Let me off the grid! A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

A journey toward artful, holistic living in the middle of Sin City...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Upcycled Envelopes, or Art Materials in Your Mailbox!

I love to write letters.  And I love to make art.  This project combines the two, plus adds a little bit of sustainability, which is the whipped cream and cherry on top.  You know all that junk mail you still get, even though you've put yourself on every "Do Not Mail" list in existence?  Well, this is where the free art supplies come in.  Don't just throw that junk mail away - open it up and pull out any return envelopes they may have sent (and any plastic "pretend" credit cards).  Keep those and put the rest of that mess through your shredder.  On your next trip to the compost pile, dump in all that shredded junk mail because it adds "brown" or dry material to your pile.  This is helpful to us because there aren't a lot of leaves in the Mojave Desert.

Now, here's what you need for this mini-project:

Unused return envelopes; acrylic paint - any kind, cheap stuff from Michael's or JoAnn's is fine; an old credit card or gift card; rubber stamps, a stamp pad (I use black because it shows up better through the layers of paint).  Oops! not shown: some bubble wrap, a brayer and/or a piece of sponge. These are optional.  You DON'T need a bowl of walnuts or a nutcracker.  Unless you get hungry.

Step 1:
 Begin by putting two small drops of paint on the front of your envelope.  Make sure they're small, or you'll get paint all over.  You can always add more. And if you have too much, you can put it on another envelope that's close, so really, no worries.

Next, use that old credit card/gift card to scrape the paint over the front of the envelope.
They are THE BEST paint applicators I know of.  Plus, when you reuse them you're keeping stuff out of the landfill.  You don't have to use two colors at the same time; you could apply one,
 let it dry, then apply a second color:

Be sure to do the fronts and backs.

Now eat a couple of those walnuts while you're waiting for your envelopes to dry...

After they're dry, stamp random patterns all over the front and back of your envelopes.

Your envelopes are beautiful and could be used right now.  All you need to do is add a label for the address and it's good to go.  BUT if you want to add a little extra pizazz, here's the optional step:

Using a contrasting color (I like metallics, but I'm just that kind of bear), brayer a little paint onto the bumpy side of the bubble wrap.

And press it randomly over your envelope.

Or, if you'd rather use a sponge, tap it into the paint and gently tap over your envelope however you please.

And there you are.  Welcome to mail art!.  Now, clean up your workspace and go write some letters...

This post has been linked to Homemade MondaysFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways

1 comment:

marilyn said...

I, too, recycle those "free" envelopes, but never the fake membership cards. I have to say that mine look pretty pathetic. I just scatch off the old stuff, find an empty spot and write in the address. Not nearly as nice as yours. Fun to see how you do it.