I've been trying to come up with a suitable blog post this week and haven't been too successful. It has been a dreary week for me and today is the two month anniversary of Jazmines death, I can't believe it's been two months already! So as you can imagine I am down a bit. I've been working on revamping my shops and getting them ready for the 'busy' season, and had my one shop opened to work in it and actually made a sale this week. So as I was wrapping this up I decided to do a post on packaging and took some pics to show you.
I've wanted to do so for awhile but never got to it, so now is as good a time as any and maybe you can use some of these tips for this coming mailing season.
You all know I am an organic artist but that also means that I am green too! Many of my pieces are shipped out in hand made recycled gift boxes I make from the few prepared foods I can find that are gluten free. So this means I have a lot and I mean a LOT of Amy's GF Rice Mac and Cheese and Rice Pizza boxes, not to mention my favorite Gluten free and organic Cereal by Environkids. The pile was just getting unmanageable and since I used up a bunch of my boxes sending out my commissions lately, I decided to take this down time and make some more. A couple nights ago I got 10 done along with two new templates.
I've used various tutes on the internet and also experimented with my own. I will leave you some links to try for yourself down at the bottom, but first some pictures.
This is the package I sent this week. Up top and here on the right. The top pic is the front and this is the back side. This envelope I made myself, recycling an old Ready Made magazine which is rather ironic since this magazine is about recycling and repurposing and green earth type things. But I saved the pages I wanted for future reference and tore out the rest. You pick the nicest ones for your front and backs and then you layer the so-so ones underneath, about 3-4 pages, top with the nice page and sew a straight stitch all around. But before stitching you make your back side about an inch and a half shorter than the front side. This will give you the fold over area you need. Then do the same for the front side keeping the page the full size which should be 1 1/2" longer than the back side. Again straight stitch these all around the four sides. I used black thread because I wanted it to show. You can use variegated threads, or use one color that matches your pages for the straight stitch and choose another for when you join them together, as so. Line up the front and back with the right sides out and the bottoms even. Start stitching at the top of the front page which should be facing down and your back side, the shorter side, facing you. Hold pages together and feed through machine, stopping and pivoting on the corners, finishing off where you started and your envelope should be complete.
I used a simple zigzag stitch over top the straight joining stitches which helps to give it another design element and to hold it together better. I also used a quilting foot which made it easier to push all these slippery layers through. Now the envelope is ready for sending.
Inside this one is the item, wrapped in bubble wrap (recycled) with a few peanuts (recycled) to fill in the gaps ( 4 or 5 peanuts), then it is tied with a ribbon (sometimes I have recycled ones for this too) and placed in the envelope. I print out my copy, the customers copy of the invoice and the mailing label all on one sheet of recycled printing paper. I cut apart my copy and file it, then their copy and add that to the envelope, and then tape the mailing label on the front. Try to choose an area that doesn't take away from your design on the pages. I also use these printer stickers which are recycled from my husbands office. They don't print a whole sheet and they can't put it back in the printer so they throw it away. He retrieves it and brings it to me. I use it to put whatever 'signs and labels' I want on there such as: FRAGILE, Do Not Bend, Please!!, Handle wt Care, Hand Cancel. These I place strategically on front and back of package. If sending first class I put two blank labels in the corner for them to have a place to hand cancel. This one was sent out Priority and then just wrapped the label around the top corner and onto the back, so no problem there unless you have cranky postal people. :)
Inside is one of those boxes, and here's a peek inside, I used a left over strip from one end of the package to reinforce the structure. once inside if you have small pieces you can use this to section them off plus when you close the box and push on the top you will see how the strip keeps it from collapsing. Just make sure your strip is the same width as the depth of your box.
This box measures approximately 2 3/4" x 4" and will fit nicely into the magazine envelopes. The envelopes can be used alone as well if you wrap your piece in bubble wrap well and slip into a match box shell. A match box shell is the outer part of a large box of matches, recycled, or use this as a template to make your own from cut up cereal boxes or other cardboard. Just wrap your piece in bubble wrap, tie a ribbon around it and slip it in the match box shell and pop into your envelope!
You can also sent flatter and small things in these single envelopes. Just pick out your pages from the magazine. You will only need one outer piece, this will be your star. Add two more fillers. Now stitch around all four sides joining the three layers together. Now with the right side down you will fold up your envelope to 1 1/4 -1 1/2" from the top. Make a sharp crease along the bottom. Now stitch up with straight stitch or decorative stitch up each side. Then fold over the flap and you have a study mailing envelope! I like to use a rotary cutter with a deckle edged blade in it to trim the edges. Label as with the other envelopes.
I hope these have given you some ideas of how to reduce your footprint and put a little less in our landfills and also to make a unique little extra to go with your special handmade items. Many of these items are again also reusable for your customer so it can keep on going green! Everyone I've sent these too always comments. It is a interesting and unexpected surprise in the mail and good for the environment too!
Here's some links to help you get started.
I've tried this one and it gives you a good sized sturdy box. Remember you can always downsize the dimensions to fit your item you want to box.
From EcoEtsy here is the tute for making the magazine envelopes!
How to fold a simple origami box You can fold these from calendar pages or study magazine front or back pages. I also use up my calendars for these as well as old scrapbooking paper. You just need to square it off first and to make a closed box cut one square 1/4" shorter on two sides first , this will be your bottom.
I'll look some more for the tute on how to make the box I made using the Mac and Cheese by Amy's for some reason can't find it now but will post it as soon as I do!