I love paper! You know those racks they have in art stores with giant sheets of decorative paper? Those make me go wild! So, whenever I have a good excuse to buy some such paper, I get very excited. One good reason I have found is envelope-making. My high school art teacher first introduced me to the idea of making your own envelopes, and while it does take a little bit of time and effort, you can create some really beautiful envelopes out of any paper you want.
Earlier this week, I had a project come up that would require some 3.5 x 5 inch envelopes. I wanted the envelopes to be unforgettable, so of course that meant I had to make my own. I started looking online for a good free 3.5 x 5 inch envelope template, but I just couldn’t find one. So I decided to draw one up on my computer, which then made me think, “maybe someone else is looking for this?” This lead me to the idea of creating a little set of instructions for you here. I wish I had taken some more pictures (it’s mighty hard to describe some steps in words), but hopefully my instructions combined with your practical smartness and imaginative abilities will get you there. When all else fails, I think looking at an already-made envelope can be helpful. Also, feel free to drop me a comment if you’re having troubles. So, here it goes:
HOW TO MAKE ENVELOPES BY HAND
1. Decide on the size envelope you need/want and find a template. I will put a link to my 3.5 x 5 inch template below, or else you can find an existing envelope you like and deconstruct it to use as a template.
2. Print your template, or trace your template envelope onto a piece of card stock. This will make the template easiest to trace. If you can’t find a piece of card stock big enough, a piece of newspaper will work fine, you’ll just have to use a ruler along each edge when you’re tracing to get a nice firm line. Cut your template out using scissors or an x-acto knife and ruler.
3. Find some gorgeous paper you would like to use for your envelopes. If you’ll be sending the envelopes through the mail, you might want to use a thick-ish paper (rice paper, or very thin decorative papers can rip easily). You can use wrapping paper, old maps, newspaper, anything you wish!
4. Trace your template onto the back of your paper with a pencil. Make as many traces as you want final envelopes.
5. Cut out your envelopes using an x-acto knife and a metal ruler, or scissors. I don’t have a tremendously steady hand, so I find that an x-acto and ruler works best for me to get straight lines. Make sure to use a metal ruler so that you can’t cut into the ruler with the x-acto.
6. Fold up your envelope, folding each flap in around the central rectangle. I use a thin plastic ruler held along each side of the rectangle and then fold each flap over it to get a straight fold. Make sure the decorative side of your paper is facing out.
7. Glue your envelopes together: apply glue to the inside edge of one of the horizontal flaps making sure that you apply glue only where the other flap will reach over it, glue horizontal flaps together. Then apply glue to the edges of the bottom flap, fold flap up and press firmly. Stack some books on top of the envelope and let it dry under the weight. Note: on my envelope template, the pointed flap is the top flap and will be left open for stuffing the envelope.
8. Repeat step 7 for each envelope
9. Stuff your envelope and seal it up as you like with a sticker, tape, or glue!
Here is that 3.5×5 inch envelope template I promised. It will fit on one standard 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper.