06 May 2019

New Uses for Old Envelopes

Hello everyone! Today, let's turn old envelopes from blah to TADA!

The first inspiration comes from this book:

It's a compilation of works written by the great American Poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).

She wrote about 1,800 poems in her lifetime but only less than a dozen were published. Many of the poems she wrote were part of letters to friends; were found inside "fascicles" or booklets she sewed herself; and on envelopes that she recycled. It's as if she had billions of ideas but not enough paper. So she used whatever she could find!

Here she writes on the flap.

And here, the inside part of the envelope.

The preface of the book mentions: "Written with the full powers of her late, most radical period, these envelope poems seem intensely alive and charged with a special poignancy -- addressed to no one and everyone at once. They remind us of the contingency, transience, vulnerability, and hope embodied in all our messages."

The pages of the book show the actual envelope poems and beside each, a more legible presentation of the poem. Here are a few examples: 

Through what transports of Patience/I reached the stolid Bliss/
To breathe my Blank without thee/Attest me this and this --/
By that bleak Exultation/I won as near as this/Thy privilege of dying/
Abbreviate me this/Remit me this and this

'Twas later when the summer went/Than when the Cricket came -/
And yet we knew that gentle Clock/Meant nought but Going Home -/
'Twas sooner when the Cricket went/Than when the Winter came/
Yet that pathetic Pendulum/Keeps Esoteric Time

On that specific pillow/Our projects tilt away -/The Nights' Tremendous Marrow/
And whether Sleep will stay/Or usher us - a Stranger To Situations New/
The effort to comprise it/Is all the Soul can do/
Exhibition - Comprehension of Comprising

I found some envelopes in my recycling bin and I tried my hand at writing poetry: 

You can see a theme of frustration: about the passing of time, about the chaos in the world, about the cold...I just had to get my feelings out. My poems are not at par with Miss Dickinson's but at least we share a love for repurposing envelopes. 

I plan to practice poetry writing on more envelopes and other paper scraps then add these to my art journal.

Here is another idea I learned from Twitter:

A lady tweeted that she cut the corner of an old envelope and turned it into a bookmark!

I love this blah to TADA! idea. It costs nothing and fits perfectly on any kind of page.

This one is from the blog archives:

Valentines Day crafts, crafty recycling, blah to TADA!, upcycle old bill envelopes, stationery
Make tiny envelopes out of old bill envelopes (use the plaid/printed side). You can find the tutorial here.  

Also, I used old bill envelopes as a background for stamping:

Bullet Journal accessories, personalizing a bullet journal, craft stamps and ink pad, labels
I made these labels for my bullet journal. 

And finally, why not use an old envelope to make more envelopes:

Open up an envelope you no longer need.

DIY envelopes, handmade stationery, uses for old boxes
Trace the shape onto cardboard (I repurposed an empty cookie box...TADA!) and cut around it. Now we have a template for an envelope.

scrapbook paper, handmade stationery, DIY envelopes
Use it to trace around all kinds of paper like gift wrap, scrapbook paper, magazine pages, notebook paper, or old calendars. 

scrapbook paper, handmade stationery, DIY envelopes
Fold the envelope and glue the three sides together. All we need are matching notecards and we've made our own stationery...TADA!

Look at that! We've extended the life of envelopes originally destined for the trash.


  1. The Emily Dickenson book is pretty and so unique. I love your Kiss of Sunshine poem. These are fabulous ideas!

    1. As always, Priscilla, I appreciate how supportive you are! Thank you! :)


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