Party Workhorse: Brown Kraft Paper

When it comes to planning, making, and hosting parties, there are some materials that do double-triple-quadruple duty. One of those things: brown kraft paper. I keep a roll or two stashed in my closet at all times because I use it in some way at almost every party.

Not all kraft paper is created equal. The stuff from the $1 section is usually a bit too fragile and will tear in all the ways you don’t want it to. There’s also skinny rolls and wide ones. The skinny ones are great for makeshift table runners, but I prefer the wide ones (think wrapping paper length) for their versatility. Also, some are a little too heavy-duty, too-stiff and hard to work with. So let’s go Goldilocks here, and pick the middle-ground that’s just right.

So what are all the ways I use this very basic material? Here’s some of my favorites:

Wrapping Presents


credit: résonances

Whether it’s Christmas or my mother-in-law’s birthday, chances are I’m going to wrap the present in brown kraft paper. This gives me a neat, blank slate that I can add different flair to in order to make it match the season or occasion. I love the simple greenery and string above, but I also love the idea of getting super colorful on top–think of stuff you already have on hand: stickers, markers, spare ribbon, I’ve even seen bows made of magazine pages. Brown kraft paper goes with it all.


That doubles as an easy way to label what food is where. A couple weeks ago my parents came into town for the Packers vs. Vikings game and we decided to do a simple tailgate. Out came the brown kraft paper and a Sharpie. I forgot to snap pics of the setup before all hell broke loose so here’s a pretty example from the Internet instead.


credit: pure wow

If you’re using the tablecloth where guests will be sitting, consider adding some things that get them involved! Perhaps next to each place setting you write an icebreaker question to ask. Or maybe draw a picture frame and have them draw the person across from them. It’s a fun way to get everyone talking and knowing each other.

Menus, Signs, Oh My

Grab some washi or masking tape and boom! You have a rustic menu that’s pretty but not too try-hard because apparently making everything look like you just “threw it together” is a thing. I like keeping it simple by using a Sharpie, but there’s also white chalk markers, gold or silver paint pens, or even actually paint. Whatever you fancy or whatever time allows!


credit: roxsam

Photo Backdrop

You don’t need streamers or tinsel, although I’m not one to knock some good shimmery action at a party. In a pinch, brown kraft paper can make a pretty sweet backdrop for taking photos. As with everything above, you can customize it however you want. Write the date, paint some clouds, add construction paper circles for a confetti look. If you build it, they will come (and take photos.)


credit: warm hot chocolate

Just writing this post I’ve witnessed a ton of inspiration I can’t wait to try out on my own. With the holidays right around the corner, you can never have too many tricks up your sleeve for last minute decor. Happy partying, friends!

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