Candy Wrapper Folding Tutorial

Candy Wrapper Folding Tutorial


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Learn how to create purses, vessels and mats using the candy wrapper technique! Also known as “paper weaving”, prisoners made stunning bags and sculptures from cigarette packs in the 1950’s.  Cell Block Visions has some photos as well as Wonderland (Below).


“Inmate Ingenuity' at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. (Greg Cook)

“Inmate Ingenuity’ at the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. (Greg Cook)


I wrote a tutorial and have it posted on TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List.  You may be able to figure out how to do this on your own, but if you would like me to guide you, there are some tricky steps that I can help you with.

Any paper that can hold a crease can be used to make these. The “Candy Wrapper” part of the name came from the 70’s when kids were making these chains out of candy wrappers.  Some of them have the perfect dimensions for folding, so you don’t need to cut a lot of pieces. You just have to eat a ton of candy!

The prisoners used soft cigarette packs. I have used sample wall paper pages and the outer wrapping from dog food bags. I used to have four big dogs so I went through a lot of big dog food bags. Those paper bags usually had an outer wrapper that was thin and that had a plastic coating on them. You want to have that coating to make your bag more durable. If you used something like newspaper, for example, you can also coat it with a finish to protect it, but it looks better when you are just using the paper.

You will need to cut hundreds of pieces, which will then be folded and interlocked. This is not weaving at all! I use a rotary cutter and mat and that makes it go quickly.

I am the only one whom I have seen who adds beads and buttons and other embellishments to the surface. I think it adds a great deal to the design!

You will also need a darning needle and a roll of dental floss (white, non-minty) to sew your rows together.

I am in Paducah, Kentucky and can set up a workshop locally.  I can also work with individuals online.

Local workshops are 3 hours long and the online ones are one hour long.

Contact me for availability.  rayela @  (Remove spaces)


What you need:

  • Hundreds of cut pieces of paper to size.
  • Darning needle.
  • White dental floss.
  • Embellishments.


I made these:


Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel - Corn

Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel – Corn


Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel - Doggie Vessel

Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel – Doggie Vessel


Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel - Timor

Candywrapper purse by Rachel Biel – Timor

Rayela Art

I have loved working with my hands since childhood and have tried many craft techniques, finally settling on the textile arts as my main form of expression. I like pulling bits and pieces together to make a greater whole, assembling textures on to a form. But, my bins of fabric are on hold for now as I recently discovered a new obsession, knitting! We’ll see how all of these interests merge together over time… I have also sold supplies and tools that I purchase from traders or find in thrift stores. Textile remnants and printing blocks are two favorites I look for. So you might find these, along with what I make, in my shop.

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