How to Make Your Own Personalized Stationery

Learn how to decorate your own homemade stationery with a few easy steps.


| January/February 1982



073-083-01

Make your own stationery either for personal use or for sale!


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Each year, as the holiday season comes to a close and I examine my depleted supply of spending money, I'm reminded of a craft that has provided my family — adults and children alike — with hours of pleasure as well as some much-needed extra cash. You see, we've learned how to design a unique and beautiful kind of stationery that's not only fun to produce, but also makes great year-round gifts and is popular in craft shops. 

How to Make Stationery

The materials you need to duplicate our project are easily obtained. In fact, you may already have many of the items in your home or office. You'll need to gather together some turpentine, rubbing alcohol, paper towels, linseed oil, small paper cups, an old telephone book and water. You'll also have to locate wooden sticks (used for stirring the mixture and dropping the paint), oil paints (only very small amounts are needed), a large pan that will hold your paper without forcing you to bend it, a can of spray fixative (the kind that's used to keep charcoal drawings from smudging — one such product is called Krylon Clear), and a package of high-quality, smooth-finish typewriter paper that's no less than 20-pound weight. (A thinner bond will tend to wrinkle excessively after being placed in the decorating solution.) 

The Technique of Making Stationery

Before you begin, it's best to "treat" all the sheets you intend to print by moving them outdoors (or to a well-ventilated area) and spraying the fixative on one side of each. (This procedure insures that the oil paint won't soak into the paper and create stains instead of designs. It will also help prevent the water from soaking the stationery.)

Next, cover your work area with newspaper and place your supplies in the following order (from left to right): treated paper, turpentine, oil, paper cups, selected oil paints, a pan of water, paper towels, alcohol, and — finally — the telephone directory.

Now, you're ready to prepare your dye. Using small sticks, mix up a combination of one part oil paint (a tiny dab will do it!), one part linseed oil and two parts turpentine. Naturally, you'll want to use a different cup and stick for each separate color. (We find that our stationery turns out best when we use no more than three or four colors, and we generally stick to light shades for writing paper — although darker prints do make nice wall decorations.)

Put a drop of one paint mixture on the surface of the water in the pan. (If your container is dark-colored, sink a white piece of paper to the bottom and weight it down with something like nuts or nails in order to make the design you're creating show up more clearly.)





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