Paper Bag Trees

Grade Levels: Pre-K - 5

Posted: October 23, 2020 | Updated: October 23, 2020
Created by: Schoolhouse by the Sea

Are you looking for a quick, fun, inexpensive craft? Are you looking for a craft that looks natural and beautiful? A craft that the whole family can enjoy? If that’s the case, you’re looking for Paper Bag Trees. With few materials, a simple process, and a beautiful result, this craft is perfect for any season and any setting! Birthday parties, family gatherings, a quiet afternoon at home, an easy and meaningful classroom craft… Paper Bag Trees fill many needs!

These can make a deep, dark wood for re-enacting fairy tales (or the Wild Wood from Wind in the Willows). They can be a seasonal decoration for a nature table. They are wonderful “gratitude trees” for Thanksgiving, make one by scattering leaves (real or paper) at the base, with one thing you’re grateful for written on each leaf.

There are so many variations you can explore, but here are the basic directions:


  • Brown paper lunch bag (this can work with larger brown paper grocery bags, but is much more difficult!)
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Tissue paper, glue for leaves
  • Optional: Peg dolls, or other materials for creating woodland creatures to populate the woods


  1. Stand the paper bag on a flat surface with the paper bottom resting on the surface and the open part pointed upwards. Open the bag so that it is as perfect of a rectangle as you can make.

Paper Bag Standing Up

  1. Hold the base of the bag flat, then pinch just above the seam/fold.

Pinching Paper Bag

  1. Twist three times, or until you have the size of the “tree trunk” you like best.

Paper Bag Top Cut Strips

  1. Use scissors to cut ½ inch strips from the top of the bag to the twist.

Paper Bag Top Cut Strips

  1. Gather 2 to 4 strips at a time and twist them to create branches.

Twisted Branches of Paper Bag

  1. If you’d like, cut or tear tissue paper to add leaves to reflect the season. Using small dabs of glue, attach them to the branches.
  2. Make more trees!

Two Paper Bag Treess