Words these days tend to be bare, received instantly through an email, fax, text, and social media. But words received in an envelope? Words sent like that are covered, creating a waiting time—a pause between the writing, the receiving, and the reading. Although our world shifts the pace of words, where communication is sent quickly and read instantly, there’s a nostalgia and mystery paired with the envelope. A wonder of “what could be inside?” and a slight pull from our heart to open something so basic and simple that now seems like a novelty.
To keep that sense of wonder, and send words that cause a pause and tearing of a seal—let’s make envelopes! Let’s create unique handmade envelopes that bring the details of nostalgia and delight to the recipient whose name adorns its exterior.
What You’ll Need
- Envelope (at least one). This will be the template for the size of your handmade envelopes.
- Assorted Paper. Play with prints, photographic images, and vintage paper. Pages from Anthropologie catalogues and leftover wrapping paper scraps are one way you can make your handmade envelopes up-cycled and unique.
- Scissors. Snip snip.
- Pencil. For tracing and spontaneous doodling.
- Glue. Perhaps the most important material, as it holds your envelope, and its contents, together.
- Flat Paintbrush. The tool you’ll need to apply the glue.
- Odds & Ends. Buttons and clasps used as envelope closers and fastened with string bring in that extra hint of detail.
Unfold the envelope that you are using as your template. Place the unfolded envelope on to the back of the assorted paper that you would like to use as the exterior of your handmade envelope. Trace the template and cut out the envelope shape with your scissors.
Next, choose paper with a print, graphic, or pattern that would be darling peeking out from the inside of your envelope. Cut a piece of this paper just slightly smaller than the envelope exterior that you just traced and cut out. Pair unlikely patterns together—this is your creation! Meant to be one of a kind and a bit quirky, think of how your paper placement can bring a smile to the recipient who opens it.
Brush a light amount of glue on the back of the smaller cut out patterned paper. Make sure the paint is near the edges, and don’t apply too much as this can cause bubbling. Press the patterned paper aligned and centered onto the larger envelope cut-out.
Once the envelope layers are dry, fold the seams. Use two glue dots to glue lines on the outer margins to then secure the seams. Fold the bottom of the envelope inward. Lastly, fold the outer edges in and over the bottom part of the envelope.
Add on odds and ends like buttons or brads secured with string to add a hint of detail on the upper flap of the envelope. Use paper scraps to write a note or make handmade cards to slip inside. Address, stamp, and your quirky little handmade envelopes are ready to be sealed and delivered!