This morning I woke up to a beautiful surprisingly cool sunny summer day. The sun was shining into the craft room and made me want to hang out there. So I decided to make some envelopes. This is something I’ve done a million times in the past but actually haven’t done lately. It is obviously quicker to just grab a store-bought envelope. But it occurred to me that as well as being prettier, if I made a few sturdy envelopes for mailing out small orders of unmounted stamps, I could save the folks who purchase them on VSN’s Online Yardsale a little money, making a good deal even a little better. So I made a few. It is so easy . . .
Back when stamping was young, handmade envelopes were pretty common. While you can purchase decorative paper or use a large piece of paper and color and stamp it, a popular decorative paper source among stampers has always been colorful calendar pictures. Use the calendar and then save the pictures to cut up into envelopes later. As I’ve been sorting through my stamp area recently, I came across a stash of calendars from the 1990’s that I had saved but never used for envelopes. Time to cut them up!
This particular calendar has pictures that don’t fill the entire calendar page. But that actually works out well because it means that the whole picture area will wind up as part of the envelope. It doesn’t have to be this way of course. But you do want to think about the envelope style and where the picture elements will wind up on the envelope. On the front? The back? Sometimes pictures with an overall design or landscapes are easier to work with than images with a focal point image that you want to line up in a particular spot.
I probably have a dozen or so envelope templates. I “rediscovered” them while sorting out my stamp area. I’m found them a new home near my work area and so decided to put them to use. This particular template was one from the 1990’s from Draggin’ Ink. The folks at Draggin’ Ink were actually the ones who got the whole tissue envelope craze going back then. The company is no longer around, but at that time they sold laminated templates like these. This particular one could alternatively be used as a folded note. I decided to use it as an envelope. This template fit beautifully on my calendar picture. I simply traced it with a small ball burnisher. (You could use a bone folder, a pen without ink or a pencil.)
This envelope will be mailed out with a Yardsale order on Monday, but I plan to make a few more (using other calendar pages) to have ready for whenever I need a quick colorful envelope, whether it is for the Yardsale or for a card. Rather than fold them up and have to store them folded, I will stop at this point with the extras and tuck them into the file folder with the envelope template, ready to use. (See “My Stencil and Template Storage” post.)
You could just fold it, but you’ll get nicer, crisper folds if you score the folds first. Some envelope templates have slots cut into the template to allow you to score when the template in place. This template did not but the fold lines are obvious and easy to line up with a straight edge. Four quick scores and the envelope is ready to fold up.
Notice that the back side (soon to be the inside) of the envelope is a calendar page. Obviously you won’t want to use a calendar you used to keep track of private occasions, medical appointments, etc. unless you plan to line it
A lot of people like using glue stick for envelopes, but I’ve never been a glue stick fan. After too many years of receiving cards constructed with glue stick in pieces, I don’t trust the stuff. If you use fresh non-dried out glue stick on light paper and burnish it well, it is probably fine, but I want put a few unmounted stamps in these envelopes and the surface is slick. I want them to stay closed and well-sealed, so I went with some sturdy double-sided tape.
You can buy “Lick & Stick” envelope glue from Green Sneakers (who also makes some great envelope templates that don’t even require scoring or cutting –you simply tear and fold. How cool is that?) For my envelopes made of slick paper which will hold unmounted stamps, I’ll seal them with the double-sided tape too. They should stay closed but still be easy to open with a letter opener.
One thing to keep in mind with slick calendar pages is that the type of postage stamp that you lick can slide off of slick surfaces. Either rough the postage area up slightly or use the sticker type of postage. Use a white sticker to address the envelope too so that the post office machines can easily read the address.
This process is so darn easy. If you don’t have an envelope template, you can take apart an envelope you like and trace around it. Of course, if you have a die-cut machine and an envelope die, you might just use that to cut the basic shape.
This is a great way to use up old calendars, pieces of extra wrapping paper, decorative shopping bags and big pieces of paper you put under cards you are working on that get covered with interesting colors, textures and designs.
Do you have an envelope template or die? When is the last time you used it?