Best of DIYs | Easy Tiny Envelopes

Two years ago we ran across Ruth Bleakley's work and asked her if she'd do a DIY for us.  She sent over this easy (and adorable, we might add) envelope project that has become one our most favourite on the blog. It's a clever idea for making a template that could be translated using any size envelope. If you missed it, here it is:

Easy Tiny Envelopes
By Ruth Bleakley

I discovered this envelope making method completely by accident when pulling soggy rain-soaked mail out of my leaky mailbox - I had a total *eureka* moment when the envelope I gingerly opened up completely unfolded at the seams revealing an envelope "template" perfectly.
I've seen many envelope tutorials online, some offer downloadable templates, some show fancy paper folding techniques and some suggest specific measurements to create your own D.I.Y. envelopes. I'm going to show you how to replicate any interesting envelope that you might already have, no measuring involved!

1. Choose an envelope you already have that you like the size and shape of

2. Soak it in a bowl of water (lukewarm is probably best) for about one minute, or until the glue releases from the paper easily. It will not take as long as you think!

3. Pat the now unfolded envelope dry - it doesn't have to be completely dry, just not drippy - and trace it onto a thin piece of cardboard - chipboard works well, as would something like a cereal box. Try to be accurate at this stage and trace neatly.

4. Cut the template out with a pair of scissors, and you may want to label it so that in the future you (or whoever you live with) won't say "what is this strange piece of cardboard?" and toss it out!
5. Use your new wonderful template to trace out an envelope design on any and all types of paper! Think gift wrap, maps, magazines, old calenders, stamped cardstock - you name it! I like to trace using pencil on the side that will be the inside so the marks won't show.

6. Carefully cut out your envelope with scissors and fold it up - I like to do the sides first, then use the folded sides as a guide on where to fold the top and bottom. Use the handle of your scissors or a bone folder for really crisp edges.
7. Use a glue tape roller  to stick your envelope together, or glue stick but I find glue stick gets brittle after just a few months, go ahead and get a glue tape roller, they're like $5 and you can find them in the adhesive section of an office supply store or craft store.
8. *Bonus Points* if you've ever wanted to be able to lick and stick your envelope flaps, check out this Lick& Stick glue I originally bought from Paper Source (they don't seem to carry it anymore). If you can't find it, you can also D.I.Y. your own envelope glue (2x craft bonus points!)

9. Ta-da! Admire your finished work! Ideas for use include: penpal & swap envelopes, gift card envelopes & storing small things in your studio - if you happen to make some yourself, I'd LOVE to see them! Post a link in the comments.
Ruth Bleakley is a paper addict who probably became a bookbinder soley as an excuse to obtain more paper. She lives on Cape Cod and also designs nautical invitations and stationery (more paper!) under the name Concertina Press.

Jan Halvarson


Unknown said...

That's a great idea.
And so beautifully explained. Strides for step
Thank you! And a great day!

Best regards,

ynas-design said...

Wonderful idea.

Vivika said...

Thanks for remind me this great diy! I'll make some for sure!

koko said...

I LOVE this! Wow! Thank you for such a great DIY! its a great way to give someone a gift of money as well! or to write a little love note.

Pennywise Poundcake said...

So so cute! I love these!

NeatoKeen@Etsy said...

I might even be able to do sweet! What a great idea!

Threadpainter said...

This is a great idea ... often need an envelope for a little drawing !

Bloomsandbugs said...

Beautiful! I pinned those!

Unknown said...

Nice DIY envelopes.
Thanks for sharing it =]

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Unknown said...

Not only are these amazingly tiny packages of cuteness, but I just love the papers she chose! #paperjunkie over at

Anne said...

This is such a great idea! It'll look good on invitations.

-Anne's Scribbles and Doodles

Bright Little Island said...

Love this idea! Tiny envelopes are the best, and why not make them yourself to truly personalize the message/gift being given?! Genius!

Jaime said...

Thanks for this little tutorial! I actually didn't have an envelope laying around, so I just freehanded a template. Turned out perfectly! :)

Unknown said...

These are SOOOO cute! Thanks for the idea and tutorial, will have to try it this summer!