The first time that I learned how to make envelopes out of paper, magazines and newspaper comics, I sat down and wrote letters to literally everyone I knew. I couldn’t wait for them to receive the awesome envelopes! So, a few days ago, when I was trying to brainstorm how to re-ignite my kids’ excitement for writing letters to friends and family members, I remembered the DIY envelopes that I used to make! My kids absolutely LOVED this easy DIY envelope template, and even used some of them to write letters to Disney characters and other celebrities from this awesome list! So, I decided that this is the perfect way to kickoff our free DIY craft virtual camp this week! Make sure to join our Facebook group to see our live arts and crafts classes and follow us on Pinterest, so you won’t miss a thing!
How to Make Envelopes
I encourage you to be super creative with this project! Here is a list of some things that you can use to create fun prints on your envelopes.
- card stock (this is super cute for girly girls and my son loves this one!)
- gift wrap
- old kids books (the ones that have seen better days and need to be upcycled)
- your kids’ artwork (finally, a way to do something productive with our kids’ mountains of drawings and paintings!)
DIY Envelopes: Materials
Other than beautiful paper from one of the resources above, here is a list of other materials for this project.
- transparent overhead sheets (it is SO much easier for your kids to figure out the best place to position their template over their picture with a transparent template, but you can use thin cardboard instead)
- solid cardstock (if you want to make lined, more durable envelopes)
- glue stick
- spray adhesive (this makes gluing the lining on super easy, but you can make do with only a glue stick as well)
- fine point marker
DIY Envelope Template
The easiest way to make an envelope template is to take a small envelope, and carefully open it up at it’s seams. I used a Hallmark envelope that I recently received in the mail with a thank you card. In order to make the template easy to use (especially if you are going to make several DIY envelopes), I would suggest tracing the envelope onto thin cardboard. We used a cereal box, as shown in the photo below.
However, we just placed an order for transparent overhead sheets and will make a new template on that as soon as it arrives. When we get to the part where you place the template on the picture to trace it, it would be SO helpful to see what is lining up where, which you could do with a transparent template!
Hannah, my daughter, traced the deconstructed Hallmark envelope onto the cereal box with a pen.
We decided to label the top and bottom of the template, so that we wouldn’t get mixed up. We also drew lines where we would make “creases” and numbered them in the order that we would later fold each part.
How to Make Envelopes with Paper
For our first set of envelopes, we found a bunch of fun graphics and pictures in magazines. Here is how we made envelopes out of the magazine paper!
1. Trace your DIY envelope template onto your paper
Place your template on your magazine paper (or other fun paper). This is where having a template made out of transparent overhead sheets would be SO helpful, because you often want to line up certain parts of your picture to appear on the front of the envelope (versus the back). It is harder to see in the photo below than it was in real life, but we traced the template onto this comic strip using a fine point marker. You can also use a pen, but pens don’t always write well on certain types of magazine paper.
2. Cut your picture out
Carefully cut your picture out along the outline of the template that you just traced.
3. Pick a piece of cardstock to line your envelope
You may line your envelope with cardstock or construction paper, or you can leave it unlined. However, the opposite side of a magazine page rarely happens to be graphically exciting! Also, if you are going to send it in the mail, I think a more sturdy envelope is helpful. Plus, I love how thicker envelopes feel in your hand! We decided to line our comic envelope with a piece of red paper.
4. Glue your picture onto your cardstock
I highly recommend spray adhesive for this step, because you just spray the back of the magazine paper and place it onto the cardstock. However, if you want to use a glue stick, that works too! Just flip your picture over (so that the back is facing up), and start by outlining the border of the picture first. Then, put some extra glue on the inside as well, and place it on top of your cardstock.
5. Cut the cardstock to the envelope shape
Get those scissors out again, and re-cut your envelope shape, following the outline of the picture. You will end up with a two layer envelope template like in the following photo.
6. Flip your DIY envelope over so that the cardstock side is facing up
Make sure that the bottom of your envelope is still on the bottom, after you have flipped it around (as shown below.)
7. Fold the left envelope “flap” in
Carefully, crease the left envelope flap, as shown below.
8. Fold the right envelope “flap” in
Repeat the above step, but for the “flap” on the right this time.
9. Apply glue on the left “flap”
We placed a piece of scrap paper underneath the left “flap” while applying the glue, because we didn’t want for the envelope to accidentally get glued shut! Then, we made one line of glue from the point of the flap, all the way down to the bottom (as shown in the photo below).
10. Repeat on the right “flap”
Shift your scrap paper to the right, to protect that side from getting glued shut! Then, repeat the above step to the right side.
11. Fold the envelope’s bottom flap up
Now, fold the bottom flap (the red triangle pointing down in the photo below), so that it adheres to the right and left flaps that you just placed glue on.
12. Crease the envelope’s top “flap” down
We are almost done! Just fold the top “flap” of the envelope down to look like the photo below.
Now flip your envelope over and admire how beautiful it is!!!
How to Make Envelopes (Lined vs Unlined)
Once we got started, we couldn’t stop! Look at all of these fun DIY envelopes that we made so far!!! From the front, it isn’t obvious which are lined or unlined.
However, when you flip the envelopes around, it becomes very obvious. Which do you like better? The lined envelopes or the unlined ones? Drop a comment below to let us know!
How to Make Envelopes with Kids Artwork
We hear over and over again in our Facebook group about how all of us struggle to know what to do with all of the artwork that our kids generate. We hate to throw it out, but yet we can’t have mountains of artwork forever in our homes either. My kids tell me that it hurts their feelings if I don’t save every drawing and painting (way to pull at my heartstrings, kids!!!) However, if we turn them into envelopes, it isn’t getting thrown out, but it isn’t turning into a massive pile either! Win-win!!!
Another option is to have your kids draw something specific for their envelope. We tried that out with regular white paper and the kids loved it! Here is how we did it.
1. Trace the DIY envelope template onto white paper
We even drew the “fold” lines (lightly with pencil), to help the kids realize what would end up where!
2. Have your kids color their pictures
Let them decide what to draw! They can use crayons, markers, colored pencils or even pen. Here is how three of ours turned out.
3. Repeat the same steps as with the magazine envelope (glue it on the cardstock, cut it out, fold it, glue shut etc.)
You will end up with really cute envelopes that will definitely bring smiles to the recipients’ faces!
Here is how the back of the envelopes turned out too!
What are you making your envelopes out of?
So, what are you making your envelopes out of? Make sure to let us know by posting a photo of your masterpieces in our Facebook Group! We are always so inspired by all of our amazing members!!!