Paper City (Valentine’s Edition)

My lab and I order a lot of primers… which means a lot of rigid envelopes from IDT to be recycled.  They’ve seemed like they could be generally useful (for example, I’ve previously used them to make stencils), so I’ve been holding onto a couple hundred of them above my desk at work.  One of my proposal ideas that didn’t quite make the cut was building a paper city in the living room, with certain buildings hiding various objects (with one of them, ultimately, being a jewelry store holding an engagement ring).  While I didn’t need it for my actual proposal, I made a derivation of this for Valentine’s day this year (with some of the buildings holding things like wine, beer, snacks, etc).  I started with 124 IDT envelopes, and ended up using around 100 of them.  I knew the envelopes were kind of ugly, so I cut out various shapes (like peoples’ silhouettes) using a razor, and put one of two dozen LED tea lights (and two flashlights) in them to simulate houselights and give contrast in a darkened room.  I banished Anna into the bedroom for twenty minutes while I dragged them out from the back room where I had constructed them, set them up in the living room, and surprised her with a paper city in the middle of our living room.

I built Anna a nighttime #city in our living room using old IDT (think FedEx) envelopes. #valentine #valentines

A photo posted by Kenny Matreyek (@k.matreyek) on

It looked much better in real life (with the flickering LED tea lights, and better contrast), which wasn’t well captured in the photograph. Oh well, that’s ok.

Now comes the next fun part — figuring out fun ways of destroying it. My current favorite idea is hiding dog treats within the buildings and watching as our (relatively) godzilla-sized dog ravages the city in search of them.

2 thoughts on “Paper City (Valentine’s Edition)

  1. Dear Kenny,
    Happy New Year to Anna and you. We had no idea you were so artistically gifted, beside being intellectually brilliant. I discovered your gps proposal and then looked for more of your work. Beautiful! Enjoyed the photos too.
    Congratulations and best wishes to you both.
    Uncle George and Aunt Barbara

    1. Thank you for your very kind words, Uncle George and Aunt Barbara. I hope it will be a great upcoming year for you and your family as well! – Kenny

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