Saturday, February 12, 2011

Literary Love -- Valentine's Day Cards from Old Books

I made a set of Valentine's Day cards for my sister, complete with envelopes, as a gift for her birthday, which is at the end of January. It turns out that I like making cards, but envelopes are a major hassle. It all requires careful detail, with folding and cutting everything just right in order to make it even, and I am not a "measure twice, cut once" sort of person. I think that's why the crafts I am more drawn to are a bit more forgiving human error, such as yoyo-making or braided rag rugs. Braided rags don't have to be perfect, and yoyos are cute no matter how even their little folds are.

It took me days, literally days, to make 10 cards.  But I was determined to make a bunch. The problem with her birthday is that every year it comes at the end of January, when I am totally broke. I am going to suggest she move it to July next year if she wants presents that actually cost money.

I made these cards from some paper I bought at half-price from the art supple store in town, Art Essentials, and cut out the hearts from a copy of Jhumpa Lahiri's short story collection Unaccustomed Earth.
Books are not something I usually would desecrate in this way, but I have another, much nicer, hardback copy of Lahiri's stories, plus the binding was already coming undone anyway. Before Christmas, I had read an interesting idea at manmadediy about wrapping presents with brown paper and then cutting out the recipient's name from the pages of a book by tracing a typographic template onto it and pasting the cut outs on the brown paper.  It worked brilliantly!  So, I built on that for these valentines. I was thinking of tracing "Love" into the pages and cutting that out, but the templates I had printed were a bit too big, and that would have taken a lot of time. So I went the old-school route and folded the paper in half, drew half a heart, and just cut out different shaped and sized hearts.  And I made a bunch of different sizes of cards from the big sheet of paper I bought at Art Essentials (which then meant I had to make all different sizes of envelopes, siiiiiigh), and used regular glue sticks to put the hearts on the cards in different ways.

(This one below is actually teeny tiny, maybe two inches across and one inch high, and I kept it to give to PDK for Valentine's Day)

For most of the envelopes, I cut up brown paper bags. For the larger, more normal-sized cards, I traced a used envelope I had opened up. For the smaller ones, I sort of improvised on the basic idea that, unfolded, it needed to be about twice the size of the card, plus extra on the side for flaps to glue down. Then I used a combination of glues to glue the envelopes together because the glue stick alone was not doing the trick with the stiffer paper. But then I hit a wall: for the card I plan to give to PDK, I could glue the envelope shut, but I couldn't do that for the cards I was giving my sister, obviously!  So I googled "how to make envelope glue," which it turns out is ridiculously simple.  You simply combine regular liquid glue and vinegar, and swipe it onto the card, and it dries (like an hour later), and voila!  A perfectly serviceable envelope.  I was rather impressed with myself. I ended up staying up all night to finish these because it was taking forever, my sister's birthday had already passed (technically meaning that now I had money to buy her a gift, but whatever), and V-day was fast approaching!  And by the time 4 AM rolled around, I figured I'd already been up this long -- I might as well make a couple to send to my friends. 

Last thing was I unrolled one of the handles that nice stores use on their paper bags and used it as a ribbon to wrap the cards together into a nice package for my sister. I thought I could maybe just wrap it in brown paper and tie it together with some twine, but it turns out the post office doesn't like twine (messes with their machines, apparently) so I popped the cards and a cotton brooch I made for her into a manila envelope and off they went!

I have so much admiration for those who do this kind of precise work all the time. I love all the book-based creations on etsy -- I'm including some of my favorites below:

Top to bottom
From The Pretties
From Collage-O-Rama
From ShopHouse

1 comment:

Hank hendricks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...