I never wanted to throw away old calendars; they have such pretty pictures! But if I didn't throw them away, they just accumulated in my heap of stuff, so often when I de-cluttered, the old calendars had to go. I always thought I could use them for a craft project, but didn't get around to it. So here I am getting around to it! Time to put the pretty pictures to good use :-).
As you can see in the picture, I currently have several to choose from. For this tutorial, I picked the Butterflies one. Note that I didn't actually do anything with the small calendars, in this project; they're just like little ones everywhere, and want to be in the picture! You could do a mini version of this project; that'd be good for writing a little note to include in a gift or something.
Note also that the calendar grid will be visible on the inside of the envelope. You could glue an additional piece of paper on the top flap, where the inside of the envelope will be immediately visible, if you don't like the look of the calendar grid (especially with markings on it! Having an envelope that says "Caleb's Birthday" on the inside of the flap is a little odd, so I may go back and glue a paper over that one).
One of my goals in writing this Instructable is to demonstrate that making handmade cards doesn't have to be difficult or expensive! You don't need a room full of crafting supplies; just a few simple, inexpensive materials can yield very nice results! Besides the calendar and 5x8 index cards, my most-used material is tissue paper. It's very versatile and can be found in big multi-color packs at Dollar Tree!
Step 1: What You Need
- A wall calendar (I get mine at Dollar Tree)
- Unruled 5x8 index cards (found at Walmart in packs of 100 for $2 or $3, in white or colors. I use white because they're more versatile)
- A glue stick
- Tacky glue (for bulkier decorations such as bows)
- Whatever additional decorations you want; tissue paper is strongly recommended (found, as I said, in multi-color packs at Dollar Tree), other possibilities include glitter glue, wrapping paper, printer paper, deflated foil balloons, ribbons, paint, fabric, etc. Look to see what you have on hand and be creative! What you use will depend on your personal style, and of course the theme of your calendar; things that coordinate with Butterflies may not go so well with, say, Classic Cars.
- A ruler
- A pencil
- A light table (not absolutely necessary, but I found it helpful when making the envelopes)
Step 2: The Cards
Take one of the index cards and fold it in half. Make sure the long edges (of the unfolded card) line up with themselves, to insure a flat bottom of the card. If the short edges (of the unfolded card; edge opposite the fold of the folded card) don't line up, just trim whatever is sticking out.
Select an image from the back of the calendar. You will probably see 13 images; the 12 thumbnails and the slightly larger calendar preview. This preview will be a duplicate of one of the thumbnail images, so to keep the number of cards to 12 (to match the envelopes), I paired one of the duplicate images with another image, so one card has two pictures. If your calendar is a 16-month one, there will probably be thumbnail images just inside the front cover as well, that can be incorporated if desired.
Choose your decorative elements, and arrange them until you are satisfied with the layout. Then glue them in place.
To make a straight torn edge on tissue paper, line up a ruler where you want the edge to be, hold it firmly in place, and tear along the ruler.
To make a colored background or block of color, cover desired area with glue, line up the edge of the tissue paper where you want it to be, and press it smooth with your fingers, either starting in the middle and smoothing outward, or starting on one edge and smoothing across. Then trim excess paper from the edges of the card. If any spots didn't stick down due to the glue drying, just lift up the edge in that spot and add a little more glue.
All the cards I made in this batch can be seen in Step 4, you can look at them for more layout ideas.
Step 3: The Envelopes
To make the envelopes, cut out one of the calendar pages. To get an idea of how the final product will look, cut a rectangular hole slightly larger than the card in a piece of junk paper, and position it on the page in the place you find most pleasing. Note, however, that there needs to be enough space below it for the bottom flap; this will be about 1/2 in. shorter than the width of the card. There also needs to be a couple inches of space above it for the top flap. At this point, I poked a hole in one corner of the rectangle, so I could find it on the other side of the page.
I show doing the measurements for the envelopes directly on the calendar page, but found partway through the project that it's significantly easier to do them on a piece of junk paper and use that as a template for all the envelopes. But in either case, you need to measure a rectangle about 1/8 in. on each side from the edge of the card. You don't want the edges too close to the card, or the envelope will be too tight for the card to go in and out easily. Then extend the lines of the rectangle; the short sides extend to the edges of the page, the long sides just extend a couple inches. Measure one inch from each of the short edges, and draw a line parallel to the side of the rectangle. Measure about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the rectangle (note that the calendar page is upside-down in relation to the picture, so the top of the rectangle will very likely be toward the bottom of the calendar grid), and draw another line. Finally, measure about 3 1/2 inches from the bottom of the rectangle, and draw one more line.
Now that we have the dimensions, it's time to angle the edges of the flaps, so they don't interfere with each other. For the side flaps, measure about 1/4 inch from the ends, on the edge further from the rectangle. Draw a line from the corner of the rectangle to that mark. You should have a trapezoid shape that is narrower on the outside edge than on the edge of the rectangle. Do the same thing with the other two flaps, except measure about 3/8 in. from the end, instead of 1/4 in. You should end up with the fat cross shape shown in the picture. Cut out the shape, being careful to cut only on the outside edges, not the sides of the rectangle!
If you have a light table, this process is easier; just shine the light through the paper (grid side up), position the template where you want it, and trace the template. Then cut along the traced lines. Note that the image will be reversed when you trace the template, since it's facing the light table.
If you want to add an additional piece of paper to the top flap area to cover the grid, now is the time. Just cut it the shape of the top flap, with about an inch additional paper below, and glue it in place with a glue stick.
Now, fold the flaps in, and glue the bottom flap on top of the side flaps. Just rub the glue stick on the sides of the inner (calendar grid) side of the bottom flap, in the shape of the side flaps; imagine a reflection.
I wrote some dummy addresses on scrap paper to see how the envelope will look when I mail it. You'll almost certainly need to put the addresses on separate paper and tape or glue them in place, so they will be clearly legible. It might work to use tracing paper or white tissue paper to write the addresses on, that way they will be legible, but won't completely break the continuity of the picture. But so far I haven't been able to find any tracing paper or white tissue paper at my house to try it with. You should have quite a few leftover calendar page edges; you could test it on those to see how it looks.
Step 4: Time for Greeting Cards All 'round! :-D
Now write your message in the card, write the address on a piece of paper (perhaps tracing or tissue paper, as mentioned in the last step), and glue it on. Insert the card, apply glue stick to the edge of the top flap, and seal it shut.
Now comes the only (somewhat) expensive part: adding the stamps and mailing them out! If you live in the US, one Forever stamp per card should be sufficient.
Surprise your friends with a handmade card from you!
If you decide to do this project, I'd love to see what you come up with! :-)