Friday, September 13, 2013

custom envelope tutorial.

funny story: last weekend i ordered alices birthday invitations from novel concept designs, AND managed to get a smoking deal on prints at target, and before i could finish my just-got-super-awesome-custom-invitations-for-eleven-dollars happy dance, i realized that a handful of the invites needed to be mailed. and the little stash of plain envelopes i had on hand was the wrong size. 

i know what youre probably thinking, "this is where she totally loses it and tells a hilarious story about one of her obsessive-compulsive meltdowns". well if you were thinking that, you were very much wrong, because i had this handled. making custom-sized envelopes is one of my super secret special talents (you should really see the envelopes i made for our wedding invitations out of a thomas guide), and today im going to show you how to do it too. 

you will need:

paper, significantly larger than your desired envelope size (any kind, get creative! im just using white printer paper since its easier to see)
scissors (and/or a sliding paper cutter)
glue stick
ruler (if you have them, a clear ruler and rotary mat are VERY helpful, but not entirely necessary)
cereal box or other large piece of cardboard (optional, if youd like to save a permanent template)

heres what you do:

note: here im making a 4x6 envelope, but you can scale this up or down for literally any size envelope just by changing your starting measurements. 

step 1: were going to start by making a crude little schematic to determine our measurements (dont worry about drawing it to scale, well refine it later). first you need a rectangle representing the finished size of your envelope:

now youre going to add 1 inch wide flaps on each side:

next add a bottom flap that measures about three quarters of the desired length of the envelope, in this case, 3 inches:

lastly, were going to add the top flap, which needs to cover the remainder of the length of the envelope (in this case, 1 inch), plus one more inch for overlap (in this case, 2 inches total). this will result in a nice little envelope shape like this: 

with your schematic all finished,  determine your paper size by adding the extra length and width you added with the flaps to your original envelope dimensions (here we end up with 8 inches wide by 9 inches long):

step 2: cut your paper to these measurements. if youre making more than one envelope, i recommend cutting all your paper at once to save time, and a sliding paper cutter will be more accurate than scissors (unfortunately i dont have one of those right now...):

step 3: youve probably noticed now that you have a whole bunch of paper rectangles and that your envelope needs to be sort of cross-shaped. were going to fix that by cutting out the negative space in the corners. lets start at the top:

measure a rectangle 1 inch wide (for your side flap), and 2 inches long (for your top flap, obviously this will be different if youre making a different size), and mark it out:

and repeat on the other side:

step 4: repeat the process on the bottom corners, this time making rectangles one inch wide by three inches long (again, length will be different if your envelope size is different):

step 5: take your marked piece of paper:

and cut out all your negative space:

(optional step: if you want to save a permanent template, so that you can make more envelopes later, simply trace this shape onto some stiff cardboard and cut it out. bam. unlimited free envelopes)

step 6: carefully fold your side flaps toward the middle of the envelope, making sure to keep your fold nice and straight (this is where the rotary mat really comes in handy):

repeat on the other side, making sure youve got nice, crisp creases:

step 7: fold your bottom flap up, again making a nice, crisp crease:

step 8: unfold the bottom flap and apply glue to the bottom 3 inches of the side flap (or however high up your bottom flap goes:

and press it back up, making sure you get a tight seal:

step 9: now just fold your top flap down:

and youre done!!!!

obviously this project is super duper open ended, and i fully encourage you to go out and make all kinds of crazy envelopes (its a great way to recycle pretty papers). if you do end up making some, please, please, PLEASE let me know so i can see!

and dont forget to stay tuned for tomorrows post, its my six month blogging anniversary!

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