Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How-To: Salvaged Paper Envelopes

Earlier today I posted a pic on Instagram of some fancy bubble mailers I made from salvaged mailers and calendars. I also mentioned having made regular letter and note card envelopes from magazine pages. Well, I wanted to share a quick (please be quick, please be quick!!!) how-to on those, for anyone who wants to make some for themselves. Here's the breakdown:

How to by Renee Parker
click to enlarge
You will need:
  1. Templates. Find them online and print them out or pull open extra envelopes you have laying around and trace them. I like to trace them onto heavy old fiber board that I've saved from the backs of writing pads. They are a pain to cut out, but the heavier they are, the longer your templates will last.
  2. Glue sticks. I've used the fancy "strong" ones made by the popular brands, but, to be totally honest, the cheap ones seem to allow for pulling off and repositioning, and seem to hold best once dry. I don't like to have to go back and glue edges and corners again.
  3. Scissors that cut fancy edges. These are totally optional, just nice for a fancy finishing touch. 
  4. Regular scissors.
  5. Salvaged magazine, catalog, calendar or other pages with colors and images you like. 
  6. Colored printer paper. 
Not shown: Ink pen.
Quick, easy steps:
a) Lay your envelope template onto a salvaged page and trace. It's best to trace onto the BACK of the page/image you want to use, so you don't have pen marks visible on your finished envelope.
b) Cut the envelope shape out of the salvaged page. 
c) Use the glue stick to attach the cut out to a piece of coordinating colored paper. This will be the lining for strength and, well, style. If you want to get extra fancy, use a printer to print things (quotes, initials) onto the colored paper BEFORE gluing it to envelope cut outs.
d) Cut the envelope out of the colored paper and fold together, with the colored paper inside and the salvaged paper outside.  Glue the folded in edges together. Use glue stick, tape or a seal to close the envelope.

The bubble mailers I mentioned are made similarly.
How to by Renee Parker

 Simply snip the top edge (including used adhesive flap) off clean. Coat sides and apply salvaged paper, one side at a time, folding over wherever possible. Leave enough excess salvaged paper at the top to create a fold over flap. Trim edges after gluing paper on, if necessary. Optional: trim flap with fancy edge scissors to create a zig zag, wave, or other edge. Seal with glue stick or tape to mail. Hope that's quick, easy, and clear! Feel free to hit the share buttons and pass it on, or add your own tips, ideas, or spin on this project in comments!

Updated to add: The USPS does accept these for mail (I've mailed them!), and they do call for either printed or handwritten address labels.  I recommend white paper you can tape on, or adhesive backed white labels.