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Painty Playful Envelopes with Seth Apter’s Newest Stencils

Video showing the steps to using stencils and spray ink to alter envelopes with Carolyn Dube

seth apter's stencil called inside out


There is something I HATE to do, really HATE to do.  Every week I must do this and I spend most of the week dreading it.  What is it?

Paying the bills.  I detest writing the checks, abhor stuffing and stamping the envelopes.  Until today.


Thanks to Seth Apter’s newest stencil, Inside Out, I am no longer cursing the act of paying the bills!  I found a way to look forward to it. Dare I say, even be excited about it!  Check out the video and how I turned the dread of bills into painty playful envelopes.

Watch Painty Playful Envelopes with Stencils on YouTube.

Two, yes two, lucky winners will get all 3 of Seth’s new stencils!  Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win.  Want more chances?  Check out all the great ideas and inspiration on all the blogs in the hop then leave a comment on each by Sunday, May 4th at 11:59PM Central Time for up to 12 chances to win!

Supplies Used


{ 141 comments… add one }

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  • Linda Cain April 28, 2014, 1:30 am

    How totally fun is this??????


  • Nelda Johnson April 28, 2014, 2:07 am

    What a great idea!

  • Michelle Mooney April 28, 2014, 3:41 am

    Love your envelopes and i am sure the recipients will too!!

  • Ros April 28, 2014, 3:48 am

    would love to receive one of those in the post (not with a bill in though)

  • Arly April 28, 2014, 3:49 am

    I’ve always loved doing this, knowing it will brighten some stranger’s day. nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Joyce C. April 28, 2014, 3:56 am

    How do I turn a ho-hum day into one that’s happy–watch one of your videos, of course. This is such fun! Thanks for the happiness.

  • Ruth L April 28, 2014, 4:15 am

    Carolyn what a great idea to paint the envelopes, I have bills as well, hello recycling!

  • Barb M April 28, 2014, 6:39 am

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! this idea. Cant wait to give it a try. Thanks and color me Happy!!

  • Linda Kittmer April 28, 2014, 6:48 am

    What a hoot! Now I’m regretting that all my bills are direct withdrawals from my bank account each month. LOL. I may have to play with some of the envelopes I send out for birthday cards. Fun idea Carolyn!

  • Mandy Fariello April 28, 2014, 7:00 am

    Fabulous idea! I love your videos and the stencils look like so much fun!

  • Theresa G. April 28, 2014, 7:11 am

    LOVE this idea!!! Can’t wait to send some mail!!! Fantastic!!!

  • Jackie P Neal April 28, 2014, 7:11 am

    Great way to recycle – GO Green Carolyn!! I guess now you won’t mind paying bills-huh?!!! teeheehee just joshing ya!

  • Susie F April 28, 2014, 8:00 am

    I hope you return your payment in envelopes just like these. First it will drive the post office crazy (1 of my secret ambitions in life) and then the recipient can enjoy a little color in their life.

  • Robin B. April 28, 2014, 8:46 am

    Wonderful use of these stencils…so colorful!

  • Karen Buchanana April 28, 2014, 8:54 am

    What a great idea to liven up such a dreaded event!

  • April Lopez April 28, 2014, 9:01 am

    I so love watching you play. What a great idea.

  • Janet April 28, 2014, 9:25 am

    You are a riot a minute! Love your envelopes. They will surely brighten someone’s day down in those dingy mailrooms! xoxo

  • Monica Lore April 28, 2014, 9:45 am

    Whimsical bill envelopes – how innovative! Thanks for sharing your fabulous creativity!

  • Susie Wolfe April 28, 2014, 9:53 am

    Great idea ….. I’ll bet your mailman loves you!!

  • Julie S April 28, 2014, 10:03 am

    Excellent canvas for some creativity! I like to alter envelopes when I’m feeling creatively stuck. Love the way you’ve used Seth’s stencils here.

  • stamping sue April 28, 2014, 10:19 am

    what a great idea to dress up boring envelopes with the stencils.
    stamping sue

  • SusanK April 28, 2014, 10:40 am

    Oh my stars…what a great way to make a yukky chore fun! And how about putting them together to create an album? Oh man, the ideas are starting to roll…

  • MaryBeth Shaw April 28, 2014, 10:45 am

    Totally fun, love it!

  • Judy Shea April 28, 2014, 11:25 am

    That wasn’t just fun.. that was a blast. Ok.. couple of things, my friend. I’d say it’s time to do online backing and paperless billing, then keep all the envelopes and send some fun art to, say,… ME! Next.. I sure hope that homeland security isn’t checking your envelopes that say “secret”. Just sayin. Thanks for a fun post and hopping along with us. We truly are a fun group.

  • stephanie April 28, 2014, 11:52 am

    great idea! Hope to win

  • terrie: creative explorer April 28, 2014, 12:19 pm

    These blog hops are so fun and inspiring – takes a bit of time, but you each have such great ideas, it’s hard to skip one!

  • Saranne April 28, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Super cool! Happy bill mail!

  • Corrine April 28, 2014, 12:40 pm

    Perfect use of the stencil. I want mail from you. xox

  • Frieda Oxenham April 28, 2014, 12:44 pm

    Oh what glorious fun! I’m considering using this method for my tax return envelope. That might encourage me to start filling it in!

  • Carole RB April 28, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Wow, I love your idea of altering those envelopes. They are great and beautiful. Did you protect them with a fixative?

  • Karen K April 28, 2014, 1:11 pm

    This is so fun! I have used the return envelopes in my art journals but have never sent one back…next time!

  • Lori H. April 28, 2014, 1:17 pm

    What a cool way to use the stencils! Love this!

  • Nicole Foshee April 28, 2014, 1:19 pm

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Marsha M April 28, 2014, 1:23 pm

    Love the mail art! Truly an act of self love.

  • Jo Murray April 28, 2014, 2:05 pm

    Such a fun idea Carolyn. Who wouldn’t want to get mail in these envies.

  • Kay Wallace April 28, 2014, 3:07 pm

    What fun, Carolyn! Just posted on Pinterest and Facebook to pass on this wonderful technique of enjoying paying bills! Well, sort of….

  • Amy Davis King April 28, 2014, 3:11 pm

    So glad to see you on this blog hop, Carolyn! I love your colorful playful envelopes – I will have to try this!!

  • Felicia Aaron April 28, 2014, 3:23 pm

    What a crafty idea! I will have to glean from this project for sure! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Mary C. Nasser April 28, 2014, 3:33 pm

    LOVE these, Carolyn! So fabulous to see them photographed all together, too!!

  • Sue April 28, 2014, 3:34 pm

    I love to paint up envelopes too, but don’t think I’ve ever sone this with my bills. Usually I wrap a magazine page around whatever I’m sending, but I like this way better. Thanks, Carolyn!

  • Nancy Sapp April 28, 2014, 4:02 pm

    SUCH FUN Carolyn!! Might pay MY bills that way too! Always LOVE your videos. You make me chuckle. I love your “Whoopses” too.
    I want those Seth Apter stencils so I can “play.”

  • Janet Johnston April 28, 2014, 4:10 pm

    What Fun! Great way to pay bills.

  • pat quilty April 28, 2014, 4:13 pm

    love this idea Carolyn. thanks . would love to win the stencils.

  • Cecilia Swatton April 28, 2014, 4:36 pm

    Carolyn — you’re a genius! I love this idea! You will be cheering up everyone who is a recipient at the other end — and they will probably start saving your envelopes!

  • Denise Spillane April 28, 2014, 4:53 pm

    Boy am I with you on the dreaded bill paying time! I love your envelops, colorful and cool. I love that you decorate the bill envelopes. I hope it is real people doing the opening because that should make them smile.

  • RITA MONTGOMERY April 28, 2014, 4:56 pm

    That is a very cool idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • RITA MONTGOMERY April 28, 2014, 5:04 pm

    What a fun idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • sam21ski April 28, 2014, 5:05 pm

    Fabulous, your envies look great xxx

  • Carol E April 28, 2014, 5:25 pm

    You’re having way toooo much fun with those envelopes! 🙂 Now just get some white checks and grab another stencil!!!

  • Tommy B. McDonell April 28, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Hi, Carolyn,

    You seemed to have fun. While I do most of my banking online, when I have to send checks I have Peanuts checks. SO, when I have to pay the IRS, I use Lucy. NC State gets Linus. My sales tax people I debate about how much I disliked them that time period! You get the idea.

    But I always love watching you play. It makes my day a bit better.


  • NancyLee April 28, 2014, 6:12 pm

    You are a hoot! That was a fun video to watch!
    Love the words! (where do you get your ideas…)?

  • Vicki Romaine April 28, 2014, 6:22 pm

    I am going to have to start paying my bills by mail now. I have been doing it online. I am missing out!. Oh another stencil on my wish list. I have about 3 Xerox boxes filled with envelopes. I think I should go down the phone book and just send out empty envelops to everyone listed (with no bills included)! Wouldn’t that be a fun thing to do! Love this video!

  • Sharon Williams April 28, 2014, 6:33 pm

    Please emter me in the draw. Love your sense of humour!!

  • Jane Ellen April 28, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Wow I love that you keep finding neon goodies for me to buy ‘cuse I’m lovin’ them— so off to find the Hero arts goodies. Yeah for you. Love the envelopes and love the stencil. What fun!!!!!

  • Vicki Romaine April 28, 2014, 7:06 pm

    What type of white paint did you use? Is it acrylic or Gesso?

  • Lynn Richards April 28, 2014, 7:30 pm

    I am SO INSPIRED by this-love it!

  • jean marmo April 28, 2014, 7:42 pm

    Isn’t this fun!! Too bad I pay my bills on line!

  • Laurel April 28, 2014, 7:51 pm

    I can see where paying bills can be fun doing this! Thanks Carolyn for showing us another awesome way to use Seth’s new stencils!

  • Lynne April 28, 2014, 8:35 pm

    Can you imagine how the recipient is going to feel when they open the envelope. You will have make their day!!

  • Caroline D. April 28, 2014, 9:34 pm

    Great mail art!!! Wouldn’t it be so fun to get mail like this!!?!! These stencils look like they are must-haves!

  • Scrappin' Diva - Cindy B April 28, 2014, 9:44 pm

    What a fun idea! I would love getting mail in this bright and cheery envelopes!

  • Judy Johnson April 28, 2014, 10:19 pm

    What a fun way to make bill tolerable.

  • Kelli J. Getchell April 28, 2014, 10:45 pm

    You are so going to make someone’s day when they see what you have done to the envelopes.

  • Lorinda @ Everyday Endeavours April 28, 2014, 10:52 pm

    These are so much fun! I’m sure they’ll brighten up many office worker’s days too! Way to spread the joy xx

  • Marsha April 28, 2014, 11:10 pm

    Carolyn, I just love your insane sense of color. It makes me Happy!

  • Susan Schultheis April 29, 2014, 12:01 am

    You are so much fun! You never lack for the most original art. What a great idea for Seth’s new stencils. Now I must have a set to make my own envelopes! Thanks for the inspiration. Sue

  • Peggy April 29, 2014, 12:30 am

    Oh. My. Gosh. Those are almost too gorgeous for bills! Great fun! And great stencils.

  • Ruth Satterlee April 29, 2014, 12:35 am

    These new stencils are so cool! I’d love to have them! Thanks for the giveaway!These new stencils are so cool! I’d love to have them! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Suzanne R. April 29, 2014, 1:34 am

    Looooved this video Carolyn!! 😀 I wish I could see the recipient’s reaction when they get these bills to process. Hopefully someone sends you a thank you letter for brightening up their day. Love Seth’s stencil. I preferred the super bright colours myself.

    tfs be blessed, Suzanne

  • Ellie Taesali April 29, 2014, 2:04 am

    Hi Carolyn! I pay all my bill online but I save all the return envelopes hoping I would think of something to do with all that paper!!! Thanks to you I can. I can use them to send notes to people I love and they will get a completely unique bit of art candy just for them.

  • susan Donovan April 29, 2014, 6:43 am

    Cute stencils id totally love to give them a try

  • Marcia Ford April 29, 2014, 8:25 am

    Carolyn, your videos always inspire me. Thanks for another great idea.

  • Consie @ Atop Serenity Hill April 29, 2014, 8:29 am

    Well that will certainly brighten up the day of the person opening the envelopes! Great idea!

  • Darlene April 29, 2014, 8:49 am

    Great ideas for envelopes. Wonderful giveaway. Thanks for offering.

  • TX Creatrix April 29, 2014, 9:25 am

    Since I am an artist, I never send out a plain envelope (except to bills…) and I will now have to rethink this also. I like that you are using ink, as too much paint can cause you to have to put more postage on the envelope…

  • Julie Vargas April 29, 2014, 10:06 am

    How fun! Know somebody was thrown for a loop when they ran across that envelope – from the mail carrier to the recipient! Now that’s some mail i could appreciate!

  • William Charlebois April 29, 2014, 10:17 am

    This is such a fun idea. Definitely an original use of stencils.

  • Smokie April 29, 2014, 10:24 am

    You have created collector items with those. I’ll bet accounts receivables are waiting for checks and not just for the check! It’s another great use for the stencils.

  • marylouh April 29, 2014, 11:31 am

    The PO and I are not on good terms right now. They’ve lost a package (it was probably demolished but they’re not sure). I love the envelopes but hate to think what the PO will do with them when they get them. If they get to the recipients – the envelopes will be keepsakes. They are beautiful and fun. I’d be thrilled to get something in one of these envelopes – even if it was a bill!

  • MaggieM April 29, 2014, 11:56 am

    I dread bill-paying…mainly because I never have enough money to pay all of them. But seeing how you decorated the bill envelopes gives me hope! I can just see the recipient’s expression when they get your envelopes:) Now all I need is Seth Apter’s wonderful stencils!

  • Kathy Gledsdale April 29, 2014, 12:07 pm

    A fantastic idea and what fun for the people who have the boring job of opening the envelopes, they will love it. I love the stencils or useful and creative.

  • Sueze April 29, 2014, 12:21 pm

    I’d love to be in those office when they get the mail, just to see the expresions of wonder and anazement on the faces.
    What a fun idea

  • Shanti Day April 29, 2014, 12:27 pm

    What fun it would be to receive such an enveloppe!!!


  • Meme April 29, 2014, 12:31 pm

    This is the best idea ever!
    This would make paying bills a little better!
    Great use of Seth’s stencils!

  • Susan Chong April 29, 2014, 12:46 pm

    LOVE IT! What a great project. I had forgotten about decorating envelopes! I did some years ago! Time to have another go! 🙂

  • Nancy S April 29, 2014, 12:59 pm

    Great Idea!!

  • Sandy April 29, 2014, 1:17 pm

    So the ink bleeds through! Cool!! The beauty of these stencils is plentiful possibilities:)

  • Lura Brown April 29, 2014, 1:18 pm

    LOVED IT!!!!! now if there was just a way to paint money that would actually pay the bills too. lol. i always love stencil girls blog hops the best of all (honest!) so much inspiration, talent, and great products. combine that with seth apter….one of my very fav, very cute artists and wow!! so for this one i am wishing and hoping extra hard to win cause i want these sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad. thank you very much for the chances. xoxo


  • Patrice April 29, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Love how your bill envelopes turned out, thank you for sharing this as a video!!

  • Billie A April 29, 2014, 2:43 pm

    Wow almost wants me to stop online banking and go back to envelopes and mail.. I love this look and the free feeling that you would have. Not feeling judged on the other end. Great look and looked like a lot of fun.

  • Gill April 29, 2014, 3:24 pm

    What fun!!

  • molly z. April 29, 2014, 4:02 pm

    This is a great idea – fun to do, keeps you “art-ing”, and you have xtra bits for future.
    I’m going to give this a go! molly z.

  • Kristy Tyra April 29, 2014, 4:19 pm

    I’ve been enjoying your youtube videos on Gelli printing! Thank you for sharing!

  • Denise April 29, 2014, 5:33 pm

    I can just see the looks on the check recipients’ faces when they see the wonderful envelope(s) you created with Seth Apter’s stencil! How fun is that? I love all of them.

  • Liz April 29, 2014, 8:45 pm

    Carolyn, only you! This was so much fun. I have to try it now, even though I pay all my bills digitally. I still have those envelopes and maybe I’ll make a book!

  • Sarah Lynch April 29, 2014, 11:41 pm

    How fun! I love this!!

  • Jessica Salinas April 29, 2014, 11:42 pm

    Wow this is such a great idea. I pay my bills online, but what a great way to recycle the envelopes and use them for fun letters to friends and family.

  • Ingeborg van Peteghem April 30, 2014, 1:24 am

    How creative-again! Love those envelopes!

  • Barb Adams April 30, 2014, 10:47 am

    Awwwwesssoommme! I had pinned this tutorial before knowing you used these great new stencils. Love mail art!!

  • andy April 30, 2014, 12:23 pm

    Looks like so much fun! Thanks for the post and a chance to win!

  • Brenda April 30, 2014, 12:50 pm

    Only you Carolyn would think of painting envelopes! Love it! Love Seth’s stencils too. AND love your tutorial vids!!!! I am a huge fan!

  • Mary in IL April 30, 2014, 6:02 pm

    haha Carolyn! Is there no limit yo your insanity? Hope some of those bill collectors appreciate the artwork they received!

  • Dara Lynn April 30, 2014, 6:19 pm

    Thank you for such a colorful journey today! It’s the first tomorrow and bill paying time…I just got delivered Seth’s special from the 28th and the stencils were just delivered! How is that for service Carolyn???? Just in time to put a Carolyn spin and play with my Seth stencils!!!

  • Jo April 30, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Seriously. I wonder what it would feel like to actually send a bill payment in one of these envelopes. I’d like to be on the other end and hear what they’d have to say.

  • Sharon Andrews April 30, 2014, 10:51 pm

    Love love love the envelopes & the stencils. Thanks for the giveaway

  • patty May 1, 2014, 9:21 am

    You sure had a lot of fun with this crazy cool stencil!

  • Kim May 1, 2014, 11:07 am

    So much fun! Glad I found this in the blog hop. Have a super day:)

  • Linda Polaretzki May 1, 2014, 11:49 am

    great idea – I don’t mail a lot of things but would use decorated envelopes in my journals and albums and mixed media items.

  • Christie Brooks May 1, 2014, 12:02 pm

    How fun! I would be afraid that the mailman would not deliver them! Seth’s latest stencil set is so put together. i can see using all three on one project! Thanks for the opportunity to win these.

  • Mary Ellen Dubay May 1, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Carolyn, Genious! Love it! Anything to make bill paying less tedios, sign me up. Doing my bills today, and am looking forward to it. Thanks soooooo much, you are terrific and fun

  • Barbara Cobb May 1, 2014, 1:59 pm

    Caroln, I love the idea of using Seth’s stencil on envelopes, I usually use stickers, this is an even better idea, yay!

  • Jo (fiddlesnips) May 1, 2014, 2:28 pm

    FABULOUS, Carolyn! Very cool envelopes, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they’re received 🙂

  • Eileen Laurette May 1, 2014, 3:48 pm

    I haven’t done mail art in so long – this looks like it would be great experimentation, practice, and (and!) a whole lot more fun paying bills! Would love to win the stencils, but even if I don’t, thanks for sharing this part of your colorful journey with the rest of us – it’s great inspiration!

  • Tanya May 1, 2014, 4:01 pm

    I love doing this with my envys! I’ve never done my bill ones though! Super fun, love the stencils!

  • Suztats May 1, 2014, 4:08 pm

    The envelopes are so funky! (but, for me, that still wouldn’t make paying bills fun! lol!)

  • Danie May May 1, 2014, 5:57 pm

    I used my Spray Inks a few weeks back to do exactly this, to color some envelopes for use in a pocket tag book…….lots of inky fun! Love the idea of decorating your envies to go to your bill providers and others.

  • Michelle May 2, 2014, 1:12 am

    So fun! Thank you, once again, for your colorful inspiration!

  • JKW May 2, 2014, 10:06 am

    OMGosh what a fun thing to do with something that is drudgery for me too. I can practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. . .well you understand, I’m sure. 😉 I love all your creativity over the many months I’ve been a PPF observer and participant. I am so thankful for the help (comments). Blessings, Janet PPF

  • Patricia Esparza May 2, 2014, 10:50 am

    I absolutely love this….thank you for the opportunity

  • Lisa May 2, 2014, 2:51 pm

    Way to rock the fun with chores.

  • Marjie Kemper May 2, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Think how many people will be happy handling those envelopes as they make their way to the bill collectors!

  • Wendy May 2, 2014, 3:49 pm

    What fun! Imagine the reaction of the recipients.

  • Rebecca Buchanan May 2, 2014, 5:23 pm

    I’m betting this will brighten the day for many of our postal workers–and they deserve it. Thanks for the inspiration! Always love your videos.

  • Loradawn McKinley May 3, 2014, 12:30 am

    That was a kick and a half…..what a way to create some joy! Loved that

  • Chiara T. May 3, 2014, 10:15 am

    great idea for envelopes… thanks to share

  • Renee Zarate May 3, 2014, 1:03 pm

    How to make bill paying more interesting and FUN! Thanks for sharing, love the stencils.

  • ShannonWL May 3, 2014, 7:15 pm

    You likely brightened someone’s day on the receiving end with these envelopes too. 😉

  • Elizabeth Kaplan May 3, 2014, 7:32 pm

    The smartest part was fitting them together for a step 1. I’m an idiot and would have done them one at a time. I have the feeling I’ll be doing more than one journal at a time now. Thanks. You know I love them.

  • Linda on the Prairie May 3, 2014, 7:56 pm

    I won’t guarantee this will make paying bills fun, but the envelopes are a blast!

  • Deepa Gopal Sunil May 4, 2014, 5:24 am

    Interesting and fun video…loved the creative use of stencils!!!
    Great envelopes!

  • Kirsten Reed May 4, 2014, 11:08 am

    Love this idea – makes paying bill even a happier chore! Right??? 🙂

  • Lynn Hardy May 4, 2014, 11:40 am

    What a fun idea! I bet the receipients think so too!

  • Kialaya May 4, 2014, 1:28 pm

    I’m betting that the people who receive these are also going to love it. Such a surprise they will receive.

  • Katie B. May 4, 2014, 8:55 pm

    Awesome idea! You could expand on this in so many ways too. Love these new stencils. Thank you for sharing.

    Katie B.

  • Cath Sheard May 4, 2014, 11:00 pm

    I write a lot of letters, so having a stash of artsy envelopes on hand is a great idea – thank you!

  • Sandra d. May 5, 2014, 3:00 pm

    I love recycling all those bill envelopes AND the junk mail flyers we get. Yours are so colourful…like them alot!
    Sandra d.

  • Victoria Fischer May 13, 2014, 6:49 pm

    What a wonderful way to make someone’s day! It’s always nice to bring happiness to others. Carolyn you have such a wonderful way of doing that anyway! I want to take a live class from you when you come back this way!

  • Karen July 28, 2021, 11:55 am

    These stencils are an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing.

  • Glenda Stone May 31, 2022, 10:53 am

    What a happy addition to one’s life, to send or to receive

  • Stephanie Lentz Morrison April 18, 2023, 9:59 am

    I would love to actually own some extremely wonderful stencils! BTW I LOVE THE ENVELOPES you created not only the stencils but the vivid colors!

  • Stephanie Lentz Morrison April 24, 2023, 3:41 pm

    I love stencils!