Here's what I came up with...
|Finished File Folder Envelope ~ Mail Art Challenge|
I took pics along the way to show a bit of the process, but hadn't originally intended to make a full-blown tutorial. Since I didn't document everything fully, if anything is unclear, just pop me a question in the comments below.
Step One: Gather Materials
- Text Paper
- Scrapbook Paper
- Manila File Folder
- Envelope Template (I used an old greeting card envelope)
- Sewing Machine & Choice of Thread
- Paint, Pens, etc.
To fulfill the challenge to use text paper, I chose a couple sheets from this handy dandy vintage typewriting manual. I thought it was appropriate since so many of us mixed media artists love our typewriters and vintage ephemera. This one is from 1951, a treasure I found when helping an older gentleman clean out his storage shed. I got a sweet blue typewriter as well (I will show pics soon!).
|Front Cover ~ 20th Century Typewriting Course|
|I just love the images and typewriting exercises!|
|Inside front cover|
|Who said junk mail can't be useful? Fodder for mail art!|
|Flattened manila folder envelope|
The next step was collaging the images and scrapbook paper to the envelope. I ran out of Mod Podge, so I used a homemade decoupage (roughly 50/50 Elmer's Glue and water). This part was tedious and a little messy. I had to be careful since I was dealing with delicate vintage paper. I kept the layers of glue thin by scraping over the top of each paper with a credit card. I used my hair dryer (heat gun) to quickly dry. I believe I also let it hang out a while and finish drying, but I can't remember for sure. Of course, the edges curled up a bit as you can see in the pics, but once I began scoring, folding, and sewing, I beat them into submission.
|Front of file folder envelope in process|
I used my sewing machine to sew along the edges. I used a fancy little embroidery stitch as well as straight stitching. It's all a little imperfect, but that adds to the charm. I also sewed along the top of the alphabet letters to add texture and to make sure those little guys stayed secure.
Everything was creased by hand and by using the back of a pair of scissor handles to keep the folds fairly crisp. Here is the envelope beginning to take shape. I enjoyed the way the vintage stamp images overlapped to create a flag or bunting effect.
|File Folder Envelope Sewn|
|Thick sturdy file folder envelope|
|Practice Makes Perfect - True in Typing and ART!|
|Fun postage that kept true to the color palette of Black, White and Red|
I kept some plastic sheets that once contained punch-out labels to use as a stencil. I wanted to create a place to write the addresses on the front and back. I used the thin white paint to keep it semi-transparent. I did outlining with pens (regular ballpoint and micron, I believe) and also a dark sketching pencil.
|Hot Glue Seals this Handmade Envelope|
Once I was done, I was ready to close the final flap of the envelope. I was stumped at first, because I wanted to make sure Tiffany could still open the envelope, but since it was thick and bulky I knew the glue or tape had to be strong enough to hold it shut. Since my choices were limited, I decided to continue on with the hot glue.
I added a drop of glue in the top corners and another along the middle of the flap. I finished it off with a large circle of glue at the "V". That flap wasn't going anywhere! It reminded me a little bit of an old-fashioned wax-seal, but on the inside. I sent Tiff a message about how I sealed it. I told her to just take something sharp like a metal palette knife to scrape under the dabs of hot glue. It looked like it would open with minimal damage to the design.
Well, that's basically it. I am pleased with it and hope to make more envelopes like this. I still have tons of that yummy typewriter manual paper to use, and I have ideas for other envies that will help me use up some of my stash. The thickness and durability of the envelope makes it appealing. With an added layer of mod podge or other sealer, these could also make nice storage envelopes.
I wanted to add that I was also inspired by some delicious handmade envelopes by Yoliebean, which I watched before making mine. Here's the video that got my wheels turning when trying to figure out the substrate for my project. Her work is beautiful!
Never hesitate to ask any questions~~~