Zen and the Art of Papercrafting the Personalized Paper Lunch Bag

Lesson Plan, Grades 1-3, Language Arts, Art, Crafts


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Ed Leary

The intuition and creativity of Zen has no boundaries. Students will call upon their inner Zen to create a personalized lunch bag. We know that the transformation of a flat piece of paper in the hands of a creative person is endless. Folded, bent, curled, wrinkled, glued, stitched, woven, wrapped, embossed, molded, made into a mache and of course painted, printed and drawn upon are a few techniques that will transform a flat piece of paper into something original, unique, different. Students will have the opportunity to transform a simple lunch bag in to a personalized piece of art.


  • Students will utilize a variety of materials to create a personalized piece.
  • Students will use self-expression to personalize their project.

Supplies Needed

Supply #1 247968 Tru-Ray® Sulphite Construction Paper, 76 lb, 9" x 12", Bright Assortment, Pack of 50
Supply #2 054795 Neon® Construction Paper, 9" x 12", Assorted, Pack of 20
Supply #3 006321 Corobuff ® Corrugated Paper, 12' x 16", Assorted Colors, Pack of 12
Supply #4 221979 Fadeless® Metallic Paper, 50 lb, 12" x 18", Assorted Colors, Pack of 24201815 Trait-Tex® Neon Jumbo-Weight Yarn Assortment, Assorted Colors, Set of 9
Supply #5 085623 School Smart® Flat Bottom Paper Bag, 6" x 11", Assorted Colors, Pack of 28
Supply #6 085928 Pom Pon Classroom Pack, Assorted Sizes and Colors, Pack of 300
Supply #7 085735 School Smart® Craft Buttons, Assorted Sizes and Colors, 1 lb.
Supply #8 407349 Bucket O' Shells, 16 oz.
Supply #9 1289188 Roylco® Square Fabric Mosaic, 1 3/4" x 1 3/4", Assorted Colors, Pack of 400
Supply #10 410954 Ribbon Remnants, Assorted, 25 yards
Supply #11 085728 Acrylic Gemstones, 1 lb.
Supply #12 085842 Wiggle Eyes, Assorted Sizes, Assorted Colors on White, Pack of 100
Supply #13 085836 School Smart® Maribu Feathers, Assorted Colors, Pack of 150
Supply #14 085794 School Smart® Assorted Shaped Wood Beads, Assorted Color, Pack of 460
Supply #15 404140 Crayola® Super Sparkle Washable Glitter Glue Set, Assorted Colors, Set of 5
Supply #16 001665 Aleenes® Original Multi-Purpose Flexible Tacky Glue, 4 oz Bottle (Kit includes 6)
Supply #17 463565 School Smart® Tempera Poster Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 12
Supply #18 227982 School Smart® Fluorescent Tempera Poster Markers, Assorted Colors, Set of 6
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


CONTENT Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
CONTENT Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
CONTENT Standard #4: Select, analyze and interpret artistic work for presentation.
CONTENT Standard #6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
CONTENT Standard #7: Perceive and anlalyze artistic work.
CONTENT Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.



Glowing examples of personalized art are everywhere, a self portrait, a personalized journal, drawings on your notebook. In this project, students will personalize a paper lunch bag, to be the "WOW" of their lunch room.


Select and separate the creative materials provided. Your paper lunch bag will be a kaleidoscope of decorative materials.


Choose the base color lunch bag. As a lesson plan extension, a large shopping bag can be decorated and used as a "back pack" for outdoor picnics.


Experiment with folding, crimping, stitching, weaving and embossing paper to add additional "paper bling" to your bag.


Glue/paste the larger pieces of paper onto the bag first. Use a wide variety of papers, designs, textures and colors. Keep in mind the folds in the paper bag, as to not restrict it from folding.


Add additional elements: Beads, pom-pons, wiggle eyes, colorful ribbon, shells, gem stones, found objects, yarn, etc. can be incorporated into your overall design.


Have a theme in mind. Think about how to incorporate your name into the decoration. Can your name be written with the glitter glue pens? Can it be spelled out with buttons? Pom-pons? Yarn?


Have students display their personalized paper lunch bags and talk about the different techniques and product used to create their bags. Have students explain what makes their bag unique to them.