Quick and easy ways to decorate an envelope (Part 1 of 2)

Do you like to decorate your envelopes but always seem to be short of time and ideas? In this blog post I aim to show you a few quick and easy ways that you can transform your envelopes from plain and boring to bright and colourful.

1. Vintage/ decorative stamps.

If you like mail, you probably like stamps to. Putting vintage or foreign/decorative stamps along side your current stamps can make an envelope look very attractive. I bought the stamps that were used on the envelope above from my local Oxfam charity shop but you can also purchase secondhand stamps online through places like eBay or Etsy.

I like to place the stamps in the top right hand corner of the envelope but you can go as far as covering the whole front of the envelope in vintage stamps if you prefer. Margaret of Paper Pastries has showed how lovely an envelope covered in stamps can look on her blog.

Before sticking the stamps down I would suggest looking through them first and seeing if there is a particular colour or theme (such as flowers etc) that you like to go with. Once you have decided if you want to use a certain theme or colour, play around with the layout of the stamps. Then when your happy with the layout just stick them down.

2. Washi tape.

A really quick and popular way to decorate an envelope is to use washi tape. There are many possibilities for how you can use washi tape to make your envelopes stand out. You can place pieces of the tape in a random way like Jenna of the blog My Life as a Magazine does in such a simple and effective way or arrange them in a more structured design like what is shown on The Invitation Blog. Either way washi tape can certainly brighten up an envelope and is my go to when I am short on time!

3. Bunting

Bunting always makes me think of Summer garden parties. I am sending out some floral LOVE with the envelope I put together above. I think mini bunting can look quite charming on envelopes and decided it would go nicely with the letters I cut out of a magazine.

I made the bunting above from some fabric tape and sheets of sticky back fabric, both were from TIGER (click on the link to find a store near you). One of my favourite Instagram accounts that I follow is @marionbcn and she often uses bunting to decorate her envelopes and letters.

You can create your own mini bunting by cutting triangles out of different colours of paper or gift wrap and sticking them down with glue. You can save more time by doing away with the glue and using stickers or washi/fabric tape. Alternatively, you could try drawing bunting with some pencils or pens. Having a letter of the alphabet written on each triangle to make up a name or a word also looks good. If you think you don't have time for that, you could always buy some lovely ready printed bunting washi tape instead.

Do you have a favourite way to decorate your envelopes? I would love to hear about what you like to do in the comments section below. I hope you like these examples of quick and easy ways you can decorate an envelope.  Keep an eye out for the second part of the series coming soon.  

A review of the book Snail Mail: Celebrating the Art of Handwritten Correspondence

Have you ever seen a book and known even before opening it up that you will love it? When I saw on Michelle Mackintosh's Instagram account that she was releasing a book called Snail Mail: Celebrating the Art of Handwritten Correspondence I knew I had to have it. As a fan of Michelles work and a huge snail mail enthusiast it was probably inevitable that I was going to like it. But I didn't want to get my hopes up, especially as I hadn't read a single review or in fact read anything about it. 

Before it arrived I had expected it to be a 30 odd page book talking about the history of snail mail with the occasional photo of envelopes or stamps but it turned out to be so much more. It is 221 pages of pure snail mail infatuation and I have fallen for it big time!  I didn't think it was possible for me to like letter writing any more than I did but after reading this book I have found a renewed energy to get letter writing and creating colourful mail. This was meant to be a review by the way but I think it's just going to be alot of gushing about how great the book is instead. So here goes. 

As you can see from the contents above it covers more or less everything you would want to read about snail mail. From the getting started (the how, whys and when) to actually making/upcycling your own envelopes and paper. There are tips on how to make your words look more attractive, ideas for turning your mail into pieces of art and suggestions for creating care packages. The author also talks about how to expand your snail mail network by having pen friends. If all of that was not enough there are envelope and aerogram templates included as well as 3 pages of gorgeous mail inspired stickers. 

My favourite bits
I have many best bits in the book, one of my favourite parts is when the author talks about the lost art of manners. I am pretty keen on manners and being polite, as my children will (with a groan) vouch for. According to Michelle, manners are about everyday kindness and respect, which includes thoughtful gestures. She talks briefly of her love of Japan where the exquisite manners and kindness of the people keeps her going back frequently to visit. Being creative with correspondence is apart of everyday life there, she says. With the exchange of letters and notes being common place. I can see why she would like it there so much. I would love to go to Japan. Along with the peoples exquisite manners I have heard from the book and many other places that the country has an abundance of shops dedicated to paper supplies and washi tape, whats not to like!

I found the first chapter 'Write here, right now' really useful as it provides a good starting point for writing a letter. If, for example you want to get into writing but don't know where to start or are a regular letter writer and are looking for some ideas on when and what to send, suggestions are given for the types of letters you can write. The suggestions include; a congratulations letter to mark a success or happy occasion (can be for a small achievement), a fan letter, a love letter and a consolation/ hard times letter. The author also mentions the 'just because' letter to, which is the one I write most.

The 'Crafting a Letter' and 'Post with Personality' chapters are my other favourites as they are all about getting creative with your mail. There is a really good tutorial for how to make your own homemade paper from picture frames, mesh and scrap paper which I think I will definitely have a try at. There is also tips for making upcycled envelopes, and envelopes out of fabric.

The how-to on making a wax seal also looks really good. I hadn't thought about making my own seal before, what a great idea! There are so many things from the book I want to try and this is one of them.

Above are some of the gorgeous examples of mail included in the book. How inspiring it is to see so many beautifully decorated envelopes. What a creative and thoughtful bunch snail mailers are!

With all the fantastic content in the book the 3 pages of stickers that are included at the back are the real icing on the cake! I can't wait to use some in my next lot of letters.

As you have probably gathered I recommend owning this book. It is full of ideas and inspiration to get you excited about writing letters. It's also a great reminder of how wonderful a handwritten letter is and how special it is to receive. As Michelle says, you can really brighten someones day with a lovely letter. So what are we waiting for? I am definitely inspired now to get writing, how about you? 

How-to upcycle a plastic bottle into a fabric covered plant pot.

Do you like to put your plants in nice pots, but can't find anything you like in the shops? You could have everything you need to make the perfect pot at home, for free! With just a plastic bottle and some scrap fabric you can make some lovely, totally unique plant pots. I will show you how with this easy DIY.

All you will need is:
  • A plastic bottle. One that is wide enough at the bottom for your plant to go in and has a smooth surface.
  • A small plant.
  • Enough fabric to cover your pot (thin or medium weight fabrics work best). I used some fabric from a previous upcycling project and a bandana.
  • Scissors.
  • Glue (I used Modge Podge which is basically 50% pva glue and 50% water).
  • A paint brush or sponge.

1. Start off with preparing your plastic bottle. Wash, dry and remove any labeling.
2. Measure from the bottom up how tall you want your pot to be (using the size of the plants original pot as a guide). Then mark around the bottle with pen or with washi tape where you will need to cut. Cut around the markings on the bottle. You should be left with the bottom part of the bottle which can now be used as a pot. Measure your fabric and cut out, making sure you have enough to fold over the top (approx 1-2 cm's) and cover the bottom.
3. Apply glue to the outside of the pot.
4. Cover the pot with the fabric, smoothing it over as you go.
5. Glue down the top edge. 
6. Then glue down the fabric to the bottom of the pot. Depending on the type of finish you want you can either leave it as it is now or if you would like a shiner finish apply a coat of modge podge to the outside.

That is how you make a plant pot from just a plastic bottle and some fabric. Hope you enjoyed this DIY, I would love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below.

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