You have paper lying around.
You have junk mail and catalogs, magazines and newspapers.
You have your kid’s schoolwork and artwork and filled-out notebook paper.
You have all the handouts, flyers, and brochures that you were forced to take at your last meeting or doctor’s appointment.
You have wrapping paper, brown paper bags, and big manila envelopes.
And if you’re crafty, you KNOW you’ve got so much more than that! Paper crafting isn’t even my main jam, and yet I’ve got tons of scrapbook paper, cardstock, tissue paper, origami paper, wallpaper samples, and I don’t even know what else.
With all that paper on hand, you never have to buy another envelope again. Instead of going to the store and buying a bulk box of envelopes, just keep on hand scissors, a glue stick, and your favorite of the following templates and tutorials. None of these envelopes takes longer than a couple of minutes to make, and each one re-uses precious resources, saving your precious money and keeping unnecessary trash out of the waste stream.
Which one of these envelopes is going to be YOUR new favorite?
1. 4″x4″ Envelope
Envelopes that are unusual sizes are so much harder to find in stores, and often so overpriced when you do find them. Instead, make your own awesome square envelope using whatever paper YOU choose.
2. Accordion Envelope
This clever envelope has a lot of depth, but a small enough profile to make it easy to mail.
3. Airmail Envelope Template
The template prints the decorative airmail border, which could be really fun on the right upcycled paper.
4. Artist Trading Card Or Gift Card Envelope
This small envelope template is just the right size for a gift card or ATC.
5. Blooming Envelope
What goes IN the envelope is likely going to be less excitedly received than the envelope that contains it!
6. Cash Envelope
Don’t mail cash, but DO keep it in a cute, perfectly-sized envelope!
7. Circles Envelope
This envelope is made from paper circles! It’s a great way to use a mix of pretty, patterned paper.
8. Custom-Sized Envelopes
Handmade cards don’t always fit standard envelope sizes. With this tutorial, you’ll always be able to craft a custom envelope that fits your letter or card perfectly!
9. Custom-Sized Folded Envelope
You don’t even have to draw a template for this custom-sized envelope, since you fold it as you go.
10. DIY Envelope Liner
You can make a liner for any envelope, as long as you first make an extra envelope to destroy in the process of making the liner template…
11. DIY Envelope Template
This tutorial talks you through making your own envelope template. It’s a fun option for creating unusually-shaped flaps!
12. Doily Envelope Liners
How pretty would a whole stack of thrifted paper doilies look when repurposed as the envelope liners for wedding invitations or birth announcements?
13. Envelope And Liner Templates
If you know you’ll want to include an envelope liner, this set of templates is an easy option since it includes both.
14. Envelope Box
If you’ve got the correct weight of cardboard on hand, make yourself some mailing boxes instead of buying them.
15. Decorative 4″x6″ Envelopes
This envelope template is a little roomier so that you can include a second piece of decorative paper on the inside. Pro tip: the envelopes that come with bills often have lovely security patterns on the inside. If you pay your bills online, upcycle those envelopes as this decorative paper!
16. Envelope From 8.5×11″ Paper
If you’re upcycling printer paper into an envelope, this is the easiest tutorial to use, because that’s what it starts with!
17. Envelope Present Wrapping
This envelope substitutes for wrapping paper. You’ll hand-deliver it instead of mailing it, but it’s sturdy enough to hold whole generations of presents!
18. Fold A Letter Into Its Own Envelope
Write a letter onto the back of a piece of pretty scrapbook or origami paper, and then fold the letter into its own envelope!
19. Folded Heart Envelope
Here’s an envelope that’s perfectly suited for your Valentines!
20. Geometric Envelope Templates
Fold your own rhombus, square, diamond, triangle, or hexagon envelope!
21. Mini Envelopes
I use mini envelopes a lot to keep tiny things, like pinback buttons or patches, safe inside a standard envelope.
22. Origami Envelope
Here’s a fun way to use up your very prettiest paper.
23. Origami Flower Envelope
Make the experience of opening your letter just as fun as the experience of reading it!
24. Padded Envelope
Yep, you can even DIY a padded envelope! This tutorial does call for bubble wrap, but you hopefully you’ve been saving/hoarding it from prior packaging.
25. Painted Envelopes
Even if your scrap paper isn’t cute, you can make it cute! This tutorial for painted envelopes can be applied to any non-glossy paper.
26. Square Origami Envelopes
Other than for closing the flap, you won’t need any tape or glue!
27. Standard Envelope Templates
One of these templates should cover most of your mailing needs.
28. Stitched Envelope
Don’t have glue on hand? No problem!
29. String-Tie Envelopes
These string-tied envelopes are more heavily engineered than the other tutorials, and they’re not suitable for mailing without extra postage, but they’re super cute for handing off in person, and better yet–they’re reusable!
30. Winnie the Pooh Grocery Bag Envelopes
Here’s another winner for Valentine’s Day or your kid’s next class party.
Do you have a go-to method for sending out creative and eco-friendly snail mail? Tell me about it in the comments below!