Make Brown Paper Bag Recipe Cards

Brown Paper Recipe Bag Cards

Use our free printable template to make your own recipe cards from brown paper shopping bags!

These easy and quick brown paper bag recipe cards were inspired by the Brown Paper Seed Packet Business Cards.  I loved the idea of repurposing brown paper bags, but didn’t really need business cards.  What I needed was recipe cards to fit in a new recipe box I got as a gift.  I created a recipe card design and printed it onto pieces of brown paper bag.  Two thicknesses of paper make these cards durable and allow for overflow directions on the back.

To make your own brown paper bag recipe cards follow these easy step by step instructions.  Make a set of blank cards to give as a housewarming or wedding gift.

  1. Open brown paper bag along all seams and lay flat.  If the wrinkles bother you then use a press cloth and iron them out.  I leave my paper wrinkled because I think it adds character.
  2. Cut brown paper into 6.5″ x 8.5″ rectangles (sized for the PDF included in this tutorial).
  3. Download and open this PDF featuring my recipe card design (offered under Creative Commons Attribution license).  Set print paper size to custom: 6.5″ x 8.5″.  Set all print margins to 0.  You may have to do a few test runs to get all the settings right.
  4. Insert brown paper into printer.  For my printer I needed to insert the paper plain side down.
  5. Print PDF onto brown paper.
  6. Score and fold recipe card along the light grey line in the middle.
  7. Apply glue to one half of the back side of paper.  Press two sides together.
  8. Use paper cutter or scissors to trim recipe card to the light grey lines on three raw edges.

Creative Commons License
Brown Paper Bag Recipe Card by Jackie Hernandez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

[Images courtesy of Jackie Hernandez, Crafting A Green World]

Written by Jackie Hernandez

I am a work-at-home mom busy chasing after my son and establishing my eco-business, Tiny Décor. I also write the Tiny Décor Blog aimed at modern parents trying to go green for their kids. Tiny Décor has allowed me to turn a passion for sewing, craft, and environmentalism into a business. Blog writing has become an outlet for me to share my experiences going green, being a parent, and loving the planet.


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  1. This is just about the coolest thing that I have ever seen…I love to do recycle projects…these will be a great addition to my kitchen!! I just made 15 of them!

  2. Was this done on an inkjet or a laser printer? I always thought regular grocery store brown paper bags weren’t supposed to be put through a laser printer due to the size of the paper and the texture (that’s what the HP rep told me anyway).

  3. Cute idea, but I wonder why you’re not just using re-usable bags if you’re so concerned about recycling and the environment…

  4. Nusato,

    I actually printed these with a laser printer (a Samsung SCX-4500 to be exact). I did not have any trouble printing on the brown paper bags. Some of the wrinkles and texture of the paper left voids in the printing, but I liked the distressed look. If you want a crisp print or colors an inkjet printer would be better.

  5. Briar,

    I am doing my best, but on occasion I forget to put my reusable totes in the car or I don’t have enough to fit all the groceries. When I do bring home paper bags I alway try to find ways to reuse them or recycle them and that was the inspiration for this project.

  6. I recognize a Trader Joe’s bag in that picture!

    We have some reusable cloth bags, but brown paper bags are also reusable (so we also have a stash of those in the car). But once they’re not longer good for groceries – e.g. the handles rip or what have you – this is a good way to use them, and avoid buying recipe cards. Thanks for the idea!

  7. I haven’t done it myself, but since the recipe card pattern is a PDF you could probably import it into a image editing program and use the text tool to fill in the card. It would be a bit of work making things line up nicely, but it should be doable.

    • Just hit where it says "pdf" in the instructions. That will take you right to the file. By the way, PDF is printed in orange so it does stand out. It is in instruction # 3. Good luck

  8. I just love this idea! I homeschool my children, so I use paperbags to make books for their “news articles”, literature summaries, etc. I love how the paperbags help with the vintage country style. Your absolutely right with adding texture for the distressed look. I think I will add some coffee rings,wrinkles and stains to help with the distressed look. I will definately pass this along with family members. 🙂

  9. I think this is a great idea! I too forget to bring my reuseable bags. I hate when the clerks automatically grab plastic. At least with paper, you can repurpose them. Another benefit is that by making recipe cards or business cards or whatever out of these, you are helping the environment as by not buying the commercially made ones which use chemicals to bleach them white….yuck!

  10. I really I these recipe cards and want to use the pdf but for some reason when I click on the link to the pdf it gives me an error message saying this file is damaged and could not be replaced =(. is it just me or are others experiencing this problem?

  11. Brooke, I had the same problem. I tried back in December & I got the same message as I got tonight “file damaged, etc”. I’d really love to be able to print this out.

  12. I love it! I found your project through Delicious Ambiguity today. Your project really stood out. I love repurposing, and hadn’t yet tried printing on grocery bags. Fabulous! Thank you for the inspiration and great project!

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