A year of MAC shopping bag make over

cat and mouse from MAC smac catMAC Loon s

It was a year ago; I started to use shopping bags to make art:
Last Christmas I went to the shopping mall, Eaton Center which is near my studio to take photos of the Christmas display. When I was there, I noticed shoppers would discard their shopping bags as soon as they exit the stores.
An idea came to me to give them a new life, I gather a handful of the bags and used for my paper cutting.
With each bag I would incorporated my design with their logo and some are my favors because of their logo.
One of them is the MAC Cosmetic bag with the yellow inside which really add a glow to my finished paper cut. I always get excited whenever finding the MAC bag in the garbage bins.

Here is a little review of my MAC bags make over from last year.

mac girlmac lotusowl


Remembrance Day Art

remembrance day poppy bag

Today, November 11 is Remembrance Day here in Canada. It is a day to pay tributes to ones who gave their lives in the wars.

Although none from my family went to the wars but many of my parents’ family members has lost everything including their lives because of it. Many are like us has their live changed and needed to escape to a more peaceful country. Today, I think of the ones were not as lucky as I am and had to experienced the horrors and the pains of the war.

I made the paper cut poppy on this shopping bag because the red poppy is a symbol for Remembrance in Canada.

Picking up where I left


Although I been busy writing my recent trip to Qingdao, China but I haven’t forgotten my more important job:

art making.

Here are some of my latest shopping bag make over, they are all done since my return from my trip.

jacob kingfisher  baggreat blue heron  bag  owl shopping bag blue jay face of mac

Goodbye February Hello March

butterfly with grasshopper

Today as the eve of the new month of March this is also the 58th day of my shopping bags make over. When I started this little art project on the first day of the year, I had no idea after two months I am still making it. Somehow it slowly evolve into something of a delight not just for my own amusement but also for the others seeing them.

Last week, I took down my paintings from one large wall in my studio and replaced them with the finished shopping bags. It fills up the whole wall and when I counted, I hang up 50 shopping bags and then I ran out of room. Today, at the end of the second month I had remade 57 bags in total.

Many of my friends are urging me to exhibit them in a gallery. I guess now is the hard part to find a gallery to show them!

guess beetle

Shopping bags make over update

Here is little update on my shopping bags make over:

I still making them and the design has became more intricate. Sometime it would take a whole day to complete one.

Yeste3rday, I had this idea about, instead of just doing just the cut out on it, I would turn the cutout into 3D. The first one I made was the dragonfly; I spent a lot on time on the detail on its wings. When it was done I was quite please with it. It looks like the dragonfly just happens to landed on the bag.



Today, while I was looking at the Aritvia shopping bag which has a young woman riding on a bike at one side of the bag. I have this idea of a butterfly and turned her body as the body of the butterfly and the bicycle wheel into its tail

3D Butterfly

Now, the inside part of my middle finger on my left hand has develop tough skin due to holding the knife for long hour. Oh well, it is price to paid for my art



Snow storm and art making

I love snow fall  and been waiting for a big snow storm.  Last year it was a mild winter and we had so few snow.  Finally the wait was over, we has a big one with more than a foot last Friday. It was the most we had for at least five years. I love how the whole city turned into winter wonderland. With the gift of the snow I feel more inspired and been spending the last few days taking photos and work on the  shopping bags make over.

Here are some of my latest shopping bags.

ladyslipper orchids bag

hollister loonTNA bag


Cat and Mouse with Kingfisher

Every morning while riding the subway on my way to my studio, I would think of idea for my shopping bags make over. By the time I arrive, I already have a few ideas and ready to work.  I usually has at least one bag finished by the end of the day.. Every evening,  I would go home satisfied knowing I have archived what I wanted to do.

American  Eagle Outfitters  bag

American Eagle Outfitters bag


I really like the American Outfitters bag with the blue eagle logo, there are so much possibility to change it into something else. For this one, I change into a kingfisher.

The MAC Cosmetic bag it was just for fun, I like their simple logo so I position a cat hiding behind it in order to spy on this little mouse.

MAC bag

MAC bag


Not the Ikea Monkey

As I mentioned at my last post, some of my bags make over had in-jokes.  Usually, i use image either play along with the name of that store or the image/logo on it.

Here are two bags both from Starbucks coffee, the first one with a large Mermaid logo on the bag. I cut out a loon next to it and part of the logo became the loon and the grass around it. The loon is also a Canadian symbol it appears on our dollar coin. In Canada the name loonie often refers as a dollar or as whole the Canadian dollar. When Starbucks first came to Canadian market, one could buy a small coffee for a dollar however time has changed we need two dollar to get one now. So this Loon with the Mermaid is about our Canadian dollar going south to the mermaid/Starbucks.

loon with the mermaid


The second Starbucks bag is a Monkey: I got the idea to use the monkey because recently a woman in Toronto went shopping with her pet monkey at an Ikea store. When she was inside her Monkey got out from her car and was found wandering at the parking lot. The bystanders called animal control and they took away her monkey. The Toronto by law prohibits her to keep her monkey and she been trying to get her monkey back through the court since. She and her monkey has became rather famous on the web and the monkey been called the Ikea Monkey.

Starbucks shopping bag

Starbucks shopping bag

Last week, all day the radio was reporting on her court case with her Ikea monkey which gave me the idea of using the monkey for this bag.( so far the judge still would not let her have her monkey )

Moose with Banana

While working on the “shopping bag make over” in my studio.  Sometimes, I caught myself smiling with the little in-jokes with the images with the bags.

moose for banana republic

moose for banana republic

This one  is one of them.  Banana Republic is another American clothing chain stores been  took over our Canadian retail landscape.  I thought if I use our iconic moose image and would add more Canadian identity to the brand.  I like the tongue and cheek name of Banana Republic and what better than a banana tree.  So I made this cut out of the Moose about to dine on the tree ripen banana!

The bag is my #37 and it is 12”X16″