How to Make Handmade Envelopes

How to Make a Handmade Envelope | The Postman's Knock

Anyone can learn how to make handmade envelopes because it’s just cutting and gluing. Honestly. Easiest thing in the world. It’s perhaps a bit time-consuming, but if you’re going to put in the time to write a letter anyway, why not send it in style? Handmade envelopes add literal meaning to “the art of mail”. If you’re with me in preserving this art, let’s get started on creating custom handmade envelopes!

Today we’ll be making 5.1″ x 3.6″ envelopes. The first thing you are going to do is download my .pdf template by clicking on this link:


After it downloads, print it off on thick 8.5″ x 11″ paper (though regular printer paper will work as well) and cut it out along the solid lines.

Next, pick a large piece of paper that you would like to create an envelope from. I have chosen a vintage atlas that I picked up at a garage sale for free last summer. (If you don’t have any good paper, check out Goodwill, auctions, or garage sales to buy old books for pennies.) Lay the paper flat, then trace around the template you cut out, like so:

Trace Around the Template

Once you’ve traced around the template, cut it out:

Cut Around the Template

Now your envelope starts to come to life! Fold up the bottom:

Fold Up the Bottom

And fold in the sides:

Fold in the Sides

Fold in the Sides

You’ll now have something that looks like this:

Backside Envelope Pre-Gluing

Now what you will want to do is trace around where the sides overlap with the bottom flap so you’ll know where to glue. I usually use a light pencil line to do this, but for visual’s sake for this tutorial, I have traced it in pen.

Traced for Gluing

Now, put some glue where you have traced:


And voilĂ ! A handmade envelope:

Handmade Envelope

In making handmade envelopes, it is important to evaluate whether an address label is necessary or not. With the particular paper I used, it certainly is. I doubt the mailman would deliver my letter if I tried to get my handwriting to compete with the jumble of map. However, should you create handmade envelopes using, for example, a brown paper sack, you should be fine to write straight on the envelope.

Particularly if you are planning on giving your handmade envelopes away as gifts or as a stationery set, it’s a good idea to paint lick-to-seal envelope glue on them. It’s a simple, four-ingredient recipe tutorial that can be found on my blog post How to Make Envelope Glue in Four Ingredients.


    • says

      My pleasure! After looking at your blog, I think that you could use the template to send things from some of your exotic travels. I’m jealous! It was cool to see pictures of your trip to the CA State Railway Museum, especially the dining car that says “Atchison | Topeka | Santa Fe” … because I used to live in Lawrence, Kan., which is very close to both Atchison and Topeka. :)

  1. Kathi says

    Thanks so much for the brainstorm you just gave me! I have stacks and stacks of sheet music that was my Dad’s. I can’t bear to throw it away. I can still see him playing his piano and singing along. What a wonderful way to use the sheet music! I am making Valentines for my grandchildren and was searching for a way to make handmade envelopes when I came across your blog! Now I can wrap my grandchildren’s Valentines in a piece of family history! I love it! Thanks so much! Any other ideas for using the sheet music?
    PS Sorry for all the exclamation marks, but I am excited! oops, there’s another one.

    • says

      Hi Kathi!

      No worries, I am just as bad {or good?} about using exclamation points. I am constantly editing so people don’t think I’m breathless after I finish talking!

      Now, as far as how to use those extra pages, I would suggest you check out the book Artist’s Journals and Sketchbooks: Exploring and Creating Personal Pages by Lynne Perrella. To me “art journaling” is just a more expressive form of scrapbooking. It would be really neat to use the sheet music as a backdrop for pages, or use them on a couple of pages where you write down some of the memories you have about your dad — you should include a couple of photos, too! An art journal would be something really cool to share with your children and grandchildren, and a wonderful way to preserve memories. You don’t have to be able to draw or paint to make art journals — the only skill you need is being handy with a stick of glue, which I am sure you are if you are making these envelopes. :)

      Have fun and thanks so much for reading!

  2. Ashley says

    I’m having trouble with the ink bleeding on envelopes. What should I do about this? Do you use a certain type of envelope?

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