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  • How to make an envelope

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    As the youngest members of my family grow older, I've increasingly given them cash or gift vouchers as a gift. I like to add a personalised touch to the impersonal gift, so I often make an envelope to send the gift in. They're so simple but still stretch my creative muscles a little as I mix and match the materials. Here's a very simple how-to.

    1. Collect your materials

    You can use many combinations and materials to make an envelope, but I usually have the below items on hand:

    Wooden envelope template

    This wooden envelope template can be reused many times and works perfectly with A4 sheets of paper. You might be able to get different shapes elsewhere, and you can certainly download free paper templates, but you'll get a better outline if you're tracing round a solid template. Children love using these too, and they are a little easier for them to use than paper templates. The benefit of the wooden or plastic templates is that you can trace through the lines below which makes it a little easier to fold neat edges.

    wooden envelope template

    A selection of papers

    Magazine pages

    There are so many beautiful magazines out there now, that it's easy to tear out the pages and keep them on hand for their next craft use! Some magazines even including wrapping paper or pretty papers for you to use. I don't keep back issues of magazines for long but before I recycle them I do scour the pages and cut out the prettiest pages. I hang them on a large wire clip in my office so I'm reminded to use them for wrapping small parcels or using in other paper crafts.

    Some of my favourite magazines to use include:

    - Freckle (beautiful scenic images of Ireland, printed on a lovely matte paper)

    - The Plant (my favourite plant magazine with photography and illustrations of gorgeous foliage and botanical landscapes.)

    - Cereal magazine (ethereal travel images.)

    Vintage ephemera

    I love to buy this at car boot sales. My most recent haul from the Chiswick car boot sale (a good place to find this kind of thing) included French comics, vintage sheet music, and ledger paper. 

    Sketchpad paper

    If you're artistic enough to paint or draw on the envelope, I recommend you use a standard sketch pad - I use watercolour paper for almost everything else but a thinner paper works better here as you need to make firm creases on the edges. One of my favourite snail mail inspirations is Naomi Bulger - you can follow her on Instagram for illustration ideas.

    Other papers you can use and easily find include gridded paper, tracing paper, or recycled wrapping paper. Just keep in mind that if you're using a glossy paper, it might be difficult to draw on the paper, so you'll need a sticky label for those.

    Other supplies

    You can use either a scalpel or scissors, and I like to keep everything tidy by using a cutting mat. If you like a bit of embellishment, you can use washi tape, rubber stamps, vintage stamps, glitter (which might not survive the post) and address labels. I don't always have the patience to persevere with my temperamental typewriter, but I'll sometimes use a typewriter font to print out an address label.

    wooden envelope template

    2. Make the basic envelope

    This couldn't be any easier! If you're using a wooden template, simply draw round the template in pencil on the underside of the paper (so the pencil marks don't show.) Don't forget to draw through the inside lines as it makes a much neater envelope if you fold on these guide lines.

    Using a scalpel or sharp scissors, cut round the template and fold in on the lines. You'll want to check everything lines up correctly before gluing the sides together with a simple stick glue. Just before gluing, you can use a bone folder or a ruler to crease the lines.

    3. Decorate!

    In the envelope above, I've added some neon washi tape to finish off the edges. Below are some envelopes Jeska from Lobster and Swan made for us a few years ago, using watercolours, washi tape, marker pens, and collage. Aren't they beautiful?

    make your own envelopes

    Other uses for homemade envelopes

    I've mentioned that I often put cash or gift vouchers in these envelopes, but here are some more ideas you could try:

    Seed swap

    Lyndsey runs a seed swap every January at What You Sow - a fun secret seed exchange.

    Lavender sachets

    I'm not too talented with a sewing machine, but I visit a lavender farm nearby each summer and make simple fragrant envelopes for my drawers using paper envelopes and dried lavender. I just make sure I glue it closed.

    Other small gifts

    Other envelope-sized gifts include cinema tickets, lottery scratchcards, and temporary tattoos.

    I'd love to hear any suggestions you having for using these envelopes! Is there anyone you can recommend I follow for snail mail art ideas? You can see some of my current favourites on my Pretty Envelopes Pinterest board.

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    Other blog posts you might like:

    - Valentine's washi tape postcards

    - Vintage printable gift tags

    Pink paper doily parasols

  • Christmas wrapping ideas

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    Are you looking for new Christmas wrapping ideas to make wrapping presents part of the seasonal fun? If you like a bit of Christmas crafting, I hope you'll like some of my simple, but very effective, gift topper and gift wrapping ideas for Christmas and holiday gifts. If you don't have time for homemade gifts (I rarely do) it might make the festive season seem less frenzied if you can set aside a little time for some kind of creative activity. Making unique gift wrap is very satisfying.

    Christmas gift wrap

    Christmas wrapping party

    I love to see other's gift wrapping ideas too, and it's something people often enjoy, so why not consider making it a group activity? In previous years we've taken part in gift wrapping parties, where we supply brown paper, craft supplies, a bit of greenery and some festive drinks - and ask for a charity donation in exchange. 

    The cost is pretty minimal - brown paper is inexpensive, and bakers twine usually comes in 100m rolls - so it doesn't cost too much to execute. I try to group supplies together so it isn't too chaotic - I organise washi tape by similar colours on these large safety pins. I've found that friends are generally happy to stick with classic colour schemes, so rather than catering for everyone's wrapping whims, try being consistent in your supplies. I like to use a silver and gold Christmas theme, with natural brown paper and foliage.

    If you're expecting a lot of people or think this is something you might do in future years, you might be able to buy brown paper and tissue paper and bulk from your nearest whole flower market - we bought bunches of eucalyptus and a ream of pretty gold star tissue from London't New Covent Garden flower market (you don't need to be a florist or have a wholesale account to shop there, just remember that the prices quoted will exclude VAT, and that if you show up a little later the sellers will be more patient with you.) A traditional colour theme using red ribbon and dark green paper also works well.

    In more ambitious years we've combined gift wrapping with making beeswax candles, lemon curd and peppermint bark, and provided the jars and catering boxes to wrap them in - but more recently I've found it easier to just let people wrap their own gifts. If you really want to include a 'making' element, people love making pom poms with the inexpensive plastic pom pom makers you can easily buy online.

    Have you ever done something similar? If wrapping Christmas presents is not your idea of fun, you might find an event like this at least focuses your mind on the task - or you might find someone enthusiastic to do it for you! I've seen some friends in a new light when I've witnessed creative skills I didn't know they had!

    Christmas wrapping ideas

    Easy ways to make unique gift wrap

    1. Add a personalised touch

    An easy way to make a parcel look special is simply to use a letter sticker to add the recipient's initial, or a rubber stamp to stamp their name or initial. I love the font on these alphabet stamps.

    wrapping Christmas presents

    2. Add a small crafty touch

    Even a small crafty element will make your Christmas gift wrap unique. Your friend or family member will appreciate the extra effort! Here's some easy ideas that anyone can manage:

    Make your own gift tags

    - Even if your crafting skills aren't amazing (I'm all about the quick crafty fix myself), you can stamp a design on a plain brown tag (don't worry if it goes off the edge - that looks great too), add a little washi tape to the edge of a tag or small envelope, or layer a couple of items (try a letter sticker on top of washi tape stripes). You may find creative skills you didn't know you had!

    - Use a stamp to make the tag itself. Many of our rubber stamps are a good size for making tags (we added a silver star sticker on top of our Christmas tree stamp). You can use a rivet punch (this is the one I bought from Amazon) to make a hole at the top.

    Christmas gift wrapping ideas

    Make your own wrapping paper

    - Use stamps on plain brown paper to make your own wrapping paper. We keep paper from online deliveries, stamp it with nature-themed stamps, and then scrunch up the paper afterwards for a rustic look! Geometric designs look better on smooth paper. It doesn't matter if the designs are randomly repeated and not in exact lines so don't worry about accuracy - when it's wrapped up no-one will notice. For small parcels you can add washi tape or glitter tape triangles to jazz up plain paper. I'd stay small scale if you do this one - you'll soon get crafter's fatigue if you attempt anything more ambitious! If you don't have many Christmas-specific craft supplies to hand you can still be creative - try using the rubber on the end of a pencil to make polka dots on plain paper!

     

    3. Less doesn't have to be more

    Add as much bling as you're comfortable with: things I like to add include eucalyptus stems (these dry out nicely, so you don't need to worry about bits of pine all over the carpet), gypsophila, dried orange slices, jingle bells, cute paperclips such as these arrow paperclips, and glitter stars.

     

    4. Add a touch of luxury

    This year I'm using this leather string, which is a beautiful quality and a stylish alternative to Christmas ribbon. I'm mainly using it on small gifts, as it's pricey if you're wrapping huge boxes, but for larger boxes, why not try this gold and white bakers twine or this elegant black wax string. Both are 100 metres long so will wrap lots of presents!

     Christmas wrapping

    Gift wrapping ideas

     What are your favourite Christmas gift wrapping ideas?

    Everything used above is available in my shop. You can find all of the gift wrap supplies here.

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    Other blog posts you might like:

    - How to make personalised ribbon

    - Carol music wrapping paper

    - How to make a washi tape feather

  • Kraft vintage postcards

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    This week we've got a special set of postcards as a freebie with every order - 4 kraft postcards with vintage designs (not identical, but similar to the designs you can print at home here.)

    We have limited availability so it's worth placing your order quickly (I'll update when we're sold out.) First visit to our store? Festive collections you might like include:

    - Christmas gift wrap

    - Rifle Paper Co gifts

    - Gifts for crafters

    Brown paper parcels with vintage postcards

    {Included above: gold string lights, gold and white ribbon, dark grey leather string, gold leather string, vintage Paris postcards (just seen)}

    Vintage rose postcards

    gold-leather-string

    Check out our range of gift wrapping supplies here.

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    You might also like:

    - Vintage printable gift tags

    - Carol music wrapping paper

    - How to make a washi tape feather

  • How to make personalised ribbon

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    Making your own personalised ribbon is very easy but gives incredibly satisfying results! 

    1. Buy cotton ribbon (such as our grey cotton ribbon) or bias binding from a local haberdashers. The thicker ribbon below is bias binding and is very inexpensive.

    2. Lay a piece of newspaper or brown paper on a cutting mat, so you don't stain your mat. 

    3. Stamp the design of your choice! Our ink pads are suitable for printing on fabric, and you can fix the ink with an iron, but I've never done this and think the results turn out fine! If you use a newer ink pad it will work better as the ink saturates better when fresh.

    personalised ribbon

    personalised christmas ribbon

    how to make personalised ribbon

    I used the below rubber stamps for our ribbon:

    - Pine cone stamp

    - Celebration rubber stamp kit

    You can also see how I stamped our grey cotton ribbon to co-ordinate with our free vintage gift tags here.

  • How to make a washi tape feather

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    Want an easy but striking washi tape idea?

    I've been making washi tape feathers for years, as they've consistently been one of my favourite washi tape crafts. They're easy to make as long as you're careful in your approach (they involve some fine detail) and soon become addictive! I can guarantee that if you give someone a gift with one of these on top, they'll be seriously impressed with your crafting prowess and they'll want to learn how to make one too! You can tout yourself as a washi tape expert :)

    Lay out your washi tape

    1. Lay out a piece of washi tape flat on a cutting mat, double the length of how long you want your feather to be. I folded a little extra under at the top, to secure the tape to the board.

    Add the thread

    2. Run a piece of thread down the centre of the tape, starting from the halfway point and leaving some extra length at the bottom (the bone of the feather.) You can use wax string or something thicker but I find the best results come from normal sewing thread.

    washi tape feathers step one

    {Included above: large safety pin, neon yellow washi tape, white washi tape, neon pink washi tape, pastel washi tape.}

    Fold over the washi tape

    3. Fold the washi tape over on itself at the midpoint, being careful to line up the outside edges.

    washi tape feather step two

    Shape the feather 

    4. Cut round the edge of the tape, to shape it into a feather shape.

    washi tape feather step three

    Feather it out

    5. Using a scalpel, cut lines in an upwards diagonal, away from the thread in the middle. You don't want to cut through the tape, but try and cut as close to the centre as possible. Cut the opposite side in the opposite direction - still cutting upwards, but towards the left on the left side. vs. the right on the right side.

    washi tape feather step four

    And finally, the finished feather!

    6. Pull apart the slits carefully with your fingers to form your feather shape. They look great as a gift topper, especially bunched together. 

    Washi tape supplies

    You can check out our range of washi tape here. I think the feathers look best in solid colours, such as these:

    - Neon pink washi tape

    Gold washi tape

    - Bright colours washi tape set

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    Other washi tape projects you might like:

    - Washi tape ideas

    - Easy washi tape crafts

    - Liberty print washi tape

  • Make your own advent calendar

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    I've rounded up just a few advent calendars below, including a couple of my own projects which you might not have seen over the last few years. 

    If you 're a fan of the DIY advent calendar, some of these calendars are pretty easy to put together.  Just don't leave it too late! I believe craft fatigue to be a real condition - something I suffer from whenever I have photo shoots, and every year around 31st November when I realise I have one day to make my advent calendar! ;) 

    I highly recommend making an advent calendar as a group activity. I introduced 'Christmas crafternoon' in a previous job - we'd make a calendar with Secret Santa gifts and I'd bring in all my stamps, string and craft supplies. We made some seriously spectacular calendars and I loved seeing how people who don't consider themselves to be creative can still make something amazing! Every day we'd have a little quiz to decide who opened the next 'door' and it was so much fun.

    Fabric advent calendar

    1. One to buy: something like the above fabric advent calendar (which is huge by the way - check the dimensions!) is a good half-way option, as you can still personalise it your way with crafted parcels, bits of foliage and hanging ornaments which are your style. You could make something similar relatively easily - I'm thinking a dowel rod and a roll of hessian would work well (I've bought that before in a pound shop.)

    Hoop advent calendar

    2. Hanging parcels from a loop: I'm fond of an embroidery hoop (also below) and it always looks great. The above uses black wax string.

    Tree shaped advent calendar

    3. Make a simple tree shape: decorate with fairy lights and little parcels. You could use old cardboard or foam board as long as it is thick enough to stand up. I'd probably make a smaller version of the above and use a staple gun to add the parcels (covering the staples with a bit of fancy tape.) The advent tree above uses these advent calendar tags.

    Safety pin advent calendar

    4. Giant safety pin advent calendar: easy for attaching little brown or wax envelopes - perfect if you want your advent calendar to include festive 'to dos'. You can see the full project here.

    homemade star advent calendar5. Star advent calendar: - this was one of my favourite craft projects EVER as a combination of recycled brown paper, my trusty rivet punch (favourite tool of all time) and stitched paper was always going to be a win-win combination for me.This uses these same advent calendar tags. It was quite time-consuming to make but I have a lot of love for those brown stars. And the velvet ribbon. Oh, and you can never go wrong with eucalyptus. Can you tell I liked this one?! You can see the full project here.

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    You might also like:

    - Vintage printable gift tags

    - Carol music wrapping paper

    - Brown paper stamped Christmas gift wrap

  • Vintage printable gift tags

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    I had a great time styling these free printable gift tags that I had created for our mailing list subscribers. There's a version in black and white and colour - I printed the black and white on brown kraft card and was really happy with the results. The tags are a mixture of floral and winter designs, in small postcard and gift tag designs - 3 gift tags and 3 postcards.

    You'll get better results printing at home if you have an inkjet rather than a laser printer, but I also had them digitally printed for pence in a local printing shop.

    To get the PDFs of the tags, you can sign up to our mailing list here. You'll be sent a link to the tags in both A4 and US letter format after you've completed the opt in process. I'd love to see how you style them - you can tag me on Instagram @papermashuk.

    I've added the extra Papermash bits and pieces we've used to style the images below.

    Vintage floral gift tags

    {Gold leather string | black wax string.}

    Vintage printable gift tags

    {Gold wire clips}

    Vintage rose postcard

    Vintage rose gift tag

    vintage Christmas tags

    Christmas printable gift tags{Light grey cotton ribbon stamped with pine cone stamp (also stamped on brown paper) pastel washi tapeblack leather string.}

    Printable winter postcard

    Printable Christmas gift tags

  • Christmas gift wrap ideas

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    It's coming up to the time of year when I'm pinning Christmas gift wrap ideas like crazy! I prefer easy, crafty ideas and supplies which can be used all year round (no Santa paper here.) My gift wrap supplies stash is, as you might imagine, quite large, but I love simple ideas. In recent years I've stocked quite a lot of gift wrap from House Doctor (hello, favourite leather string) and one of the nicest things is that they style beautiful images for their stockists to use. Here's some of my favourites from the last few years - the emphasis is on a stylish, generic patterned wrapping paper (we don't stock those as they're not cost-effective to post!), but adding simple twine and a stylish Christmas tag or postcard for a seasonal touch.

    gift wrap ideas

    {Items included above: winter nature postcards, advent calendar tags. Similar items: black wax string.}

    natural gift wrap

    star gift wrap

    {Included above: white star garland.}

    Gold leather string

    {Included above: grey leather string, gold leather string. Similar: jute twine.}

    Black and white ribbon

    {Included above: tailor scissors. Similar: gold and white ribbon.}

    House Doctor gift wrap

    Metallic Christmas gift tags

    Christmas gift wrapping ideas

    {Included above: metallic Christmas gift tags.}

    House Doctor gift wrap styled

    Christmas gift tags

    {Included above: Metallic Christmas gift tags, brass arrow paperclips, winter gift tags, mixed gold gift tags. Similar: gold striped ribbon, dark grey leather twine.}

    Triangle paper clips

    {Included above: triangle paper clips, grey fabric ribbon. All photos © House Doctor.}

    Check out the Papermash range of House Doctor gift wrap and the full range of gift wrap tags, stamps and twine here.

    Tips for styling pinnable gift wrapped images:

    - I love the vinyl photo backdrops from Capture by Lucy; great quality and they roll up for easy storage. She stocks lots of similar backdrops to the textured backgrounds used above.

    - Wooden bobbins such as those which come with our range of leather strings look great when half-rolled out around the edge of photos.

    - Add a natural touch with foliage and pine cones. I try and remember to collect pine cones and keep them from the previous Christmas, and greenery such as eucalyptus is available all year round, so you can style a stylish image out of season. Pine cones can be decorated with white or neon paint, and even glitter. Any kind of dried flower with a bit of glitter can look festive, though this kind of accessory might work best for styled photo shoots - gift recipients might be less thankful for half-dead foliage under the tree!

    - Add a pair of Instagram-worthy scissors (note that most pairs we've tested aren't brilliantly sharp so we tend to use pretty scissors mainly for styling.)

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    Follow our gift wrapping Pinterest boards here:

    - Gift wrapping ideas

    - Christmas wrapping

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    Other posts you might like:

    - Black and white gift wrap

    - Sheet music gift wrapping ideas

    - Brown paper stamped Christmas gift wrap

  • Pressed flowers gift wrap

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    A few years ago a friend gave me a flower press similar to this inexpensive wooden flower press, which was such a great gift idea! This summer I thought I'd integrate some pressed flowers into some gift wrap. Small, colourful flowers worked well for these small, simple parcels, and a few had the bonus of pretty heart-shaped petals. I topped up some flowers from my mum's garden with some sneaky purchases from e-bay - very inexpensive also and a great prop!

    summer flowers gift wrap

    The flowers are pretty delicate so I used a scalpel to place the flowers on the paper and also pull apart the petals (on the heart-shaped flowers) on a cutting mat. I added a tiny bit of clear glue (or PVA glue) to attach them to the brown paper.

    pressed flowers gift wrap ideas

    summer flowers gift wrap

    {Items above: similar brown strung tags, pink jute twine, pastel washi tape} 

    PRESSED FLOWERS GIFT WRAP

    {Above: gold glitter alphabet stickers}

    PRESSED FLOWERS GIFT WRAP

    I cut the leaves above from a few different shades of green {from this pastel washi tape set and this matte colours washi tape set.} It's easiest to cut and shape them on a cutting mat and then transfer them over. Don't make too many incisions in the leaf or it will be dificult to position.

    PRESSED FLOWERS GIFT WRAP

    {Above: gold glitter tape.}

    I don't think I'll ever tire of wrapping with pimped-up brown paper and plain brown tags! What's your go-to gift wrapping style?

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    You might also like:

    - Sew your own paper gift bags

    - Brown paper stamped Christmas gift wrap

    - Make, wrap, mingle

    // Follow my Pinterest gift wrapping board here.

  • Easy washi tape crafts

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    I've been organising a lot of images recently and found these easy washi tape crafts and styling ideas from the Papermash archive. I've been stocking washi tape since I first saw it on American design blogs almost a decade ago, and have loved it ever since. Every child I've ever met loves it too. It's such an easy way to jazz up plain materials and I use it all the time. These styling ideas and gift wrapping ideas are so easy but look great!

    1. Decorating plain pegs 

    This adds a special touch to gift wrapping or for can be used for decorating a moodboard. I just placed the mini peg upside down on a cutting mat and sliced the tape to size around it.

    Washi taped wooden pegs

    2. Mini washi tape bunting

    There's always multiple tiny jam jars or yoghurt pots in my cupboard and it's easy to make mini bunting by folding a piece of washi tape over some fine string or thread. Multiple jars make great table settings on a long summer table. If you're keen to make a longer length, it looks great as wrapping on a plain brown parcel too.

    Washi tape mini bunting

    3. Decorate a gift tag

    It's so easy to buy cheap luggage tags or plain brown tags and decorate them with a few strips of washi tape in your favourite colours! You can cut them into little triangles or simply layer stripes horizontally or vertically, or tape round the edges.

    Washi taped gift tag

    Washi taped luggage label

    Check out our washi tape selection here. We stock only the highest quality washi tapes from Japan, including MT tape and Maste brands

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    Other posts you might like:

    Washi tape ideas

    - Liberty print washi tape ideas

    3 easy age gift wrapping ideas

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