Monday, March 14, 2016

Easy DIY Envelopes

(My sweetie and me at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  Note that she is writing in her journal !  )

I am now officially pen pals with my Montana granddaughter,  so I've been looking around for some ideas to up my letter- writing game.

I like the idea of handmade envelopes, but not the fussing with a template, measuring, folding, and then still coming up with a wonky-looking envelope.  The problem might be that I'm not good with precise measuring, exact cutting - the whole accuracy thing.

Then  I came across this blog post by Catherine McEver with what looked like a method that even I could master - no measuring, no marking cuts - just fold, crease and eyeball the cutting- a system made for me.

I gathered up some papers - magazine and book pages,  scrapbook papers, and some Gelli prints and got started.

Here, straight from  Catherine, are the directions.  (Since starting this blog, I've learned that it isn't easy to write clear instructions, so I'm shamelessly using hers and giving her the credit!).  The how-to pics are hers, too.

"Start by leafing through your book(s) and ripping out pages you think would create interesting envelopes. Create an envelope template out of a sheet of cardboard, cutting it to the size you would like your envelopes to be. ( I used an old mailer for my template - cereal box cardboard would work well, too).  Place the template on the page, and try to position it over the most interesting portion of the page. This is going to be the front, featured section of your envelope. Make sure to leave at least one inch space on left and right sides of the page (these will be your side flaps), about 1.5 or 2 inches on top (this will be your top flap, sealed after you insert a letter), and enough space on the bottom so that when you fold the page, the edge of the page reaches the top of your template. If you're working with a large page and you end up with the bottom edge of the page overshooting the template, just trim it. You may also trim sides or top as desired. There is no need to measure anything! This is all freehand and eyeball work.

Proceed to fold the page over the template as shown below, as if you were wrapping a package. Again, no need for perfection. The colors and printing on the envelope mean that it's very forgiving visually.

Now unfold, remove template, and then refold the page the opposite way so that the graphic side is showing. Press seams firmly - you want to be able to see these folds for the next step.

Unfold again and open up sheet with the wrong side facing you. The lines on the page below are drawn only for instructional purposes  to show you where and how to cut out the envelope. Again, you don't have to do any measuring or drawing. All of this is done freehand.

Your fold lines become your eyeball cutting guide (though you probably want to take care not to cut your eyeballs). I find it's quickest and easiest to do each of these four (A through D) as one cut. For example, I start cutting up along the A foldline, and when I reach the horizontal fold line, I just pivot the scissors slightly on the diagonal and complete the cut. I want to stress again that there is no need for perfection, no need for the diagonal cut angles to perfectly match, no need for any measuring or drawing. Just cut

Now you're ready to glue your envelope together, which involves simply gluing the two side flaps. Make sure you cover the outer edge of the flap with glue, and glue to within a quarter inch or so of the fold.

Flip your envelope over, fold each of the side flaps inward, and bring the bottom section up and on top of the side flaps. Press and smooth with your hand."

I  got carried away and made 43 envelopes!   This is addictive and a great activity to do while watching TV if you need to justify all that couch -sitting.  Another benefit - using up some of that scrap book paper that no longer speaks to you - and some pages from all those books you accumulate for art projects.

Some of the envelopes above are made with pages from Somerset art magazines.   These are for personal use only; I'm not trying to pass off someone else's art work as my own.

I made a template for a legal size envelope and made some of those, too.

I played with how to make a space for the address.   I stamped a handmade tag stamp on some.  I used a combination of white ink and Distress Paint Picket Fence and it took several times to get enough coverage.  Maybe a more opaque white would work better.  

Sometimes you get lucky with the paper and there's already a spot for the address - like the birdie in the bathtub one above.  Can't wait to write the address on the tub!  

Then I raided my stash of labels - lots easier!  I just ordered some full-sheet labels from Amazon so I can make some free-form, torn edge labels.

My plan is to just glue the flap to close the envelope, but might play with using washi tape or envelope glue.

Now no piece of paper or magazine or book is safe from the "that would make a great envelope" assessment.  

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