I’m a sucker for old general store displays. I spend a shameless amount of time surfing the internet looking at such things. Sometimes it pays off. I’d come across an old wire paper bag rack counter display a few months ago for the first time on Ebay or somewhere. I was astonished at the asking price, so I went digging around online looking for similar items. No easy task as these appear to be quite rare. Of all four I found, the prices ranged from $250 to $450 each. Then over the summer I was shopping at one of my favorite spots, Harvest Barn Antiques, where I spied the same wire rack. Priced at $70, I could not pass it up. It’s made of heavy gauge wire and stands 32-inches tall. Why? You know, to hold bags. For what? I’ll think of something- (class supplies..gifts?) What bags? I figured I’d find a seller on Etsy that had graduating sizes of paper bags in perfectly priced bundles. But no luck. I soon learned finding all the right sized bags to fit all 9 compartments would be tough and pricey. So I took on the task of making my own. Of course, they couldn’t be plain, what with all the fab graphics I have at my disposal like this old, musty, falling-apart McClure’s Magazine from 1896. It’s full of wonderfully illustrated advertising. I scanned in ads and graphics from the mag, and a few more from an old postal catalog and created my own clip art. Working in Adobe Illustrator, I designed digital artwort for each size bag I wanted to make, ganging up two or more per file when I could and included faint trim lines where necessary. I printed the designs to kraft stock paper. I collated each printed sheet with one blank sheet of kraft paper, for the backs of the bags, then trimmed out each size on my paper trimmer.I used an oval-shape paper punch on a few bag fronts.I then ran a front and back sheet through my sewing machine stitching around the sides and bottom.
Here’s all the bags placed into the rack. My large spool of baker’s twine fits perfectly atop. (Ok, maybe you can tell, I’m not really done sewing all the bags, I’ll do a few in the coming evenings, it’s a bit of a task. But you get the idea.)I placed my morning coffee next to the rack as a point of reference. This is a nice tall piece! It will also work great for holding various sizes of ephemera, class supplies, etc.