I started making envelopes a number of years ago, after seeing envelope projects posted online. I bought a wonderful book called The Envelope Mill that came with some great plastic templates, and the rest is history. I’ve acquired a number of other templates and made some of my own, but it’s pretty simple to do.
You only need a few basic supplies, most of which you already have at home.
- Envelope template
- Scissors or craft knife
- Pencil (optional)
- Ruler or straightedge (optional)
- Bone folder or other scoring tool (optional)
- Painter’s tape (optional)
- Self-healing/cutting mat (optional)
1. Paper. Your envelope can be made of pretty much any sort of paper, as long as it’s thin enough to fold and sturdy enough to mail. You can use scrapbook paper, cardstock, wrapping paper, origami paper, tissue paper fused to freezer paper, newspaper, magazine pages or ads, or even make your own by decorating plain paper with rubber stamps.
2. Envelope templates. You can buy a plastic template at a craft or art store, either individually or in a set. Or you can find an envelope you like and disassemble it, opening up the flaps to make a template. You can leave it as is or trace it onto cardboard or quilter’s tempalte plastic to make it sturdier. Some diecut or cutting machines also offer envelope shapes, if you have one available, or you can find free printable templates online.
3. Scissors, craft knife, or other cutting tool. Whatever you feel comfortable using to cut out the envelope.
4. Adhesive. I prefer adhesive runners, but you can also use double-sided tape, a glue stick or pen, or other paper adhesives.
5. Pencil (optional). To start out, it’s easiest to trace your template shape onto the paper, and then cut it out with scissors. I started this way, and you can always erase your trace lines when you’re done.
6. Ruler or straightedge (optional). Any one will do, to use as a scoring guide.
7. Bone folder or other scoring tool (optional). This will be used to crease and smooth down the flaps.
8. Painter’s tape (optional). This can be used to hold your template in place while tracing or cutting around it. Make sure to use one intended for delicate surfaces and take care when removing it from your paper.
9. Self-healing/cutting mat (optional). If you decide to use a craft knife to cut out the envelope shapes, you’ll need to do it on a good cutting surface, like a self-healing mat.
Now that you have your materials, the rest is pretty easy.
The simplest way…
- Place your paper on your work surface.
- Place your template where you want on the paper, and trace around it with a pencil or pen.*
- Remove the template and cut out the envelope shape along your drawn line. Erase any remaining pencil marks.
- Place your envelope shape face down on your work surface, so you can fold the flaps.
- Fold in each flap.** Keep the side flaps folded, and leave the top and bottom ones open.
- Apply adhesive to the left and right edges of the bottom-most flap, and then fold it up, on top of the side flaps. This should make the container of the envelope. Smooth it down to seal completely.
- Fold down the top flap. Congratulations, you made an envelope! Time to fill it up with goodies and mail it to a friend!
- * You don’t have to trace around the envelope if you don’t want to. Just hold the template in place and cut around it with scissors or a craft knife (on a self-healing mat). Just be careful not to cut the template!
- ** To get the best folds, you should use a straightedge and bone folder/scoring tool to make score lines first.
- Be creative with how you place the template on your paper. You can try to position it in different ways to see how the pattern will appear on the front and flap of the envelope.
That’s all there is to it. I hope this page was helpful and that you’ll try to make your own envelopes. For other pages and sites about making envelopes, check out my Envelope Links.