SHOW + TELL: Handmade Paper Envelopes

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft
Tara over at Ephemera Press started a great new project called the Elevated Envelope. It’s just what it sounds like, a chance to brighten some people’s day with an artsy envelope (made by you); and you get cool envelopes back! The theme was “Summer,” so I used my summer obsession with handmade paper to my advantage.

Check out my full tutorial and paper making adventure here.

I started with a blended concoction…

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

which included cotton paper scraps, cut off pieces of cover paper, and (of course) junk mail. I did my usual process (blend, screen, roll out, dry) with one big change.

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

For these envelopes I did some quick-pressing to get plants I could add into the paper. I used the microwave, board and rubber bands to get nice flat pieces I could embed.

When I pulled the screen out of the pulp, I laid a few leaves on top, and gently poured more pulp over them with a spoon. I then went ahead with the rolling and drying process.

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft
Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

A few days later (so I knew it was really dry) I trimmed and embossed the paper to fold into an envelope. I decided to stitch the ends together with my sewing machine rather than glue it like a normal envelope. (This was both creativity and laziness on my part.)

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

I included an extra piece of handmade paper inside of a little story. Some of the pieces were seeded with wildflower seeds. (If you want to add this to your paper, make sure you have really small seeds, and add them before straining your pulp. Don’t blend them or try to sprinkle on top.) I put the whole thing together and sealed the flaps.

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

So now these little envelopes are headed out all over the world. It was an awesome excuse to do my favorite summer things (wander around my yard picking flowers and making paper.)

Now back to the real world.

DIY: Handmade Paper Tutorial

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled
I have always wanted to make paper. It seemed like a magic trick.

I mean, you’re gonna make paper out of only paper? AMAZING.

When Rachel asked me what I wanted to do on our upcoming craft retreat, this was the first thing that popped into my head. What follows can only be referred to as an adventure… in magic!

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

What You Need

• Recycled wastepaper
• Paper shredder
• Blender (I would recommend buying one second hand and only using it for paper making)
Large Dip Handmold
• Bucket
• Large dishpan or container
• Sponge
• Piece of cloth or sheet
• Warm water

For those of you who don’t know, you can make paper out of your trash. This part I found particularly exciting because it fit in perfectly with my hoarder tendencies. (No, I don’t keep my trash, I just hate throwing it out. Especially shredded paper which the recycling “man” won’t take.)

My Process

We shredded paper using a paper shredder, and our hands (when the shredder died a loud horrible death, making a noise that Patrick referred to as a cry of “just let me go.”) We sorted it by color (which meant that the resulting papers were slightly different shades of gray.)

I dunked it all in a bucket of warm water to soak for a while.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

Here I am, excited about a bucket full of water and shredded paper.

I took these handfulls and put them in a blender (ala Goodwill) along with more warm water. I then blended them until they were the consistency of…. pulped paper.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

I poured several batches of the pulp into a larger storage container filled with more warm water.

There are several ways to build the “pulp catcher.” I cheated and bought one on clearance at a craft store. (It’s an Arnold Grummer.) It’s basically a thick screen with small holes sandwiched between a wooden frame (deckle) and a hard plastic screen. I slipped the whole sandwich underneath the water and brought it up slowly until it was above the water and evenly coated in pulp.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

This is what the pulp looks like at first (and when it starts feeling like magic.)

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

The kit also included a thin piece of screen. After removing the whole kit from the water, I removed the wooden deckle, and laid the piece of screen over the top.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

I have to admit from here on out the tasks were a little tedious. First I had to press most of the water out of the pulp, through the screen, using a sponge and all of my wringing strength.

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

Then I got this piece of magic… something that looked like a piece of paper!

DIY: Handmade Paper #tutorial #craft #recycled

After flipping the thick screen over onto a piece of old sheet, and sponging the back of it some more, I was able to separate the paper from the whole kit. I sandwiched the piece in between two cotton sheets, and ironed it like crazy (highest setting) until it was mostly dry.


I left all the pieces between two heavy wooden planks over night… to see what happens next check out this post on Handmade Paper Envelopes.

During this adventure I learned…

• Paper is magic, and putting your hands in warm pulpy water is therapeutic.

• Don’t use your fancy appliances for crafting. I killed the shredder and blender. (Though, I think it was shoddy modern manufacturing what did them in.) The iron…

• The iron got coated in some sort of ick. Fortunately I used our old iron, AND discovered that the ick was easily removed by white vinegar and a little scrubbing.

• After doing the paper making process a few times, I actually got rid of the ironing step. Now I roll the sheets out between 2 shamwows (I know…) and then place them on extra cardboard while they are still pretty damp. Once they are dry enough to hold their form, I transfer them to a clothes line to dry, until I move them into a stack to dry fully between two heavy peices of wood.

• When you use junk mail, your paper is going to be gray. Most of the tutorials I read recommended using blank papers, and colored tissue paper. I’d rather have gray paper than create more trash in the world, but we’ll see how things go.

• Thick flower petals and pieces do not work best for this project. I ended up with a couple of very lumpy pages. Also, predried flowers often have dyes on them that do not bleed how you think they should.

• Rachel is a great crafting cheerleader and documentorian, and Patrick loves me, and proved it by ironing paper for hours.

TOOLBOX: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder Review

Toolbox: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder #tool #review #paper
I’m pleased as punch (no pun intended) with the Diamond 1 Corner Rounder I recently bought. It comes with a 1/4″ corner rounding die, which is great, plus ordered a couple of other dies as well.

It will punch a whole stack of paper/cardstock/etc at a time, which is super handy for rounding the corners on pads or books. The extra scrap falls down a hole at the back, into a trash drawer. There is another drawer at the front for extra dies, and tools.

Toolbox: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder #tool #review #paper

The extra dies I ordered are namely a wider diameter rounder, and a 45 degree straight cut (possibly because I was watching BSG at the time.) In total I have 4 blades, from a very small professional curve to a nice big friendly one. The blade pieces are a bit oily- I would advise wiping them down with a paper towel before hooking them on. The oil has never been on the blade portion, so it doesn’t transfer to the paper.

They look like this…

Toolbox: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder #tool #review #paper

Here are the cutting results from each blade: M (45 degree die), S (1/8″ die), M (1/4″ die comes with the cutter) and L (3/8″ die).

Toolbox: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder #tool #review #paper

Each die bolts onto the cutter with an Ikea style hex key. It’s very important to re-adjust the blue guides after replacing the blade, and from time-to-time while you’re using it. (If the blade is too close to the paper, or if it is slightly turned you get a small notch in the side of the curve. Look at the “S” example in the sample picture above. The curve goes into the paper, instead of going straight into the straight side.)

Toolbox: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder #tool #review #paper

Once you have your die blade bolted into place, the blue guides are loosened and adjusted.

Toolbox: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder #tool #review #paper

I cut several scrap pieces of Crane Lettra. It does well, but with a large stack there is a little variation in the shape of the curve from top to bottom. A stack 1/4 inch or smaller works best. These sheets were cut as a stack…

Toolbox: Diamond 1 Corner Rounder #tool #review #paper
The cutter has a nifty hole and drawer for catching paper scraps (though they will still get EVERYWHERE). The front drawer holds some of the things you need; a couple of blades, the hex keys, etc.


All in all I’m happy- my biggest complaint is the constant adjusting of the blue guides. But it’s worth it to get rid of those sharp, pointy edges (and so much better than craft rounders.)

What I love about this tool

• It’s simple and easy to use.
• I’m able to change out the dies for different purposes.
• It cuts clean and fairly consistently on a variety of different papers and card stocks.
• Good quality and value

A couple of drawbacks I’ve found

• The blade really cuts into the blue plastic underneath. The set comes with a few replacements, and I can see I’ll need to replace the original pad more quickly than I’d hoped.
• It’s really important to get the paper lined up in the corner just right, so you have to really keep your eye on how you are putting the paper under the blade. There are guides, but for some reason it’s easy to slant the paper one way or another.
• I want to round everything. In fact, I just might.

I bought this guy from Binding101 because they were the cheapest. It’s also available from an Amazon dealer. It took about 5 business days to get to me, which was great.

Note: I did not receive any kind of compensation for this product review. At Adventures in Making we love sharing information about our favorite tools and resources because we believe knowledge should be shared and that we can all learn from each other’s experiences.

TOOLBOX: Corner Rounder Craft Punch Review

I once watched a plucky design student cut 60 rounded corners with an Xacto knife. This is a painstaking process that I will not illustrate for you because it involves too much work and too many accidents. Although I had not been exposed to all of the crafting materials out there, I knew there must be a better way.

One of the major perks to working in a paper store was that we had access to almost all of the tools we sold, and to the wisdom of the older crafters around us. So when I decided to buy a corner rounder for myself, I bought this one…


It’s called the Corner Adorner – Medium Corner Rounder by EK Success.

Don’t expect too much. It can only handle one piece of cover stock at a time, and after a few years (of abuse) some of the flimsy parts in mine broke. However, compared to the quality of most of the craft corner rounders it worked better from the beginning to the end with less finger strength needed. (Some of the others were just plain tough to use.) I replaced the broken punch with an identical one if that says anything.

A Hint- if you have punches like this (or any punches really) there are a couple of good ways to keep them working smoothly. If you punch through aluminum foil (which I usually fold over a few times) it is said to sharpen the blade. Punching through wax paper makes the whole thing move a little smother.

I think that rounded corners can be the touch that makes a paper project, but if you’re working on something with quantity make sure you have the necessary finger strength and time to get it done with this little sucker OR invest in the Diamond 1 Corner Rounder.

Note: I did not receive any kind of compensation for this product review. At Adventures in Making we love sharing information about our favorite tools and resources because we believe knowledge should be shared and that we can all learn from each other’s experiences.