Recently whilst out op-shopping I stumbled across an envelope filled with old stamps, I remember having a similar collection as a child when stamp collection was all the rage. Now that I’ve been corresponding by snail mail with a few pen pals, I’ve accumulated quite a collection on envelopes as well.
I thought it would be fun to decorate a blank notebook and cover it in stamps, perfect for keeping pen pal related notes in and a nice way to enjoy these little pieces of paper that we usually take for granted.
It only takes a few minutes to make this Postage Stamp Notebook, the tricky part is getting the stamps off the envelopes, so I’ve included a few tips and tricks here. If you don’t have many stamps handy (because who sends mail any more?), you can pick up used stamp packs online quite cheaply, or ask friends and neighbours to save theirs for you.
You will need:
- Old Postage Stamps (see below for tips on removing stamps effectively)
- Note book with plain cover
- Glue Stick
Tips for removing stamps from envelopes
There are 2 main types of stamps – ones with gummed backs that you moisten to stick on, and self adhesive sticker style stamps. They require different techniques to remove them cleanly from envelopes. I recommend these techniques for non-valuable stamps that you are going to use for craft purposes. Seek expert advice if you have collectable/valuable stamps.
Gum backed stamps
These require soaking or ‘floating’. Trim the surrounding paper and place the stamp face up in a shallow bowl of cold water. Once the backing paper and glue has softened, gently peel the paper away and dry the stamp on some absorbent kitchen paper. Let the stamp air dry at room temperature to minimize curling edges.
Self adhesive stamps
This is a little trick that I picked up in my previous career that required me to remove adhesive stickers without damaging the paper underneath.
You will need a hot iron – be careful not to burn yourself!
With the stamp face down, iron the back of the paper until it’s almost too hot to touch. This will start to loosen the adhesive on the stamp. As you iron lift the envelope paper so it curves off the ironing board, if the adhesive is fresh (newish stamp) the stamps should start to separate from the paper. Older stamps may need a little coaxing and gently peeling away a corner should get the process started. Keep gently ironing and pulling paper up until stamp has come off cleanly.
1. Arrange your stamps over the cover of the note book, you may want to group them by colour, country or theme.
2. Once you are happy with the arrangement, glue the stamps onto the cover with a glue stick.
3. All done! That was embarrassingly easy. You can cover your notebook with clear adhesive film for extra protection if desired.
This notebook is a great way to enjoy some of your favourite stamps sent by your pen pals. I love this sewing one from Brazil.
Such an easy project, why not give it a try. Makes a great snail mail gift too!