What is Kraft Paper?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Deriving its name from the German word for strong, kraft paper is a sturdy machine-made paper that is created using wood pulp. The finished product can be used in a number of different applications, ranging from wrapping meat at the butcher shop to paper grocery bags.

Using a process that involves pulverizing the wood pulp and blending the material into large sheets of strong brown wood filament, kraft paper is an expensive option when it comes to paper products. While the natural paper is brown in appearance, it is possible to bleach the product and create a range of shades between the natural brown and pure white. The method used to make it, called the kraft process, includes the use of sulfate in the conditioning of the wood pulp, which also helps to add to the overall strength of the finished paper.

Kraft paper can be utilized for many different purposes. One of the most common uses of the plain brown paper is in the manufacture of paper bags for use in grocery stores. Their solid construction makes the bags ideal for use with all sorts of grocery items. While many grocers have switched to the use of plastic bags, many supermarket chains continue to offer customers the option of receiving their purchases in bags made from paper.


Butcher shops often make use of the bleached kraft paper as a wrap from fresh cuts of meat. For many years, consumers would place meats sealed in paper in the freezer, if the intent was to prepare the meat over the next few days. While many meat counters at supermarkets now use plastic trays and plastic seal wrap with their meats, many independent grocers and butcher shops still use the familiar white paper.

Kraft paper is sometimes used for home crafts as well. A section of it is an ideal medium for the creation of homemade costumes for Halloween or a costume party. Children can draw on bleached or unbleached paper without a lot of worry about markers leaking through to tabletops. People who want to be more natural and creative with their gift wrap may choose to use this paper for wrapping gifts, often embellishing with other natural elements or using markers or stencils to create a unique design.

Other industries also use kraft paper. In the publishing industry, it is often used as the lining for the inside cover spine of hardback books. In the world of electronics, the paper is often used as an insulating agent on electrical components, providing a sturdy yet inexpensive means of protecting the material. Envelopes for both mailing and use as interoffice communications are often made with it, owing to the relative thickness and sturdy nature of the paper.


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Post 10

I'm looking for a way to bleach a lot of 3-hole, lined, binder paper. I ordered it online, and in the picture it looked like it was a gorgeous creamy beige color, but it's actually a darkish brown kraft color. And I ordered 15 packs of it; a life-time supply. So am wondering if I can soak it in a mild bleach solution without it dissolving into a pulpy mess. I don't mind if it dries wrinkly, as that would only add to its charm, but it definitely has to be lighter.

If no one answers, why don't I just try it myself on one of the packs, yeah.

Post 9

I love kraft paper lunch sacks. I've been using them ever since I brought my lunch to school decades ago.

They can hold quite a bit of food without tearing. Even long and curved bananas don't stress these bags out to the point of breaking. I never worry about the bottom dropping out, either.

They also make neat little trash bags for your lunch leftovers. I can throw my banana peel, my yogurt carton, and my napkin in the kraft bag and toss it into the trash.

Post 8

@Perdido – Kraft paper is excellent for this. I wrap my paintings in it, and I've never had any of them stick to it.

Of course, it's always good to apply a layer of varnish to the painting to protect it. As long as the varnish has dried completely, the painting should be fully protected. I doubt that kraft paper would stick to the surface even if it hadn't been varnished, but if there is any chance of your painting being exposed to high temperatures during shipping, you should varnish it first.

I wrap the paintings in kraft paper in the same way that I would wrap a Christmas gift. I fold the edges under and secure them with tape. Then, I pack the box with filler, like air bags or crumpled newspaper.

Post 7

I've been looking for some kind of paper to wrap my paintings in before I ship them to customers. Is kraft paper good for this? Will it stick to the painting if it is fully dry?

Post 6

I remember making Christmas ornaments out of kraft paper in elementary school. The teacher was leery of letting us use scissors, so she cut out the shapes for us and left the decorating up to us.

I recall smearing glue all over mine and dousing it with silver glitter. I think I dotted it with a few shiny beads before it dried, too.

My sister used paint instead of glue and glitter. She painted a cute white and red striped peppermint cane.

Post 4

Like streamfinder said, many Kraft paper suppliers are finding their salvation in making recyclable goods, especially those reusable Kraft paper honeycomb they put in packages to protect the goods.

I say bring it on -- paper degrades naturally, plastic doesn't. And besides, who actually likes those terrible styrofoam packing peanuts? Paper all the way, for me!

Post 3

I really hate it that the sacks of Kraft paper and Kraft paper packaging are going out -- for one, they're easier to recycle than plastic bags, and much more environmentally friendly.

Also, they are more aesthetically pleasing, at least to me -- it feels more real to get my meat wrapped in a parcel rather than slapped onto a styrofoam tray and vacuum sealed.

Besides, those bags made of Kraft paper are surprisingly sturdy -- even more so than some of those thin plastic bags.

Although one good thing is I heard that some Kraft paper manufacturers are switching over into making corrugated Kraft paper disposable plates and cups -- one more step away from a plastic world!

Post 2

When we were growing up, my mom was never without a recycled kraft paper roll in the house -- she was an environmentalist before her time, and said that anything art-wise we needed to make, we could somehow use kraft paper in it.

I don't even remember how many Halloween costumes I had made out of kraft paper sheets taped together, or how many little Barbie dressed I made out of colored kraft paper.

Definitely a staple of my childhood memories.

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