Project: Laced letter holder
This handy letter holder is a great way to organize incoming and outgoing mail. One lightweight but sturdy piece of mat board is scored and folded, then covered with handmade paper. With the wide variety of paper colours and textures available, it is easy to customize this project to match any room. Lacing together the front and back helps keep letters in place, strengthens the structure, and provides an easy way to personalize the holder. Try using ribbon, elastic cord, or wire instead of string, and experiment with different lacing patterns.
• mat board or cardboard
• handmade paper in yellow and natural or other assorted colours
• glue stick
• craft knife
• 3 mm (1/8") hole punch (optional)
• string or twine
1 Cut and score board
Measure, mark, and cut out a 25 cm x 51 cm (10" x 20") rectangle on a piece of mat board or sturdy cardboard. Beginning at one of the 25 cm (10") ends, measure up 9.5 cm (3 3/4") and 17.5 cm (6 3/4") and mark lines straight across at both points. Score these lines with a craft knife and fold them to create a U-shape.
2 Paper board
Cut two 28 cm x 3 cm (11" x 1") pieces of paper and use a glue stick to apply them to the underside of the scored joints. Make sure they wrap around the front, and are tautly and smoothly adhered. This reinforces the joints and helps keep the holder's shape. Next, cut two 28 cm x 53 cm (11" x 21") pieces of yellow paper. Apply the paper to the back and then the front of the holder. Fold the edges over each time and glue securely in place. Next, cut a 24 cm x 16 cm (9 1/2" x 6 1/4") piece of natural-coloured paper and apply it to the front of the mail holder, where it will be laced. Using the same paper, cut out and apply the envelope flap to the top of the holder.
3 Lace board
With a 3 mm (1/8") hole punch, make holes 6 mm (1/4") in all corners of the shorter front of the mail holder. Make corresponding holes on the back of the holder. The holes at top should be 17 cm (6 1/2") up from the bottom. Also make a hole at the top of the board for hanging. Cut .9 meter (3 feet) of string and lace the front of the holder to the back. There are a number of different ways to do this. Knot the ends together at the back and secure with a dab of glue, or tie the ends in front with a bow. Also make a small knotted loop for handing and thread it through the hole at the top of the holder.
4 Add words and seal
To spell MAIL, use rubber stamps, an alphabet stencil and paint, or handwriting. Cut out and layer two small, red circles, one slightly larger than the other to make the seal, or use a sticker, rubber stamp or real wax.
Cut out one flat piece of board and cover with a piece of fabric 5 cm (2") larger all around. Apply the fabric to the board using spray adhesive. Fold the edges to the back and secure with quick-grab, permanent fabric glue. Create a pocket with a prehemmed piece of fabric, such as a napkin or bandana. Glue the fabric around the board to create the pocket. Glue a ribbon loop to the back of the board for hanging.
Using a glue stick rather than liquid glue prevents thin paper board from warping and speeds up drying time.
If the hole punch is too dull to make holes easily, use a craft knife instead. Don't worry about the holes looking messy - they will be hidden if they are just big enough for the cord to fit through.
Excerpted from Quick Crafts: 30 Fast and Fun Projects by Livia McRee. Copyright 2001 by Rockport Publishers. Excerpted with permission by Rockport Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.