Sustainable shipping and packaging options are getting easier find and I’m here to share what I use! There’s no denying that eco-friendly supplies cost a little bit more. But for me, the extra cost is worth it in order to minimize the environmental impact of my art. Read on for some of the paper and envelope options I use.
This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking the link.
I’ve printed with GotPrint since about 2007, they have been my go-to option for a while. They have some of the best pricing, plus they also offer recycled paper. My thank you card inserts are GotPrint’s 4x6in postcards printed on 100lb recycled cover stock. Plus they print with soy-based inks! I recommend ordering one of their paper sample kits. It gives you a good idea of paper weights and sizes to more effectively plan other print pieces.
I have a variety of envelope sizes from EcoEnclose‘s 100% recycled mailer options. I recommend ordering some free samples to get a sense of what will work best for your needs before making a large order. Their website has lots of resources to help you understand the best options based on your goals and needs. My goal was to focus on biodegradable mailers whenever feasible, so most of my options are are from their paper options. Click this referral link to get $20 off your first order with EcoEnclose!
The rubber stamp from Noissue is perfect for stamping your brand on paper products. The manual version (what I have) is made from FSC Certified wood and synthetic rubber and the inkpad is soy-based ink. The self-inking version is made from 65% post-consumer plastics. Noissue also offers a variety of eco-minded packaging options.
My “thank you” stickers are the 1.5 inch circle labels printed on recycled white from OnlineLabels.com. There are 30 labels to an 8.5×11 sheet. I like that you can also order blank label sheets that work with home printers. This is also where I order the jar labels for my bioglitter!
All of my mailers have a self-sealing adhesive strip, however the larger apparel mailers from EcoEnclose get a little lumpy when they’re packed, so the adhesive strip doesn’t have the best grip points. I like to add the extra security of packing tape over the self-sealing flap. Water-activated paper tape works the easiest with the dispensers that wet the tape. However, if you’re like me, you might not have one of those dispensers yet! A wet sponge works just as well and for me, it’s a minor inconvenience in order to use more sustainable tape. Click this referral link to get $20 off your first order with EcoEnclose!
Coral reefs are a priceless ecosystem that support a quarter of all ocean life and protect our coastlines. Join me in inspiring climate action with my coral reef collection for the Glowing Gone campaign by The Ocean Agency.
Wear Your Support with Apparel
This collection took 2 years to create and combines my passion for climate advocacy and my body paint experience in a vibrant staghorn coral-inspired design. My hope is that the eye-catching design helps spur conversation about climate change; Conversation can prompt action and from action comes hope. Read more about the process in this blog post.
The fabric for this apparel is made from recycled bottles and is printed with non-toxic inks. The paper products and shipping materials are also sustainable, printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks. To ensure reduced carbon emissions, the products manufactured in the U.S and I offset the carbon from every order’s shipping. 10% of profits from my collection are donated to The Ocean Agency’s efforts in protecting reefs.
If leggings, bras, hairbands, or scrunchies aren’t your thing or you’re trying to have less stuff in your life, you can still support the collection with a digital download phone wallpaper or some stickers.
Protect Our Oceans with Reef-Friendly Sunscreen
World Reef Day was started by Raw Elements USA sunscreen. It’s a certified-natural, reef safe, environmentally kind sunscreen company developed by Brian Guadagno, a 25+ year Ocean Rescue Lifeguard.
Raw Elements also happens to be the sunscreen I’ve been using daily for the past few years! They offer packaging in metal tins or bio-resin tubes. I like saving the metal tins and use them to store jewelry when I travel. Here are the products I use:
The Glowing Glowing Gone campaign was developed by The Ocean Agency during the filming of the Netflix documentary, Chasing Coral. Coral reefs are on the frontline of climate change and in a desperate bid to protect themselves from ocean heatwaves, some corals glow in fluorescent purple, yellow, and blue colors.
Working with Pantone and Adobe, The Ocean Agency turned these warning colors into the Glowing campaign colors and invited all artists to use them to inspire action.
Breanna teamed up with the Glowing campaign and combined her passion for climate advocacy with her body paint experience to create a vibrant staghorn coral-inspired design for apparel. Her hope is that the eye-catching design helps spur conversation about climate change; Conversation can prompt action and from action comes hope.
Watch the clip from Chasing Coral that inspired the Glowing campaign:
Breanna started her Glowing project in the fall of 2019. She stumbled upon the Glowing Glowing Gone campaign on Instagram, and was immediately intrigued. The vibrant Pantone colors combined with climate action messaging was the framework she didn’t know she needed. It was the spark that connected the dots between her graphic design, body painting, and climate advocacy work.
As a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Breanna regularly heard talks from climate scientist, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. Dr. Hayhoe’s recurring theme is that one of the best things we can do about climate change is talk about it. She regularly asks her audience, “how can we take action on climate if we don’t even talk about it?” Talking about the things we care about helps us find common ground and realize that others care about it too. Talking is the first step to taking action.
“The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it.”
– Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Climate Scientist
From Breanna’s years of experience as a body painter, she saw that vibrant colors and designs can easily prompt conversations with the audience or viewer. So her initial vision for a Glowing Gone project was to do an underwater photoshoot of a coral reef body paint design using the campaign’s colors. She knew those photos would be unique, but she wanted this to be more than a one-time body paint piece–and so developed the apparel collection.
Designing the Collection
Breanna is known for using her graphic design experience to design leggings that mimic her colorful body paint work. She illustrates the designs on her iPad Pro, then uses online 3D mockup generators and test prints to get the design placement perfected. Sustainability, especially with apparel, was also really important to her. Through endless research and phone calls, she found Yoganastix in Scottsdale, AZ who could do a limited run of the design using fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.
After her first phone call with the co-owner, Brett Matheson, Breanna knew she had found the right eco-minded partner for this project. In order to use use specialized fabric and manufacture in the U.S., Breanna had to deviate from her usual print-on-demand model and order the apparel upfront. In February 2020, Breanna took the plunge and ordered 100 pairs of leggings and 100 bras. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in March 2020.
As the world went on lockdown, Yoganastix quickly switched to making face masks to keep their employees on staff. Breanna put her apparel order on pause while the reality of the pandemic started to play out. With the apparel on hold, Breanna started creating some other pieces for the project. She wanted to offer other ways for people to support her art if leggings and bras weren’t their thing. She developed stickers, greeting cards, and pre-stamped postcards using her coral reef design.
Breanna also participated in two virtual body paint events during 2020 and 2021 where she used the Glowing colors to paint climate change-inspired designs. In December 2020, she painted for FIBOPA, the International Bodypainting Festival in Argentina. The event theme focused on the climate, agriculture, and real estate development factors that have contributed to intense forest fires in South America in 2020. Her piece about caraya monkeys banding together as a group to survive revealed the parallels in her own climate advocacy where ‘the power of the individual is in the group.’
In January 2021, for the Color Voice Expo hosted by Bodypaint America, Breanna created a piece about her pollinator garden, Monarch butterflies, and finding hope through action. The phrase ‘From action comes hope’ was her takeaway from listening to an episode of the Our Warm Regards podcast about climate data, despair, and how to find hope.
By February 2021, Breanna was ready to re-start the apparel manufacturing. But by this point, many worldwide supply chain issues were starting to manifest. Yoganastix was facing many delays getting bulk fabric orders, so the coral reef apparel continued to be on hold until the fabric was available.
The Apparel Arrives
Finally in August 2021, Breanna received samples of all of the apparel sizes while she was visiting family in Maine. She still had plans to do a big underwater body paint photoshoot once back in Dallas, however she also wanted to show that you can wear your climate activism wherever you are. The clothing is intended to be a way to bring climate action to everyday activities. Breanna put out a call to friends in Maine for someone to wear the apparel on the beach. Her network connected her to Danielle Dellaquila, a nutritionist and yoga enthusiast in Scarborough, Maine. Danielle was a natural at modeling and they were able to capture some photos right before a storm came rolling in.
When Breanna returned to Dallas, the giant box of the rest of the apparel arrived. 100 pairs of leggings, 100 bras, scrunchies and hairbands!
Preparing for the Underwater Photoshoot
In the fall of 2021, Breanna was eager to proceed with her final vision of doing an underwater photoshoot in a pool with a body painted model wearing the apparel. Unfortunately various scheduling conflicts caused this shoot to be delayed. Then she was presented with an opportunity to travel to Hawaii in November. It was a perfect chance to take photos in the very ocean that the Glowing campaign is working to protect. Since she did not want to use body paints in the ocean, Breanna split the concept into two shoots; an underwater photoshoot and a separate body painting photoshoot on land.
Shortly before the trip to Hawaii, Breanna seized the chance to take an underwater portrait photography workshop with Brett Stanley, an expert in the craft of underwater photos. She wanted to learn how to be a better director for underwater photoshoots and understand best practices for models. Little did she know, she would undergo a trial-by-fire with those skills in Hawaii.
The Trip to Maui
In November 2021, Breanna traveled to Hawaii with her friend and body paint colleague, Anja Yamaji. A few days into the trip, they ran into unexpected cancellations with the underwater photographer and model that were lined up for the photoshoot.
Determined not to leave Hawaii without some underwater photos, Breanna and Anja decided to do the shoot themselves. Using a specialized diving phone case — Breanna had brought it simply for behind-the-scenes photos and video — she used her iPhone to take the underwater photos. Anja is an experienced model, but she had never done it underwater. With the notes and tips from the workshop, Breanna coached Anja through the process and together they were able to create some underwater magic.
Not only was Anja the underwater model, but she was also the model for the body paint photoshoot. Breanna painted Anja over the course of a day and they made a mad dash to the beach for photos in the setting sun. The end result from both these photoshoots were the unique and striking photos to share her project with the world.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
– Anne-Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef
Breanna strives to make this project as eco-friendly as is feasible for her budget. As an independent artist, it becomes very costly to make every aspect of your work 100% sustainable. She recognizes that the apparel fabric could be even more sustainable if it was made from plant-based fibers instead of recycled plastic bottles. However those plant fabrics are currently cost-prohibitive to a small venture like this. Breanna’s hope is that in the future, eco-minded materials, products, and manufacturing will be the norm, not the (more expensive) exception.
Some of the eco-friendly aspects of the collection include:
Fabric for leggings, bras, hairbands, and scrunchies is made from recycled plastic bottles and printed with non-toxic inks.
Apparel is manufactured in the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions from travel.
Paper products printed on 100% recycled paper with soy-based inks.
T-shirts made from 60% organic cotton, 40% recycled polyester.
T-shirts printed on-demand to reduce waste.
Shipping materials are biodegradable and printed with algae ink (Exception: T-shirts ship from a separate manufacturer in mailer bags made from recycled plastic).
Breanna Cooke partnered with EcoEnclose to use sustainable packaging and shipping materials, with a focus on biodegradable options whenever possible. Here’s how to reuse or recycle your packaging. *Items that are printed on-demand ship separately in recycled plastic mailers.
What Can You Do?
You can support Breanna’s art and climate advocacy by ordering pieces from the collection or sharing her work. 10% of profits from this collection are donated to The Ocean Agency to support their work protecting the world’s oceans. Breanna’s collection includes the apparel, scrunchies, hairbands, cards, and stickers, but also digital phone wallpaper for download. The digital downloads are perfect for anyone who is trying to downsize but also wants to support the project. Currently the apparel is a limited run, however Breanna is open to doing a second print run if there is enough interest.
Climate advocacy has become a recurring theme in my personal body paint work. In December 2019, I teamed up as an artist with the Glowing campaign, a global campaign using color and creativity to accelerate ocean protection and climate action.
The Glowing campaign was inspired during the filming of the Netflix Original Documentary, Chasing Coral and developed by The Ocean Agency in collaboration with UN Environment Program. In a desperate attempt to survive increasing ocean heat waves due to climate change, some corals glow in vibrant color. The corals produce brightly colored chemicals in their flesh that act as a sunscreen. In partnership with Adobe and Pantone, Glowing made this yellow, purple, and blue colors “the colors of climate action.”
I’ve combined my passion for climate advocacy with my experience designing visually impactful leggings, to bring you bold apparel that starts conversations about climate. I’ve used the Glowing colors to create a design of staghorn coral that will be printed on recycled polyester high waist leggings, sports bras, and headbands. The apparel is sustainably manufactured in the U.S. on 92% recycled polyester and printed with non-toxic inks.
The apparel is part of my larger Glowing coral reef collection of t-shirts, greeting cards, postcards, stickers, and cork coasters. The goal of this art collection is to help people to talk about climate change and/or send a colorful card to someone who needs the nudge to speak up about climate action.
I’ve worked to make every aspect of this collection as eco-friendly as possible. All of the paper products and cards are printed on 100% recycled paper and most pieces in this collection ship in biodegradable paper packaging and shipping materials (T-shirts ship in recycled plastic mailer bags).
10% of profits from this collection will be donated to the Glowing Gone Campaign and The Ocean Conservancy to protect our planet’s oceans.
Let’s be the first generation to save an entire ecosystem.
“Echoes of Passion and Pain” was the theme for the 2018 Texas Body Paint Competition, hosted by Beyond The Canvas. On November 10, 2018, U.S. and international body painters gathered in San Antonio, Texas to present our interpretations of the theme. Once again I was assisted by my wonderful friend and body painting colleague, Anja Yamaji. We had 6.5 hours to paint our model (and vocalist!), Angela Reign. We are so thrilled that our team placed 1st!
As with some of my past competition body paint pieces, my design features a personal story. The theme of “Echoes of Passion and Pain” focused on how the experiences of our past influence who we are today. The day I received the event theme, I was listening to a story about immigrants who were losing their Temporary Protected Status and would be sent back to their country of origin. Some had been in the US for 20 years because their home countries had continued to be unsafe for return. In that moment, I realized I had been in the US for 20 years, albeit under very different circumstances, and the memories of my immigration experience came flooding back.
My design is about my journey to U.S. citizenship.I grew up in Toronto, Canada, and like the Monarch butterfly migration, my family immigrated from Canada to the US. It takes lots of paperwork to become a permanent resident (and later a citizen). The layers of papers and checkboxes start on her right leg (with a suspicious eye peeking through), then wrap up onto her back and move up into the headpiece. You get fingerprinted and have a physical exam. The blood vials on her leg represent the blood tests to check for tuberculosis and other diseases. When you receive your “green card,” which includes your fingerprint, your status is “legal or resident alien”. The US customs agent on the back is a reminder of the scrutiny I felt at every border crossing, despite being so well-documented.
As the piece comes around to the front, the documents on the back blend into the labyrinth on her stomach, which represents my memories of the interview process feeling like a maze of waiting rooms and long lines. The flowing, green fabric on the front takes inspiration from Lady Liberty’s draping fabric and includes elements of the seal, color, and lettering from my naturalization certificate. The process culminates with taking the Oath of Citizenship, seen in my portrait on the front. When I became a citizen in 2010, I was finally eligible to vote. The voting stickers on the front are drawn from my actual voting stickers, which I save after each election.
The whole process of immigration is long, expensive, and draining. Most natural-born citizens are not aware of what it entails. But with more understanding, we can get to a point of more empathy with each other.
“Heal the body, heal the world” was the theme for the 2017 North American Bodypainting Championships, hosted by Living Art America. On October 14, 2017, U.S. and international body painters converged on Greensboro, NC to present our interpretations of the theme. We had 6.5 hours to complete our pieces and this year I was assisted by my friend and body painting colleague, Anja Yamaji. I’m so pleased to share that we were awarded with 3rd place in the professional category!
In preparation for this piece, I spent hours researching and brainstorming and eventually, a personal story emerged.The final result became an illustration of my experiences from the past year. During the presentation to the judges and audience, I gave the following explanation as our model, Emma Dubin, walked the runway:
“This piece is about the analogy of a seed for healing our bodies and healing the world.
“Individual seeds need nourishment and care. Last year, I was dealing with anxiety about climate change and the planet and my body and brain were suffering for it. Friends around me noticed, and encouraged me to go back to basics with nourishing foods for my body. Next, I reconnected with nature through gardening and rediscovered the childhood joys of watching a seed grow. Like a seed, my roots were developing and I found that there were others around me who were concerned about climate. I participated in marches and saw the phrase, ‘They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.’ We may feel buried by stressors, but we’re still growing. I joined an organization that empowers citizens to reach out to their representatives in Congress about climate. I went to Washington D.C. with them in June and I’ll never forget the moment when over a thousand of us walked in front of the U.S. Capitol building on our way to meetings with our members of Congress. We were like a swarm of seeds, coming together, and lifting each other up by reaching out and supporting those around us.
“While I was in D.C., I also learned about Our Children’s Trust (represented in the faces on the front of the torso). It’s a group of young people from across the United States who have brought a lawsuit against the U.S. government to secure the legal right to a safe climate and a healthy atmosphere for all present and future generations.Their efforts send a message that the next generation of seeds is rising up, changing the landscape, and actively seeking to heal the world.”
Scroll down to my photo gallery for more images and a peek at my sketches. The Greensboro News & Record’s photo gallery captured some behind-the-scenes of the event too.
On September 24th, I was one of many U.S. and international body painters who converged on Greensboro, NC for Living Art America’s 2016 North American Bodypainting Championships. This was my first time in the professional category and there were some phenomenal competitors. We had 6.5 hours to complete our pieces and many artists worked with an assistant (I’ll be looking for an assistant next time!). The theme for the event was “Face of Change” and my piece is about changing the face of climate change.
I care deeply about the environment and my initial research and design was focused on so many of the negative images of climate change. I was being dragged down into despair each time I worked on the piece. However, a week before Living Art America, I attended the National Drive Electric Week event in Dallas and my spirits were lifted. I met so many inspiring people who are passionate and vocal about renewable energy and promoting change. After attending that event, I revamped my design with only a few days left before heading to Living Art America. I turned the focus from the negative and focused on the positive scientific discoveries and renewable options that already exist. A friend shared a research study from the University of Illinois at Chicago about artificial leaves that can turn CO2 into fuel and I made that story the main focus of the design (Read the full article here). Keep in mind, my design is just my artistic interpretation of their research, it’s not what the artificial leaves look like.
Presentation to Judges
Below is the description that I presented to the judges of Living Art America:
“Carbon dioxide, the invisible yet leading factor in global warming, has caused some of the most sensitive organisms on our planet to become the face of climate change. Events such as widespread coral bleaching from warming oceans (seen on her shoulders), have become the saddening images we associate with climate change. On her forearms and lower legs, we have bioluminescent plankton, that light up when they’re disturbed. Her hands and feet are covered in them to represent our human impact and disturbance of nature.
“However, in order to slow the prevalence of these images and events, scientific discovery will be, and must be, the new face of climate change. In July this year, engineers created a new kind of artificial leaf (shown on her stomach) that efficiently converts atmospheric CO2 into a burnable fuel, and it only uses sunlight for energy (shown on her chest).It is essentially doing photosynthesis, like plants. So instead of producing energy in an unsustainable one-way route from fossil fuels to greenhouse gas, we must reverse the process, remove excess CO2 andfind ways to fuel greener, more sustainable cities (seen on her thighs).
“But until we can implement new discoveries like this on a wide scale, we must actively cut our carbon emissions. This means embracing the renewable energy sources that already exist, such as energy from wind and solar (seen on her back and sides).
Our world has already changed with rising temperatures and sea levels (shown in the waves encroaching on our cities), but with science, we can go forward.”
After judging, the models have an opportunity to present the work on stage. I chose the song “Save Our Planet Earth” by Jimmy Cliff since it has a powerful yet upbeat message about protecting our planet.
At the Living Art America Awards Gala, I received a Special Judges’ Award from judge Robin Slonina (Skin Wars’ Judge, Owner of Skin City Bodypaint), in recognition of the message and design I had chosen. I was absolutely thrilled by the award and left feeling inspired to keep sharing the message to #saveourplanet.
Come create with me! Join me on March 5th for a headdress workshop and learn how to build a lightweight headdress base. You’ll get hands-on experience with a variety of materials, such as EVA foam. Contact Anja Yamaji to register (see the image for contact details) or use the PayPal button below to pay.
We will be sharing some of the tools, like cutting mats, in this workshop. If you already have a cutting mat, feel free to bring it to class. If you want to buy a cutting mat, you can find them at Michael’s (don’t forget your 40% off coupon) or try this Fiskars 18×24 Cutting Mat on Amazon (it’s what I have).
Register Online via PayPal
To register for the class, click “Pay Now” to complete your transaction with PayPal.
I finally made a Mystic costume from the Dark Crystal! It’s been on my costume wish-list for a long time. There are still a lot of improvements to be made, but I got the costume to a wearable point just in time for the May Dallas Comic Con in 2015. Keep scrolling down to see my process photos.
1 – Cut foam shapes from Poly Foam;
2 – Sculpted with razors and engraved lines with a soldering iron;
3 – Covered with tissue paper and spray glue;
4 – Brushed on liquid latex from BITY Mold Supply;
5 – Painted with airbrush and various acrylics. Glued on wig and hair segments.
6 – Done! Photo by Alan Tijerina Photography.
1 – Pool noodles and pipe insulation carved with razors and utility knife;
2 – Covered with spray glue and white tissue paper;
3 – Brushed on liquid latex from BITY Mold Supply;
4 – Painted with airbrush and various acrylics.
1 – Poly foam and pipe insulation carved with razors and utility knife (hat tip to Courtney and Scotty at Zod Fabrication for sharing their raptor hand photos!);
2 – Covered with spray glue and white tissue paper;
3 – Brushed on liquid latex from BITY Mold Supply;
4 – Painted with airbrush and various acrylics.
5 – Attached to costume. My real hands are in the front hands. Photo by Alan Tijerina Photography.
1 – Poly foam pieces glued with Barge Cement. (I made paper templates before cutting each piece of foam);
2 – More poly foam (looks like an armadillo!). Tail made with a white bedsheet and stuffed with poly filling;
3 – Arms made with pool noodles;
4 – Arms covered with poly foam;
5 – Shirt made from two bedsheets and hand-sewn to fit;
6 – Final costume worn at #DallasFanExpo
1 – EVA foam (anti-fatigue mat) for armor pieces. Shaped with heat gun. (I made paper templates before cutting each piece of foam);
2 – Traced each piece of armor in fabric;
3 – Glued fabric to EVA foam with spray glue;
4 – Glued pieces of tan fabric for details, painted with airbrush and various acrylics;
5 – Closeup of bracer;
6 – Final costume worn at #DallasFanExpo