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How to make your own funky envelopes

This post is from my friend Bethany from Bethany Actually. Thank you, Lewus!

When I was in college, my roommate Erin used to get letters from her friend Aspen in handmade envelopes. Aspen created them from magazine pages, and Erin and I thought it was so cool we started making them ourselves.

Back when I used to send real mail to people, I made these envelopes all the time. If I noticed an interesting full-page ad in a magazine I’d tear it out and save it for future use. I don’t make them as often as I used to, but every now and then I need an odd-sized envelope or am feeling crafty. I’ve made them from wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, and old calendars too. It’s a fun way to make mail special. Of course it’s also environmentally friendly if you’re using old magazines or calendars, so yay for reusing and reducing!

Today, I’m going to use a page from an old Forces of Nature wall calendar. I suggest you read the whole post before attempting your own envelope because it’s a little confusing at first, but once you figure it out it’s easy-peasy.

First gather your supplies:

gathering supplies

  • calendar page (or magazine page or paper of your choice)
  • a pen or pencil
  • glue (I’m using Elmer’s Galactic Glitter Glue, the COOLEST GLUE in the Galaxy! But you can use plain ol’ white or whatever you like)
  • scissors
  • an envelope in the same size you want your created one to be (or a ruler)
  • Step 1: Choose a pretty picture, and figure out which portion of the picture you want to be the front of your envelope. Just be sure to leave about an inch of space for the side flaps and enough space for the top and bottom flaps so that when you fold them in they will overlap. (Yes, I know that’s confusing. It will become clearer as you read, I hope.)

    step 1

    Step 2a: Flip the page over and trace around the envelope in roughly the same area. Or you can use a ruler to measure and draw a rectangle in the size you want.

    step 2

    Step 2b: To create the flaps, draw lines from the corners of your rectangle as shown in the photo above. I like to color in the corners to show that those are the pieces I am going to cut off. Whenever I forget to color in those corners, I inevitably cut along the wrong line. See?

    the wrong way to cut
    Don’t do this! I cut along the wrong line!

    Step 3: Emphasize the lines you want to cut by drawing curly lines on them, or marking them with a red pen, or something. You can skip this step if you’re not a ditz like I am.

    step 3

    Step 4: Cut on those curly lines so the colored-in corners are snipped all the way off. See?

    step 4

    You can trim some length off your flaps if they’re irregular.

    Step 5: Fold all the flaps in and crease along the lines you traced around the envelope (or drew with a ruler) in Step 2a. Leave the side flaps folded in.

    step 5

    Step 6: Spread some glue on the bottom flap where it will come into contact with the side flaps, being careful not to leave glue where it will stick to the main part of the envelope. Or—and this would make more sense and I don’t know why I didn’t do this—on the side flaps.

    step 6

    Step 7: Fold the bottom flap up and press on the glued parts for a few seconds.

    step 7

    Voila! A beautiful handmade envelope.

    finished envelope

    When you’re ready to use your envelope, just stick the letter inside and either glue the flap shut or tape it with strong tape. If the envelope is light-colored, you can address it with a black Sharpie. If it’s dark-colored, you can write the address on a printer label. Stick on a stamp, drop it in the mail, and make someone’s day!