Sunday, 31 May 2009

Upcycled mailing envelopes - a tutorial

Hey everyone,

I can't take all the credit for this one, as it's a skill I picked up from an envelope I received from Shauna, of Lemondrop Studios. However, thanks to a sunny Sunday morning, my camera and the need for a small, sturdy envelope to send a PIF across the pond, here is my own take on how to change a cereal bar box into a 'do-not-bend-velope'.

First of all, eat your cereal bars. You'll be left with an empty box, like so:

Pay attention to the packaging - this is telling me that it's okay to go ahead and recycle!

Next up, cut along one of the vertical folds, like so:

You'll be left with one long piece of cardboard. You then need to take off the entire front or back panel (up to you, you pick which). I went for the front:

If you turn the loose panel over, you can mark out where you need to trim each edge. Take about a centimetre of each side, otherwise the finished envelope will be too bulky to tape together. You also need to trim a little bit off one of the top edge, but I forgot to take a photo of that part.

Here's the same thing in inches, for my international/older readers:

Also, while you have the scissors, take off that scrappy bit at the bottom. Like this:

It's not entirely clear where I've marked it in pencil, in this photo, but you also need to cut off the corner tabs, and neaten your edges.

You can make the remaining edges look a bit more envelope-like by snipping off the corners a little. Place the trimmed front (or back!) panel onto the larger piece. We're using it that way up so our envelope is nice and blank, instead of patterned. Starting to look like an envelope yet?

Trim off the envelope's flaps where they are looking a bit raggedy. Recycled shouldn't look like it means inferior quality. All we need now is a little bit of tape. This is a bit tricky to do on your own, but if you have a paperweight, mug or heavy stapler handy, that might help you get the tape in the right place.

Et voila! A perfectly functional cardboard envelope... with a past!


theothermousie said...

Wow, thanks we get through loads of those boxes (packed lunches aplenty here!!) they usually go straight to recycling - but now I know there is another way!!!

I'm just taking a break from sockateeering btw, I asked on twitter for help with a job title & someone said what about sockateer - think I like it!

Will upload some pics later... phew!

Girl_Industries said...

Sockateer - I love it! Our local authority doesn't take cardboard... yet. Boo to you, Glasgow City Council.

Sinclair said...

This is great because I have mountains of cardboard boxes that I have cut to save for my upcycled notebooks. I now have another reason to keep saving them!