Living A Simple Life- Part 33 (Handmade Envelopes Tutorial)

Simple Thurs

This weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in a local “DIY Craft Fair.” It is held annually, in conjunction with our church’s Advent Conspiracy activities. This event encourages relational giving, and provides wonderful ideas for making gifts.
It was a wonderful way of simplifying the focus of the holiday season.  Instead of seeing people rushing around gathering wrapping and gifts, they were leisurely going through the afternoon mulling over ideas and even trying their hand at making things!  What a refreshing departure from a consumeristic approach.  
At my booth, I displayed handmade envelopes.  I have been making envelopes from discarded magazine and calendar pages since childhood.  Large maps or book pages work well too!  I demonstrated how to make difference sizes, to be used for mail or for gift-wrapping.  (If you have ordered anything from my Etsy shop, you will have experienced my handmade envelope gift-wrapping first-hand.)  I especially enjoyed passing on the timeless techniques of hand-stitching to some of the young ladies in attendance.
Here are my instructions that I provided at the event.  Let me know if you have any questions. Have fun!  


Use as gift wrap, or give stationery sets as gifts!


  • Magazine Pages, Calendar Pages, Old Book Pages, Old Maps, Etc.
  • Scissors and/or Paper-Cutter
  • Adhesive
  • Blank White Lables

For Larger Envelopes, the following items are helpful:

  • Sewing Machine (or needle & thread for hand-stitching)
  • Hole Punch
  • Ribbon/Yarn


Small Envelope (“Letter/Card Size”)

Take apart an existing envelope to use as a pattern, or draw your own pattern on a piece of scrap paper. Choose paper for your envelope, and trace your pattern onto it. Cut out, fold back together, and adhere (a glue stick works fine). 

Place a label on the front for addressing (or glue on a strip of white paper from your scraps). Glue sticks or double-sided tape (or even wax seals!) work well for sealing the envelope.  As long as they are appropriately addressed, and a stamp is applied, these will go perfectly through the mail system.  

Medium/Large Envelopes (“Gift Enclosures”)

Entire sheets of paper may be used. Choose two coordinating sheets of paper, and trim them to the same width. Cut the “front” side page a few inches taller than the “back” side page. Match up the bottom edges of the two pages (remember, they should be the same width!). 

Using a sewing machine or hand stitching, stitch around the edges to create the back “pocket” part of the envelope. Try using decorative or zig-zag stitches! Fold over the extra length from the front, to create the envelope flap. (A decorative stitch may be done across the flap, too, if desired.) I used a blanket stitch on the edge of the one in the photo.  
Punch a hole in the flap, and a corresponding hole in the pocket, and tie closed with a ribbon, threading through the holes. (A gift tag may be tied on here, too.) Or, just adhere closed with glue, tape, or stickers. Experiment & have fun!

As we enter a season of reflecting upon God’s wonderful gift to us- His Son- it is a pleasure to give small, personal gifts to others in remembrance.  I recommend spending some time today reflecting upon our ultimate gift, and then mulling over how you can bless someone else (perhaps with a handmade gift!).  

If you would like to put my “Simple Living” button on your blog, feel free to copy & paste the code located on the right side of the page. Let me know if you do, so that I can visit your blog! To read previous “installments” in my “Living a Simple Life” series, click on the “Simple Living” tab at the top of the page. You are welcome to leave comments on any of the posts; I read them all. Let me know if this has inspired a blog post of your own! Each Thursday, I write a new post in this series, so stop by next week!

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