Sew Your Own Paper Basket
The best thing about this basket is that you shouldn't have to buy anything in order to make it. You need only a handful of things, which you probably already have, including brown paper bags, a sewing machine, thread, scissors, and maybe a ruler (and a little forethought. I didn't know about the forethought until I was almost done, which I'll explain more later).
The original creator of the brown paper bag basket wrote the tutorial in a language I can't read. Thankfully this person took very descriptive step-by-step photos.
It appears that this person had access to some really long paper bag material, like something used for packing that's thinner than grocery store paper bags. I didn't have any of that, so I went with the grocery bags.
I neatly removed the handles and cut down to the bottom off of the bags to remove the bottoms, then cut the paper into 4-inch strips. I folded those in thirds and sewed up each side using white thread. Here's the first place lack of foresight caught me, I cut the 4-inch strips from the shorter length, when I should have cut them the longer length. That is, my strips were about 18 inches long and should have been about 1 yard.
The basket is easy and a ton of fun to make. If you can sew a straight line, you'll do great. Weaving it can get a little tricky though. In the photo instructions you see paper clips holding the pieces together and I didn't have any. I used scotch tape, but had to be really careful removing it. With a little forethought I would have um, borrowed some paperclips from work. From work I would have also taken my personal glue gun so that I wouldn't have to wait for Elmer's to dry. On the bright side, these minor annoyances gave me an unexpected opportunity to cultivate my patience.
While the thinner paper seen in the tutorial would probably have been easier to work with, I think my basket is a little more sturdy. I love the durability and the texture of the paper sewn together. I think it's an excellent way to upcycle your abundance of Trader Joe's bags, and they'd make cute gifts, too ... They might even work as Easter Baskets.
The full photo tutorial is here.