Sunday, 9 April 2017

Tutorial: How to make your own upcycled envelopes

You will need:
An old book or magazine or calendar (if you're intending to send these envelopes in the mail make sure the paper quality is robust)
Washi tape, decorated sellotape or similar
Optional extras:
Paper cutter
Double sided tape
A ruler
A pen

Pick your pic. If you don't have any old books at home, get thee to a charity shop. You can also check out places like the Works from January-April time for calendars reduced to 50p or similar if there's a particular artist or style of photography/ art that you want to make the envelopes from. Books with pictures of various sizes will yield envelopes of various sizes. For your first one, choose a largish picture.

Remove it from the book/ calendar/ magazine and either use scissors or a paper cutter to neaten the torn edge. If there's a border or print around it, you can keep it if you want. If you've found a 60s book you may wish to keep the text and peripherals.

Make the first fold. Make sure you have a minimum of 2cms of paper to seal the finished envelope properly. If the picture you have chosen doesn't allow for that, pick another one.

Make the second fold. When doing this, ensure that there is an overlap with the first fold of at least 1cm.

 Check how your envelope is looking.

Make the next two folds. This creates the 'sides' of the envelope. I tend to do this to about 2cm but there are no rules here so if you want deeper ones, fold deeper ones.

Open your envelope out. The folds should be in roughly the same place as the picture below.

Now it's time for the cutting. Make your first two cuts as shown in the picture opposite. They will need some angle, cutting right across the fold line will make the envelope bulky when you come to seal it up. If you don't like to cut without reference, use a ruler and a pen to draw lines of the same angle on each side.

If you have a paper cutter, you can use it to make the second set of cuts on the largest flap, again cutting at an angle. Don't make this angle too wide as this part of the envelope needs to cover the sides without gaps. If you don't have a paper cutter just use scissors. This part of the envelope will be covered with washi tape at the end so if you aren't a very neat cutter it's not a problem.

When you've finished these two cuts, your envelope should look roughly like this.

Make the next set of cuts as shown on the picture below. Two on the side, two on the top. That's the paper cutting pretty much done. 

Now, re-fold your envelope to check how it all lines up. Ideally when you overlap all the pieces (narrow sides ones down first, two larger envelope flaps down second) you should not be able to see the inside of the envelope poking out anywhere. If you have then I'm afraid it's back to the start with a new picture.

Now for the washi tape! Keeping the top of the envelope open, seal the sides of your envelope. I tend to put something on the centre of the envelope to weight the paper down to avoid bulging.

If this envelope is for your use and you are going to stuff the envelope then seal it with washi tape, your work is done!

However, if you have made the envelope for a silly gift for someone or intend to use it at a later date when you may not have any washi tape to hand, I would recommend placing a strip of double-sided tape along the envelope opening. This means it can easily be sealed when you or whoever you have given it to come to use it.

And that's it, folks! You can now go and unleash your creativity on all manner of charity shop bargains!

This is a lovely easy little project to do with children as well - though depending on the age they may need supervision with the scissors, from the point of safety, and the washi tape, from the point of view that they could keep unreeling it and waste tons with glee.

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