Sunday, February 15, 2015

Making Custom Envelopes

This is a story of turning lemons into lemonade.

Lately, I've been really into making patterns. Like, really into it. My usual style of painting things rather than scenes easily lends itself to pattern-making. 

For example, I was able to quickly whip up this pink prettiness, featuring a flamingo I painted months and months ago:

...and I thought to myself how pretty it would look as gift-wrapping paper. It's fun, it's a little kooky, a little different. It would work for nearly any occasion. 

But, when I received the samples from the printer, the colors weren't nearly as vibrant.
womp, womp.

Since I couldn't sell the papers I had, I decided to cut them up and make envelopes instead. 

If you want to try making your own envelopes, you can use thin card stock, magazine pages, store bought gift-wrapping paper...the options are really almost endless. Depending on how thick your paper is, you may need to use a bone folder (or butter knife) to get sharp creases.

I could have used an envelope template, but the few I own didn't have options for a 5" square version. I was stuck on making square envelopes because that's what I use to hold my thank you note, business card (!), and receipt for orders that I send out.

Since I didn't have a template, I deconstructed a square envelope I already had:


I traced the shape onto the back of my womp-womp gift-wrapping paper.

If you plan to make a lot of envelopes, it's probably best to trace your pattern onto a piece of thin cardboard (think: cereal boxes) and use that as your template.

I cut out the envelope pattern:

...then started folding.

Side flaps first.

It was at this point that I imagined how much prettier my envelopes would be with a colorful liner. So, I raided my paper stash and found a few sheets of origami paper that matched the shades of pink in my flamingos.

I cut my liners from the same pattern that I used to make the envelopes -- but I only needed the middle and the top flap.

Unfortunately, I was only able to get one liner per sheet of origami paper.

I positioned the liner slightly below the envelope edge. I know it's kind of hard to see in the photo. Think about how a real envelope has that strip that you lick -- I glued my liner just below that strip.
Glue the back of the liner paper to the inside of the envelope.

...then I finished folding the envelope, liner and all. I used paper glue to adhere the bottom flap up against the two side flaps.

Cell phone photo I posted on Instagram. :)

Not a revolutionary DIY, but I managed to recycle some crappy gift-wrapping paper into adorable envelopes that I'll actually use so...I'm happy. 


  1. I saw your sight on The Cottage Market under Flamingo Party. She posted free Flamingo paper to make envelopes. I don't see the paper. Did I miss it or did Cottage Market get it wrong. I LOVE Flamingos and would love your paper. How do I get it?

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