Monday, July 29, 2013

Large White Envelopes: Don't Toss; Just Repurpose

Thick Paper from White Envelope
                          Crafters' and Penny Savers' Best Friend
     How many times do you receive large white envelopes? I personally think that they are too wasteful to toss into the recycle bin. And they are good quality weight since they tend to hold heavy or wide materials. I save so much money by re-purposing the good sections of the large white envelopes because going out to purchase sketch books, card-stock and watercolor papers can add up. Secondarily, I feel proud about doing my part in keeping a paper product from a landfill.We all know that for everything that we do, we have to think about reducing, reusing, and recycling in order to save planet Earth for future generations. By using these white envelopes, you are reducing the need to use new paper and you are reusing what you already have, thus saving money.

     First of all, invest in a good quality paper cutter, especially one that can cut at least an 8-1/2"x 11" piece of paper. You want to find one that has clear rulers. The Fiskar paper cutter that I purchased from Michael's Craft Store has clear demarcation of the lengths.  If you want a 6" cut on the paper, you line the paper up to the 6" mark, close the arm and move the rotary cutter over the entire paper. And viola! You have a piece of paper that is 6" as one of your lengths.

This is how I process the large envelope:

(1) Slice off the sides of the large envelope
where  the envelope has been glued. If you don't do this, you are constantly reminded that you have an envelope.

(2) Slice off paper that has writing on one side. If there is a lot of writing on the outside of the envelope, then use the other side for scratch paper. They are great for making grocery lists, jotting down phone numbers, copying recipes for a particular meals, recording Scrabble scores, reviving gel pens and other ballpoint pens, and copying information before storing it in a more permanent place such as an iPhone or Growly Notes, etc.

(3) Then, decide what size paper you like. For me, making gift cards has more value than just small pieces of paper. Have you seen how much a gift card costs at Papyrus? I saw a small gift card starting at $4. So, I find areas of 6" x 3" and fold it to make a 3" gift card, which is in my opinion the universal gift card size.  If there is already a clean fold that is free from writing, such as the bottom of the envelope, I can easily slice a folded section that is 3" x 3" to achieve the same goal. The bottom fold of the envelope if it is free of any writing is the most desirable area since the envelope's fold is already perfect.

 I will cut a piece that is 5" x 2.5" to make a 2.5" gift card. The smallest gift card that I will venture is a piece that is 4" x 2", thus making a 2" card. Anything smaller is just too small to use, unless you are including it in a small jewelry box. You might as well make a flat gift tag such as one that is 2" x 1" and so forth.

(4) After re-purposing  4 large envelopes, I have enough small blank gift cards that my children can use some for Valentine's Day cards. I love spending time making handmade cards with the children, instead of just purchasing Valentine's Day cards and attaching candy to them. I always tell my children that you want to try different art techniques until you own the art techniques.  If the children are not confident with painting directly on a card, I showed them how to paint on a small piece of paper and then we glue the picture to a card.
The Paper Quality Is Good Enough for Water-coloring

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