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Altered Envelope Tutorial

Beatriz Souza, from Brazil, is our Guest Blogger for this article. In this post, Beatriz shares with us the process she used to create her altered envelope which made an Honourable Mention in ScrapScene’s Altered Envelope contest. Here is Beatriz’s technique:

It all started with a piece of junk mail – abeatrizsouza_env_back-closure.jpg royal blue, rather glossy 9″ x 6″ envelope with this very nice flap, shaped like half a 2D Easter egg. I sanded it all over, and first thing I noticed was the paper was rather thin for what was to come. Next step was applying two
light coats of gesso and letting it dry overnight.

I started working on the back of the envie, by pasting a piece of sanded black cardstock on about half of the back and about two inches of the front. It also helped to give some stability to the original fold that I was about to tear down.

About 1/2in from the bottom, I pasted four overlapping 2-inch wide scraps of an old French text, and a rectangular-shaped scrap on the right-hand top corner. About one inch of the first scrap to the left was folded and pasted on the lower right-hand side of the front of the envie. Later on, the other folded side also needed support and so I pasted a scrap of the black cardstock folded in the middle on both sides of the fold.

I stamped (in black) a small hand-carved heart on the top of the text scrap. The other half was painted black and shades of orange and brown, and a piece of some tissue paper kind of “connected” the sanded black paper, the old texts, and the other multicolored half.beatrizsouza_env_front1.jpg

Next, I moved to the front. Firstly, that was partly dry-painted black and then coated with a gluey mixture of gesso and Mod Podge (MP). About 1/2″ from the bottom, I pasted a scrap of white paper towel that had been slightly brushed against a stamp pad so that only the dotted pattern turned out painted. Near the left-side top, I pasted a scrap of another polka-dotted paper towel brushed against red, a scrap of “love” printed paper, and an overlapping scrap of white fabric. I coated about 1/4 of the area with the gesso/MP mixture, and pasted some crumpled paper tissue on top for additional texture.

A strip of a brown paper bag was pasted inside, on the top fold, and the inner flap was coated with overlapping scraps of French text and paper towels, and some red fingerprints.

I wanted the outer side of the flap to be more textured. So, it was first coated with that gesso/MP mix, and then coated with a paper towel pasted down with a liberal amount of MP.

I let it dry overnight again, and started the pre-finishing. On front and back, I used a rather thin coat of Mod Podge, a bit of water and gesso, and two shades of orange/brown acrylic paint. I coated it about two or three times and used paper towels to remove any excess between the coats.

The inner flap was coated with water-thinned MP and walnut crystals; the outer, more textured flap, was coated with a thicker coat of gesso and some touches of the orange/brown acrylics,beatrizsouza_env_back_closed1.jpg though more concentrated. Paper towels proved to be great to reach the shades and patterns that I wanted.

Hours later, to make the envelope a bit stronger, I cut a kraft paper envelope to size, folded the edges nicely, and used it as a liner. To hold this lining and the original shell together, I stitched along the top with brown embroidery floss.

I wanted to somehow merge the colors, papers and textures, and also wanted the finished envelope to be more on the “discreet” side. So front and back were coated 2 or 3 times with a watery mixture of gesso, MP, and walnut crystals, and paper towels were used again to help me reach the effects I wanted. Both sides of the flap were light coated with MP and a dash of walnut crystals.

At last, when thoroughly dry, the envie was very slightly sanded to remove any roughness left. It was then very lightly coated with a special furniture-renovating soft wax, and carefully buffed with a soft cloth some time later.

And to make the closure, both ends of a round black coated elastic were knotted to a mother-of-pearl button that was laying around the house.

– Beatriz Souza

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  1. October 26th, 2007Posted | Permalink

    Thank you, Beatriz, for this tutorial!!! I was wondering how you made this envelope!!!

  2. October 26th, 2007Posted | Permalink

    SO beautiful! Thanks for sharing how you made this work of art! :0)

  3. October 26th, 2007Posted | Permalink

    wow.. so beautiful.. i think you  should make a video how you do this it so cute… Can u make a video pls…

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