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DIY Paper Bag Luminaries: Inspired by the ‘Taj Mahal’ and Indo-Mughal Marble Art

DIY paper bag luminary for valentine's day

These days my mind’s been possessed with ideas to upcycle and transform paper bags into something artful and radical. And, I must confess, it’s a wonderful visual world to be in – especially before drifting off to sleep at bed time. As such, it takes much tossing and turning before I can go to sleep. Hence, rather than letting the To Do lists (I always have long ones!) crowd my brain, I switch my mind and let it float in the dreamy, blissful world of art and colours.

And, must I tell you – it lightens up my mind and soul! I go to sleep much peacefully.

Check out what I made with those paper bags – inspired by the eternal beauty of the Taj Mahal!

DIY paper bag ideasSo, going back to the paper bags – I’ve got plenty of them – saved over time.

Last week, when Pari and I decided to make something for my bro’s birthday, I started off with making a greeting card. But – it led me into something that I hadn’t comprehended.

coloured cellophane paper valentine's cardMid-way into the card, an image flashed my mind.

A paper bag was lying on the floor right next to the table and I picked it up – hoping to fit the card on the front of the paper bag.

Inspiration can strike anytime and from anywhere – I tell you. I’d seen a hole-punched luminary on pinterest and wanted to try something more elaborate and artful.

I outlined the heart card on the paper bag and cut out that portion.

Now, I slid the card into the bag to cover the cut-out portion. It fitted almost fine but not perfectly. For, it should have been either smaller than the card to place on top. Or, the card should have had extra margin to be able to cover precisely when slid from inside.

But, never mind, I managed it by doing some taping from inside.

Now, I had to do something about the area of the bag outside the heart.

Decided to paint it with acrylic colours. Any other paint would not have worked due to the coarse texture of the paper bag.

Pari suggested I used deep blue/ink blue to make it look like night sky. I thought it was a brilliant idea for it was anyways going to be used at night by switching off lights.

The night sky theme would blend perfectly with the glowing heart lights!

DIY paper bag luminaries tutorialI painted the outside and also embellished the heart with golden puffy paint.

There was a picture playing in my mind – the picture of Taj Mahal – the eternal symbol of love and a breathtaking sight under the moon-lit sky.

The Taj Mahal’s interiors are an exquisite blend of the Indian and Mughal marble art. Here’s a picture from our visit in 2011 – around this time of the year.

heart luminariesMy heart luminary vaguely reflected some of those memories and pictures etched in my mind. (smiles)

Taj Mahal India indo mughal marble art inspiration

For the other side of the bag, I decided to paint dense greens in acrylic – those forest walks never cease to fascinate and inspire me.

paper bag luminaries ecofriendly green crafts upcycle

Satisfied with how the paper bag turned out, and how it looked with the candles (inside a glass votive), I presented it to my  brother the next day – for his birthday.

And if you have not seen what Pari made for him – have a look at her heart bok with poetry – conceptualized and created – all by herself!

So, what do you think? And, what else can I make with paper bags? Do share your ideas!


Update on Feb 7, 2012

Some more related projects that you can try yourself or with your child

I’m submitting this to ‘The Heart Project’

I’m taking this opportunity to announce that I’m participating in a fundraiser – called The heart Project – for the American Heart Association. This is being organized by my blogger friend Jamie from hands on: as we grow. As part of this project, 70 bloggers (including Mommy Labs) from around the world have submitted more than 100 creative heart projects for a book, which is named – the Heart Book. It’ll be avaiable in e-book format as well as in print form for you to purchase. The proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the American Heart Association. Stay tuned for more on this – very soon!

I need help sustaining this blog…

Dear blog readers – It’s been exactly eight years now that I’ve been writing on this blog! Yes, eight long years and hundreds of articles. From art, creativity and learning; to food, health, gardening, travel, sustainable and mindful living, natural birth. In our un-schooling life, as we go on introspecting, questioning and evolving, I’ve strived to share our stories and experiences with as much honesty, care and sincerity as possible.

I spend hours writing an article – and often write and rewrite many times before it rings true to me and sounds worthy of your time to read.

The most important thing for me is to keep this blogging endeavour authentic and true to my values. This blog has been my sacred space to express, share, feel empowered and contribute. Hence, I do not like to support businesses that don’t align with my values. So far, I’ve rarely taken sponsorship from brands and companies. I haven’t placed any ads on my blog, though there have been multiple offers.

Infact, I’d like to keep this blog ad free unless something truly meaningful comes across.
Yet, there’s a cost to running this blog. The basic cost of keeping the domain alive, and hosting all this content on. I spend roughly INR 10,000 (USD 173) just to keep this blog up and running. So, I need to cover this cost. Plus, it’d be nice to bring in some income for our family of four. And, this is where I request your support.

If you find my articles and stories useful or inspiring at some level, please help me sustain. Starting from 1 dollar or 100 rupees to whatever you can, do consider donating for the content I share; for my intention and the time and effort I put. Your support will go a long way in keeping this blog (of 8+ years) sparkling with stories for many more years to come. Thank you, dear ones. I’ll value what you’ll gift with love and kindness. :-)

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Angelique Felix January 31, 2012, 10:58 am

    Breathtaking Rashmie…absolutely gorgeous.

    • Rashmie February 1, 2012, 1:07 pm

      Angie – thank you my dear :) and thanks for tweeting this!

  • Ann January 31, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Very beautiful front and back – you and Pari have a gift for color! What a great fundraiser too!!!

    • Rashmie February 1, 2012, 1:08 pm

      Ann – so glad you liked. The Heart Book (for the fundraiser) is live today :)

  • Srishti February 1, 2012, 2:21 pm

    Hey Rashmie,
    This is one really creative and beautiful. If this is the only one in a room with no other lights on, it takes you to a different world altogether! I am so touched by this thoughful gesture of all you bloggers. When we say that we really want to do something for society then we ourselves have to find ways and means to do so, there is always an easier route of saying that “we really want to do but we dont get any time for it” ! Isn’t it?

    • Rashmie February 6, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Glad you liked the paper bag luminary!
      About the Heart Book project – yes – this was a shining example of collaboration for a cause.

      You’re right that we often want to do but are not able to due to lack of time (we think!) and our own engagements. I think that – without being judgemental – people ARE probably wanting to make a change but often they lack initiative. And, they are not to be blamed because having an idea or intention is easy – the toughest part is executing it.
      Even if a few people are able to kickstart a change and take more people along to form a collaboration, it can bring about massive change. We need a few initiative takers and others will follow suit….

  • Roopa February 1, 2012, 3:43 pm

    Oh my Rashmie, these look great !! So colorful and gorgeous:) You brother is lucky ot get them:)

    • Rashmie February 6, 2012, 1:27 pm

      Thank you, Roopa! And yeah – the bro did feel lucky I guess – he says it in the comment next to yours… LOL

  • Manish February 1, 2012, 6:20 pm

    This one was super creative! There was somehow some nawabi /mughlai andaaz to it! Like you said it reflected memories of your trip to the Taj.. On a different note, this one and the gift by Pari lighted up my b’ day in a very special way! :)

    It’s even more amazing to know that you are participating for such a noble cause, through your blog. Let me know when the book gets published..