Using Recycled Materials in Your Art Journal: Security Envelopes

One of the things I love about art journals (and creative exploration in general) is that there are no real rules. You can color, paint, collage, stamp, draw, doodle, write, create your own journals, and so much more! And yes, I did *just* create this ultimate list of 150+ art journal supplies, but I’m a BIG believer in using recycled materials in your art journal! 

Today I’m going to talk about a fun and free material you probably have somewhere in your house right now: security envelopes! 

Have you ever noticed that the inside of security envelopes usually have some sort of cool (or wild, fun, minimal, silly, etc.) pattern? Here are just a few from my own stash of junk mail finds:

If you look closely, you’ll see all sorts of patterns… mostly in black or grey, but a few are blue. There are squiggly lines, cross hatching, an almost “animal” type print, random fuzz, weaving, geometric patterns and more! (I also included a few other cool finds from my mailbox, like colored papers, a hand drawn pattern, etc.) 

I keep these all in my stash, and use them in a variety of ways! Just this week I used them as a background for this spread:

I’m not even sure what you’d call that pattern?! It reminds my of something biological, or maybe some kind of print you’d see on t-shirts in the 80’s, with bright geometric pops of neon! But I digress…

I encourage using the inside of security envelopes as recycled material in your art journal for a few reasons:

One is because they provide an instant background or first layer to start off your art journal page or spread. It’s a quick and easy way to start, so you’re not just staring at a (sometimes intimidating) blank white page. 

Another reason is because they add this wild dichotomy of minimal and intense pattern. On one hand, they provide an almost neutral background to start your art journal page. Yet, on the other, the patterns are typically pretty wild and definitely interesting to take a close look at! 

(psst… if you like this idea, please consider saving it to Pinterest:)

Try using Recycled Materials in your Art Journal: like security envelopes! #joyfulartjournaling #artjournalideas

Of course, this is just one idea of virtually countless ideas! You could:

  • create your own pattern with multiple security envelope patterns
  • you could cut letters from the paper to create a quote
  • you could layer it with more colorful patterns
  • you could color it in with markers
  • turn them into small envelopes inside of your art journal (meta!)
  • dry brush paint over them
  • write a quote on top of them

Hopefully these ideas have sparked an idea for your art journal!



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  • Nice idea! And no, actually I haven’t really noticed that before! Now I’m looking forward to get the next security envelope in my mailbox