Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A tutorial of sorts...

I was asked some time back if I'd do a tutorial of how I make my envelopes - so here it is - the photography isn't the best as I grabbed the shots haphazardly as I made a pair of envelopes. As always I had to steal some time to get these done but get them done I had to do, as they were for a couple of my customers. I like to do a little mail art when I need to send a customer an un-mounted rubber stamp that went missing from their order - kind of a little "sorry for my error" stamped apology. The 1st 2 photos above show where I cut the paper from, it's approx. 1/4 inch larger than the envelope all around. I find it's much easier to start a project with a piece of patterned paper rather than blank white. I'm using some of the paper I carry at MadRatRubber but you can always create your own patterned paper by starting with a sheet of colored paper & adding visual texture by stamping a pattern with a coordinating ink color.
Since I'd already decided to use the Running Skeleton, I stamped it out in black ink. But before I put stamp to paper I drew an outline of the envelope on some scrap paper & stamped them out to make sure they would fit. It's one of the great things about stamping - the ability to create several rough drafts of a project before using up the "good stuff". In a relatively short period of time you can try several variations on a layout & decide which you like best.
This is my preliminary layout, the Running Skeleton's upraised fists suggest he should be holding something so I stamped the Checked Frame on a piece of green paper, I wanted the other 2 to also be waving or carrying something so I found 2 stickers - the left one says "been there" and the right one say "done that" I'd draw in a pole or string to connect the sayings to the skeletons hands later. For the other variation I have the skeletons waving postage stamps. The blue paper was actually a scrap left over from a previous project & when I laid it down on the paper I decided it looked like an awning. I added stripes to add to the illusion.
The stamp used for the stripe is from my Flower Set, I used blue ink for the stripes & to distress the edges a bit. Since I was making 2 similar envelopes I made 2 of the awnings. The second version of the envelope had less pattern in the paper so I decided to add a bit more using my Primitive Pattern stamp & a darker but coordinating ink color. I'd already stamped the skeletons so I made 3 masks, which is basically stamping the image 3 separate times on scrap paper & carefully trimming out the images. Using removable tape attach the masks to the stamped images matching them up very carefully. Be sure to put the tape where it won't interfere with the image to be stamped on top or you'll end up with a portion that doesn't get covered. The image below shows the masks on the left & right skeleton. Before attaching the address block & the awning I decided to try and add a little depth at the bottom of the awning so I used a little black pastel to darken the space below the curves. When I finished with all the stamping, I used 77 spray glue on the front of the envelope and stuck the envelope to the back of the stamped paper. I then laid it face down & trimmed off the excess paper (being very careful not to cut into the envelope itself)

The awning & address block are attached with Xyron adhesive. I recently discovered Xyron for myself, I'd seen & heard about it but finally bought the small "X" shaped label maker & played around with it to see how it worked. It comes in 2 parts - the bottom or white strip has the adhesive on it & the clear top (which is very thin plastic) is the receiving surface for the adhesive. The "machine" or holder dealy doesn't have to be used - for these 2 pieces, I pulled out enough of the white adhesive paper & tacked it to my work table, (sticky side up) stuck the paper to it than laid the clear stuff on top. The clear stuff adheres to any exposed adhesive & removes it from the white backing board. The adhesive is now only on the back of the paper. You then peel the paper off the backing & stick it in place. Very cool! Nothing I've seen on youtube or the product info explained how this actually worked. Now that I know, I'll get the 5" wide stuff but will only buy the adhesive cartridge, less waste & more control in my book.
The envelope above has the drawn in strings & the 2 stickers I mentioned earlier. I also added the little star pattern to both envelopes.The last 2 photos are of the finished envelopes with postage & addresses (though I obscured the addresses) They both received their envelopes without any problems. I usually mail them in a clear outer envelope just to protect them from mishap but I do attach the postage stamps to the envelopes themselves & have them hand canceled at the post office.

I hope this inspires you to make some mail art - birthdays & the holidays are a perfect time to send a little creative greeting through the mail!

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