Making Easy Envelopes With a Template

Calendar Picture EnvelopeThis morning I woke up to a beautiful surprisingly cool sunny summer day. The sun was shining into the craft room and made me want to hang out there. So I decided to make some envelopes. This is something I’ve done a million times in the past but actually haven’t done lately. It is obviously quicker to just grab a store-bought envelope. But it occurred to me that as well as being prettier, if I made a few sturdy envelopes for mailing out small orders of unmounted stamps, I could save the folks who purchase them on VSN’s Online Yardsale a little money, making a good deal even a little better. So I made a few. It is so easy . . .

CalendarsBack when stamping was young, handmade envelopes were pretty common. While you can purchase decorative paper or use a large piece of paper and color and stamp it, a popular decorative paper source among stampers has always been colorful calendar pictures. Use the calendar and then save the pictures to cut up into envelopes later. As I’ve been sorting through my stamp area recently, I came across a stash of calendars from the 1990’s that I had saved but never used for envelopes. Time to cut them up!

Calendar PictureThis particular calendar has pictures that don’t fill the entire calendar page. But that actually works out well because it means that the whole picture area will wind up as part of the envelope. It doesn’t have to be this way of course. But you do want to think about the envelope style and where the picture elements will wind up on the envelope. On the front? The back? Sometimes pictures with an overall design or landscapes are easier to work with than images with a focal point image that you want to line up in a particular spot.

Tracing Envelope TemplateI probably have a dozen or so envelope templates. I “rediscovered” them while sorting out my stamp area. I’m found them a new home near my work area and so decided to put them to use. This particular template was one from the 1990’s from Draggin’ Ink. The folks at Draggin’ Ink were actually the ones who got the whole tissue envelope craze going back then. The company is no longer around, but at that time they sold laminated templates like these. This particular one could alternatively be used as a folded note. I decided to use it as an envelope. This template fit beautifully on my calendar picture. I simply traced it with a small ball burnisher. (You could use a bone folder, a pen without ink or a pencil.)

Cutting Out EnvelopeThen you just cut along the scored lines. Most envelopes have fairly simple lines so it is a quick process.

Calendar CutoutThis envelope will be mailed out with a Yardsale order on Monday, but I plan to make a few more (using other calendar pages) to have ready for whenever I need a quick colorful envelope, whether it is for the Yardsale or for a card. Rather than fold them up and have to store them folded, I will stop at this point with the extras and tuck them into the file folder with the envelope template, ready to use. (See “My Stencil and Template Storage” post.)

Scoring EnvelopeYou could just fold it, but you’ll get nicer, crisper folds if you score the folds first. Some envelope templates have slots cut into the template to allow you to score when the template in place. This template did not but the fold lines are obvious and easy to line up with a straight edge. Four quick scores and the envelope is ready to fold up.

Folding EnvelopeNotice that the back side (soon to be the inside) of the envelope is a calendar page. Obviously you won’t want to use a calendar you used to keep track of private occasions, medical appointments, etc. unless you plan to line it

Taping the EnvelopeA lot of people like using glue stick for envelopes, but I’ve never been a glue stick fan. After too many years of receiving cards constructed with glue stick in pieces, I don’t trust the stuff. If you use fresh non-dried out glue stick on light paper and burnish it well, it is probably fine, but I want put a few unmounted stamps in these envelopes and the surface is slick. I want them to stay closed and well-sealed, so I went with some sturdy double-sided tape.

Envelope FlapYou can buy “Lick & Stick” envelope glue from Green Sneakers (who also makes some great envelope templates that don’t even require scoring or cutting –you simply tear and fold. How cool is that?) For my envelopes made of slick paper which will hold unmounted stamps, I’ll seal them with the double-sided tape too. They should stay closed but still be easy to open with a letter opener.

One thing to keep in mind with slick calendar pages is that the type of postage stamp that you lick can slide off of slick surfaces. Either rough the postage area up slightly or use the sticker type of postage. Use a white sticker to address the envelope too so that the post office machines can easily read the address.

This process is so darn easy. If you don’t have an envelope template, you can take apart an envelope you like and trace around it. Of course, if you have a die-cut machine and an envelope die, you might just use that to cut the basic shape.

This is a great way to use up old calendars, pieces of extra wrapping paper, decorative shopping bags and big pieces of paper you put under cards you are working on that get covered with interesting colors, textures and designs.

Do you have an envelope template or die? When is the last time you used it?

Nancie, VSN

11 thoughts on “Making Easy Envelopes With a Template

  1. Thanks, Nancie – I make a lot of envelopes. You can also use old magazine covers for real sturdy ones, and some of the pages are thick enough to use. I also use some of my design paper that I don’t particularly like for cards. I have a Martha Stewart score board that has directions for different sizes. Each start with a square piece of paper. I think we all should do more recycling. Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah, I think sometimes it just depends on how you plan to use the envelope — whether you plan to mail it to someone or hand it to someone, how much will go into the envelope (and how heavy the contents will be.) You know, actually if the paper was big enough, you could make envelopes from the “Rollagraph Serendipity Backgrounds” technique. I agree — we should try to use what we’ve already got! Nancie

    1. Hi Bobbie, Draggin’ Ink isn’t around anymore, but you can find envelope templates on the internet by Googling “envelope templates”. For example, Mirkwood Designs has quite a few on their site that you can print on your computer printer. If you print a template on paper (or take a commercial envelope apart to make a template) you can laminate it to make it more long lasting. Nancie

  2. Have a few templates to use, but weakened and got the new ‘Envelope Punch Board’…sure is slick!!! That’s not to say the other templates I have are not good…this is just way quicker – LOL!
    Quick is good!
    Paper Hugs,

    1. Hi Jan, I agree – quick is good! That definitely suits my approach to life. But like a lot of stampers, there came a point when I hit the purchasing wall. There are some great tools out now that I haven’t purchased because I already have a way to do it and so can’t justify the purchase. Of course if you do something often, getting a tool that will let you do it quicker or better becomes more reasonable! Nancie

    1. Hi Harriet, I liked it a lot too. Calendars often have some really beautiful photos or artwork. I like that you can enjoy them through the year and then use them this way . . . or get them when the stores mark them down to almost nothing after January and use them right away! Nancie

  3. Hi Nancie,

    I just received the 8 back issues that I won from the eArticle drawing, and the absolutely beautiful handmaid envelope you made containing a stamp I ordered. Thank you. The envelope is a “keeper” definitely. This post and envelope have got me interested in taking out my odd pieces of wrapping paper and getting to work on making some envelopes too. The odd pieces were just sitting in a drawer without being previously useful!

    Marilyn Sweeney

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