Sunday, February 3, 2013

Make Your Own Envelopes for That Extra Special Touch

A few weeks ago, I came across a great blog post featuring handmade envelopes and confetti from Kristi at Digital Cake Crafting. She makes truly lovely sheet music envelopes using the Martha Steward Scoring Board. I have Martha's board, too, and have used it often. I also have started making my own envelope templates. The envelopes above are made from my templates.

Making envelopes is like therapy to me. They're easy and fun and, when I'm done, I know I have something completely unique. I've made envelopes in about every size imaginable. But, I have a soft spot for mini envelopes, which I incorporate into the ephemera journals I make.

When I come across an envelope shape or size I like, I make a template of it.

Follow these simple instructions and you'll soon be on your way to creating your own special versions.

Steam your found envelope open by covering it with a dish towel or other soft cloth. Set your iron to one of the lower heat settings--one that will allow you to use steam. Steam open by applying the hot iron to the cover cloth, checking the envelope every several seconds to gauge your progress and to ensure the paper doesn't overheat.

After it's steamed open, let the envelope cool and the melted glue set for a couple of minutes before moving on to the next step.

Now, trace your envelope onto a piece of thick cardboard.

Cut out your template and you're ready to create your own envelopes. TIP:  I file the original envelope with the cardboard template for folding reference in the future.

You can create your envelopes out of any type of paper that suits your fancy or your needs. Because I'm big on recycling or upcycling, I most often use pages from discarded books, maps that are otherwise past their prime, old sheet music, paper bags and vintage magazine or catalog pages. Don't worry if the paper isn't perfect. You can often work around any stains, small tears or creases. Of course, wrapping paper and scrapbooking paper are also nice materials for envelopes.

For the larger envelopes below, I used vintage magazine covers and pages. For the smaller envelopes, I used pages of National Geographic.

Trace your template on the paper of your choice. TIP: If you're using paper that has words or an image with a right side up and an upside down, be careful how you place your template. If you plan to use the envelope in a traditional way, so that the front of the envelope is where you normally would put a name or address, place the template so the words or image are right side up on that portion of the envelope. If, like I do, you plan to use the back of the envelope as the front, place accordingly so the image is right side up on that side. This may take a bit of practice until you get the hang of it.

Using your original envelope for reference, fold and score accordingly. I use a bone scorer, but the edge of an expired gift card works just as well.

Next, glue the pouch of the envelope using a glue stick.

I made my envelope to use in an ephemera journal. I like to include handmade envelopes in my journals and attach the traditional front to a piece of card stock so the flap remains free to open and insert special goodies.

That makes the traditional back of the envelope the front in my journals. You can see how the words are positioned when I use the envelopes in this way.

The vintage valentine envelope shows the traditional front and back when the envelope is to be used in the normal fashion.

Recycle some paper today. Mail a special envelope tomorrow. 

Make it a great day!
Linking to:


  1. What precious little envelopes! Life to the full, Melissa

  2. WOW! Love the unique papers and thanks so much for the great tutorial! This, I must try!

  3. Ann, I love making my own envelops. I have plastic templates that I bought somewhere. So much fun when you receive one of those handcrafted ones envelopes. Great tutorial! Hope you are having a great weekend, Laura

  4. Oh, these are darling! Thank you for the tutorial and I've just got to make osme.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  5. Love your creative juices flowing all over us! Thanks for the inspiration. I've done a few, long ago, and think it is time again. Therapy, you are right!

  6. I love this! Thanks for sharing. It's now in my "Favorites" section so in weeks to come when someone is looking at the envelope post it will probably be me. Have a great week.

  7. Aw thank you so much for linking to my blog!! I love the idea of finding cute envelopes and creating a template. I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for unique envelopes so I can give this a shot!

  8. These are way too cute! Imagine receiving a hand written letter in one of these envelopes! I'd frame it :)

  9. These look wonderful, Ann...I'm going to have to try this!

  10. This looks great! You did a fantastic job! I'm a new follower ;)
    Jamie ~ Better With Age

  11. I adore this idea. Adding personality and character to mail like this is a great idea! I'm pinning these directions, because I'll have to give it a try.
    Liz @ Quirky Vistas

  12. So cute! I would love for you to share this or any of your great ideas at the link party going on now (and every Saturday through Tuesday) at 'Or so she says ...' Hope to see you there!

  13. Love this and will have to give it a try as I love writing letters and how neat to have a handmade envelope! Thank you for sharing.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.