By Bernadette Noll and Kathie Sever
Future Craft Collective
Welcome back! We hope your week has been sweetly satisfying as you wrap up your school work and prepare for full-on summer. Here in our neighborhood in Austin, Texas, school is officially out for summer and the kids are already chomping at the bit for some activities. Our project this week is all about activity and it’s completely kid driven. No supervision even needed, although adults will probably want to jump in too. This project feels a lot like camp with lots of cutting, gluing, assembling, and compiling images, words, and materials to make a whole summer’s worth of postcards and stationery to mail to friends and family far and near.
Last week we made a Family Letter Writing Center. This week we actually have 3 mini projects: postcards, cards, and a rubber stamp — all related and all in the name of building connection, which, if you know us at all, you know that’s a recurring theme of ours. We love connection and we love finding ways to create more of it, so let’s get started!
Magazines, travel brochures, or any visually appealing recyclables
Die cut, large hole punch, or other cutting device Even scissors will suffice.
Sheet of rubber stamp material or old inner tube
Brown paper bags
Cereal boxes or other random recycling materials
Rubber Stamp Directions:
Option A: Using an old inner tube, double the material, and cut out the letters T and O and 2 small circles. Glue them onto a piece of cardboard, stacking them 2 high to give them enough depth. This will be the “To:” stamp for your postcard. The 2 small circles are the colon. You could also cut a stripe to make the line down the middle of the postcard that separates the writing section from the address section.
Option B: Using a piece of rubber stamp material, available at any art store, carve your “To:” stamp. Just make sure to do the letters backwards for printing!
Step 1: Cut cardboard into postcard-sized rectangles approximately 4″×6″. (Note: 4½”×6″ is the maximum size to still use a 28-cent stamp.)
Step 2: Once the glue dries on your rubber stamp, stamp the back of your cardboard rectangle using your rubber stamp and a stamp pad.
Step 3: Using the die cut, if you have one, cut images out of the magazine pages. (We have a nice big paper punch that cuts a 2″×2″ square, available at any hobby shop.) We like to cut pieces of images rather than whole images, creating more of an abstract. If you don’t have a punch, no worries, good old fashioned scissors or a paper cutter will work. You can also use a regular hole punch to create embellishment pieces or to create a Swiss cheese effect.
We are also lucky to have access to a place in Austin called Family Connections. It’s got a toy library, a book library, a play area, and a community crafting room! In that community craft room are 3 die-cut tools and about a hundred different die cuts to choose from. We love to bring piles of cereal and pasta boxes and other random materials to cut on the die cut. We have also cut yogurt container lids, foam produce trays, and egg cartons (which produce beautiful results). If you are so lucky as to have access to something like this, I highly recommend playing around with it and with different materials. Ask at your local library or neighborhood school.
Step 4: Assemble your cut images on your cardboard rectangles. Play around until you’ve got it how you like it. Explore design themes using all one color or themes like nature, architecture, people, or whatever you can dream up.
Step 5: Once you get your design, remove the pieces in order, paint the cardboard with glue, and reassemble the pieces. Go over the top with a thin layer of glue.
Step 1: Cut the cereal boxes or file folders into 4½”×11″ pieces or thereabouts.
Step 2: On the printed side, repeat the collage process. Once it’s dry, fold it in half to make a card.
Step 1: Cut a square of brown paper bag approximately 12″×12″ or thereabouts.
Step 2: Fold 3 of the points of the square into the center, slightly overlapping the points.
Step 3: Fold the final point over the center point by about 1″ or so, enough to close the envelope and get the shape you desire.
Step 4: Once it’s folded up, you can stamp the back of it with your “To:” stamp.
The next step is to write a letter or a postcard to someone you love and drop it in the nearest mailbox. I believe in this modern day world of electronic communication and instant connection via phone and texting, the handwritten note has an even greater influence. As you write to your grandparents or cousins or a far away friend, imagine the thrill they will experience when they open their mailbox and find a handmade card addressed to them in your handwriting and sent with love and care.
If you want to learn how to make a handmade address book to add to your Letter Writing Center, we’ve got an address book tutorial at Future Craft Collective that’s simple to make, beautiful to look at, and handy as pockets.
Join us next week when its everybody into the pool! We’ll be making pool toys out of materials you’ve most likely got lying around the house. Summertime and the living just gets craftier all the time!
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.