Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tutorial: Repurposed Envelopes (From Magazines to Mailing)

Note: If you like this idea, be sure to check out how to make paper ruffles to add to your envelopes!

Super quick and easy tutorial for you today. I have a drawer full of these and use them for everything - bills, letters, you name it...my mom does too, actually! I recently received an oversized catalog for baby strollers (why? I have more than one that I barely use). The pages were huge and mostly images - perfect for envelope making. I was able to make standard #10 envelopes as well as catalog envelopes - which is great because I'm always looking for a bigger envelope!

Magazine Pages

To start just pull pages out of your catalog or magazine with images you love. I prefer to go for pages with as little language as possible but that certainly isn't a rule.

Other supplies you'll need:
     Glue - glue stick or craft glue - whichever you prefer
     Old envelope or envelope template. 

If this is a project you see yourself recreating in the future or with other papers you could invest in an envelope template kit, or you can print templates (you'll need to print at 100% on a larger format printer) from Designer's Toolbox on a heavy stock (mount to board for a longer lasting template). Personally, I'm perfectly satisfied with a carefully deconstructed old envelope.

Trace Template

Trace the shape of your envelope onto the page, finding the position that you prefer on the image/page.

Pre-Folded Cut

Next, cut out along the lines.

Folded Cut Out

Fold and crease well where all corners meet.

Back Envelope

Find the side flaps and bottom flap - fold in and glue carefully along the seams. Be careful not to glue the envelope to itself.

Front Envelope

If the image is lighter you can write directly on the newly re-purposed envelope. If not you can write on the envelope with a light/metalic colored pen, use a label, or glue a bit of lighter paper on as a label.

I got lucky and some of the page spreads were covered in images - these made great larger envelopes using the catalog envelope that came in the mail just last week as my guide.



Certainly you could use scrapbooking or wrapping paper but I love the re-use aspect of this easy project. I've used paper bags, plastic bags, magazine, newspapers, discarded maps, old posters, even damaged old photos to make envelopes. Remember - you can always make small envelopes too - great for gift cards and small sentiments!

If envelopes aren't your thing maybe liners are - they make templates for those too!

Happy re-purposing!


Melissa said...

This makes me want to get a letter in the mail from you! And it's given me an idea! What a cool way to send an envelope from a creative business like mine... many options. (the only time I seem to send mail is when it's business related!)

alicia said...

I have a drawer full of envelopes like that- they are so pretty that I hesitate to use them! Great idea.

Katie said...

I love this idea, I never would have thought of it myself! Thanks so much for sharing, I can't wait to send someone a letter now :)

Sharon Huffman said...

Love your envelopes! I've been making these for several years now and also find it fun to gather up all those calendars after the new year and make envelopes out of those too.

Anonymous said...

old calendar pages would work well for this; mine also get used for wrapping paper

Cathy said...

What a clever idea! I love it!

Kaileen Elise said...

I used to make these years ago.. thank you for the creative reminder & tutorial. So lovely!

David and Sarah said...

Thank you for this tutorial! I am up at 2 am making many of these, mostly for my deployed husband. Would you be willing to allow me to link this to our own blog?

Beverly said...

Thanks for sharing your creative envelopes! I made some a few years ago with Victorian Valentine wrapping paper and they were adorable!

Anonymous said...

Very fun idea! I would have loved to get a letter in mail with an envelope like this! I can't wait to make one and send a latter to one of my friends now =)

Betsy Jane said...

These are really cute and would be interesting to receive! I would caution users about writing directly on even light pictures: I understand that post office scanners have trouble reading writing on colored envelopes and I'd guess that multi-colored envelopes would be even worse. I'd use a small white label esp for "To" address.

Iris said...

This is really neat! It's a great way to recycle and I think it'd be fun to give out especially for invitations and cards. Thank you for sharing :)

Joanna said...

Fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Just to say thank you!
I saw this post some weeks ago and made several of these for a lot of different purposes. Now I love to collect pretty magazine pages to make some. :)


awesome really awesome

Stitches said...

I'm a fan, and i plan to try this out today (while my pedicure dries).

I read somewhere once that anything red on an envelope greatly slows down the automatic mail scanner at the post office and the envelope gets spit out to be read and sorted by hand.

If you're trying to mail someone one of these on their own, I would recommend using a white square for the address sections. Using black or blue ball point pen to address it is also recommended as other types run if they get caught in the rain.

Love your postal workers. They love you too. They'll be stoked to see something interesting as they carry it where they're going.


I am so glad I stumbled upon this post!!! What a cool way to personalize your envelopes:)

- Joi


Unknown said...

What a great idea! It's great to see ideas for reusing paper products that would otherwise quickly end up in landfill and the envelopes look great.


Elizabeth J. Neal said...

I'm perfectly satisfied with a carefully deconstructed old envelope. drawstring carrier bags