Make a Woven Paper Bag Inspired by Frida Kahlo

image of 2 colorful tote bags woven with paper and adorned with art of frida kahlo

Frida Kahlo’s birthday is July 6, 1907. We’re celebrating her with this woven paper tote bag printable inspired by woven plastic bags found in Mexican markets. Throughout her 47 years of life, she painted her own reality that was filled with the highest ups and downs of painful heath problems, romance, and political revolution. Her famously fashionable outfits were a cultural statement and hid her physical ailments with celebratory style.


image of materials needed to weave a bag out of paper: free printable templates with original artwork of frida kahlo's portrait, stapler, elmer's glue, scissors, and colorful tissue paper
  • Printouts of the artwork. You’ll need two copies for the small tote or four copies for the large
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper

How to Make a Woven Paper Tote Bag

  1. Cut one print on the black lines without cutting through the top border, leaving the strips attached. On the second print, cut through the top border to separate the strips. If you are making a large tote, repeat with two more prints.image of sheets of colorful woven strips of paper, on the left they are cut up and on the right they are woven into a flat mat
  2. Weave the loose strips through the connected strips. Save four strips from each print for later use. Then, glue the ends and across the last row. Trim off the yellow tabs on the side.
  3. Small bag: fold a pleat in the bottom then staple the sides closed. image of 2 photos, showing how to fold woven paper into a bagLarge bag: staple the bottom row together, then fold the pleat and staple the sides closed.image showing how to stable woven paper and fold it into a bag shape
  4. Handles: Cut strips of tissue paper that are double the width of the reserved printed strips. Run a bead of glue along the back of one strip. Scrunch the tissue along the glue to make ruffles along both sides. Then, glue another strip on top of the tissue. Make two handles and staple them to the top.image of several photos showing how to make tissue paper handles for a woven paper bag
  5. Decorate: Cover the staples on the sides with printed strips and/or ruffles. Cut out Frida and the flowers and run a bead of glue around the edges on the back. Scrunch tissue ruffles around the edges. For additional tissue flowers: cut two small circles. Put a drop of glue in the center of one circle and twist. Add the next circle and twist again. Add as much or little decoration as you like.
image of 2 colorful tote bags woven with paper and adorned with art of frida kahlo

Enjoy some of our other projects inspired by Frida Kahlo.

Cleo Papanikolas is a painter, author, and educator. Her daily practice classes on Creativebug are Painting Repeat Patterns By Hand: A Daily Practice and Learn to Paint with Gouache: A Daily Practice in Questions and Answers . Additionally, you can find more of her printable crafts on her website, and while you are there, take a look at her Patreon scarf club.