Thursday, February 6, 2014

Neon Rock and Roll Envelopes: Tutorial

This is an excellent waiting room/watching TV/sitting in the car craft. After the initial building phase (also very simple) it requires only a few supplies and not a ton of mental bandwidth. I made these on my couch, in a coffee shop and in bed. 

It all started when I ran out of envelopes. I made a note to pick some up and by chance found myself at Barnes and Noble later that day. In their Two Dollar Dot section they had a ton of gorgeous coffee table books which are the perfect size for making envelopes. Since an unfolded envelope is roughly square shaped they are too big for most regular sized books.

The coolest $2 book was this Beatles in America poster book. It had 20 posters plus some pages of text. They were all perforated which made my job even easier. 

Making the Envelope

First you find an envelope that is the size you want to create. This is just a regular A2 card envelope. 
Open it up. If you rip it a bit, patch up the thin spots with tape. 

This envelope served as an adequate template for all 20 that I made but the edges were getting a bit rounded and dented by the end. If you want something sturdier you could trace it onto card stock or chipboard (like a cereal box) but I didn't need to.

1. Trace around the envelope.
I used a black pen so it would show up well. Pencil would be less obvious on the black and white images.

2. Cut out with scissors.

3. Fold.
I scored mine before folding and cut right through several of the earlier ones. A little washi tape fixed them right up and added interest but using a lighter hand, or not scoring at all is likely better. Be sure to burnish your folds so the envelope lies flat. The back of a spoon works great.

4. Glue the bottom flaps closed. 
I used my ATG (dry adhesive) as wet can warp a bit. Glue stick would work well as would tape.

Aren't they just the coolest! I was seriously tempted to leave them like this and just attach a typed address label but I knew I'm loathe to use address labels as I'm usually too lazy. True story. 

So... an additional optional step...

Add a spot for writing in the address

1. Paint a rectangle with a thin coat of gesso. 
In this case every poster is different so I tried to pick a spot that saved the best part of the image.

2. Let the gesso dry completely. 

3. Embellish the spaces, making a frame for the address.

I drew rough sketchy rectangles, circles, ovals or hearts with a black pen and let the ink dry. Then I colored the frames with neon sharpie and gel pens and added doodles like scallops and checkerboards. Nothing about this project is perfect, straight or precious - it's fun, fast, easy and very rock n roll

And now I have 20 envelopes that I can't wait to send in the mail. 

Speaking of, I'm 41 today. To celebrate, leave me a comment if you'd like one of these envelopes filled with ephemera and I'll pick a few of you to send mail to. xxx

Thanks so much for stopping by!



donna!ee said...

HAPPIEST BIRTHDAY TO YOU NICOLE! love, prayers & support for you & yours alwayw ;D

Joann Alexander said...

Happy Birthday, Nicole! Thank you again for sharing you wonderful art with all of us!

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you GORGEOUS soul and person!! I love your handmade envelopes! I'll gleefully share that I've been making envelope art since I was in high school, and I save my calendars precisely to make mailing labels and envelopes as well. <3

I'm privileged to have your art in my home and I look forward to seeing your creative enterprises for decades to come.

Hazel Agnew said...

These are so rock n roll Nicole. Made me really smile. Perfect images....not something that you would pick up easily in England. They are fabulous and as usual your stuff is very inspiring. Also Happy Birthday and many many happy returns. Xx

Vicki said...

Have a wonderful birthday Nicole!
I love your blog and your art is fantastic.
I enjoy seeing you in the Documented Life Project.
All the best,

Jane Wetzel said...

I am so doing this Nicole! Great minds think alike! LOVE how cool them came out!

Jane Wetzel said...


Joe Hyberger said...

Happy Birthday! I love this idea, can't wait to try it out tonight with my daughters. Thank you for all you share here.

Gill said...

Happy Birthday Nicole!
Great idea for the envelopes - I've made them from calendar pages before but never thought to use gesso for the address space!

My name is Erika. said...

Happy Birthday!
Love this idea though I am not so sure I could cut up the books. But I will say, cutting up a $2 is so much better than paying for a package of envelopes.

Corrie Herriman said...

Love the idea of making envelopes of a book. Have to look into that myself.
I make envelopes also but use pattern paper for mine, until now !!!
Corrie x

Denise Spillane said...

The Beatles, my first crush and still a favorite band. Love this.

Denise Spillane said...

The Beatles, my first crush and still a favorite band. Love this.

Anna H said...

Have a most wonderful birthday, and thank you for the "tute". However, I would love to have you send me one, that would make it even more special!.Thanks....

Lindsey Hoffman said...

Happy birthday, Nicole! Wonderful timing on this post, as I'm hosting a Valentine-making party tonight -- thank you! <3

Sue Duda said...

happy birthday!! love your work!!

Sue Duda said...

happy birthday!! love your work!!

Robbiegirl said...

Are you kidding?? It's your birthday today? I wish I knew a few days ago but happy birthday my dear friwnd!!

Judy Malys said...

Loved the Beatles in the 60s and love your envelopes!

Judy Malys said...

Loved the Beatles in the 60s (yes, I'm that old) and love the Beatles envelopes!! You rock!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Happy Birthday! 40's are the BEST!
And these are the coolest envelopes I have ever seen. My daughter and I have started writing each other and decorating the envelopes, so she will flip when I make something like it!

cathy yosha said...

These are such great inspiration!
and great work, too.
Happy Birthday

Lisa Steele said...

Love! Those envelopes are SuPeR cute! I would love to get one in the mail:)

HaPpY bIrThDaY too!

HawaiianLibrarian said...

FABulous idea for recycling! Gonna be on the lookout for b/w photo books.

HawaiianLibrarian said...

FABulous idea for recycling! Gonna be on the lookout for b/w photo books.

HawaiianLibrarian said...

Hauoli La Hanau! Happy Birthday!

Jan Francis said...

What a cool project! I am a hospice patient, and was looking for an easy craft project.