Sunday, February 7, 2010

Troll Envelope: Making a handmade envelope

Paper Source envelope-making tools

Welcome to my most photo-heavy post ever! (I think. 12 photos. I didn't really count past photo stats on posts, it just feels like the biggest.) This will serve as a report and review of my fun new products from Paper Source:
Envelope Template Kit
6" bone folder
Lick & Stick Envelope Glue

So yesterday I posted about this wonderful mail art that I received. That, too was a photo-heavy post, and at the end I promised to show you today what I sent in response. Of course I had to send something I made myself, it had to be some sort of mail art, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to really dig in with the items from my recent PaperSource order.

Placing the template

Here we see the envelope template centered on the page of a children's book (Favorite Tales of Monsters and Trolls by George Jonsen - this is the troll under the bridge in The 3 Billy Goats Gruff). I will note that I deliberated over this template kit for a long time - some people are really crafty but I'm not one of them, and I need all the help I can get. What really sold me was the fact that you can see through the firm plastic, so you know exactly where you want to center it, and the long holes are places where you can use the bone folder to score for folding. This kit is really, really handy. I will just say right now that I love it.

So in this case I wanted to make sure that the troll's face showed up on the front of the envelope, and that the awesome bird on his hat came out on the back flap. This template is just a wee bit bigger than the page (and it's the smallest one in the kit), but it's okay that it overlaps the page in a couple of places - those irregularities will be totally covered by the folds. My spatial-reasoning challenged brain would not have known this without the aid of the template.

Page, template and bonefolder

Here we see the page, the template and the bonefolder. I traced around the edge of the template with a pencil, and used the pointed end of the bonefolder to score the page. (That means to put little indentations in it that aid in the folding of the envelope.) Sorry about all the shadows from my windowpanes - it was a directly sunny day, and they couldn't be avoided.

Bonefolder's ghost

Now I understand why people have craft mats - the bonefolder actually made marks in my table. Good thing we don't really care! It's already got cat claw marks, ink spots, and all kinds of other marks of our lives. But I shall be a little more careful with the bonefolder in the future, and maybe put something underneath it when I am using it to score.

Folding in the troll

I figure the cutting part is pretty obvious - just cut along the lines traced from the edge of the template - so here we get to the folding part. I didn't photograph it in action, but you can also use the bonefolder to get really sharp creases on the folds. Trust me, it works better than a finger, and even better than the side of my letter opener, which is what I had used previously for such a purpose. So here is the partially folded envelope...

Goats Gruff fold

...and more folds, pre-glue. I did not photograph the glue process, but let me just say that the Lick & Stick glue is probably the best value. It's only a couple of bucks, and that stuff is glorious. You can use it wet as normal glue, of course, but you can also let it dry so that you can lick and seal the envelopes later. This is fantastic if you are making your envelopes ahead of time, before you are sealing them, or of course if you are making them to give away or sell. I have heard tell that you can mix up your own solution for this sort of thing, but again, that's not my temperament. The Lick & Stick is easy to apply, with a spongy applicator, and I've found it's also good for reinforcing the glue on vintage stamps. Hooray for Lick & Stick!

Troll and his hatbird

Here's the front, before the final fold. I just so dig that bird on top of the troll's hat.

back of the folded envelope: trollbird

Here's the back, when the envelope itself has been glued together but the flap hasn't been sealed.

Sunny envelope-making, with coffee

I didn't photograph it before I cut it, but one of the strips from the page I used for the envelope had this really cute scene on it, and it was cut away from the final envelope. I decided to cut it out and glue it on a piece of paper (yay Lick & Stick!), so the "stationery" matches the envelope. You can also see my morning cup of coffee there in the sunshine.

paper scrap from envelope becomes stationery

Here's a closer look at that little scene glued to the paper.

completed troll envelope, back

And finally, the finished product! Here's the back...

completed troll envelope, front

...and here's the front!

All things considered, I am really happy with these PaperSource purchases, and I'm sure they'll see a lot of action. The Envelope Template Kit has a great video that demonstrates their use; though it is a bit annoying to watch, it is useful. It has templates for 4bar, A2, A6, A7, and 5 3/4" square envelopes.

I hope you enjoyed the heavy documentation of my creation, and found the info useful - zowie was this an intense post to write! But good mail is worth it.