What a fun way for the kiddos to keep up with friends and family this summer, the old way, with snail mail! Show them how to turn a note into an envelope!
I’ve never been to summer camp, but from I’ve seen in the movies it looks like an awful lot of fun. Yeah, I went to dance camps, but those are a lot different from the Camp Anawanna experience I watched on “Salute Your Shorts” as a ’90s kid. At dance camp, you literally dance all day and put Ben Gay in weird spots at night because after 8 hours of dancing, even in teen peak physical condition, everything freaking hurts. And if you’re like me you sneak out of your room, wafting that menthol smell behind you, to take crazy pictures in a dormitory because as a high schooler what the heck is freaking cooler than staying in a real. college. dorm. for a week?
My parents did offer to send my sister and me to summer camp one year. And we cried. We bawled, actually. I remember it well. We were in the car and we knew, just KNEW, that this was NOT a good thing. Imagine 2 kids wailing “you just want to get rid of us!” in the backseat with stunned parents in the front wondering what went wrong. I truly can see now, in hindsight, how awesome an experience it would have been.
We did go on a really long family vacation every year to Colorado, and sometimes I’d write letters back home to friends. Last year Rob and I went to Puerto Rico and I was amazed at how many kids have cell phones. Like, I see them everywhere, of course, but I think I really noticed because, well, Puerto Rico was absolutely beautiful with an amazing Rainforest, colorful buildings and really interesting sites, and so many kids weren’t even looking at these neat things… they were looking down at their phones. And just about anywhere there was Wifi, you’d see kids Facetiming friends back home. And that’s all good and well because I LOVE technology, but I felt kind of sorry for these kids, too.
So I thought, maybe I could try and bring back the long, lost art of the summer letter to friends and family. I remember writing them to my grandparents and trying to figure out what were the most important bits of what had been going on because I only had so much space on my paper. Because I’d only use a single sheet because I’d fold it into an envelope like my Poppa taught me, so I could send him a letter with nothing more than a “scrap of paper and a stamp” which he gave me a book of that first summer we had moved away. I know that those letters meant something important to him and, as I got older I quit sending them and I wish I hadn’t. And so, maybe you can encourage the littles in your life to write letters to their friends and family this summer and you can also show them how to fold that letter into its own envelope for a little extra cool factor :)
Let’s learn how to fold a note into an envelope.
For this project you will need:
- Letter sized paper
- Clear tape
- White label
First and foremost you’re going to need a letter on letter-sized paper. You can use solid colors or patterns. I cut down scrapbooking paper down to letter sized (from 12×12″ to 8.5×11″) with a paper trimmer in no time flat.
Quick tip, if cutting down papers with designs that are directional and you want them facing the “right way” on the envelope, rather than sideways, cut your pages down so that the design is right in landscape orientation (like above).
Place your paper letter side up in front of you horizontally. FYI – it doesn’t matter which direction the writing is going. Fold the bottom edge up evenly about 1.5″ inches in. For your first attempt or 2, you might want to measure it so you know about where to fold. As you do more it comes naturally and doesn’t have to be exact to work well.
Turn your paper 90°. Fold the bottom edge of your paper so that it matches up with the fold on the left. It will look like above.
Turn and fold the next side in along the 1.5″ strip, also.
You’ll have something that looks like a triangle at the top but with a flat line where the point would normally be. This can be a little bit wider or narrower on every envelope you fold up, but don’t sweat it… when you seal the envelop later on you’ll be covering this so it doesn’t matter.
With your paper facing like so, fold in the right side as close to the middle as possible, keeping that bottom edge perfectly in line.
Fold in the left side, matching that bottom edge as well as you can without overlapping the 2 sides (they should kiss each other, just barely, barely touch or be really close to it, but not overlapping).
Turn your paper around to fold in the top flap. Fold just enough that this flap covers the triangle of folds and resembles a real envelope.
Yeah, like that.
Use a sticker or washi tape to close your envelope up. If this is a note that will be hand delivered you’re done.
But if you’re going to mail it, that bottom area will gap a bit and might cause problems with the machines at the post office.
Using clear tape, seal this area shut.
Using a variety of papers and stickers or washi, you can always send a unique looking letter every time!
If using patterned paper reading the address might be kind of difficult so it’s a good idea to write them on white labels and smack those on there so all of the post office’s nifty robot devices know where to send your note!
Now just because I wanted to be able to say 100% without a doubt these guys are going to be totally okay in the actual mail, I actually mailed 2 of these to myself and guess what?
They worked! Although I did swap out the labels for these pics because who cares where I live, right? And if you’re wondering, I don’t really know Scully and Mulder :)
Boom. That’s, like, seriously it. You might practice your folds on scrap paper. You can use old to do lists or things you’ve printed and are set for the burn pile. Once you’ve done a couple, folding these guys is so simple, you and the kiddos can turn a note into an envelope in your sleep!