How to: make a cute collage with Security Envelopes (and Hollywood eye-candy!)
This tutorial combines the sedate patterns of the inside of UK bank envelopes with the over-the-top vibrancy of celebrity photography for a fun collage that's the perfect starter craft.
Going through some old post recently, I had a realization - I really, really like the inside of security envelopes. These envelopes - the kind UK banks send any kind of sensitive correspondence in - have interior printing that resembles origami paper. These simple shapes, like bricks, hexagons, or wicker-like hatchmarks - make for great, understated collage.
For this project, I've paired the quiet colors and simple patterns of the interiors of security envelopes with something on the other side of the visual spectrum - a bright, striking image from one of my favorite magazines. You can use anything you like, of course - but this image of a certain Scottish superstar hiding behind some vibrantly hued balloons provides just the kind of bold counterpoint this project needs.
When it comes to choosing your image, go big - think crazy fashion shoots, Gaga publicity pics, or even images from your favorite comic books. Hooray for upcycling!
To make this collage, you need some very simple materials.
- Old magazines
- A cute vintage frame
- To-be-recycled security envelopes (these came from Barclays, but all UK banks seem to use them)
- A glue stick
- A metal ruler
- A cutting board
- Pen or pencil
- A piece of thin, sturdy scrap card larger than the aperture of your frame
1. To begin, trace the insert of your frame on the piece of scrap card. This will be the base of your collage. Use your utility knife and metal ruler, and cut it out carefully.
This is from just one month's mail, terrifyingly enough - getting enough for one project takes far less time than you'd think. A few credit card solicitations, a bank statement or two and you're there.
2. When you have a collection of prints you like, take a good look at the security envelopes you've accumulated. Some will be light, some will be dark. Separate them according to tone.
3. Once you've sorted out light from dark, start cutting up your envelopes using the ruler and utility blade. Since we're going for a starburst shape, I went with thin, long triangles.
4. Time to start designing your collage! Start arranging your triangles with the small end towards the center. Keep alternating light and dark triangles until you have a nice, pulsating starburst.
At this stage I trimmed any shapes that weren't fitting correctly, and cut some new ones where necessary. But keep your triangles long for now - don't worry about trimming the thicker end of each triangle.
5. Now, carefully pull each triangle away from the center, so that you can easily move the card base away (I kept thinking about the old Julian Cope song 'The Teardrop Explodes' while doing this!)
This step will allow you to keep the correct order of your shapes, and avoid stress while heading towards the next step - gluing!
7. Using your gluestick, cover the boring white side of each shape with a thin coat of glue. Start gluing in a clockwise (or if you're slightly wacky) anti-clockwise motion, overlapping the shapes for a nice sharp center. If you're not happy with the placement, just glue a new shape over the old one! The glass in your frame will hide any slight over-thickness.
(Don't forget to clean your hands periodically during this process - mine got very gluey!)
8. Next, find a pile of thick, heavy books. Cover the sticky side of your collage-in-the-making with a clean sheet of a4. Put the collage under the books so that the individual pieces have a chance to flatten nicely. Don't worry about it drying - you just need to do this for 5 minutes or so.
9. After a few minutes have passed, take out your collage base and flip it over. Using your utility knife and ruler, trim the excess paper from the sides so that you have a clean rectangle. You're almost there!
10. Now, the fun part - choose your celebrity photo. Rip it out from the magazine, and then VERY carefully tear around your desired shot until you're satisfied with the shape.
If you prefer, you can trace a shape around your cutout - a hexagon would be very cool!
You can also make a version of this with a printout of a friend or cherished pet - just be sure the paper your print on isn't too thick (photo paper for printers is probably too thick for the tearing method but would work very well with the shape method.)
11. Position your chosen celebrity, to see how you like him or her in situ. Then, get gluing, and repeat the step with the a4 and the pile of books.
12. Stick this sucker in a frame, and you're done.
Another idea: play off the other design element the interior of these security envelopes resembles - fabric. A more meticulous soul than myself could have a lot of fun combining these simple toned shapes with brightly colored paper to copy traditional quilt blocks.
But in the meantime...happy star-gazing!
[This tutorial is copyright Ellen Lindner 2012. Not for commercial use.]