Send Pretty Mail #41-45 - Kokeshi Mail

How is it already the end of September? Slow down 2013, you move too fast! Since this month was so sneaky, I decided to send out this month's 5 pieces of pretty mail in one go. I've had these adorable kokeshi stamps staring at me for months now, clearly needing an outing! Sorry, no source for these - but we do hope to be carrying some cute rubber stamps for the holidays.
Cute stamps are perfect for dressing up simple index cards or other blank cards. How lovely is this kokeshi family? I must admit, I have a serious soft spot for these traditional Japanese wooden dolls.
With a few folds (and some extra trust in the postal service), basic paper bags can double as envelopes. But first, a little more stamping. 
Rather than just writing the address onto your envelope, grab your favourite marker and doodle some fancy labels onto label paper. Cut out and stick. Fancy!
Inspired by the pretty mail I received from Andrea, I wanted to include a little DIY kit in this month's mail. Since my Japanese paper doll tutorial continues to be so popular, they seemed like the perfect fit! A paper DIY kit is light and flat for mailing and such a delight to receive. Sorry, we don't carry the chiyogami anymore... but may again. I'll be sure to let you know. 
A few strips of washi tape add a little golden glamour while holding the paper bag in envelope form. All finished and ready for mailing.What's the best surprise you've found in your mailbox?

DIY Confetti Bows

I promised you I'd give you the scoop on making adorable confetti bows - and so here's how to craft up these one of a kind gift toppers. Don't feel limited to sequins, you could really fill these cuties with any lightweight & colourful material you'd like. Tissue confetti or colourful sprinkles would be really sweet too!

I must admit, I'm kind of a big fan of these bows - they're fast  to make but are ever so cute! I showed them to you yesterday with some sequin gift wrap, but I think they'd be just as cute when paired with washi tape ribbon strips, don't you?

You will need:Clear flat polybags - I used 3" x 5" bags 
Sequins - or your choice of fillerWashi tape

Start by applying a strip of washi tape to the closed end of your bag. Centre the edge of the bag in the middle of the washi tape strip, then fold over.
Trim the edges of the washi tape so that the ends are flush with the edges of the bag. Careful - don't cut the bag! 

Place the desired amount of confetti into the bag - I used a large pinch of multicolour sequins.

Once desired amount of confetti is in the bag, seal the open end with another folded over strip of washi tape.

To turn your confetti-filled bag into a bow, first determine the centre of the bag. Holding the centre, shake the confetti towards the two ends. You want there to be approximately the same amount of confetti on each side of your bow. Pinch the centre of the bag between your fingers. With the other hand, wrap a strip of washi tape around the centre of the bow. Adjust the two sides of the bow until you are satisfied with the appearance. 

Try different combinations of washi tape for different looks. 

When you're ready to wrap, attach your bow to the top of your gift with a loop of washi tape or a glue dot.

Would you try making confetti bows like these? 

Happy crafting!

Wrap It With Sequins

The latest addition to the shop is some fantastically sparkly sequin trim. I must admit, it's pretty hard to resist sequins - so, rather than resist, I wrapped! Sequin trim makes a great addition to your wrapping supplies cupboard - paired with kraft paper, it's a fun alternative to ribbon. 
Try wrapping a few lines of trim around the box on one side. Secure on the bottom - I used a dab of hot glue, it's not the prettiest under there, but those sequins aren't going anywhere! Alternatively, if you can get your hands on slim double-sided tape, I think that would be a great sticky solution. 

For a little more fun, try more colour! Intersecting lines of sequins in bold colours elevate a simple kraft wrapped gift into a mini piece of modern art. 

Or why not glue loose sequins all over your wrapped box and top with an adorable confetti bow. Look for the secret to making your very own confetti bows in our next DIY project! I think this one is my favourite - it's just so fun!

How would you use sequin trim?

DIY Washi Tape Party Picks

Whether you're baking up cupcakes or plotting a platter of gourmet donuts, sometimes your party plate needs a little something extra. We love washi tape for dressing up basic toothpicks and transforming them into party picks! And, hey, if anyone wanted to serve me a club sandwich with a washi taped pick rather than the traditional frilled version, I'd be pretty happy about it!

Simply fold a piece of washi tape over a toothpick, smooth and snip into the desired shape. I'm rather partial to the notched flag look...

Though simple rectangle flags are really cute as well...

And triangular flags would look ever so sweet at your bunting-filled party.

No matter which style of flag you choose, crafting up washi tape party picks is one of those sweet and simple projects that add an extra layer of fun to your event.

Happy crafting!

Initially Yours - DIY Monogram Notecards

Simple monograms are a wonderful way to dress up blank notecards - and a great opportunity to use your favourite washi tape designs!

You will need:
blank cards
parchment or waxed paper
printed copy of your desired letter - ensure it is the mirror image

Determine which side of your parchment / waxed paper is best suited to easy removal of tape. Test by applying a piece of tape to your paper and then peeling it off - whichever side allows for easiest removal is the side you will want to build your letter on. 

Place the printed letter face down on the side of the paper which you've determined is the easiest to remove tape from. Make sure you're working with the mirror image of the letter. Still with me? Tape the letter in place.

Flip the paper over and trace around the letter.

Turn the paper back over and remove the printed letter.  You should now be looking at the outline of the letter through the paper - the outline you just drew will be face down. 

Lay strips of tape in consecutive order from top to bottom (or bottom to top) ensuring that each tape strip slightly overlaps the one before it.

Once the letter is totally covered in tape strips, flip your paper over and cut out the shape. When cutting washi tape letters, I like to make them a little chunkier by cutting a little outside the lines.

To cut out enclosed sections - like in the A + R above - you can use a hole punch to make a small access hole in the centre of the section before using your scissors to remove the shape.

Carefully peel your letter off of the paper backing - ensuring that you start with the first tape strip you placed or else the letter will likely (heartbreakingly) come apart. Apply to the desired position on your card.

Feeling ambitious? Why not spell out whole words or names with washi tape?! I did on the front of these cards and love the look.

Happy crafting!

Send Pretty Mail #39/40 - Safari Mail

These envelopes were a long time coming - ever since we started carrying the animal print washi tapes, I've been itching to turn them into pictures.

A long strip of tape makes the perfect neck for gentle giraffe....

While a velvety black nose and mane are the perfect accents for an oh-so-on-trend monochromatic zebra.

Of course, you don't have to make pictures out of tape - a classic monogram has more fun when dressed up in animal print. Details on how to make your own washi tape letters coming soon! 

I think these will make for a fun mailbox surprise, don't you?

Though, I can't decide which one is my favourite!While creating pictures out of washi tape may seem daunting - it really isn't as complicated as it looks! By sticking with animal heads rather than attempting to create the whole animal, this project's difficulty drops by about 50%. Start with a reference picture (Google Images is great for this) and mentally break it down into simple shapes - for example the giraffe is made up of 7 shapes: neck, head, mane, ear, eye and two horns. Apply the tape to parchment / waxed paper and then cut out your shapes. Do a dry run, arranging the pieces and refining as necessary. Finally, peel off the paper backing and apply to your desired surface.What would you make with animal print washi tape?

Send Pretty Mail #36/37/38 - Doodle Collages

Plain envelopes in bold colours just might be my favourite canvas for sending pretty mail. While simple doodles can make a striking piece of mail, I thought "colouring in" a few elements with washi and glitter tapes would make an even bigger impression. I've left a hunk of blank space on each one for addresses.

I was feeling Autumn-y with this first envelope and filled in a few petals with harvest shades and added a few falling leaves here and there.

Have you ever read The Rainbow Fish? I was thinking about the lovely illustrations and multicoloured scales while crafting this one.

And, finally, a bevy of pretty bows and beads. Mainly because bows are oh so fun to doodle!

For note cards, simple index cards dressed up with a strip of coordinating glitter tape is my favourite quick and easy stand-by. Perfect when you're investing lots of creative energy (and time) in the envelopes. Love how each of these envelopes turned out so differently even though they all came from the same spark!

And, of course, a little extra doodling on the back!

Have you sent any pretty mail lately?

DIY: Confetti Dots Drawstring Bags

My favourite thing about plain drawstring bags is the possibilities found in their blankness. This is a really simple but also super-cute way to decorate them inspired by one of (maybe the most?) popular washi tape designs - confetti dots! Because who could say no to multicoloured dotty goodness?

You will need:Pencil (with unused eraser)Drawstring bagCraft paint in 3 fun colours (make sure it's suitable for fabric)Cardboard / chipboard
Cut a piece of cardboard/chipboard to fit inside your bag. Slide it inside. You might be tempted to skip this step (what me? cut corners?) but the paint seeps through the other side of the bag and then the two sides stick together when it dries and it's a big ol' mess. So, trust me, you don't want to skip the all-important cardboard step!Squeeze a little of the paint into a flat container you can use as a palette (I used the lid from a plastic take out container). Dab your pencil, eraser side down, into the paint. You want to make sure the surface of the eraser is covered in paint, but not too much paint - we're going for clear impressions but not gobs of paint. It might be a good idea to have a test bag or piece of fabric so you can get the hang of how much paint you need on the eraser.Firmly press the eraser onto the bag. Lift and repeat. I found that for each time I dipped the eraser into the paint, I could make two dots. Randomly apply a satisfying number of dots - for me that number was 10.
Clean the eraser thoroughly, then add random dots in your second colour. 10 more for me!
Clean your eraser again, then add your third colour of dots.  Allow to dry thoroughly before removing the inner cardboard.
Try different colour combinations. More colours = more fun!

They look extra cute all tied up with a colourful tag.Fun, right? I just might be a convert to the school of eraser stamping - so simple but so sweet. Have you ever tried this clever technique?