I love getting a new calendar at the beginning of the year and writing in all the important dates throughout the year. I love the calendar selection process and don’t mind spending $10-15 for one. But at the end of the year, even though I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of that calendar, I hate throwing it away. So, I don’t. Instead, I keep it around a little bit longer and give it a second career as envelopes. Here’s what I start out with:
I know that looks like a big ole heap of tools, which it is, but you really don’t need much to do this beyond the calendar, a pair of scissors, some glue, and a template. I’m using a Mary Engelbreit 2013 calendar here.
If you’re facing yet another snow day and stuck in the house, this is a great way to help keep kids busy for a couple hours.
First, you’ll need to remove the staples from the calendar. I cannot stand those pinchy, claw type of staple removers that gouge the paper and half the time don’t even get the staple out. If you do much un-stapling, I highly recommend the Flat Staple Remover. They cost about $2 and are available at most office supply stores.
After the staples are removed, cut or tear the pages apart, which gives you 12 beautiful pictures to use. I’m assuming they’re beautiful pictures, for all I know you may be using a calendar of Landfills Around the World, but either way, you’ll have 12 picture pages.
There are a variety of way to design/shape your envelopes, and below are several options:
These templates are flexible plastic, a lot like the same plastic sheets used for stencils. I bought these from Dick Blick Art Supplies several years ago. They have an envelope and note card template, as well as printed instructions. Blick doesn’t carry them any more. They certainly aren’t my favorite, but when I bought them, they were the ONLY envelope templates I could find. The plastic material is a booger to hold in place while tracing around it and I’ve let loose with more than one stream of colorful language when using them, but because they come in three sizes, they’re still pretty handy.
These little beauties are wood templates. The one on the left is stamped as a Size #03 envelope, while the one on the right is a Pochi bag, or what a lot of office supply places call coin envelopes. These templates are available on Etsy and eBay and run about $9 for the pair. These are my favorite envelope templates to use. They are easy to hold in place and the larger templates just fits on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper.
Another option, is to grab an envelope that you like the shape of and make your own template with cardboard or chipboard. It’s definitely the cheapest option!
And then there’s this little beauty. This is the Martha Stewart Envelope Scoring board. These cost anywhere from $12 – 25, depending on where you get them. It’s $12 at Amazon, and just over $20 at Michaels. If you plan on making loads of envelopes and don’t have an Amazon Prime account (free 2-day shipping), then getting this at Michael’s with the 40% off weekly coupon is the way to go.
The scoring board has a little hidey hole for storing the scoring tool, and the board is about 13″ x 14″.
And on the back is a guide and measuring tool that is stashed in another clever hidey hole.
The scoring board is the most versatile of the template options. You can use any size paper up to 12″ x 12″ square (scrapbook size), but the drawback is that the paper must be square. The other options can be used on rectangular shaped paper.
I had to trim my calendar pages down to 12″ x 12″ to use them on the envelope scoring board.
The square sheet is placed on the diagonal on the board. The board has 1/8″ spaced grooves for scoring, which are easy to distinguish between. The even eights are marked in gray, the odds in white, and the half-inch mark has a dot above it. The triangular tool goes in the left hand corner and has a table that tells the user where to score what size paper. My 12″ x 12″ paper was scored at 3-7/8″ and 5-1/2″ marks.
After the scoring is complete, the score lines intersect. The triangular part there (where the rose is sitting on the border) needs to be snipped out with scissors.
Fold in the corners. The scoring tool makes this really easy to do. But you see that little part sticking up? It can be left just the way it is if you don’t mind it, but it drives me nuts, so I cut that straight across.
Put a line of glue along the edges. I like this Scotch brand dual applicator glue. It’s specially formulated for paper, applies a thin layer, dries quickly, doesn’t wrinkle the paper, and has a bond that holds well enough that the envelope will still be holding together after traveling through the mail. I get these glue applicators at Target, where they run about $2-3. They’re also available at Michaels and through Amazon. Wal-mart carries Elmers, and for this type of project, don’t bother. Elmer’s has a similar type of dual applicator that allegedly has a glue formulated for use with paper and claims to be “no wrinkle”, but it wrinkles something fierce and takes days to dry.
You can use glue sticks if you’re working with little ones. Glue sticks work best with light weight, non-slick/gloss paper. You might want to tape the seams with some transparent tape if you’re planning to send those through the mail.
I have also successfully used plain old white Elmer’s school glue. I would recommend pouring some into a small dish and applying the Elmer’s with a paint brush to get a thinner layer. The Elmer’s does take longer to dry and will wrinkle if it’s applied with a heavy hand.
Now, because I do a lot of paper crafting, I have this super fancy corner-rounder tool by Crop-a-Dile. It will do 1/4″ and 1/2″ rounded corners. This step is completely option, but I like a nice rounded corner for the envelope closure.
Ta-Da! Rounded corner! I used six of the 12 pages to make envelopes this size. The finished envelope is size A9.
When using the wood template, trace around it on the back of paper. I use a ball point pen to get a nice even line, but a pencil would do just as well.
Above are five envelopes that have been cut, but not folded, using the wood template.
Now, if you are really getting into this whole envelope thing and want to take it one step further, there is this handy stuff called Envelope Gum. It is not for holding the envelope together. It’s a water activated glue to use for the closure, so your envelopes can be of the lick n’ stick variety. It runs about $7 for a 2 oz. bottle, but you can gum thousands of envelopes with two ounces of the stuff. It has to be applied with a paint brush, but dries fairly quickly, and I haven’t had any problem with envelopes sticking closed before being used. I buy mine through Amazon because I can’t find it my local shops.
After the glue envelopes have dried, they’re ready for your cards and letters. I would suggest using a white mailing label or a white piece of paper glue to the front of the envelope when you address it so that the automated sorting machines the USPS uses will be able to “read” the address.
If you happen to have used a larger calendar like the one in this tutorial and you have some sizable bits of paper left, hang on to them. Check back later this week for some ideas on what to do with those left over scraps! In case you need something to store them in, take the card stock cover of your calendar, tape up the sizes, and use it as a file folder to hold onto those paper scraps. Stick the folder back on your bulletin board and use it for stowing coupons or notes from school or even as a bill holder.