Feb 14, 2011
This week I found myself crafting envelopes- not out of a desire to start a new hobby but out of necessity. I've been looking for small envelopes (made out of recycled paper) for my new notecards. I went to a couple of paper specialty shops in town but was out of luck. Discouraged, yet determined, I sat down one afternoon and found that making envelopes is quite easy and surprisingly fun.
Folding an envelope is essentially basic origami. (By no means do I consider myself an envelope craftmaster, but I do have strong origami folding genes.) To make a standard envelope with a triangle flap, you need a square piece of paper cut an inch wider than the diagonal measurement of the notecard. My card measures 4.5" from one corner to the opposite corner, so I needed a 5.5" square paper.
Many origami patterns have you start by folding in all four corners of the paper. Centering your card on the paper, this will be the first step of folding an envelope. In the photo on the right, you'll see that I've highlighted four little triangles created by the folds. You'll want to cut these out. Then all you have to do is fold two sides in and, with a gluestick, glue the third side down on top of the other two sides. And there you have it- your very own handmade envelope!
I started playing around with some other designs and was able to come up with a few more envelope patterns. Here's an envelope I created with a top opening. I prefer this design because it's a more efficient use of paper. The one thing you'll need to keep in mind with this design is that you'll need to taper (just a tad) the large side that folds in. And, to help even out your creases, I found that a spoon can do the trick!
For additional decorative touches, you can use corner punches. I like to have rounded corners on my notecards, so I find that repeating these kinds of features on envelopes creates a more cohesive look.
For more interest, you can use patterened paper. I created my own triangles pattern and printed it on recycled paper. I also love the idea of using found paper with printed designs, whether it's magazine pages or recycled business envelopes (which is the envelope in the middle).
Hope I've inspired you to create your own envelopes. No more shuffling around drawers or quick runs to the grocery store for last minute birthday cards. Just make your own, and what a wonderful treat for the recipient!