Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mail Art Diaries - What To Use

I've been making mail art for over 10 years now so I thought I'd start a blog series to share my tips and tricks. One of my favorite things in the mail art community is how everyone has a very unique and individual style. We can all learn things from each other and that's pretty awesome. It's also really fun to see your style develop over the years. I look at some of my envelopes from years ago and I cringe; although sometimes I'm pretty impressed and think, "I did that!?"

One thing that's super helpful for me is organizing all of the paper bits I've collected over the years. My desk is basically always messy and pretty unorganized when I'm working so it's nice to have things in places where I can easily find them. Before I graduated to using these IKEA boxes, I kept everything stored in freezer-sized Ziploc bags! You can imagine what a hassle that was. I tried to keep my categories for storing pretty broad. They are organized based on the different elements I use in collages and that makes it easy to find what I'm looking for when I'm working on a collage!

 I always have my go-to supplies when making collages:
1 - Glue sticks! I've seen plenty of recommendations for other adhesives but I think I'll always stick to my cheap sticks. I typically use clear tape around the edges of an envelope to keep things secure.
2 - Washi tape! This is really a no-brainer. Washi tape comes in so many different patterns and colors. It is so useful in adding a little something to any collage. It's also an easy way to add a little something to stationery!
3 - Ink! Admittedly, I don't have a lot of different colored ink pads because, holy cow, they are expensive. I like to use a lot of rubber stamps so ink pads come in handy.
4 - Alphabet stamps! I have too many alphabet stamps. I used to buy every set I came across. They are so much fun though! I love using them to stamp the recipients name on envelopes or when writing a letter. These sign language stamps are a big hit with everyone. You can get this same set over at Chronicle Books!
5 - Pterodactyl stamp! This is basically my signature stamp. I've had this stamp since I was a little kid and I don't know what I would do without it!
6 & 7 - Hand carved stamps! If you haven't carved a stamp, you should definitely try it out! I'm no artist but I love carving out simple shapes to use. It's very satisfying.
8 - Scissors! These have been my go-to scissors for many years. I prefer smaller scissors as I have more control over what I'm cutting out. I'm an absolute mess when I use big scissors!

Paper, paper, paper! I've collected so much paper over the years I almost don't even know how I'll use it all. Scrapbook supply aisles in craft stores are my worst enemy. I typically always use paper as my background for any collage I'm working on. White space is the worst!

Here is a peek into what my "embellishment" box contains! It's basically a mix of doilies, stickers, labels and color swatches. Doilies are my weakness! They just look so awesome on envelopes.

This is a selection of bits from my "ephemera" and "images" boxes.

USPS stamps, bingo dotters and a label maker. Otherwise known as things I don't use very often but always enjoy when I do use them! The USPS stamps are very useful when they need to be; especially the FRAGILE and DO NOT BEND stamps. I don't think I've ever used the FIRST CLASS stamp! CONFIDENTIAL is used when I'm being silly.

What are some of your favorite supplies?