Recycle Your Envelopes to Make Gift Bags

As a crafter trying to make money from your talent, recycling materials you already have into decorative packaging can help cut the cost of running a small crafting business. Not only will you save money, but you are also doing your part to embrace eco-friendly business practices. Instead of tossing used or damaged envelopes out in the trash, consider transforming the paper into gift bags to package your crafts.

Turning Envelopes into Gift Bags

1. First, start with an envelope of any size. If you would like to add embellishments to the paper, it is easier to do beforehand. Some people will enjoy printing a label, logo or message directly onto the front of the envelope. Use a premade style or create one to fit your needs. After completing the printing of a design on the envelope, seal the fold closed.

2. Next, cut off one end of the envelope, and then fold one side towards the center – about one inch or slightly less. Repeat this step on the other side, and then fold the bottom up by the same amount. You will be making creases in the paper.

3. Place the bag over one of your hands, and use the other hand to shape a flat bottom for the bag. Push the bottom center crease downward, which will cause the side folds to buckle out. Crease the corners of the bottom to form triangles.

4. A small amount of double-sided tape will help attach the corner triangle flaps to the bottom of the bag.

5. Next, reverse the folds along the sides of the bag – this will give it a bit of shape.

If you prefer, punch holes and thread ribbon through to create a handle.

These small bags can be used to package or display your smaller crafts. You may also want to dress the inside with colorful tissue paper. If you attend trade shows and craft fairs, the prepackaged bags can come in handy to attract shoppers to your booth or table.

Working with Sea Glass

With alluring shades of green and blue, sea glass creations makes an attractive addition to crafters that sell jewelry on Etsy. Sea glass is formed when it comes in contact with waves, water, and sand, which smooth out the shards (and often creates a frosted appearance). This type of glass is found on beaches, along oceans, in rivers, and collecting at the bottom of large lakes. Many crafters collect the glass to incorporate into their projects, especially when making jewelry.

Sea Glass Colors

When working with sea glass, you are limited by the colors you can use, which are determined by the original source of the glass. The majority of sea glass comes from bottles with the most common shades being Kelly green, brown, blue, and purple (clear). Sometimes, sea glass comes from broken jars, plates, windows, ceramics, and even car windshields. However, the older the pieces of glass, the more interesting and rarer the colors are. For example, old medicine and spirit bottles offer shades of jade and amber. Lime green originates from soda bottles made during the 1960s. As a crafter, working with sea glass can become a fun and rewarding adventure.

Cleaning Your Sea Glass

Before working with sea glass, you need to remove the sometimes unpleasant scent of the sea and any dirt and grime from the outdoors. To get rid of the smell, fill a large bucket with warm, soapy water. Gently submerge the found sea glass into the bucket, taking care not to break any pieces. Allow the sea glass to soak for a bit. The soap and water will help release the scent of the ocean and loosen any sand stuck to the glass. Thoroughly rinse each piece. Small shards can by placed in an old colander to speed up the process.

Arrange your collection in a safe place (away from children and pets). Spread each piece out and let the air dry them off.

A soft bristled brush will gently remove any dirt and grime left behind without damaging the surface of the glass. Scrub along each piece. Rinse the glass once more to remove any dirt that you have loosened. Before storing your glass, use a soft cloth or towel to wipe dry each piece.

Maintain Your Sea Glass

Before using your sea glass to make products for your small business or Etsy shop, don’t forget to dust off any unused glass. You will also need to clean sea glass trinkets on occasion with jewelry cleaner when you have used metal materials.

Ideas for Sea Glass Creations

  • Sea glass picture frame
  • Sea glass earrings
  • Sea glass necklaces and pendants
  • Sea glass-decorated candle holders


Etsy Spotlight: Funky Jewellery UK

***If you’d like to be featured on Craftsyble, please contact our Editor.***

Etsy is filled with many crafters that follow an eco-friendly initiative, and with Funky Jewellery UK – you get planet-friendly creations with loads of color. Using everyday household objects and recycled products, Natalie Mitchell of the United Kingdom, creates eye-catching and multihued jewelry that demands an audience.

A Few Standouts

To see the kinds of items you can purchase at Funky Jewellery UK, consider the following creations:

Funky Rainbow Zip Necklace : A top-seller for Funky Jewellery UK is this explosion of color made from recycled zip heads that have been individually painted by hand. The necklace allows you to make a flashy statement. Choose a multi-colored creation or request a specific color scheme.  A pair of Zip Earrings will look smashing with the necklace.

Funky Rainbow Pencil Bracelet : Wear your rainbow around your neck or wrist with a bracelet or necklace made out of colored pencils. These lightweight pieces are multi-colored. You can also request other color schemes. Made from 100% recycled colored pencils, the necklace is one size fit all with the help of a silver plated chain extender.

Red and Black Pasta Bow Tie Necklace : Who would have thought that bow tie pasta could become part of an eye-catching, fun necklace? Offered in other color schemes, this piece is comprised of red and black bow ties.

Glitzy Glam Pasta Shell Necklace : To make a sparkling statement, this necklace is made out of hand-painted pasta shells with a touch of silver glitter. For something less glitzy, the necklace also comes in colors of your own choosing.

A Few Questions with Natalie Mitchell

1. What is your favorite thing to make?

My favourite thing to make is probably my paper necklaces. There are so many possibilities so I don’t know what it’s going to look like until it’s done. They give me more freedom to play! I begin by making hundreds of little paper coils, and then putting them together like a jigsaw. It’s quite therapeutic!

2. How did you get started in the handmade/craft business?

I was clearing out some clothes to take to a charity shop and I noticed that a lot of my stuff had nice coloured zips on them. I took some off and made a little necklace out of them. I then asked friends and family to save me zips from any old clothes and I began painting them in bright colours. I made a necklace very similar to the one in my shop and I wore it everywhere. Wherever I went people commented and asked where I had got it, so I decided I would make some to sell. I enjoyed it so much I started making more and more pieces.

3. What inspires your work?

I am inspired by the beauty in mundane, every day objects. I love the fact that a piece of junk can be made into a beautiful piece of jewellery. I am always looking for things in junk shops or in my food cupboards to see what lovely shapes are in there! Another of my passions is colour. The brighter the better I say!

4. Anything else you’d like to share?

My favourite quote is “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”. And it never hurts to be green and eco-friendly either 🙂

Connect with Funky Jewellery UK

Visit Funky Jewellery UK on Etsy.
Become a Facebook friend.

***If you’d like to be featured on Craftsyble, please contact our Editor.***

Etsy By the Sea

Etsy artisans are often inspired by nature when making their creations. Bodies of water encourage ocean wave designs, seafoam-colored jewelry, and textured pottery. To get an idea of just a few of the sea-related specialties offered on Etsy, consider the following artisans and shops:

Message in a Bottle

Mystic Messages incorporates a handful of sea-related elements to create your very own message in a bottle. Authentic sand from Hollywood Beach, California and one tiny seashell are placed inside a glass bottle. Inside, one scroll with a message you create is also inserted. The bottle is corked with the option to make it a single keepsake, necklace, or key chain. A charm of your choice is attached to the bottle, which ranges from an angel to the key to your heart.

Names in the Sand

A number of Etsy shops offer personalized and customized sand photographs that create memorable keepsakes and gifts. One-of-a-kind custom seaside photos make the perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, or can help you simply tell someone how much you miss them. You get to choose names, dates, and symbols. Some photographers will add embellishments, such as shells or even a starfish to the image, such as ShootingWithSlinky. They do the legwork and create the customized images, which are sent to you in JPEG form.

Shell Jewelry

Along the coastlines and seashores, an abundance of shells in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors await the artisan interested in making jewelry. From decorating picture frames to unique magnets, Etsy crafters have used shells in many different ways, but jewelry is still one of the most popular creations. For instance, these one-of-a-kind earrings take full advantage of the uniqueness of limpet shells, which the artist finds along a beach in California. The artist hand drilled and wire wrapped the shells with smoky crystal, and are sold at ByDelia.

Hand-Painted Sand Dollars

Another creature of the sea is the sand dollar, which refers to the many different sea urchins that burrow into the sand and ocean floor. You probably never thought that a sand dollar could help you cheer on your favorite sports teams. Ishamrocknroll is an Etsy shop based in Clearwater, Florida that offers handpainted sand dollars that represent an artistic love of sports. Professional sports teams include baseball, basketball, and football, as well as college basketball. You can also place custom requests.

Repurposed and Upcycled Train Cases on Etsy

Designer: Judy Valencerina

Etsy Shop: Remixed Vintage

Started: May 2010

Judy Valencerina is a creative jack-of-all-trades, who sings jazz, writes songs, graphic designs, and upcycles vintage items amongst other things. With collage and decoupage techniques, Judy transforms vintage luggage, jewelry boxes, old signs, and other gently used items into one-of-a-kind creations. You can also request customization.

Remixed Vintage focuses on repurposed train cases. Judy gives vintage train cases a new life, which her customers use to store cosmetics, jewelry, small tools, art supplies, photos, fashion accessories (such as scarves and belts), special trinkets, and other keepsakes.

Judy’s style…

Judy enjoys birds, butterflies, and flowers. “I like incorporating imagery from nature in my pieces. The paisley raindrops remind me of flowing water or rolling clouds. I also love digging through old children’s books and maps to find shapes and colors to cut by hand.”

What is your most favorite customized design for a train case? And why.

“[Designing train cases] all started with my music. When I played small gigs around the LA area, I’d have to tote my merch (CD’s for sale & email-list, flyers, tip jar) around with me… so I bought an old train case at a boutique in Ventura to use for displaying all the little doo-dads. Around the same time, I was designing with paper cutouts for the jacket/sleeve for my homemade CD. I decided to give the train case the same treatment. At every gig, I’d receive so many compliments on the piece, and suggestions that I should sell them online because they were so unique. This is my all-time fave case, as it got everything started.”

Where do you find the items that you customize?

“Most of my cases are found at antique markets in the southern CA area – Long Beach, Pasadena Rose Bowl, and Ventura County Fairgrounds. I find many different styles this way. People seem to favor the older era cases from the 40’s through the 60’s. The newer Samsonites from the 70’s are okay, and usually in better shape – but it’s such a thrill to find an older piece that is still in awesome condition at a good price. I also like antique shops, thrifts stores, & eBay.”

Stay Connected to Remixed Vintage

Etsy Shop:



Crafts for Kids: Valentine’s Day Boxes

To get your child into the spirit of Valentine’s Day, what better craft project than creating a box for family and friends to leave behind their cards. All you need is a simple box, construction paper, and a few school supplies and you’ll have a lovable critter watching over your son or daughter’s Valentine Day cards in no time.


This craft project for kids requires paper, glue, scissors, a small empty box (like a shoe or Kleenex box), and construction paper (or gift wrap). Some parents purchase wiggly eyes from the local craft shop or can use paper or buttons. It is also optional to use thin cardboard, such as an empty cereal box for this project to make a sturdier critter. Additional materials to enhance the look of the box may include glitter, rhinestones, markers, ribbon, etc.


  1. Wrap an empty box with construction paper (or festive gift wrap). Use glue to attach the paper to the box. It’s suggested to use colors and designs associated with Valentine’s Day, but anything will do.
  2. Use a pair of scissors to cut a slit in the top of the box that is large enough to accommodate Valentine’s Day cards.
  3. Creating the body and head of an animal is not as difficult as it seems when you stick with basic shapes. You can make any animal of your choice, but this tutorial will focus on a teddy bear.
  4. To start, draw an oval, egg-shape or circle for the body. Cut out the shape. On another sheet of paper, draw and cut out a smaller oval, egg-shape or circle for the head. Cut out two small circles or ovals to use as ears for your teddy bear.
  5. To strengthen the body parts of the animal, glue the paper body parts to pieces of thin cardboard. If using a cereal box, glue the shapes to the outside of the box. Cut the shapes out.
  6. Glue the head to the top of the body. Attach the ears to the top of the head.
  7. Paper hearts can be used as decoration. Cut out two construction paper hearts to fit inside the ears. A smaller heart will serve as the nose. You can also draw a mouth from the nose. Use old buttons, construction paper circles, or other circular items to make the eyes. Two pieces of elbow macaroni make excellent eyebrows.
  8. Make a bowtie for your animal by cutting out two construction paper triangles of equal size. Place a construction paper heart in the middle of the triangles to form the middle of the bowtie.
  9. Glue your teddy bear to the back of the box.
  10. Cut out a larger heart and write your child’s name on it. Encourage them to decorate the heart or their name if they like. This will be glued to the front of the box.

Eco-Friendly Business Ideas for Etsy

An increasing number of consumers are embracing the notion of purchasing goods that take into consideration the planet and environment. Recycling materials, repurposing objects, and choosing sustainable materials are popular methods of making money on Etsy. Why do shoppers go crazy over green products? Because the above-mentioned goods are handcrafted, unique and one-of-a-kind. A couple of ways to establish eco-friendly Etsy shop practices include:

Recycled Goods

Recycled goods involve the transformation of old, used, or discarded objects or trash into works of art and other handcrafted creations. For example, some crafters collect vintage watch parts to make unique jewelry pieces. The rubber from old bike tire inner tubes has been used to create high-fashion tote bags. Broken bike chains have been turned into can openers.

Other ideas include:

  • Recycling bottle caps into refrigerator magnets.
  • Recycling old dominoes to create fashion pendants.
  • Turning broken vase pieces into beautiful mosaics.
  • Using the material of discarded medical scrubs to make men’s ties.

Upcycled or Repurposed Goods

Upcycled or repurposed goods are created when a crafter breathes new life into a used item. A repurposed good is one that serves a different purpose than originally intended – for an intended longer period of time. For example, a roll of duct tape can become a crafter’s new material of choice. Repurpose the sticky adhesive into colorful goods, such as credit card holders, wallets, and even handbags.

Other ideas include:

  • Using an old teacup as a decorative holder for homemade candles.
  • Create bathmats using discarded plastic bags.
  • Turning a used Coke bottle into a decorative vase.

Sustainable Goods

Sustainable goods provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting the planet. Sustainable goods involve the eco-friendly extraction of raw materials and the final details of creation. For example, products made out of bamboo are sustainable because the plant saves other trees from use, and bamboo is easily replaceable in a short amount of time. Bamboo is made into a wide range of goods, including furniture, cooking utensils, toys, and clothing.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

If you are unable to work with recyclable or sustainable materials as a crafter, there are other ways to incorporate eco-initiatives into your business. For example, packaging plays an important role in running a business. A few eco-friendly business practices to consider include using biodegradable packaging peanuts, recyclable packaging materials, recycling your own boxes, and filling large boxes with crumpled magazine pages.