Monday, July 8, 2013

Mail Art Monday - envelope tutorial

We've got a special guest blogger today - Pamela Gerard!
Pamela sends and receives an extraordinary amount of beautiful mail art, and blogs all about it at Cappuccino and Art Journal.
She is a continual source of inspiration to me, both on-line and in my mailbox.  Her blog is chock full of ideas, images and information about all things mail art.

I'm delighted she is here, sharing her envelope-making technique with us - just in time for our envelope swap.
There are lots of different ways to fold envelopes, and you are welcome to use any technique for the swap.  Google "envelope template" and you'll find all kinds of complicated and elaborate plans.  I love the simplicity of Pamela's approach, and her results are fantastic.  If you've looked at templates and been thoroughly confused and overwhelmed, this post is especially for you!
Take it away, Pamela...

Making your own envelopes is really fast and easy, not to mention a whole lot of fun. I'm just going to show you the most basic and easy method here. Gather up some paper and supplies like invisible tape, double-stick tape, labels and washi tape for decoration. You can tear up old falling apart books, use maps, tourist brochures, menus, flyers -- just about any paper ephemera you can think of. For this set, I used a vintage typewriting manual I picked up on a recent trip to LA.

I just use a very simple tri-fold to make almost all my envelopes -- no templates or measuring needed! Just lie your paper down on your workspace and decide where to fold to make a design you like. For these I folded down the the top along that red line to make the flap and folded the paper up from the bottom to frame the typewriter keyboard (trimming off the excess).

There you go -- you can see how it comes together.  Seal up the two sides with some invisible tape and put a strip of double stick tape on the flap (the kind that has paper on one side that you pull off when you are ready to seal).

And viola! Here you go -- an nice envelope ready to fill up with a (typed) letter. I almost always make a whole bunch of envelopes all at once, rather than one at a time. It just seems easier to make a themed bunch of them and I always have a supply ready to go.

Here are a bunch of typewriter envelopes I made. The final decorating doesn't happen until I fill them and address them.

And here is a bunch all finished and ready to get mailed out....

Here's an idea to get you started if you are afraid to start out using some favorite vintage ephemera -- crafts shops like Michael's have those 12x12 squares of scrapbooking paper on sale dirt cheap. Pick some up on sale and you can very easily make a bunch of cheap and colorful envelopes.

I just fold them in half and cut them along the fold. Then do the tri-fold....cut off any excess....

There you go -- easy!

I just trim off a little so the envelopes end up somewhere around 5x6 inches...

 This probably took about thirty seconds to do -- get your tapes out, invisible and double stick and you are ready for the fun part of decorating.

This one is for a bird loving friend -- I added some washi tape and a bird artistamp and it's ready to go.  One thing to remember, washi tape was not meant to be a permanent tape. I always do the "real" sealing with invisible tape and use the washi for decoration.

And I always tape the ends of washi tape down using invisible tape so it doesn't come loose in transit.

Outgoing handmade envelopes with artistamps, washi tape, vintage cancelled stamps.

Here's an envelope I made using a menu from my LA trip. 

And here's another that is from an old book I found on the street.

I'm sure many of you are already making envelopes but if you haven't yet, I hope this inspires to to get busy folding and having fun with paper. You can buy templates for envelope making in a number of places but I find it much easier to just fold up my own. The templates with the triangle shaped flaps really waste a whole lot of paper. All you really need is paper, tape and something to cut with and you're in business.

There are lots of other ways you can make envelopes, for example, you can sew up the sides with a sewing machine, you can buy clear plastic and sew or tape it up or you can paint or draw on the envelope....
Thanks, Pamela, for the great post.

Now it's time for all you readers to get folding!
The envelope swap deadline is August 12th.
Read all the swap details here.
See some of the envelopes we swapped last year, here and here.
And remember, once you get your beautiful envelopes, use them. As Pamela always says, you've got to

Finally, in grand Mail Art Monday tradition, share your mail art links below.  We're especially interested in links to envelopes this week, but we welcome any kind of blog post or photo post related to mail art. 


Trula said...

Wow! Thanks so much for this inspiring post! This envelope method is SO much quicker and easier than even using a scoreboard. You have a new convert ;).

karenm said...

Absolutely gorgeous envelopes! Inspiring and simple to make. Thanks to Pamela, I am also now using wax paper to prevent my drying cards from sticking to whichever heavy object I've placed on top and I am looking for a glue eraser. Love all the great advice. Thank you! Thanks for posting, Karen!

Unknown said...

My post isn't about envelopes--which I haven't really played with at all, other than lettering...but this really makes me want to try making my own envies now!! So cool!!

Linda Gibbons said...

Love this--so easy! I took apart an envelope to make a trmplate over the weekend, and it makes a great # 10 envie, but it a lot more cutting.

Ps, my local color postcards are on their way today!

Cindy said...

Wow, this really was the easiest way to make an envelope! Love all of the suggestions and all of the lovely photos!

Unknown said...

nicely done!

Jo Murray said...

Ta for the info. It's amazing how many sorts of images and text you can use for envies.

Andria said...

Few things rival getting mail art from Pamela! Thanks for the tutorial.

GinaVisione said...

Yippee!! More envies, and cheers to my fabulous SF Correspondence Co-op cohort Pamela who showed me the easy-envie way to make envies two years ago :D. Looking forward to the swap and Thanks again to both Pamela and Karen!

Anonymous said...

Totally inspired to pull out the vintage papers and washi tape! Thanks for the easy to follow instructions, Pamela.

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