Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Featured Reuse-It Item - Envelopes


Envelopes are one of those everyday mundane items that many of us quickly dismiss and toss in the recycling as soon as we've taken out the important, or sometimes not so important, contents that they hold. However, as it turns out, envelopes can be reused and repurposed in a wide variety of ways. Here are all the ideas that our blog team found. Who would have thought that envelopes could be so versatile?

Ellen

It never occurred to me that the interiors of plain business envelopes are so
pretty! It also never occurred to me that with a little glue you can flip an envelope inside out and end up with a lovely, fresh patterned envelope. But today we’re feeling goofy so we’re using some used envelopes to make hand puppets. A shark for the toddler and two fish puppets for mommy.

I used instructions and inspiration from Krafty Kid.

Photo Credit: Krafty Kid

What a fun way to give envelopes a second life before they get recycled! As fun as it was, I’m adding “go paperless” to my to-do list to reduce the number of envelopes that make it to my mailbox in the first place.

Lana

An old envelope is great to have on hand - they're fabulous for collecting and saving seeds! Penn and Cord's Garden talks about how paper envelopes allow seeds to breathe and describes how to create envelope seed packets. I like envelopes with plastic windows as it's easy to see the seeds that I've collected. It's also a good idea to add a photo of the plant into the envelope for easy identification.

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Photo Credit: Penn & Cord's Garden
Tamara

Though mail by post is on the decline, you likely still accumulate a number of envelopes. Some mail comes with a return envelope that is meant for you to send your payment back. These are ideal for reusing. To reuse envelopes, you can turn them inside out to make new envelopes. Essentially, you slice open all the sides with a letter opener or knife, fold it inside out, glue it back together, and voila, a new envelope. It is always a great feeling to save paper, not to mention money that would have been spent on new envelopes.

For a step by step tutorial on this useful idea visit Thrifty Jinxy
How to Reuse "Junk Mail" Envelopes
Photo Credit: Thrifty Jinxy
Sarah

Envelopes from birthday and special occasion cards come in fun colours and patterns. Just look at the polka dots inside that green one! They're a really great source of cheap material for anyone who does any kind of paper-craft.

I like to save mine and cut them up to use as accents or backgrounds for photos, tickets, and all the other bits and pieces I save in my scrapbook. The red triangle in the left corner of the pictured scrapbook page is cut out of an envelope. The rest of it shows up on other pages commemorating the same trip.

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Dress up scrapbook pages with pretty envelope paper. 
Image provided by Sarah

Mallory

What can you find in any household that is more common than envelopes? Everyone receives mail! With all of that paper that's used for envelopes, it's never a bad idea to have some crafty upcycling options at your fingertips.

Being an avid reader myself, I know that I'm always looking for something to use as a bookmark, spoons, receipts, cloth scraps, and anything else that would possibly fit the bill. After stumbling upon this brilliant idea from d. Sharp journal to use the corner of an envelope as a corner bookmark, I just may never need to hunt for a bookmark again!

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Photo Credit: d. Sharp journal
Sarah J.

Use old envelopes as a scrap notepad. I remember my mom always did this. In her purse, she always had an envelope with scribbling on the back. 

Envelopes are also great for storing  miscellaneous items around the house. Here are some ways that I use old envelopes for keeping my things tidy:
  • Use old envelopes to manage your money. Some people use cash, and this can be a very effective way to organize money into budget categories. This idea also works well for organizing receipts.
  • Use an old envelope to organize puzzles -  the larger the puzzle, the larger the envelope you'll need. 
  • I have started using brown envelopes in my filing drawer instead of folders to keep documents together. 
  • Store paper napkins in them. My paper napkins are always getting everywhere in my cupboard or drawer, making a mess. 
Image result for envelope organizing
Photo Credit: SC Johnson

In general, old envelopes are very handy for organizing!

Vanessa

Ellen mentioned that the inside of many envelopes have pretty and unique patterns and Sarah J. described how envelopes are great to use for scrap paper. Both of these points got me thinking about envelope notebooks. I found this tutorial on Crafting a Green World and was so impressed with how nice and pretty an envelope notebook can turn out. 

I love carrying a small notebook in my purse. They're usually filled with "To Do" lists and important reminders. Instead of buying a new notebook once my current one is filled, I'm definitely going to try to make one out of old envelopes.

junk mail envelope front
Photo Credit: Crafting a Green World

How do you reuse old envelopes? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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