Send your hoikday cards in style

Writing has come a long way since the days when ancient Egyptian scribes used a stylus to draw on papyrus scrolls. These days, most correspondence seems to happen over e-mail. It’s immediate, and you don’t have to worry about digging up paper, pen and the ever-elusive postage stamp.

Even so, there’s still something magical about a physical letter. You can hold it and reread it. A handwritten letter says,"I care enough to take the extra time and effort.”

The holiday season is the perfect time to do just that. Encourage your kids to practice the art of letter writing with these homemade envelopes. They also make great gifts, especially for relatives who live far away.

1. Gather your supplies. For wallpaper sample books, call local wallpaper or paint stores and ask if they have any old ones—they give these away free. As an alternative, you also can use decorative paper from a craft store or pages from a magazine.

2. Create an envelope template. You have a couple of options here. One is to take a store-bought envelope (any size or shape) and gently pry the flaps loose. Another is to find patterns on the Internet (try www.ruthannzaroff.com/mirkwood designs/index.htm). Take your printout or store-bought envelope, trace around it on a sheet of poster board and cut this out. If you want your envelopes to be larger or smaller than your original template, enlarge or reduce the pattern on a photocopier.

3. Make the envelopes. Lay your poster board template over the wallpaper or magazine page and trace around it. Cut out your envelope and fold the flaps in. With a template created from a store-bought envelope, simply duplicate the way it was originally folded. Then secure the side and bottom flaps with a glue stick (heavy wallpaper may require tacky glue).

4. Use your envelopes. Either write letters and mail them, or wrap a bundle of envelopes as a present. Either way, you’re guaranteed to make someone’s day.

SuppliesWallpaper sample booksOld magazinesScissorsGluePoster boardSelf-stick labels
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