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Craft Clip: Paper Bags
by Jeanne Heiberg
When the supermarket checkout person says "Paper or plastic?" say "Paper" for these craft uses.
When the supermarket checkout person says “Paper or plastic?” say “Paper” for these craft uses.

* Make biblical characters or saints out of paper bags, specifically grocery bags. Fold the bag so that the bottom of the bag lays flat. Draw a face on the bottom, making sure the mouth is drawn over the fold between the bottom and the side of the bag. (Use felt and yarn to add features such as hair or hats.) Slip hand into bag and hold the bag at the fold to make the mouth “talk.”
* To make a saint mask, place a large bag over one’s head, lightly mark the location of eyes, nose, and mouth. Remove bag and cut holes in these places. Use construction paper, felt, and yarn to add features such as hair, eyelashes and eyebrows, nose, and hair.
* Make a decoration for Shrove Tuesday by filling the bag with crumpled newspaper. Then push and twist the bag into a shape and hold it in the shape with masking tape. If you create an animal, add legs and tails by using paper cylinders or empty paper towel tubes. Cover your piñata with papier-mâché or art tissue. Paint it if you like and add streamers of crepe paper.
* Cut off the bottom of a grocery bag and up one side to to make one long sheet to serve as a banner. Press out creases and decorate. (To add texture, fold the banner horizontally in narrow pleats and vertically in 3 to 4 sections.) 
* Make colorful autumn leaves by flattening a sheet of brown paper bag and painting it with a collage of orange, yellow, and red watercolors—using a toothbrush as a paint brush. You may want to add glitter. Let the sheet dry and then cut out autumn leaf shapes.
* Place a slightly dampen piece of paper bag (single layer) over wrinkled felt and iron at a low setting to get out the wrinkles.
* Turn small paper bags into take-home reward bags for students by decorating the sides with appropriate stickers that say “Good job,” etc. Glue or staple to the bags card-stock handles for convenient carrying. Put in the bags special treats like holy cards, rosaries, bookmarks, etc.

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