Tutorial: Make Your Own Envelopes

Back in 2001, the USPS designated the month of April National Letter Writing Month. The Paper Mouse team loves to celebrate this snail mail jubilee, and we encourage everyone to join in the fun of writing and receiving letters this month.

Forget about plain white envelopes - it’s easy to make your own cute and colorful envelopes right at home! For this tutorial, you’ll need the following tools and materials:

  • Scissors
  • A glue stick 
  • A pencil
  • Paper that’s at least 8.5” x 11” to make your envelope
  • Optional: Contrasting paper to make an envelope liner

You’ll also need to download and print one (or both!) of our envelope templates:

  • 4-bar envelope template  The 4-bar envelope is 3.75” x 5.25” and will fit a folded 5” x 7” letter
  • A6 envelope template  The A6 envelope is 4.75” x 6.5” and will fit a folded 6.25” x 8.5”  letter
Before starting, print one of the envelope templates above onto 8.5” x 11” printer paper or cardstock and cut it out. If you’d like a thicker template, you can trace the cutout onto a piece of thin cardboard, but it’s optional!

Each envelope template also includes a template for an optional envelope liner. The tutorial below shows the steps for adding a liner to your envelope, but if you don’t want one, feel free to skip those steps.

How to make an envelope

1. Begin by choosing paper for your envelope and liner. Your paper should be thin enough to fold without difficulty. It can be plain, colorful, or patterned - it’s up to you! Just keep in mind that you’ll want to be able to write an address on the front.

    2. Flip your paper over and lay your envelope template on the back side of the paper. Trace around the template with a pencil. (Since the paper is upside down, any stray pencil marks will end up on the inside of your envelope.) Trace your liner template in the same way.

      3. Cut out the envelope shape and the liner shape that you traced.

        4. Fold in the sides of your envelope. Use your finger to crease the paper along the fold. The 4-bar envelope (above left) has wings that will overlap slightly in the center (one side is a little longer than the other). The A6 envelope (above right) has smaller flaps that fold in along the sides.

          5. Fold up the bottom of your envelope and crease along the fold. On the A6 envelope, the bottom is the slightly longer side that curves away from the side flap (see above right). On the 4-bar envelope, top and bottom are even.

            6. Now it’s time to glue the bottom flap over the side flaps. On the 4-bar envelope, glue a stripe along the bottom edges of the triangular flap (see above left). Put a piece of scrap paper underneath the flap to keep the glue off your table. Fold the bottom up over the side flaps and press down.

            On the A6 envelope, it helps to take an extra step first. Fold the bottom flap up over the side flaps, and use your pencil to make a small mark at the top and side of the corners where they overlap (see above center). Now unfold the bottom flap again. The marks you made will show you how far up to glue. Put a piece of scrap paper underneath the side flaps and glue along the inside edges, up to your pencil marks (see above right). Fold the bottom up over the side flaps and press down.

            7. If you’re adding an envelope liner, now’s the time for that step. (If not, skip ahead to step 9.) Flip your liner paper upside down and glue a stripe along the top edge. 

              8. Flip the liner paper right side up again and carefully slide it inside your envelope, making sure to hold the gluey edge away from the envelope. Line up the paper so it’s centered inside the envelope, leaving a border along the top edge. When you like where it’s positioned, press down.

                9. Fold down the top edge of your envelope and crease along the fold. 

                  10. You’re all done! When it’s time to mail your envelope, you can seal it with glue, decorative tape, a sticker, or even a wax seal. 


                    • Joan Kaufman

                      Thank you, I love this tutorial! I like to coordinate the postal stamp with the envelope color and the ink used for the address. This will bring my hand-written letters and cards to another level.

                    • Lou-Ellen Maiorana

                      Thank you for the wonderful tutorial clear and simple. I liked that I could print the templates. Good job.

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