You can still get paper bags at grocery stores if you ask for paper. I got tired of the flimsy plastic ones. But what to do with them after? Well... I've decided they would make great 'kraft paper' envelopes! Plus, if you're packaging something where you need an envelope that's a bit more sturdy, this foots the bill. And no extra cost! You can get a few envelopes out of one bag depending on the size. Depending on where they put logos and messages, you may even get an area that's blank on both sided. It doesn't matter though if you get part of the printed area. Just make that the inside and it makes it more interesting.
You will need to cut off the bottom of the bag. Then open it up at the seam.
Decide what size envelope you want to make. In this case I made an A2 size envelope which requires an 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 sheet. (If you have the Martha Stewart score board it makes it very easy to make envelopes and she has a sizing guide right on the envelope tool.) Measure a little wider than you need and cut off a width of the paper bag. You want it a bit wider so you can make a nice straight cut to square it up properly. Just cut a straight edge on one side and then use that to line up 90 degree cuts until you've squared off all 4 sides to the size paper you need.
Now you want to score your lines for your envelope flaps. Follow the diagram and measurements.
Now you will cut out the notches. You will see little triangles where the scoring lines intersect on each side. Cut out the triangles following your scores. At this point, you can use a punch if you want to make a fancy top flap. One that includes a matching corner punch (like those by Martha Stewart) is great. Start at the corner and then go down the sides, matching the pattern. (On a side note this one did stick a bit on me on one side but I only have one other punch that has a matching corner.)
Fold in your side flaps, then fold up the bottom one. Adhere the bottom flap to the side flaps by putting adhesive along the edges of the bottom flap. Be careful not to go all the way to the top with it as the top corner goes past the edges of the side flaps. Fold down top flap. When you're ready send off a card, letter, or little package just add some adhesive to the underside of the top flap.
Pretty cool, huh? *grin*