DIY Paper Bag Book with Japanese Binding {Free Download}

diy paper bag book with japanese binding {free download}

You might know that I’ve been working on a fun project with the San Francisco Children’s Creativity Museum DIY Studio Space. Each month for a full year, we’re developing creativity-boosting invitations for children who visit the museum. If you visit the Studio this month you’ll find an assortment of interesting found materials and a host of ideas for upcycling books from these materials.

And in case you didn’t make it to the CCM this month, I’m giving away a free project download: Tinkerlab DIY Paper Bag Book

The cover is made from a paper lunch bag, the inner pages are made from any paper you like, and it’s bound with a traditional Japanese 3-hole binding that elementary-age children could do with a little assistance.

Children will work through spatial reasoning and learn about a traditional binding method through the process of binding. They will also explore different recycling possibilities through the selection of materials. And once the book is made, children can fill it with sketches, stories, stickers…the possibilities are endless.

This is new to me and I’d love to hear your thoughts: Would you rather see all the steps in a blog post or do you like having it in a sweet and tidy PDF?


  1. Thank you so much for this project and the step by step directions.  It’s so kind of you to share with us, I know my kids and I really appreciate it!

    • You’re so welcome, @google-f8ace4cbeb4267573a18fff2ab4b30e6:disqus ! Since I already drafted the instructions for the museum, it was easy enough to share them here. And it makes me happy to know that these ideas are reaching and helping more families. Thanks for your nice comment.

    • Thanks for the feedback (and I love the salt dough map your kids made!).

  2. Please do more in PFD format. Many times I need to print out your posts and I end up copying and pasting the description into a word/pages document to print it. A print button project button would also be great! I love your blog and love trying out the activities with my kids who are 3.5 years and 5 years. Thank you sooo much!

    • Oh, that’s good feedback, Melisa. It never occurred to me to add a print button, and I’ll have to look into this and see if it’s possible. That would be so cool! 

  3. i love this idea! You could do both-provide the tutorial within a blog post but also include it in pdf format. 

    • Hi Rhoda! That’s a good suggestion. I made the original pdf for the museum, and after minor adjustments the work was all but done. But if I can find time to post and make a pdf, I most certainly will!

  4. I love this idea! You could do both-provide a tutorial within a blog post but also have a pdf version for easier printing too.

  5. I love this idea! My daughter is quite the artist and this would be such a wonderful way for her to hold onto many of her creations and help her develop writing skills as well. Thank you so much for sharing. 

    • I’m so glad you like this one, Jami. How old is your daughter? 

  6. I like the PDF versions for easier saving and printing. I love your project ideas and really enjoy tying them into thing we study in our homeschool. PDF is easy to save, print, and stick into a lesson plan. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas!

    • That’s great feedback, @7caec08154a688ddc659619ff0db2263:disqus ! I know that a lot of homeschoolers follow me, and it’s helps to know that there are little things I can do to make your job easier.

  7. I think the PDF version is a great idea, too. It would be nice to see many 2-3 quick project summary pictures in the blog post though. But that’s not really necessary… just a thought! 🙂

    • ** “maybe” not ‘many’

      • Also this tutorial is great, I pinned it and look forward to trying it this week! My daughter just had a birthday, so I thought we could make a small scrapbook out of this 🙂

  8. Definitely the PDF:) Easier for printing and keeping in my iPad/phone for quick reference when not at my computer:) Thanks for the tutorial:)

  9. This paper bag book are so creative. Kids would be like this book because it very colorful and unique in style.

  10. This looks great – is the pdf still available…?

    • Hi Megan,
      Thanks for your note. The PDF is back up if you’re still interested!

  11. Hi Rachelle. I love the idea of this but am unable to get the download. Is it still available?

    • Hi Tammi,
      Thanks for your note. I’ve been backed up, but I think I’ve been able to restore the file in case you’d still like to download it. Let me know if you still have trouble getting it.

  12. I can’t seem to download the file…can you please help? Thanks!!!

    • Hi Tiffany,
      If it’s not too late for you, the file is now back up and running. Thanks for your patience!

        • You’re so welcome! And thanks for bringing the problem to my attention.

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