Making Your Own Envelopes

The envelope you use to mail a letter or card can be just as creative and fun as what you put in the envelope. This is a guide about making your own envelopes.

Making Your Own Envelopes
Filter: All Articles Sort: Relevance

After you've made your homemade cards and matching envelopes, here's an easy to make glue.

Materials needed:

  • 6 Tbsp.white vinegar
  • 4 (0.1 oz.) packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract


Start by bringing the vinegar to a boil in a pan. Add the gelatin and stir until it dissolves. Add the extract and stir until well mixed. While still warm brush a thin layer onto your homemade envelope flap and set aside and allow to dry.

To adhere the envelope, moisten as you would any envelope and press closed. Store unused mixture in an airtight container. To re-apply, warm the mixture in a pan and apply as before.

By keeper from Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

For my Dad's 80th birthday party, I printed the invitations on card stock, folded in thirds, stamped 2 holes with a regular hole punch close to the edges, and ran 1/4 inch organza ribbon tied in a knot (knot came out to the front) through it. I got a lot of comments on my unique invitations and I saved money on envelopes. (The ribbon was very cheap, cheaper than envelopes).

This also works for mailing a plain letter when you don't have an envelope, I just did it here at work where I needed an envelope, but had the stamp (my own) already. Take a piece of copy paper, fold in thirds (shorter side), tape the ends and back shut with tape, address, stamp, and mail.

By thriftyvicki from Dallas, TX

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

I have a bunch of nice greeting cards without envelopes. Does anyone know of easy way to make envelopes? The cards are all different sizes, so buying them is not an option. I hate to let them go to waste.

By Erika from Tallahassee, FL

AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Take apart one envelope to make a template for others, orfold a white piece of paper around the card, allowing room for a fold-over top. Fold sides around the card. Remove the card and fold the side folds to the inside of the envelope, trim and glue.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
Read More Answers...

Recycled envelops and note cards.Here's a great way to recycle paper by making your own envelopes and note cards.


  • Postal regulation envelope (for a template)
  • Paste, or glue sticks
  • Scissors or exacto knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paint brush (if paste is used)
  • Small amount of plain paper (you can uses pieces of envelopes, lined paper or whatever)
  • Various sheets of interesting paper ranging in size from 6.5x9-10 inches or 8.5x11 inches. Theses sizes are easier to handle and more readily available
Hint: I often use old maps and pages from old magazines.


We will be creating a tri-fold style closed envelope, which is much simpler than the triangular style closure seen on many postal envelopes but you can use any envelope as your pattern.

Making The Envelope

  1. Place your template envelope in the center of the backside of the paper you want to use, or so that the image you want on the front of your envelope is in the center-ish of where your template sits.
  2. Fold the bottom up to within 1-1/2 inches of the top of your template. Then fold the sides of the paper gently up and over so that they overlap at least 1/3-1/2 inches. This will create the creases for the seams you will be using.
  3. Fold the top down, ensuring it overlaps your bottom portion enough to create a closure (usually at least 1/2 inch).
  4. Now you will cut off the pieces you don't need. Cut the inside portion of the seams.
  5. Then cut these same pieces off of your top flap down to the top edge of the bottom flap, but don't cut below that. The edges left will be your side closures.
  6. Now we will paste the seam edges closed. You can "paint", dab or smear a small amount of paste or glue to the folded edges and then fold them on top of your envelope to create the closures on the sides. Only a little is needed.
  7. Let these dry.
  8. env2.jpg env3.jpg

    env4.jpg env6.jpg

    Making The Notecard

    1. Measure the opening you have in your envelope from the bottom edge to the top crease. Subtract about 1/4 inch and double this to get the length you will want to measure for your note card.
    2. Measure from straight across from left to right and subtract about 1/4 inch to get the width.
    3. Cut out a sheet of interesting looking paper in using those measurements as a guide.
    4. Fold this sheet in half.
    5. Take a piece or two of your plain paper and cut it to the size you would like to write your note on.
    6. Paste this on the inside and if needed the back of your note card.
    7. Let this dry

    notecard.jpg notecard2.jpg


    Write your note and slide it inside the envelope. Fold over your closure. You can either paste your envelope closed after inserting the notecard, or just fold the flap inside the envelope. Or make a set and give them to a friend as a gift.

    By Mara from Seattle, WA

    CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Envelopes and paper. Envelopes made from white paper bags and post cards made from file folders.

Approximate Time: 20-30 minutes


  • scissors
  • white paper bags
  • rubber stamps
  • ink for rubber stamps
  • colored pencils or crayons
  • glue
  • ink pen
  • envelope to use as a template
  • iron
  • pressing cloth
  • plain file folders
  • scalloped edge paper scissors
  • brown paper bags
  • clothespins

Instructions For Envelopes:

  1. Deconstruct the white paper bags and lay flat. If desired, you can use an iron on low setting to press out creases.
  2. Trace the template of the envelope you've chosen as a pattern. Cut out as many envelopes as desired.
  3. Stamp the design on the envelopes and color as desired with colored pencils or crayons.
  4. Fold the envelopes into place and glue. Place wooden clothespins along the edges to secure while the glue dries.
  5. Stationary to match can also be created using small sheets of the white paper bags.
  6. Envelopes

For post cards:

  1. Cut the lightweight cardboard the desired size and shape.
  2. Cut as many as desired with scalloped edge scissors.
  3. Stamp with rubber stamp and color with colored pencils or crayons.
  4. Envelopes and paper.

For stationary:

  1. Lay a deconstructed brown paper bag flat and cut into the desired dimensions with scalloped craft scissors.
  2. Stamp with desired design and color with colored pencils or crayons.
  3. Unfolded bag with decoration.

By Monica from Cortez, CO

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Envelopes From Recycled PaperWhether I'm at work or at home, I try to limit the amount of paper I use by utilizing electronic media as much as possible. The problem is, I'm a stationary junkie. I would much prefer to send and receive greeting cards and written correspondence by postal mail rather than email. After all of the junk mail that gets delivered to my cyber mailbox each week, I find it refreshing to open something that has actually been delivered by a living breathing human being.

It seems like after a period of time, my stationary box always comes up long on cards and short on envelopes. My solution has been to make own envelopes out of recycled paper. Now not only am I able to personalize the envelopes according to the personalities of each addressee, but I get to alleviate some of my "paperless guilt" by showing the world (or at least the post office) that I am committed to recycling.

Envelope Materials:

  • Wallpaper scraps
  • Wrapping paper scraps
  • Magazine covers
  • Old maps
  • Paper grocery bags
  • Pages from old calendars, etc.

Have fun by selecting envelope paper that suits the personality of your recipient. A gardener might enjoy getting a card or letter in an envelope made from a picture on last year's gardening calendar. Use the cover of a sports magazine for an athlete or an old map for someone who loves to travel.


Colored paper can slow down mail automation machines unless the address is easily readable. To prevent this, use a plain, white, self-adhering address label when you're using an envelope made out of colorful paper. Make sure to print the name of the addressee clearly on the label using black or dark blue ink.

Standard 1 ounce letters can be a maximum of 1/4 inch thick and are machine sorted at the post office. Adding lace, buttons or reusing clasps from other envelopes are all wonderful ideas if you plan to deliver the envelope by hand. When sending envelops through the mail, however, an additional non-machine surcharge of $.0.13 is applicable under the following conditions:

  • It is a square letter
  • It contains very rigid items such as wood or metal
  • It has clasps, string, buttons, or similar closure devices
  • It has an address parallel to the shorter dimension of the letter
  • It contains items such as pens that cause the surface to be uneven
  • The length divided by height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.

Letter Dimensions: Length Height
Regular5 inch min 3-1/2 inch min
11-1/2 inch max 6-1/8 inch max
Large Envelope 11-1/2 inch min 6-1/8 inch max

Envelope Directions: A simple way to make an envelope template is to take apart any size envelope you happen to have laying around and use it as a pattern. Iron the envelope flat with a cool iron and trace the pattern onto a durable material like vinyl. Cut it out carefully. Now you have a long lasting template that won't rip or tear. Lay the vinyl template over the piece of paper of your choice, cut around it carefully and refold it like the original envelope. Use a glue suitable for paper (Elmer's stick glue works well) to seal the points of the envelop after inserting your letter or card.

Post Card Materials:

Post cards are a great way to drop someone a quick "hello." It's easy to recycle paper for postcards, but they need to be made from a slightly heavier paper like cardstock. Cereal boxes, magazine and phone book covers work really well.

Post Card Dimensions: LengthHeight
5 inch min3-1/2 inch min
6 inch max4-1/4 max

Free Envelope and Postcard Templates

Advice On Desktop Publishing

Mailing Guidelines & Rates

CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Recycled Paper Envelope Top FoldHere are a series of pictures that show you how to turn a regular piece of paper into a usable envelope. You will need to have some kind of glue or tape to put it together. I like to use glue sticks. Recycled Paper Envelope Outline Recycled Paper Envelope Cut Sample Recycled Paper Envelope Bottom Fold Recycled Paper Envelope Side Fold Recycled Paper Envelope Top Fold

It is fun to see how a pattern that does not look like an envelope can turn into an envelope. You might need a blank small square of paper a name on the envelope if it is made from printed paper. Just write the name on the square, if you want to and tape it on the front of the envelope.

This is an actual recycled envelope I got in the mail with little Valentines in it. I just loved it and had to share!

By Robyn from Tri-Cities, TN

CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

Why let the card have all the glory? Using stamps and embossing powder to create elegant winter images, this craft makes the envelope enchanting too!

Envelop with gold snowflakes.

CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
Better Living Green Living ReusingFebruary 21, 2012
More to Explore
ThriftyFun on Facebook
ThriftyFun on Pinterest
Enter a Contest
Free Newsletters
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Related Guides
Reusing Envelopes, Stack of Envelopes
Reusing Envelopes
Padded Envelope on White Background
Reusing Mailing Supplies
Making Envelopes From Magazines
Making Envelopes From Magazines
© 1997-2016 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by . Page generated on May 19, 2016 at 12:56:14 PM on in 769 msecs. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of ThriftyFun's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you have any problems or suggestions feel free to Contact Us.
To Top
Loading Something Awesome!