By Future Craft Collective
In our house the piles of random artwork are vast and ever present. We all like to draw, paint, and sketch, and when one is drawing, painting, sketching, it encourages all others in the house to do the same. We love the process but don’t always know what to do with the widespread piles of artwork that are the result. We use some for wrapping paper. We use others for writing letters to send to far-flung family and friends. Some we recycle in a midnight purge, done at this hour to avoid the cries of, “You’re throwing out my ARTWORK?!” Some we tuck away as representations of a certain period in our children’s art lives, from which we have saved and dated a few select pieces.
There are those pieces too that we hold onto because there is a piece of them we love — maybe a certain character drawn or a brush stroke that evokes an attachment or an image that strikes our funny bone. As an entity maybe it doesn’t quite grab us, but as a deconstructed piece it does. Perhaps we don’t particularly care for the inadvertent coffee ring in the corner or the toddler scribbles on an older kids painting or a note taken whilst hanging on the phone. For those pieces we have created this project: Stitched Art Note cards. This craft is multi-layered in its value by way of encouraging the art of letter writing whilst celebrating art itself. It is quick and easy and costs nothing. And, perhaps biggest of all, it satisfies our children’s needs to preserve their precious art. Just a warning: once you get started, you might not be able to stop because you will see your children’s (and your own) art work in a whole new light.
Heavy cardstock, cardboard, or old file folders
Random piles of kids’ artwork
Ruler or straight edge
Step 1: Find some random envelopes. We recently scored an entire box of linen envelopes at the thrift store for $1.00. You can also use return envelopes sent to you from solicitors. Any old envelopes you may have lying around will do. If you want to get clever, you can make your own. We found a great origami envelope in a book we borrowed from the library.
Step 2: Measure your envelope. This will serve as your guide for cutting your cardstock.
Step 3: Cut your cardstock to the appropriate size. We used some old file folders we found at our local office supply thrift store. (Yes, we have an office supply thrift store and it is amazing what you can find in there!) If your envelope is 4″x5″ you’ll need to cut your cardstock just a fraction of an inch smaller so that it will slide in easily. Then, double the length of one side to allow for folding. For instance, a 4″x5″ envelope will need a card 7¾x4¾ or 9¾x3¾, depending on which way you’ll fold it.
Step 4: Fold your card in half. Using a wooden ruler, press your fold by sliding it along the fold. This gives your card a nice clean edge.
Step 5: Select a few random pieces of your kids’ artwork to work with. After eying them carefully, choose a few images from the artwork that you will cut out. The images can be an actual thing such as a butterfly or a tree, or just random scribblings that, when dissected, will look like beautiful abstract art.
Step 6: Cut out your favorite sections of each painting or drawing. These can be cut in any size or shape as long as they are cut smaller than the card itself.
Step 7: Position the artwork on the outside of your card. Using a basting stitch on your sewing machine, sew the image onto the card. Remember to open up the card so you don’t accidentally sew it shut! Just sew along the edges of the artwork or use the stitching as part of your design, as I did here with the butterfly painting.
Note: This butterfly painting was really cool, but the resident 3-year-old had taken a little paint to it as well, much to the dismay of his older sister. The salvaging of some of the image by way of this project was very satisfying to our 7-year-old artist.
Step 8: Cut a smaller piece of the artwork and sew it onto the envelope flap or some other part of the envelope that you can easily get into the sewing machine.
Step 9: Make an entire set of this stationary to give as gifts, or just tuck it away to use as your own extremely personal stationary. Or, if there’s one you’re just crazy about, hang it on your wall in a little frame.
Step 10: Now write some letters and send them! Giving the gift of a handwritten note is just about the most personal gift you can give someone — especially now in this age of constant technology.
Note: You can also make postcards with this method. Here we incorporated the stitching into the function of the card itself. On one side, it attaches the artwork.
On the other side, the stitching serves as the parameters for a note and the address!
About the Authors:
Future Craft Collective is brought to you by Kathie Sever and Bernadette Noll. Kathie is an accomplished seamstress, creator of Ramonsterwear Custom Western Wear, artist, and mother of two. Bernadette is a writer, co-founder of Slow Family Living, and mother of four. They have found renewed energy in their collaboration and are continuously amazed by the ideas, inspiration, and a-ha moments that have come from this shared effort.