Handmade Envelopes from Last Year’s Calendar

My 2014 fridge calendar was so beautiful that I wanted to find a way to salvage / reuse the beautiful images.

At this point, you are probably well aware of my new love of making my own envelopes {remember that time I made envelopes from an old skirt magazine for the Bridal Tea party?}. I knew the weight and size of the glossy pages would be perfect for constructing envelopes so I saved a few of my favorites.

I saved some of my favorite pages from the calendar before recycling the rest. The pages had been sitting aside waiting patiently to be turned into envelopes for a few weeks now.

handmade

To get started you’ll need to gather these supplies:

  • Calendar pages (alternate options: magazine pages, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, etc)
  • Glue stick
  • Scrap paper for the address label (alternate: use a permanent marker if the design is light enough)
  • Permanent marker
  • Blank piece of paper (if you want to make a template to reuse later)
  • Envelope (used or unused – doesn’t matter)
  • Scissors
  • Strong liquid glue or clear tape
  • Washi tape
  • Paper for envelope lining – optional
  • A card that fits inside your envelope template OR make your own with construction paper, scrapbook paper or other colored paper pieces

Instructions:

Creating the Envelope template

If you have a used envelope whose size you like, deconstruct it by carefully detaching the sides and bottom of the envelope. Since you will be using the deconstructed envelope as your template, skip to the instructions for constructing the envelope.

If you have an unused envelope, you can create a template without deconstructing by following these steps:

1. Lift the top flap of the envelope (so that it is “open”) and align it with the top edge of the paper you are using to trace the template.

2. Trace the side edges of the top flap on the paper. Carefully hold the envelope in place on top of the paper and close the top flap. Trace around the rectangular body of the envelope (with the top flap down).

3. For the bottom of the envelope, measure the height of the bottom flap. On your paper template, measure the same distance (from the bottom of the envelope body outline) and draw a few marks. Connect the marks with a straight, horizontal line across the bottom of your template paper.

4. Measure the length of the top of the bottom flap (the area where the top flap would overlap when closed). It should be slightly less than the horizontal length of your envelope’s body.

5. On the line you have drawn at the bottom of your template page, draw notches that match the length measured in step 3 centered (as best you can) below the envelope body.

6. Draw a line from the bottom left corner of the envelope body to the left end of the line drawn in step 4. Repeat on the right side. The lines should be angled slightly inward.

7. Use the same method to draw the side flaps.

8. Use your scissors to cut around the outline of the envelope.

9. Fold the side flaps in then fold the bottom flap up. You can use a ruler to help with this by aligning the edge of the ruler along the folding line (outline of the envelope body).

10. Ensure that the side and bottom flaps overlap enough so that you will be able to glue them together. Also ensure that when the top flap is folded down, there is enough overlap so that you can secure the envelope.

If my directions are hard to follow, I suggest checking out these directions from The Postman’s Knock.

Constructing the Envelope

Once you have your template constructed (and tested to make sure the pieces align properly), you are ready to start tracing.

1. On the wrong side of the calendar pages (in our case, on the calendar grid side), trace the template using a permanent marker. Before cutting, make sure that the outline is lined up how you would like it on the image (pay particular attention to where the body of the envelope / middle rectangle aligns as this will be the front of your envelope).

2. Using your scissors, cut around the outer edges of your template outline.

3. Line your ruler up to the corners of the side flap (along the edges of the envelope body) and fold the flap towards the calendar grid (interior of envelope). Repeat for the other side flap.

4. Repeat step 3 for the bottom and top flaps.

5. Use your glue stick to coat the exterior of both side flaps where the bottom flap overlaps. Fold the bottom flap up so that it sticks to the side flaps.

6. Ensure that the envelope doesn’t glue shut by inserting your card or a piece of paper to separate as necessary. (Remove the paper or card / don’t leave the card inside the envelope while it dries.)

7. Set envelope aside to let glue dry.

8. Using a piece of scrap paper, write your recipients address and attach to your envelope using strong liquid glue or clear tape.

9. If you already have a card to use, go ahead and write a sweet note to someone you love. If you don’t have a card, cut pieces of construction paper / scrapbook paper / other colored paper slightly smaller than the body of your envelope. I found some colored 5×7″ card stock on clearance at Michael’s so that’s what I used 🙂

10. Put the beautifully written note inside the envelope and seal with washi tape. If you are feeling especially handy, you could try making your own envelope glue.

11. Send your lovely happy mail on it’s way! {Don’t forget a stamp!}

Here’s some envelope eye candy from my 2014 calendar…

e 1nvelope

Wouldn’t this be perfect for holding a handmade wedding card?

envelope 1a

Envelope interior with exposed calendar grid (no lining)

I kind of like how the calendar grid peeks through on the inside of the envelope. To me it screams: “Once upon a time I was trash, but now I’m treasure!” 😉

If you want your upcycling to be a little less obvious, feel free to add a lining to your envelope. Martha Stewart has a nice how-to on envelope lining here or you can download her liner templates with this tutorial.

envelope 2

I can’t wait to send this one in the spring!

envelope 5

I sent this one to my penpal and was able to write her address directly onto the front with a permanent marker.

I picked out my favorite one and sent it to my Mom 🙂

calendar envelope

I love how colorful this pattern is (and so did my Mom!)

A lesson learned: a glue stick isn’t quite strong enough to hold the address on (I glued paper scraps with the address directly to the front of the envelope). If it’s possible, I recommend using a permanent marker to write directly onto the envelope. For some of my designs (like the white flower), this worked, but for others (like above) that wasn’t an option. Next time I will try using my liquid glue or clear tape to keep it secure.

Luckily, the address piece didn’t fall completely off until it had reached my Mom (yay!), but I wanted to share a word of warning because it would be a real tragedy if your beautiful masterpiece didn’t reach it’s intended recipient!

envelope 4

When I send this one, I think I will try to wrap the address below the purple flowers.

A wall calendar is the perfect material for making envelopes. If you’re still holding on to last year’s calendar, give handmade envelopes a try!

Keep an eye out – these envelopes will likely make a reappearance in some future #reslicedHappyMail!


My initiative to spread joy at a snail’s pace

Since starting resliced almost 3 years ago, I’ve had less and less time to dedicate to making-to-sell. I’ve struggled with the balance of working full-time while trying to grow my handmade business. Last year I stepped back a bit. It was tough, but I was able to suppress the nagging voice in my head that was telling me I needed to spend all my free time building up the stock in my Etsy shop (while robbing myself of the creative joy I needed). Instead I started to focus on improving my skills. I no longer beat myself up for making something for me – practice makes first drafts and first drafts aren’t always sell-worthy.

Throughout my hiatus from the one-woman-assembly-line, one thing remained constant: my desire to make something…anything…with my hands and to share it with the world.

I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy (you can read more about how I became interested in calligraphy in my feature on the Leen Machine Calligraphy blog), so I took a class. The class really reignited my passion for snail mail.

I’ve been practicing a lot since then. I used my newfound calligraphy skills to create holiday cards for my friends and family (you can see most of them in this post). I even made a very special birthday card (inspired by Pinterest) for my Dad…

bday card

word on the street is that he liked it! (I was in England when he opened it, but I left specific instructions not to open until the big day)

I also recently taught myself how to make envelopes (with guidance from The Postman’s Knock). I spent a weekend practicing – I made 11 unique envelopes to hold invitations [made those too!] to a Bridal Tea I’m planning for my Bestie (deets to come!).

handmade envelope from the November issue of Skirt! magazine

handmade envelope from the November issue of Skirt! magazine

So, why am I telling you all about the snail mail I’ve created? Well, I’ll give you a hint: it has a lot to do with my new initiative!

I’ve been tossing around this idea for a while. Like a raw stone in a tumbler, I think I’ve polished this idea as best I can 😉

kt card back

the back of one of my handmade envelopes which happens to be a quote quite fitting for this post 🙂

love sending snail mail. And frankly, I’ve run out of friends and family to badger with my everyday thoughts (and they never write back!). I want to share the love while continuing to practice my calligraphy and fancy snail mail ideas (you can see some of my inspiration on my Paper Play board on Pinterest). While I may not have the time to mass produce stock for my Etsy shop, I do have time to create and send one card (or maybe more!) per month.

That being said, I’m starting a new initiative that I’ll share with you monthly, but I need YOUR help!

Ponder this: Do you know someone who could use a reminder that they matter and someone somewhere is thinking of them and sending good vibes their way? Don’t we all know at least one person who could?! Well, I want to help by sending a little happy snail mail their way.

And so I present to you my new project: #reslicedHappyMail!

happy mail

Here’s how #reslicedHappyMail will work:

1) You fill out this form to nominate someone you think could use a little happiness sent to their snail mailbox. This could be an elderly relative who lives alone, a kid who’s having a tough time at school, or your friend who’s undergoing a serious quarter-life crisis and needs to know someone is sending her some good vibes. Anyone you think could use a little reminder that they’re loved.

2) I’ll collect the nominations ongoing until I reach my capacity (whatever that may be). As you think of someone, submit another form. You can make more than one nomination, but please don’t nominate the same person twice.

3) Once a month, I will pick a nominee to receive a card from me (I will likely go in order of receipt unless a story compels me in an urgent way). I’ll use the information you provided on the nomination form to inspire the text in the card and/or the decoration on the card and/or envelope.

4) Once a month, I’ll post pictures on my blog of the snail mail with a story of the nominee (this information will be pulled from what you provide in the nomination form. Give me some good information [as much as you feel comfortable] so I can tell the story of this amazing person that you know and love). You can follow along with the project by subscribing to my blog (at the top of the page, on the right side you should see a “Follow Blog via Email” button) and by following the hashtag #reslicedHappyMail on Instagram.

Rules

  • You can make more than one nomination, but please don’t nominate the same person twice. Each nomination should be submitted in a separate form.
  • You are permitted to nominate a group (like the staff at your local animal shelter). Reversely, you are also permitted to nominate an individual as a group (like you & all of your coworkers want to nominate your boss).
  • You are not permitted to nominate yourself.
  • The nominee’s address will never be made public, but photographs of the card and/or envelope will be posted on this blog. Their name may be exposed, but their full address will not be (like in the envelope pictured above). If this makes you uncomfortable, please make a note in your nomination form and I will make sure to take pictures before their name and address are on the material.
  • Feel free to make design requests and I’ll attempt to accommodate as I can (but I cannot guarantee).
  • International nominees are permitted so long as the postage does not exceed $5 (shipping from Columbia, South Carolina, USA).
  • Recipients are encouraged, but certainly not required to post selfies with their snail mail on Instagram using the hashtag: #reslicedHappyMail (feel free to tag me: @jordslice11).
  • Incomplete forms will not be considered.
  • resliced by Jordan is not responsible for items lost in the mail. (Fingers crossed that won’t happen!)
  • This is a project being run by one little lady with a passion for snail mail. Should the demand exceed my expectations, I reserve the right to close nominations. If this happens, I promise to come up with an alternate plan. I can’t, however, promise to meet all of your needs or demands (but I’ll try!).
  • There is no guarantee that every individual nominated will receive mail. If/when your nominee is accepted, you will be alerted via email.
  • Additionally, this project (and all snail mail involved) is being provided to you free to charge. Stamp or stationary donations, social media shout-outs, and general happy thoughts are welcome & appreciated 🙂

Ready, set, go nominate someone! Fill out the form here.