There’s no excuse not to write a letter simply because you lack envelopes.  Here’s a short tutorial on how to fold a letter into a self-mailing envelope.  The end result reminds me of those overseas aerograms we used to send back in the days.

First find the exact center of the long side of your stationery and make a small crimp to mark the spot.

First find the exact center of the long side of your stationery and make a small crimp to mark the spot.

Now fold up a bottom corner so that the straight side follows an imaginary center line.  Fold down the opposite upper corner in the same manner.

Now fold up a bottom corner so that the straight side follows an imaginary center line.  (This is where the crimp marks come in handy.)   Fold down the opposite upper corner in the same manner.

Those exposed rectangular shapes are next.  Fold each in half lengthwise, in toward the straight end of the triangular shape.

Those exposed rectangular shapes are next. Fold each in half lengthwise, in toward the straight end of the triangular shape.

Fold up and fold down.

Fold up.

Fold down

Fold down

The ends fit nicely into the little triangular shapes.

The ends tuck nicely into the little triangular shapes.

I like to use stickers to keep the letter private.

I like to use stickers to keep the letter private.

Turn the letter over, address, and add stamp.  Voila!

Turn the letter over, address, and add stamp. Voila!

Folded paper star ornament

I found the instructions for making these folded paper star ornaments on the December 8th post of the Craftynest blog (www.craftynest.com).  I love how they look and plan to make many more.  Here’s how I made mine:

Cutting out stars from paper

Using the pattern I downloaded from the Craftynest blog, I cut out 10 stars from some pretty red speckled paper I had on hand.

Folding the stars

Then I folded each paper star in half.  (After I folded them, I realized that the Craftynest instructions said to fold in half on the points.  Ooops.  It turned out that my mistake didn’t really matter.)

Sewing the paper stars together

Next I stacked all 10 paper stars together and sewed down the center fold line.

Attaching ribbon

Because my folds were in the gutter rather than point-to-point, I was able to just tie ribbon around my stars, covering the sewing.  (At Craftynest, they sewed the ribbon on.)

Finished star ornament

When you open up the leaves of the star, it makes a beautiful symmetrical ornament.

Detail of finished star

Folded star book (approximately 2 x 2 inches)

Star book folded open and hung as a Christmas tree ornament

Many years ago I ordered one of these tiny star books from Chinaberry Books (www.chinaberry.com), and after looking closely at its construction, I decided I could figure out how to make them myself.  These tiny treasures (about 2 inches square) are made out of folded paper, origami-style, and when opened with their covers back-to-back, look like a five-pointed star.  They make delightful stocking stuffers or Christmas ornaments.  Or you can use them as miniature blank books.

Here is how you make a folded star book:

Folding the inside pages

First, cut five paper squares, 4 x 4 inches.  Then fold each one in half lengthwise and again in half crosswise.  Now each square has four quadrants.  Next fold each square diagonally corner to corner.  (You’ll have just one diagonal fold line on each square of paper.)

Each 4 x 4-inch square now needs to be folded in on itself by reverse-folding along the diagonals to the center.  You’ll end up with a 2 x 2-inch folded square. (Look at the photo and try to replicate the pictures.)

Glue the outside of each 2 x 2-inch square

Joining the five star pages together with glue

The five folded squares will be joined by gluing together, outside square matching outside square.  You’ll want the center points to match up so that you can see that unfolding will make a star.  Don’t glue together into a circle!  Keep the last two outside squares unglued.

This is what the inner pages should look like after gluing

Preparing the covers

Next you make two covers.  Cut heavy paper or cardboard into two 2-1/4 x 2-1/4-inch squares.  Then find some pretty paper for your covers, and glue them to the cardboard.

Attaching ribbon

Brush the inside of each cover with glue.  Then lay a ribbon across the two covers diagonally as pictured.

Gluing the covers to the star pages

Now you are ready to glue the covers to the assembled pages.  The center folded points should line up where the two covers meet so that the finished book can open like a star.

Finished folded star book, closed

You can now tie the finished book closed with the ribbon.

Finished star book opened

Or, you can tie the little book open and hang it up as an ornament.

Enjoy!

Flower made from five squares of folded paper

I admit that it’s a bit out of sync to make artificial paper flowers when the gardens outside are full to bursting with fresh blooms.  But I love to play with paper and was inspired by some instructions for making Japanese Kusudama, folded paper flowers, in a book filled with intriguing papercrafts:  Playing with Books:  The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson. 

Playing with Books

The paper flowers were easy to make, and I love the finished product.  The flowers are constructed from five square pieces of paper, which are folded identically into five petals.  The book recommends using 6-inch squares, but I made my squares 5 x 5-inches and was pleased with the results.  Here are some step-by-step instructions:

I cut five 5-inch squares from old magazines

Fold each paper in half to make a large triangle

Fold two corners down to make a small square

Use your finger to open each flap and then . . .

. . . press flat

Fold up tips on both flaps

Then fold each flap in half and inward

To make a petal, fold inward and glue (I used paperclips instead) the innermost flaps together

Then glue (or paperclip) together the five petals

Finished flower

Decorative folded paper flower

Gift wrapped in recycled newspaper and embellished with folded paper flowers and paper curls