Using Whole Foods Grocery Bags for Sketching

We sold our home unexpectedly fast this month and have been living in various hotels until our new place is ready in July.  When we moved out, I knew I was going to be limited on space and couldn’t bring my regular art supplies, but I still wanted to make art while at our temporary “homes”.  I needed a drawing sketchbook that could be rolled up, secured with a rubber band, and stuffed in my purse.  Instead of buying one, I decided to be frugal and try to make one out of a Whole Foods paper grocery bag.    

Sketch Pad Whole Foods PaperB ag
Drawing Paper out of Whole Foods Paper Bags

Whole Foods grocery bags are made with 100% recycled fiber content. I liked the idea of recycling a recycled product. The outside of the bag has the Whole Foods green logo and writing on it, but the inside is plain brown paper. After removing the handles and cutting the bag into various sizes, I had a nice pile of sketch paper.  The first hotel we stayed at was by the Dallas Farmers Market. What could be a better subject for a recycled Whole Foods grocery bag sketchbook than organic vegetables! Charcoal worked great on the paper and blended well. For color, Portfolio water soluble oil pastels contrasted wonderfully with the brown paper and I was able to wet and carefully blend colors.  

Note that the bags are not acid-free and will eventually discolor so they are only suitable for temporary artwork. If you like the look of brown paper, but want a product that can last, try Strathmore’s Toned Tan Mixed Media paper pad. The paper is acid free and suitable for both wet and dry media. Happy sketching!


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