Sometimes I dream of starring in the mail art equivalent of Chopped, where contestants try to best each other at creating envelopes out of the most unexpected things imaginable: opening their supply baskets to find, like, take-out menus and that strange pliable glue that kids would pull off magazines in the 90s. (Guilty as charged.)
I’m far from the most masterful crafter out there, but I’m very pleased with my latest accomplishment. With nothing more than a roll of wallpaper, some stickers, and tape, I’ve put together these very cool rainforest envelopes that are surprisingly strong and roomy. To really add an elegant touch to my outgoing mail, I’ve also mined (ha!) a damaged geology textbook for cool photographs of gems and crystalline structures.
If you, like me, have come into the possession of a wallpaper treasure trove from the Goodwill, read on to discover the challenges of working with this bizarre material. (Or you could just, you know, put it on your wall like normal people do.)
Here’s the roll before its alchemic transformation began! Based on the flora and fauna, I suspect that this scene is supposed to take place somewhere in the Amazon, maybe. The jaguar, ocelot, macaw, and poison-dart frogs are a good clue. (There’s also that one little guy with the patterns of a juvenile tapir but the face of a capybara? Who knows what’s going on there.)
How did I turn that roll into three envelopes? With much consternation.
First of all, it’s easy enough to trace an envelope template onto a giant roll of wallpaper, but since it’s–you know, a roll–the paper will not stay flat while you’re drawing or cutting. I had to weigh down each end to keep it in one place while I worked.
The good thing is that the flaps tend to stay in place as soon as you’ve taped them down: and the final product you receive at that point is way more durable than your average homemade envelope. They’ll probably add a little more to my postage cost, but at least I won’t worry about them tearing before they reach their destination!
And yes, I put these dinosaur stickers on the address labels just because I could. It’s unscientific and anachronistic, but at least the colors complement each other.
Compared to my wallpaper woes, cutting these geology photos out of their original volume was a walk in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park! (Yes, that’s Kilauea in that one photo! I felt so special to have my backyard featured in an 80s textbook.)
I did have to work very hard to cut each of those gems out, but at least I had a friendly dragon to help me along.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever turned into an envelope?