As wonderful and foolproof as gift cards are, their tiny size sure does tend to spoil the surprise factor when it comes to packaging. I am always looking for ways to “throw off the scent” and using books from thrift stores is my definitely my favorite option. Not only does the recipient receive store credit to their favorite shop (if you play your cards correctly), but they get a free book out of the deal! And we all know how many awesome things a person can do with a book: use it for decor, rip pages out for crafting purposes, upcycle it for another gift, or heck, maybe even read the darn thing! Plus, if the cover art is well-designed (I, for one, always judge books by their covers), it can take the place of decorative gift wrap <—-there’s the recycling fiend in me again!
The packaging process is super simple. For my gift, I used a book I found at the DI last year in Utah (chosen for it’s aqua hues), yellow felt trimmed on one side with pinking shears, and faux-tinsel yarn. The letter “A” was cut out with my Cameo + adhered to the cover using washi tape. I like to create my own envelopes for the actual gift card using kraft butcher paper (or any paper that folds well), a few stamps, and a little bit of tape, but that’s completely optional. Pretty much as simple as simple gets, right?
Reusable tote bags are a big thing around these here parts. They’re so big, in fact, that when I went to NYC last March, I excitedly bought my mom a canvas grocery bag from the Zabars featured in You’ve Got Mail (“get in another line”) because I knew she would appreciate both the reference AND the usability. So in the spirit of recycling + good packaging (no longer mutually exclusive!), I decided to create a few tote bags for myself and for others this holiday season. Here’s how to create your own tote bag design:
1. Make a stencil. I designed mine in Silhouette Studio and had my Cameo Die-Cutting Machine do the hard work for me. If you don’t have a machine, fear not! You can always use an xacto knife to achieve very similar results.
2. Place a sheet of chipboard / cardboard / heavyweight paper inside your tote. (Note: If your bag needs ironing – ugh, ironing! – do this beforehand. It’ll be worth it, I promise.)
3. Position your stencil over the area you would like to paint and adhere it to the bag with removable tape.
4. Using a multi-surface craft paint and a foam paint pouncer, dot over your stencil gently yet firmly until the whole area is covered in paint. I only applied a single coat because that was all I needed. Apply as many coats as you deem necessary.
5. Let dry. Slowly lift your stencil and check for any areas that may need a touch-up.
6. Bring your tote everywhere you shop and let the compliments roll in!
Martha Stewart Gold Metallic Paint // Martha Stewart Crafts Foam Pouncer // Tote Bags // Silhouette Cameo
I don’t know if it’s my “recycle, reduce, reuse” California upbringing (anyone else remember that song??) or if it’s simply my personal inclination to hoard anything made from a tree, but the thought of throwing away something that can easily be repurposed pains me. Especially anything from Anthropologie. (Have you ever watched an Anthro employee wrap a gift with the quintessential brown tissue paper + that giant washi tape dispenser? It is a true delight, my friends.) The other day while I was organizing all my various packaging supplies, I realized that the paper quality of an Anthro bag would be perfect for creating envelopes!
The process of turning a paper bag into an envelope is as basic as you would imagine. First, I cut out one side of the bag (the side that doesn’t fold up) and turned it over to the backside. Using a 4-bar Paper Source envelope template as my guide, I traced the shape with a pencil and then cut it out by hand. Next, I folded up all the flaps, adhered with a tape runner, and applied a liberal amount of washi tape. Done and done!
Tis the season to repurpose!
While designing this year’s holiday cards, I realized I never shared the ones I made for last year! So here they are:
Lots of Crate Paper, kraft cardstock + a few custom stamps = happy 2011! While I was thrilled with how they turned out (nothing better than a fat stack of handmade cards!), I had no idea how long the process would take. It took FOR-E-VER. But as we all know, I totally live for this stuff, so I was more than happy to spend hours and hours cranking them out.
My 2012 cards are slightly less involved (I learned my lesson!), but still handmade – I can’t wait to show you!
Martha Stewart Medium Double Punch – Nordic Snowflake // Crate Paper Paper Pad 12 Inch X12 Inch Heart // American Crafts Textured Cardstock 12X12 – Kraft Kraft // American Crafts Precision Pen 5-Pack, All Sizes, Black // Fiskars Squeeze Punch X-Large, Round ‘n Round // Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Stamp // Kindly Send To Stamp
I probably should have just named my little business “Forever Rebranding” because as it turns out, that would be quite a fitting title.
It seems like every other month, I get the urge to change things up just a little bit. Before I know it (usually around 2am), I’ve ordered several hundred new business cards, purchased a ton of kraft bags + designed a giant thank you note stamp. What can I say, I love packaging! In fact, packing orders is probably my favorite part of the whole process – I live for this crap, you guys (;
So here are my latest and most favorite designs to date. Knowing me, the next rebrand is just around the corner! (Kidding! #butnotreally)
Last Friday I saw this pin pop up in my Pinterest feed and within a half hour, I was rifling through the felts + fleece at Joann’s.
I didn’t follow the actual instructions that the source of the pin provided. Instead, I used my Paper Source envelope + liner templates, along with a little hot glue, a pencil for tracing, and some sharp fabric scissors. The bow was a quick + easy embellishment to make as well. All I did was fan-fold the fabric over itself a few times, pinched the center together with my fingers to create a bow shape, and then secured it with a thin strip of hot pink fleece. It was so much fun to make, but really, the best part of the process was giving it to someone whom I knew would appreciate it.
I’ve heard that many people are completely overwhelmed by Pinterest and can only handle it in small doses. I totally see where they are coming from (that’s how I feel about Facebook). But for me, it’s god’s gift to the interwebs. I can binge on it for hours at a time. And I do. Often. I don’t view it as a place to compete with other bloggers/crafters/makers. I also don’t use it as a place to promote myself (although it’s always a thrill when I see one of my own designs being pinned by others!). I simply see it as a much better alternative to saving all those photos on my desktop. That’s so 2009.
It seems as though there are babies, babies, and more babies cropping up everywhere I look these days! I don’t know where they’re coming from, but I do know this: Baby Gap makes the most stylish miniature clothing I’ve ever seen. There are so many things in that store that I want in my size! I freaking love Gap. I also love making cards (smooth transition) for said babies who get to wear said clothes. Enough said.
For this seemingly simple card, I used my Cameo, Illustrator + my printer. It took an embarrassing amount of time, but it was worth every single minute. I love putting together fun packages, even when they’re for those too young to appreciate anything other than how the paper tastes. So Makenna, I hope this card tastes like chocolate and you have the best first birthday any one year old could ever dream of!
Last weekend I was able to spend quality time with one of my best friends (who lives in Hawaii!) and help her assemble her amazing wedding invitations until the wee hours of the morning. Not only did Jaymee design every last detail herself, but she had the invitations letterpressed by PressHaus and the envelopes addressed by Molly Jacques! Needless to say, she brought out the big guns. Plus, she told me that I don’t have to send in my reply card, knowing full-well that it would pain me to relinquish such a gorgeous piece of paper! Ha! I love that girl.
If this is just a taste of what’s to come, then I can’t wait for the wedding! The grammin’ opportunities will be PRIME (;
Okay, so maybe I’m not really dreaming of winter per se, but this kind of weather (read: HOT) has me desperately longing for colder days.
Not Antarctican days, but definitely boots + scarves kind of days. The kind of days where you don’t wake up sweating and can actually stand to drink your coffee without throwing in ten ice cubes right off the bat (oh, that’s just me? hmm…).
So when I saw this stamp set from Ink + Wit a few weeks back, I knew I had to have it. Hello 2012 holiday cards!
A little planning (four months) ahead never hurt anyone (;
And the rebranding continues!
Here’s how I recently changed up my business cards:
I can’t say enough about how much I love using stamps for branding (obvious statement? ha!). For minimal investment, I can change up my business cards as often as I wish.
This latest batch was made with gold and aqua pigment inks from American Crafts (they’re super juicy and saturated). I hate to admit it, but I’m a little bit obsessed (;
One of these days, I want to try embossing my business cards! Maybe next month…