All Dressed Up | DIY PAPER ENVELOPES

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Yes,I am still writing letters. And yes, I am still looking for the best ways to dress up said letters and make them stand out of the crowd.

I’m on a mission, really.

The goal is that one day the mailman will no longer need to stop and wonder “Whoever sent this lovely note?” (as mailmen typically do). Because he’ll already know. In his new-found wisdom, he’ll be thinking “This striking message wrapped in hand-dyed galaxy paper, adorned with do-it-yourself crochet stamps, labelled with glow-in-the-dark writing and raining glitter all over my shoes can only have one source: Motte from Berlin.”

That’s the dream.

So this craft is all about handmade paper envelopes.

You know, we're starting small and then we’ll work our way up to the pizazz!

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

So you might be thinking „Haven’t you done something similar before?“, and “Hold on a minute, where did that post go?”. And you are quite right, I did indeed only recently post a tutorial on how to make paper envelopes using maps from an old atlas. And the result was quite stunning if I may say so myself. But as you so cleverly pointed out, I did take the post back down shortly after.

I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. None that agreed with my conscience at least.

Long story short, I was a little uneasy about whether someone was going to file lawsuit against me for reprinting the maps in a public space. Better safe than sorry. (That phrase seems a little out of place here, but you get what I’m saying!)

I didn’t however want the post to go to total waste, so I redid the envelopes using patterned craft paper instead of the world maps. The result is quite nice also and really, with one simple template that I’ll show you how to make below you can make envelopes from anything that is or resembles paper. So all’s well that ends well. (Because Shakespeare seems so much more fitting.)

Since I already went through the trouble joy of writing an entire blog post on the topic of world map envelopes, I thought I’d include that as well in case for some reason you are interested in my ventures into geography and antiquarian bookshops minus the pretty pictures:

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

"You know you're up to no good a crafter when you buy a 12 by 16 inch, 11 pound world atlas at your local bookshop and feel bad because you know you'll be tearing it apart soon after.

It's true, I felt bad about my murderous intentions, but it did help that the thing only cost me 4€. Talk about a bargain for hundreds of pages of print!

Plus, I'm basically giving it a whole new purpose in life! Once gathering dust on somebody's shelving unit till deemed simply a waste of space, the book now gets to go places, travel the world!

It didn't help however that the salesperson kept pointing out what a fine piece of work this was, stroking the cover, flicking through the pages with a sigh of admiration; making jokes about what a "handy, little pocketbook this is", ideal for when you're "on the go" and simply want to "look things up while out and about".

If only he knew.

Let's just hope he never sees this part of the web or I might never be welcome in his store of book lovers again.

Don't get me wrong! I love books, I do. And most of the time, when I buy them, I don't do much else with them but carefully and blissfully (and sometimes a little too eagerly) turn each page and soak up all the words. I really am a loyal customer and a kind one too.

But you know, there's so much you can do with paper! And with such beautiful prints, I just couldn't help myself but to get out my scissors and, well, go for the kill!

I did own an atlas once, back when I was in school. I didn't quite appreciate it though. Not that it was an artful piece, which it wasn't, but rather a convenient desk atlas designed for easily distracted students and impatient educators.

I disliked geography class, because I didn't understand why it was necessary to know all German rivers by heart, where they have their source and where they end, their geographic features and related geographic statistics.

But now, looking at this stunning bargain I acquired earlier, I am quite awestruck.

First of all, somebody actually took the time to record every darn town and elevation on the planet? And this is a job?

And secondly, these lines and dots and colors all tell a story, personal ones, historical and political. And it is quite beautiful. As always, there is more than meets the eye. But even what I see is, simply put, quite gorgeous.

So I thought, next time I send someone a letter, why not send them at least a teeny tiny part of this world to go with it? Handmade world map envelopes it is then."

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog


HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

  • envelope or template below 
  • desk atlas 
  • sheet of paper 
  • pencil 
  • ruler 
  • scissors 
  • adhesive 

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog | Template

Step 1: First you'll need to make a template. Alternatively, you can print off mine from above onto a sheet of paper at 100% (and continue with step 2).

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog

To make your own template, align the bottom fold of a regular envelope with the shorter side of a sheet of paper, keeping the envelope centered. (If you plan on re-using the template multiple times, I recommend using a thicker sheet of paper, such as cardboard paper.)

Trace the sides of the envelope onto the paper elongating the lines towards the very top. Use a ruler to help with the straight lines. Then, on both sides, mark where the body of the envelope ends.

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Move the envelope upwards so the bottom side aligns with the two marks you just made to each side. Once again, mark where the body of the envelope ends. Then, keeping the envelope put, trace the top flap of the envelope onto the paper.

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Remove the envelope and elongate any lines not yet reaching from one side of the paper to the other, and adjust the shape of the side flaps so that they have 45° angles approximately, rather than 90° ones.

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Place the top flap of the envelope onto the bottom fold of your template-envelope to trace a cutout, the so-called throat of the envelope. You can simply follow the shape of the envelope or be a little more creative. Just make sure the throat is smaller than the top flap and leaves room for sealing.

DIY World Map Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Step 2: Cut out your template.

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Step 3: Trace the template onto your craft paper or the leaf of an atlas and cut out.

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Step 4: Score the edges by folding them up towards a ruler.

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

Step 5: To assemble your envelope, fold up the side flaps, add adhesive and fold over the bottom flap. Press down to glue into place and let dry briefly.

To seal, simply glue down the top flap once you have added your love notes.

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

DIY Paper Envelopes | Motte's Blog

"For this project you could try using a simple street map, but I find the thicker paper of the atlas works incredibly well and is quite sturdy, yet light. I also like adding stickers and marking locations on the envelopes that hold some meaning to me.

I love how these turned out, to be frank. So naturally, I made a whole bunch. The atlas however - that tiny little thing - doesn't really look like any pages are missing... So really, I will be sending these out for quite some time!"

Happy mailing!


1 comment

  1. That is a really great tutorial and such a beautiful idea. For sure, I will try it out for Christmas with some Christmas like paper.:)

    Sincerely,
    Hannah

    ReplyDelete