Cardboard Shoulder Bag – An Eco-friendly, Fun and Low Cost Bag To Make

At the moment I feel like reusing and recycling as much as I can. So here I made a cardboard shoulder bag which is surprisingly sturdy and cost me very little to make.

I waxed the card and varnished the paper for protection, so hopefully, I can use it for a some time.

Cardboard shoulder bag

I threaded it with paper string to stay with the theme. The lining is from my spray painting tank tops projects, I wrote about them here and here. The bag won first price in the cardboard contest on, so exciting.

What you need to make the cardboard shoulder bag

  • Strong cardboard (small flute single wall)
  • Paper or fabric for lining
  • Spray adhesive
  • Soft cloth
  • Wax for waterproof clothing
  • Varnish
  • Hairdryer
  • Utility knife
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 Eyelets (14mm) and punch
  • Revolving hole punch
  • Paper string, not too thin or take it double
  • Leather scraps for the buttons, or buttons of your choice
  • Thin leather scraps for protection under the buttons
  • Leather cord for closure

How to make the bag

Step 1: Lining the cardboard

cardboard bag

You can use paper (not too thin) or fabric to line the cardboard. The paper I used had been my protective surface when spray painting tank tops. Spray adhesive onto the back of your lining and stick it to one side of the cardboard.

Using the cloth, wipe over the lining to smooth the surface and eliminate bubbles.

Step 2: Waxing the cardboard and varnishing the lining

cardboard bag, waxing

With a cloth apply the wax to the cardboard.

cardboard, waxing

Then using the hairdryer, melt the wax and rub it around a bit, so it soaks in and looses some of its greasiness. Apply varnish to the lining. I put on several layers, letting the varnish dry in between.

Step 3: Cutting out, scoring lines, punching holes

cardboard bag, pattern

Bag, cutting

Cut out the card pieces using the diagram or make your own pattern, if you want it smaller, bigger or in a different shape. Also, you could cut one long strip for the sides and bottom, I divided them because my cardboard wasn’t long enough to go around the entire bag.

Bag, scoring

Score the lines for the flap and along the side pieces with a wooden spoon and bend along the lines. Be careful not to cut the card.

Bag, punching holes

Punch holes around the outside edges of the card, 1.5 cm apart.

Step 4: Inserting the eyelets

Bag, eyelets

Cut holes for the eyelets on the side pieces and insert the eyelets.

Bag, eyelets

Step 5: Making the buttons

Bag, buttons

Make two buttons from the scrap leather and punch out four holes. Then cut out thin scraps of leather in the shape of the buttons and transfer the holes of the buttons on to this thin leather.

Glue these to where you want to attach the buttons. They serve as an extra protection for the cardboard. Punch out the holes for the buttons on the front flap and front piece. Sew on the buttons.

Step 6: Sewing the cardboard shoulder bag

making cardboard bag

Bag, sewing


Start threading the sides to the back pieces going around the flap. Sandwich the inside pocket layer between the two side pieces. Then add the front piece. Finish the threading by stitching back through the previous hole and tying a knot inside.

Step 7: Making a handle


With the rest of the paper yarnI crocheted a handle, it’s just one row of single crochet. I doubled the handle to make it stronger and so I could thread it through the eyelets. You could take a plaited or twisted string instead.

Step 8: Finishing the closure



Fasten a leather cord to the upper button. To close the bag wrap the leather cord around the lower button.

Now wear your cardboard shoulder bag and feel special!









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