Mind you, it doesn’t say thoughts on glue. This is a post I started yesterday but lost in the world of the internet, but I’m glad because now I have a lot more to add to it. I would like to respond to this post about the nss. She gives me and my little blog some press which I am thankful for and she poses some questions about large trade shows and handmade products.

I thought, going into the nss, that I would be the most handmade and novice there. I thought that my newness would be so loud and that I would get funny looks. I was partially right. There is quite a large division between the big companies like Crane and other first timers like myself. For one thing, they group all the smaller companies together on one side of the convention and they put at the smaller companies in this part with narrower walkways and lower ceilings. I think this is one of the things that I disliked the most about the show. How is a retailer supposed to discover something new and exciting if they stay with the big companies? Why shouldn’t it all be intermixed? I’m sure someone has a very good reason, but I’m not sure I agree. I happened to be in between the 2 which I’m not sure if that helped or not. On the one hand, I might have been “discovered” by someone that didn’t mean to do so, but maybe I lost some people that would have been interested in me because they stayed to the “small company” side.

On the other hand, I was so encouraged and excited to meet so many others like myself. When you are at home alone trying to make a company all day, you kind of forget that there might be others like you. I was inspired to see what others are making by hand and they were excited to see what I make. No one said “oh, well I guess you can’t do large volume”, but maybe they were thinking it.

I left with so many decisions to make about my company and where it is going. Do I want to be Crane one day? I honestly don’t know. I would love to continue having a hand in making everything that goes out the door, but I think that part of my creativity may suffer. I sometimes like time spent making is time taken away from moving forward and creating new things.

It is very hard for me to comment on the success of the show for Avie Designs. I think the amount of ideas, relationships, contacts, resources and fun made it worth while for sure. Traffic was down, but it was down for everyone and you can’t do anything about that.

Okay, enough rambling, let’s get to the glue. I have been making my own envelope glue for about a year now and I talked to a lot of people at the show about the recipe and how I do it. Since I don’t believe in keeping secrets, here is my recipe and method.

This makes a fairly large batch, so reduce it if you only want to make a few envelopes::
I call it “the lick-y glue”

3 cups vinegar
3oz lemon jello (1 box)
2.5oz original gelatin (2.5 boxes)

1. Mix all the dry jello together in a bowl
2. Bring the vinegar to almost a boil
3. Slowly pour in the jello, whisking to incorporate as you go
4. Make sure all the jello is fully incorporated and pour into plastic containers with lids. It’s okay if you still have a few lumps, they will dissolve later.

P.S. It really smells. Don’t breathe over the pot, you’ll get vinegar in your eye and it will be annoying.

I pour the glue into a large plastic container for keeping. Depending on the weather, the glue will cool and become much like the consistency of jello you would eat. In the summer, here in Atlanta, the jello never fully cools. So the glue needs to be heated before application so that it will be absorbed by your applicator which will be the moistener tubes you can get at any office store for .99 each. So when I am ready to apply, I scoop out one or two spoonfuls into a smaller container and pop it in the microwave for anywhere from 30-60 seconds. You have to watch it or it will overflow. You want to take it out right when it starts to bubble a little.

Note:: the glue changes drastically with the weather and you have to learn to adjust with it. In the winter, your window of application time is much shorter because the glue becomes cool and therefor difficult to spread. There will be a lot of trial and error. I have been using it for a year and am still perfecting my system.

The image at the top of the post is the application & drying rack I built out of cardboard. The glue will dry on the envelopes in a few hours or less depending on the temp. Just touch them to see if they are still sticky. Drying overnight is best.

I obviously want to help, so please let me know if you have any questions about the glue and let me know how it goes!