I have a confession: I hoard packing materials. I can not bring myself to buy boxes, bubble wrap, annoying-packing-crap that spills all over my floor when I open the box, or unprinted newspaper such as the lifetime supply we received with the beehives we ordered... but I need these things to ship out our soaps and be sure they arrive to their destination in one piece. Buying them cuts into the sale proceeds that help us restore this old farm. Buying them also means that I am not reusing what I have, and reusing what we have is Rule Number One in any project around here.
One thing I reuse constantly it seems is padded bubble mailers. These things are tough to recycle anyway, unless you manually separate the paper from from the bubble wrap guts, and who does that anyway? Usually these envelopes end up in the trash but they are super easy to make new again. Better than new, in my opinion.
All you need is your stash of used bubble mailers (you know you hoard them too), some pretty paper (I use a roll of craft type wrapping paper from the dollar store), some glue and scissors.
First, lay your mailer on the paper and measure. You want the paper to be big enough to fold over and completely sandwich the mailer in the middle, with an inch or so extra around the edges. If your mailer still has the flap on it, make sure it will be covered in paper. If it doesn't still have the flap, leave an inch or two extra on the end of your pretty paper and it will make a new pretty flap. As for the orientation of the mailer & paper, I suggest making the soon to be folded edge of your pretty paper correspond with the same folded edge on your mailer.
Coat the backside of your pretty paper with glue. Spray glue works great if you cover your work surface completely (and don't leave your cell phone sitting right beside what you're spraying... not that I've done that before or anything). But you can also use el-cheap-o white glue. Whatever floats your crafty boat, I say.
If your bubble mailer still has the flap on it, line that up at the top edge of your glue covered paper.
If your mailer does not still have the flap on it, leave about an inch or two at the top. This will become your new flap to seal the mailer.
Carefully fold the glue covered pretty paper over your mailer, and press it down firmly.
Press, press, press. Pay special attention to the edges and get them sealed good. Now all that is left is to trim it up. Here's a secret...
You can probably hold your new creation up to a light and see the shadow of the mailer inside. Use this as a guide to trim the edges off. I usually leave about a half inch all the way around.
You can even use those cheesy scalloped craft scissors you bought on sale one day and have spent the better part of the last five years being shuffled around in a drawer instead of ever cutting anything. They seem to make a nice edge on the flap part.
And there you go... only minutes later, you have recycled bubble mailers that are 986312341 times better than they were before! You can cover them in anything. Comic paper? An old map? Whatever. These mailers are even pretty enough to use as an easy way to wrap a gift.
I also want to say that I need give credit to someone for this idea. The problem is that I don't know who. I know I read about this idea on a blog a while back, but after an afternoon of searching, I can't for the life of me figure out which blog it was on. Yikes! So if this tutorial looks familiar, I'm not trying to steal anyone's idea. I'll gladly give credit just as soon as I can track down where I saw this.
In the meantime, spread the recycled bubble mailer love... and don't throw them away anymore!