Cardboard and Plastic Netting Stationary Envelope

I I don’t like to post projects that require tools that people don’t have access too, but I thought that combination of materials might at least inspire those of you without a sewing machine to create something similar. The important thing about this envelope is that the netting lets you see what’s inside- very important for both moms and toddlers alike!

This stationary envelope is made from a piece of cardboard and the netting that produce comes in. I first measured out a square of the netting and then traced a pattern, which included a flap on the top, onto the cardboard and cut it out.

I zigzag stitched the netting to the cardboard with a regular sewing machine (not industrial) and then I embellished the envelope with a few stripes of wash tape and a little picture of a dog that I cut from a magazine. This “kit” of materials will be a gift for a two year old friend of Electra’s. I’ve included some homemade envelopes made from old maps, adhesive labels, two mini paper photo albums, some plain white greeting cards for decorating, blue adhesive dots and a few rolls of washi tape.

I like the way the netting expands and hugs the materials differently than a paper envelope. It will be fun to try making some more of these in different shapes and sizes to organize our own stationary supplies.

Cardboard’s Strengths

Although this is probably not a project many of you are jumping to recreate, I did think you would find it interesting to see how strong a few little pieces of cardboard can be.

Electra has been wheeling around on her tricycle these days, and is keen on making her bike into more of a workhorse around the house. We have a wooden plant coaster that we have also been using as a kind of wheelie body board that makes a perfect trailer.  We just needed some kind of hitch so that Electra could easily take off the trailer when she was simply “cruising.”

I measured and sketched, and then cut out this little device made of three pieces of cardboard glued together. It’s surprisingly strong- it’s able to pull a lot of weight (at least 10 kilos) without looking stressed. The trailer hooks up with some braided paper cord, which I used to illustrate the power of paper! I love continuing to be surprised by cardboard. It’s free, recycled, and recyclable and offers so much possibility. I just find it so darn cool!  What do you do with your cardboard?

Cardboard Mini Photo Frames

Finally back from a blissful vacation in Indonesia, The Cardboard Collective is springing back to life. We’ve had sick kids, technology failure and just plain laziness plague us, but all excuses aside, we’ve got birthdays approaching that we need to deliver for.

Grandma D. is a teacher, painter, adventurer and all around photo-holic, so I know she’ll appreciate this homemade twist on some of the photo gifts we’ve sent her in the past.

You can make one for yourself with the PDF patterns below. They are sized for 3×5 prints. You can use any kind of flat, durable cardboard for the frame, and re-purposed paper bags or magazine pages for the photo-holders. Simply trace the pattern fold it up, glue it together, and you’ve got it. Each side of the cardboard frame measures 6 and 3/8 in. by 4 and 1/2 in. I used a contrasting strip of washi tape to adjoin the two sides and add some color, but sometimes a bland mat and frame can make your pictures pop. You can also use the oval and square patterns on a standard sized envelope to make the frame holders. Just lop off one side of the envelope where you will insert the photo. Take the envelope apart, center the oval or rectangular pattern on it, trace, cut, and re-assemble.