7 Types of Materials Used for Paper Bags

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Making a beautiful paper bag starts with the choice of raw materials. Impress your customers and build a good image for your brand.

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Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Packoi Team

Don’t just choose kraft paper because it’s the popular option now. You have to consider how the material will be used and how it will improve the value of your product and brand.

In this article, you’ll learn more about the typical materials you can choose from for custom paper bags. You’ll also get tips on what to consider to make the right choice.

7 Materials You Can Use for Your Paper Bag

There are different materials to choose from to create your custom paper bags. Although all of them are made of wood pulp, they are processed differently and thus have different compositions. The way they’re processed defines how they are in terms of strength, durability, functionality, and visual appeal.

Here are the seven options that you have for creating your shopping bag:

1. Kraft Paper

paper bags

When you think about paper bags, the first thing that comes to mind is kraft paper.

Brown kraft paper bags are considered the most common material to use because they are durable and ideal for carrying even heavy items. It’s created from the chemical pulp of pine, spruce, or other types of softwood trees. This is what gives it its natural brown appearance.

Its composition makes a kraft paper bag biodegradable and recyclable. It’s eco-friendly and effective in building a sustainable brand reputation.

2. White Paperboard

Natural paper bags don’t come in white. They have to be bleached to remove the natural brown shade so they become bright white cardboard.

When you use this material, the clean look makes it ideal for luxurious brands. It’s also great for high-end gifting like weddings, corporate events, etc. The color makes it look sophisticated, so it increases the value of the items within.

3. Art Paper

Another term for this type of paper bag is coated paper. As the name suggests, you’ll find that the texture of the paper surface is different from kraft paper. It’s more smooth and glossy. Sometimes, the glossy part is only on one side.

If you want your paper bags to come in a specific color, this is the type of paper that you should use. It also allows you to put printed designs on the bag, which brings you to the next type of paper.

4. Wrapping Paper

wrapping paper bag

This is one of the coated paper bags that allows you to print on it. What makes this paper unique is the fact that it’s made to be very strong and without corrosive effects. It also has low moisture and air permeability. This makes it ideal for food packaging because it’s more sterile and hygienic.

This happens because the paper is laminated. So any paper can be used to create a wrapping paper bag, as long as you laminate it first. That means kraft paper can be used for this purpose after lamination.

If you put a different color on each side of the paper, it becomes duplex paper that you can use to print on as well.

5. Corrugated Paper

If you need a paper bag that’s very sturdy, you might want to consider using corrugated paper. Unlike the typical brown kraft paper bags, this is a special type of material that has three layers, or sometimes just two. The identifying feature of this material is the wave shape of the paper. Sometimes, it’s sandwiched between two flat boards. There are times when it’s not, which makes the corrugated paper bags look unique with their waved surface.

6. Recycled Paper

This is the best paper to use if you want to create an eco-friendly paper bag. Using recycled paper will help reduce packaging waste that usually ends up in landfills. It can minimize the pollution caused by packaging that immediately ends up in the trash bin.

A lot of kraft paper bags are made of recycled paper. Paper can be recycled 5 to 7 times, so you don’t have to worry about the integrity of the bag.

7. Special Paper

the foil paper bag

This type of paper refers to all the other materials used to create paper bags. You have metallic paper, cellulose film paper, aluminum foil paper, and even anti-static paper. These aren’t made of 100% paper. Foil paper, for instance, refers to special paper bags that are lined with foil.

These bags were created for specific purposes. For instance, the foil paper bag is meant for food. The anti-static paper bag is meant to keep static from hurting people when they touch it.

These are typically more expensive, but it should be worth it if they meet the specific needs of the product that’ll be placed inside them.

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7 Things to Consider When Choosing the Paper Bag Material

Choosing the right material for your paper bags is important if you want to use them to increase your product sales and promote your brand. You have to make sure your paper bag balances visual appeal and functionality.

To do that, you need to consider several factors to determine the right material and design for your bag.

1. Product Needs

This is the most important consideration. Even if your bag looks very beautiful, if it can’t carry the product properly or feels awkward to carry around, it won’t matter.

You have to choose a material that can protect your product.

For instance, if you sell wind, you can’t use the thin kraft paper bags that are used in bakeries. You need more durable types of paper that can carry the weight of the bottle. Maybe you’re better off using wrapping paper or special paper for the bag.

2. Durability and Strength

As mentioned, heavy products require thicker types of paper bags. But even lighter products will require a certain level of strength. That way, the paper bag can be used to carry multiple items. It can be functional enough to be used as a shopping bag.

Paper bags for groceries are also fundamentally durable.

The more durable the paper bag is, the more that the customer can reuse it, which is another good thing that you can do for the environment.

3. Printing Requirements

The paper material will affect the type of design and printing method that you can apply to your paper bags. If you print the same design on kraft paper and white cardboard, it won’t look the same.

white cardboard bag

Make sure you consider this so you can choose the right paper that’ll bring out the most vivid print for your paper bags. Think about what paper surface will enhance the overall look of your brand colors, logo, and graphics.

4. Size and Style

The choice of paper will also be affected by the size and style of your paper bags. Some materials complement the style of certain bags.

Kraft paper bags look great for simple designs and sustainable initiatives. The white paper is best for bags that require a certain level of sophistication. It’s also better to print intricate designs on white paper than brown ones.

Kraft paper bags

5. User Experience

Another thing that you should consider for paper bags is customer handling. The paper materials should make it easy for customers to carry the bag around, even with the weight of the product in it.

Make sure you consider how the customers will act. Do they usually go home immediately after buying a product from your store? Or is it typical for them to go around?

If it’s the latter, you want to ensure that it’ll be comfortable for them to hold the paper bag.

Apart from handling, consider the design preferences of the customer as well. Will they be impressed by embossed, foil-stamped, or intricate designs? The paper should allow these to be printed, and it should not bother the customers in any way.

6. Packaging Budget

The types of paper that you’ll use will cost differently. White cardboard and coated paper bags will be more expensive than those made of kraft paper. If you can’t afford special paper, just choose a simple kraft paper bag. Choose the thicker one, so it will still be as durable as the cardboard paper bags.

7. Environmental Impact

Using paper bags already takes you one step closer to being more eco-friendly. It’s certainly a lot better than using plastic bags. However, you still have to ensure you’re getting the right types of paper from the right source.

There are FSC-certified companies that make paper bags that source their materials from responsibly managed forests. Stick with these suppliers if you want to be more sustainable.

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Benefits of Using the Right Material for Paper Bags

Why should you go through all the effort to choose the right material for paper bags?

Here are four reasons why you should take paper bag material seriously.

1. Functionality

Your paper bags should protect the products that they carry inside. If your product tends to moisten over time, use coated paper so it’s laminated and won’t absorb the moisture.

Don’t forget about the marketing abilities of the bags as well. If you want to impress your customers with your design, use a wrapping paper bag so you can highlight your brand’s creativity through impressive prints.

2. Customer Appeal

paper shopping bags

As mentioned, paper shopping bags will be carried around by customers while they continue their shopping. Make sure you’re using the types of paper that won’t break in the process.

Not only that, use the right colors and designs that’ll make customers want to take home your paper bag.

3. Brand Representation

Did you know that 8 out of 10 consumers think a branded paper bag is attractive to look at? They like to see the name and logo of the brand.

Keep this idea in mind as you’re making paper bags. It’s going to be an extension of your brand. If you want to appear luxurious, use white cardboard. If you want to look sustainable, use recycled paper or kraft paper.

4. Reusability

The biggest advantage of paper bags is that they can be reusable. Sustainability is another benefit of using the right paper material. Paper bags should be functional and visually appealing enough to encourage their reuse.

This means you have to be careful when you use white cardboard. Laminate it so it won’t get dirty easily. There are bio-based plastic films that can be used to laminate paper bags.

Packoi Can Create the Perfect Paper Bag for Your Brand.

Choosing the paper bag material for your brand is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Balance the need for functionality and beautiful packaging solutions so you can create the right mix that will represent your brand.

If you need expert advice about your options, Packoi Printing is here to help. We are FSC-certified, so you can be assured that we only source our paper products from responsibly managed forests.

Give us a call so we can discuss your paper bag ideas. We’ll get back to you with a quote as soon as possible.

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Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

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