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Making an Old-fashioned Letter: Part 2

Making an Old-fashioned Letter: Part 2

In the previous article on making fancy and ancient looking letters we looked at how we can stain ordinary paper to make it look like parchment as well as other techniques we can use to make the paper look more old-fashioned and exciting. We then suggested using proper ink pens to write your message onto the paper as will be more accurate to the times when parchment paper was used, and will therefore not look out of the ordinary like Biro would. If you didn’t want to just use this as a scroll, but wanted to take it step further, the next step will be making an envelope for your letter. If you haven’t done the steps from the first article yet, then go back and do them now before reading further. If you have, then you will have a spare peace of parchment left over, which you will not have removed the sides of. This is important, since to make the envelope, you will want the paper to be as exact a shape as possible, so that it actually works and does not fall apart during the delivery process.


For the next steps, you will need:

A metal seal

A candle


To fold your envelope, first fold the piece of paper in half along its width, and undo. This should create a centre line along the piece of paper. The next step is to fold the top right and left corners into the centre line, to create a big arrow shape. Next take each of the longer sides of the paper and fold them in about halfway towards the centre line on either side. You should now still have an arrow shape, just a slightly thinner one. Next fold the piece of paper lengthways, so that the blunt end of the arrow ends up just where the triangle at the other end is starting. At this point, you can fold up your letter and put it inside the envelope, before folding the triangle down to close the envelope.

Unlike shop-bought envelopes, your envelope will not have sticky strips on the flap, so you will have to find another way to seal your envelope. You may wish to glue it or use sticky tape to seal it and these methods will be both simple and cheap. However to make it look really fancy, and my favourite part of the process, you can seal your envelope with a wax seal. These were used in medieval times not only to seal the envelope, but also to identify the sender. The metal seal used to press the wax down would have the crest of the family on it, showing who had sent the letter before you’d even opened it. To use wax to seal your envelope, you will need a metal seal. These can be bought at most craft shops, and can be used repeatedly for all your letters, so are quite a good investment if you’re going to use the technique lot. Choose well though, because the image on the seal will be what people associate a letter from you with. Love heart ones can be quite nice for romantic letters. Start by lighting your candle. When some of the wax has melted, carefully pour a small circle of it onto the tip of the triangular flap of your letter. Then press down on the wax with your metal seal for a few seconds to make sure the wax is sticking the two pieces of paper together before leave it to dry for a few minutes.

If you want to skip some of the steps, you can buy parchment paper itself, which will give a cleaner look, but will be a little more expensive. You can also buy proper sealing-wax sticks, which may be more suitable for the job, but this equally is not a must. Other than that, you are now all clued up on making fancy letters for all your friends and family. Hopefully they’ll appreciate the effort you went to in making their letter special!



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