Upcycled envelopes

Spring cleaning turns out interesting things.

In my case a pile of magazines I had put aside for making envelopes.

I don’t buy magazines anymore as I just don’t get around to reading them. They used to get pushed from side to side with the intention of “reading them over the weekend” or “over Christmas/Easter/etc.” and that was it. Friends often give me their read magazines which is good for the environment but not so good for the publishers. Ha-ha. I also collect newspaper inlays or in the case of the envelopes in this post a magazine from the online pet food company where I buy my cat food.

So before throwing your magazines into the recycling bin why not pick out your favourite images and make some envelopes. A friend of mine has been doing this for years and I just love opening my letter box to her colourful envelopes.

Now admittedly in the day and age of messaging using snail mail might not necessarily be the first thing that jumps to mind when wanting to communicate with friends and family, but I really still do like posting letters. My handwriting is appalling so I usually type my letters and handwrite the “Hellos” and “Goodbyes”.

And then the fun part begins: looking through all the envelopes to pick out the one which will make the recipient and maybe also the postman smile.

How to get started

All you need is a pile of magazines, brochures or even old calendar pages. Just make sure the paper isn’t too thick as this might add extra postage to your letter. But if the image is great then it is worth it.

You’ll also need a pencil, a piece of cardboard, sellotape and/or paper glue stick and self-adhesive labels

I made myself a template from an old envelope. Just take any envelope shape you like, carefully take it apart and trace around it on a piece of cardboard. Cut out your traced envelope using a sharp pair of scissors or a cutter knife.

Take your magazines and tear out the pages with your favourite images. It is best for the image to be in the top half of the page as this will be the front of your envelope.

Trace around your template and cut out your envelope. If you are taking pages from the same magazine and the main images you have choosen are all roughly in the same place then you can just bunch a few pages together, fix them with a paper clip and then cut out several envelopes at a time.

Optional: Push the paper leftovers onto to the floor to get your cat off the table.

Fold your envelopes into shape and place them under a heavy book whilst you are folding together the other envelopes.

At this stage you can either just leave them and stick them together when you need them (which is what I do nowadays) or you can stick the sides of the envelopes together and get them all ready. I use a glue stick as I found that runny glue pushes out beneath the seams and you might accidently be sticking your envelope together with no letter inside.

I like to stick a piece of sellotape at the back of my envelope once I have put my letter in to close it in safely. If you don’t have any self-adhesive labels for the address then you can, depending on the colour of the image, take a thick biro or black marker to write the address on your letter.

These colourful envelopes make a great present as well.

Have fun trying this out!