunch bags and black paper bags that are white on the inside.
- I like gluing the bags the night before and letting them dry overnight before cutting but that’s optional.
- Make sure you use bags without any logos or manufacturer’s prints on them. A manufacturer’s name can definitely ruin the design of the snowflakes if it peeks through the folds. However, you can find pretty Christmas designs printed on these types of brown bags and that would look very pretty.
Here is my video to show you the process if it doesn’t load for you then you can watch it on my YouTube channel instead.
Music credit: Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
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Start out by gluing the 9 lunch bags together. The glue line looks like a T as shown in the below image. One thin line at the bottom of the bag and one line going up the center of the bag.
Below you can see the first bag with the clear glue drawn on in an upside-down t-shape.
Place the second bag on top of that bag of the glue line and keep repeating until all the bags are stacked and glued. It is very important to make sure that all the bags line up in the same direction, meaning all the open ends on one side and the bottom folded part on the other side facing in one direction. They are usually already lined up like that in the manufacturer’s bag.
You can use clothing pins, clips, or little clamps to keep the center glue line tight on the entire stack. However, the clips are optional since I’ve also done them without and it works fine. You can also use something heavy as a weight to make sure everything glues together nicely.
Open up the paper bag fan to make sure the bags separate and open properly before you get to the cutting part.
You can also use a stapler to secure some of the top edges
Draw on the snowflake pattern as shown on the front of the bag.
Cut the snowflake pattern with strong scissors. If you are doing this with kids then they might need help with this step.
It is ok to cut a few layers of the bags at a time if you can’t cut them all at once.
Here is one option of how you can cut the pattern. You can also round the top or add other nudges to the sides.
While I have seen others cut a design into the folded bottom area, I recommend not doing that since those tend to fall apart easier.
6 different paper snowflake template examples
Below are some patterns that you can use to cut the sides of the paper bags. Don’t worry about messing up your cutouts or being completely even and symmetrical. These snowflakes are super forgiving which is another reason they are such a great easy craft for kids.
Just have fun with the different patterns and different shapes!
Lastly, you need to glue the final edge by applying a thin layer of glue.
Fan the snowflake out into a 3D shape and attach the edges with a stapler.
Different ways to hang your paper bag snowflakes
- Poke a hole or use a hole punch and add a string to the hole to for hanging
- You can also use yarn stapled to a point of the snowflake to hang them.
- If you want the snowflakes to look like they are floating in the windows, use a fishing line to hang them.
- If you want to hang them on the wall, use command hooks and a piece of twine.
If you want to turn the 3D paper bag snowflake into lanterns then you can watch my video to see how to do so.
Photos of finished paper bag snowflakes
I have made them 4 years in a row and have become an expert at making them.
The fairy lights add an extra touch of sparkle.
My DIY pampas grass Christmas fits right in with the color scheme.
Small and large white paper bags were used in our kitchen to mix them among the brown paper bags.
Ideas to change the look of the snowflakes
Switch it up with black and white paper bag stars as I did in our basement bar area.
I recently added gingerbread designs to them the same way as my gingerbread Christmas ornaments.
Some pattern ideas:
You can see more photos in my home tour with gingerbread decor.
You can use large brown paper shopping bags to make a giant snowflake and you only need 5 bags for that.
Now you can see why I became the paper bag snowflake expert, right?
More easy and affordable DIY Christmas decorations
- macrame Christmas tree wall hanging
- macrame Christmas ornaments (5 free patterns including macrame snowflake)
- poster board snowflakes with free snowflake svg file
- foldable cardstock 3D star as a Christmas ornament
- plastic painted Christmas ornaments with baking soda paint
- snowflake canvas art
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Happy Holidays!