These days there are all types, kinds, sizes and shapes of tools to make handmade envelopes. I know, I have a few lying around. And that's exactly what they do just lie around my studio because I haven't carved out the time to figure out how to use them. Any tool that competes with my crafting time is disregarded. I know these tools are supposed to make my life easier and I am certain they will one day but in the mean time I have two tools that are often forgotten as part of my talent tool box - my hands!
When the next party or family gathering is upon me and I am running out the door with gift in hand and card ready in the sidelines, I often find I am sans envelope. I love to find creative ways to make gift wrap part of the present. For example, a tea-towel as wrapping, accompanying a kitchen gift, can make a lasting impression. As for my cards and envelopes I like to try to create them by hand, and from up-cycled materials. When I think about what will happen to the outside wrapping of a gift plus the inside and its consumer packaging I resort immediately to reusing it as an artful option.
Sometimes my card is the star attraction of the gift giving. In many cases it is the gift! What better way to stand out from the crowd of store bought cards than with a hand-made card I created, wrapped, and decorated with an equally star-studded envelope that just happens to be up-cycled.
I knew if I was going to create up-cycled envelopes, it had to be fool-proof and easy for me to accomplish quickly, providing me the reward of artistic satisfaction. When I started creating these envelopes, I couldn't stop.
An envelope can be made from virtually any material: paper, fabric, plastic, acetate, shopping bags, etc.. I have experimented with most materials but my go-to quick fix, both creatively and in the interest of saving time are magazines which are always available and within reach around my home.
First, I audition a few pages of a magazine for potential star candidacy before tearing them out. By flipping through the pages to see which images catch my eye I begin to narrow down what is appealing. I look for pages with some white space or empty space, for times when I can't find or make a label (for addressing). Auditioning pages can save time, in the long run, and with practise I can spot a page with star potential as my next envelope, in seconds. I want to know if the image placement looks good and is appealing and interesting for the front of my envelope. The back isn't as important but often is just as stunning as the front.
Next I create a mockup around images and advertising with soft bends and folds. Sometimes I make the envelope just because it is a fun thing to do. Other times I want it to fit perfectly to a card. Whether for fun or precision, folding a piece of paper as I would fold wrap around a gift is by far the easiest envelope technique going. The most important element, prior to folding, is composition. Making sure the image on the front ultimately is upright. I have learned through trial and error the front of the envelope should have everything right-side up for the receiver. Having finished several envelopes only to have them upside-down or without space for the address has taught me the anatomy of an envelope.
By positioning the card on the "wrong side" (inside of envelope) of my magazine page I simply start folding: down one long side, then down the opposite long side creating what is known as the two shoulders, or side folds of an envelope . Next I fold the bottom or back flap up over the shoulders. And lastly, fold the seal flap over top of the back flap. That's it. I'm done. It's a wrap!