Turning Old Books into Beautiful Cards and Envelopes

Remember that big library book sale I went to last week?  Well, besides educational books for Violet, I was looking for large books with pretty photography that I could cut up and turn into envelopes and greeting cards.

Obviously, I didn’t want to pay full price for a book that I was just going to rip apart anyway.  A buck per book?  I can do that!  I lucked out and found several books that I thought would be just the ticket for this craft.  A few of them are very interesting Christmas books with sheet music and beautiful illustrations.  These volumes have publishing dates from the early 1940s.  The other ones are newer, full of nature photographs.

Please do not send me hate mail for cutting up these beautiful books.  I assure you, they are happy to be repurposed into pretty notecards and envelopes, rather than decaying in some musty basement somewhere.  I know they are.  They told me so.

I got the idea for this project from Country Living magazine.  Their website has an envelope pattern you can download and print out, which I finally did yesterday.  (I’ve been thinking about this project for quite a while now.)

The first envelope I made was from one of the Christmas books.  I have a scoring blade for my Creative Memories rotary trimmer, which makes it so much easier to fold cardstock evenly along a crease.  The paper in these books is seventy years old, though, so it’s not quite as flexible as my scrapbook paper.  On my first pass with the scoring blade, I pressed down too hard and as a result the paper tore.  I was more careful with the remaining creases and finished the envelope.

I was making these cards at my mom’s house yesterday and had limited supplies on hand.  This card would look so much better if the picture was matted in blue cardstock.  From now on, the designs will be matted in color if needed.

The brittle paper in the Christmas book disheartened me a bit, so I decided to work with the other book for a while.  This one is full of photographs from Appalachia and the Great Smoky Mountains.  It makes for beautiful envelopes and cards!

I found that I still need to be careful not to press too hard on the scoring blade.  Practice makes perfect and the envelopes had fewer flaws as I went along.

If a person is planning on handing the card to a friend or sticking it in a gift bag, then they are perfect as is.  However, if it needs to go through the mail, a label must be added to the front so the recipient’s address can be visible.

I don’t think the USPS would appreciate having to play hide-and-seek with the mailing address.  They might just decide to keep the pretty card for themselves.

I have some plain white label stickers and I plan on doing a “test run” with them.  I’m also curious to see how these envelopes will withstand their travels through the USPS system.  A few lucky friends of mine will be receiving these first cards, in return for a report on their condition upon arrival.  If the envelopes are shredded, I know I can’t market them as mail-able.

This is a project I think might work for the bazaar at my church.  It is cheap, easy and makes a beautiful product.  And who couldn’t use some pretty note cards?

I have also been talking about opening an etsy shop for ages now.  It hasn’t happened yet, but one of my goals this year is to get something — anything — up for sale on etsy.  If I wait until I have a fully-stocked store, then it will never happen.  Baby steps are better than nothing.

What do you think?  Are these cards something you would pay hard-earned money for?  How much do you think a set of, say, five cards would be worth?  I can’t wait to hear your opinion!

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15 responses to “Turning Old Books into Beautiful Cards and Envelopes

  1. I think you could sell these, but it would be hard to do on-line. I think to get people to buy a set, they would have to hold them in their hands. Otherwise it’s too hard to understand what they would look like.

    • You’re probably right. I am also not the best photographer in the world, so I couldn’t make them look their best in a photo. Worth a shot, though, right? How much do you think they might be worth? I really appreciate your thoughts! Thank you for commenting!

  2. ohmygosh, that music page! The Christmas page! Ok, not hate mail, but I love old pictures/prints like that. So I think your cards and envelopes will be beautiful. Very fun, Jen!

  3. I’ve been making envelopes from my prior year’s calendars. My family has eclectic tastes, so I have a calendar assortment: sailing, gardening, cats and airplanes. I also used my CM tools for scoring, and I used the tag maker to make bookmarks and gift tags with the left over calendar pieces. I’ve mailed them several times, but since they are calendars they are a heavier weight. I blogged aboaut it. Let me good find it.

    I love the diead of using old books. It’s a great way to repurpose paper. Nicely done Ms. Pixie.

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