Paper bags are used by all kinds of businesses and individuals for a range of uses, many are opting for paper bags over plastic nowadays due to the awareness in the media on single use plastics.

When trying to differentiate yourself from other businesses/individuals a key differentiating characteristic apart from the print are the paper bag handles. Depending on the brand image you wish to portray will affect which type of handles you will choose for your paper bags. See the most popular types of handles for paper bags.

Folded paper

To give a natural and minimalist look, opt for folder paper bag handles. These tend to be made from a standard paper with the colour matching the rest of the bag for a consistent look. They can be made easily from a suitable length and width of paper, folding at the ends and then attaching to either the inside or the outside of the bag.

These types of handles are great for reflecting an eco-friendly or homemade business approach to customers, as having folded paper handles are easy to be recycled alongside the bag itself.  Folded paper handles are also surprisingly strong and suitable for most food items or small products; however, check the weight of your contents in one before buying in bulk to ensure it can carry the weight.

Die cut handles

These handles involve punching a handle shaped hole near the top of the bag itself so there is no defining separation of the bag and the handle. The paper around the hole is usually reinforced with some strong card to increase the strength of the bag handle.

These types of handles, although very easy to add, give a sleek and luxurious appearance making them perfect for luxury food items or premium cosmetic products. It is important to note the height of the bag so that the contents does not block the handle holes. Having die cut handles also enable the bag to be recycled as a whole without having to separate the handles for a different method of disposal.

Twisted paper bags

Twisted handles are a more economical option to ribbon and rope handles as they are machine made. These handles are usually made from white or brown kraft paper and tend to be quite strong as twisting the paper makes the handles stronger by creating a stiff wire-like handle.

Like folded paper handles, twisted paper handles are great for portraying an eco-friendly and natural brand image with a more rustic appearance. These handles can be easily recycled alongside the bag.


One of the typical luxury options for paper bag handles, they are usually made from fibres such as cotton, polyester or polypropylene and can therefore be dyed to reflect brand logo. Due to the handles being quite thick they tend to be very sturdy and can therefore be used on bigger bags to accommodate heavier contents.

Although stronger and more luxurious than other options, the handles will have to be separated from the bag for recycling. Remember to check recycling in your local area.


Ribbon handles for paper bags are another luxury option, because of the material used the bags are elegant and comfortable to carry making them great for gift bags. Similarly to rope, ribbon can be dyed to match your brand logos, however ribbon handles are not as strong as rope meaning they are better for the transport of smaller and lighter items. Ribbon handles are usually used for styling purposes rather than practicality.

There are many types of handles for paper bags to choose from, it is important that your decision reflects the brand identity that you want to present.

Zoe Kickhefer