I decided to do a small mailing for this blog, send an invitation of sorts, to editors and people I work with. My personal criteria was that I had to be able to do it with the supplies I had on hand (granted, more than most people have on hand), needed to be something I could do in a day, and would have to allow me to learn something new - Nothing makes my eyes glaze over more than mass production; if I'm going to make anything two dozen times, I need to be buoyed by newly acquired knowledge.
I'm not a graphic designer and I haven't fully mastered Illustrator yet, so I work with Photoshop. Though my skill level is still pretty basic, I've learned enough to create decent designs. The card was the easiest part, having already done most of the design for my blog banner. I created it in Photoshop, printed it onto Paper Source's Luxe Fino White card stock with my AMAZING Epson R1900, and cut them out with my paper trimmer from Making Memories (which is absolutely indispensable to me). I also designed simple wraparound mailing labels, which I printed onto full sheet label paper.
It all came down to the envelope. I wanted to send something handmade that felt like my blog and my personality. After all, I make my living as a crafter. The least I can do is make something. I had a bunch of postal paper scraps left over (I buy rolls of brown postal paper and use it to cover my work spaces, wrap packages, etc). But I wanted to see how well I could print on it. I designed a layout in Photoshop, then printed it onto the brown paper scraps. After that, I folded the paper sheets into bag style envelopes, added the labels (which I ended up cutting into two pieces after deciding that I wanted to see more of the graphic on the envelope), and sewed the ends shut using a decorative scalloped stitch.
In the end, I learned a little more about Photoshop, as well as sewing on paper. I reused and recycled, and ended up with a mailer that felt personal and authentic. I've included my mailing labels and envelope design below, but I encourage you to come up with your own envelopes. You can use the "fill" feature on Photoshop to make colored silhouettes of clip art, use "copy" to generate additional images and "transform" to rotate and create layouts from the additonal images, and you can reuse any old grocery or brown bags you might have hanging around.
It feels good to send something personal. With the bulk of our communication taking place by email, it's a nice surprise to receive something handmade and special in the mail. Here's the how to:
Brown scrap paper or grocery bags
Paper trimmer (or craft knife, ruler, and cutting mat)
Printable design (see below)
Color inkjet printer
Bone folder and cutting mat with a grid
Double-sided tape or other adhesive
Printable labels (see below)
Full sheet label paper
1. Trim your paper scraps to 8 1/2 x 7 inches. (If your paper isn't flat, run a warm iron (medium setting) over the paper and place a book over it for a few minutes, until it cools.)
2. Print the envelope design, feeding the paper into your printer, one page at a time. Print labels onto full sheet label paper (and set aside for later).
3. Place the printed paper face down on the cutting mat and fold the ends in, 2 inches from one end and 2 1/2 inches from the other end. Place a strip of double-sided tape along the 2 1/2-inch edge and secure the two ends together. (Folded paper will measure 4 inches high and 7 inches long.)
4. Turn the folded paper over, place the ruler 1/2-inch from the left edge and score with the bone folder. Fold the end to the reverse side and secure with double-sided tape.
5. Place your letter or card inside the envelope, then sew the ends shut with a sewing machine. Trim the mailing labels and add either a wraparound mailing label on the envelope or cut the label in half and place the return label on the back of the envelope and the addressed label on the front.