snail mail tips: storing washi tape

Advice, Snail Mail Tips

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Most of my great ideas come to me right as I am falling asleep. I sit in bed and think of all the things I would rather be doing instead of sleeping. Half of the time I can’t remember most of these thoughts or ideas when I wake in the morning because I can’t be bothered to actually write them down.

This is one idea I remembered! I was in bed thinking of all the washi tape I have and how I needed to come up with a new way of storing them. I thought of those washi tape holders you can buy and realized they were basically just a rectangular box. I started thinking about the items I had in my house that I could convert into storage for washi tape and, ding!, what better than the boxes that rolls of wax paper or aluminum foil come in?

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Although it’s not the best option out there, this is an incredibly easy and cheap way to store your washi. Let’s get started!

To convert your box, you really just need a few simple supplies:
► The box (duh)
► Washi tape (duh duh)
► Scissors
► (optional) Pretty paper to cover the ugly box
► (optional) Double-sided tape or glue

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First things first, cut off the little flaps on the side of the box and the cover flap. I considered leaving the top flap on but it’s likely your washi tape are going to stick out a bit so the top flap just becomes pointless. That’s basically all you have to do to make this into a washi tape holder. It’s really that simple. Cut off the flaps and stick your washi inside! Done.

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I recommended covering the box with something pretty or color-coded. I decided to cover my boxes with scrapbooking paper that matched the colors of washi tape I was going to put inside. It’s super simple to cover the box! I just stuck on a bunch of double-side tape on each side and basically wrapped it like a present. I didn’t cover the bottom, just the front back and sides. You can also cover the inside if you’re feelin’ fancy. I think it might be kind of annoying to use glue to complete this step but, if that’s all you have, I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it work!

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With this storage, you do have to take out the washi tape each time you want to use it. That can be kind of annoying! I’m trying to think of something I can put in, like a empty paper towel roll, to have the washi tape on. I feel like the washi tape holes vary in size though that could just be my imagination. I’ll have to give it a go the next time I run out of paper towels.

Another thing you can do is put a piece of tape that you are storing on the outside of the box. You can easily see what tape you have and, once you take it out, you know where it should go when you have to put it back!

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Mail Art Diaries – Carving Rubber Stamps

Advice, Mail Art Diaries

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Rubber stamps are amazing. They have quite the history within mail art! They are fun to use and even more fun to make. Some mail artists create their mail art exclusively with rubber stamps. I don’t know how they do it but they do, and they make it look amazing. I’ve never had a huge collection of rubber stamps due to cost. If you have the same problem, you should definitely consider making your own!

To start carving stamps, you just need a few supplies.
Rubber carving block
Linoleum Cutter
► Pencil (or pen)
► Rubber stamp ink
► Tracing paper (optional)

I had carved this shape before and used it so much that it started to fall apart! I decided I wanted to make another. My pen pal actually drew the shape (and all the other drawings you can see on that paper). We had a huge stamp-carving sesh when she was in town awhile back. I absolutely love carving stamps but I’m not the best at drawing so it was super awesome she could draw!

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We drew everything on tracing paper and then rubbed it onto the carving block to start carving. You can totally draw straight on the rubber and avoid that step. I find it a bit difficult to draw directly on the block, especially with a pencil. The white carving blocks are very soft and a pencil ends up digging into it. I imagine you could avoid that with a nice ballpoint or gel pen. If you draw directly on the block, be sure to flip any lettering!

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Carve out your image! You should have an idea of where you want your negative and positive space. My entire shape is positive space so I just had to carve all around the shape. If you have a more detailed stamp, I would suggest shading the areas that you don’t want to carve out, or something similar. There have been times I get my image on to the carving block and then end up cutting out a space that I shouldn’t have. Oops! It’s nice to have a little reminder once you get into the flow of carving.

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After a bit of carving, I like to put some ink on the stamp and test it out. This is very helpful if you have a more detailed stamp, as you can plainly see what areas might need a bit more carving. Keep doing this until your stamp is how you want!

See? It’s pretty simple, especially if you just want to make a bunch of shapes. Which I totally recommend because it looks awesome on a collage, especially when you make a nice pattern out of it! I also highly recommend using tracing paper as it is an easy way to store your designs. It really comes in handy if you ever need to make a duplicate stamp!

Here is an example of lettering. I traced over a printed image, put the tracing paper pencil-mark side down on the carving block, and rubbed the paper until it transferred on to the rubber. This is the only way I can carve out letters. Free-handing that is way too complicated for my brain!

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