Monday, January 18

Making Your Own Cardstock Envelopes

Okay, here's a little something: when sending the holiday cards, we ran out of envelopes. I had to make my own, a process to which I am no stranger, but the cards themselves were almost square. When compensating for a little room beyond the card's edges, the envelopes were almost completely square. The bad thing about that is, square envelopes and postcards incur a 13-cent penalty. Granted, thirteen cents isn't going to bust the bank, and room for stamps isn't an issue since you can put stamps anywhere you like on the face of the envelope (they told me so at the post office), but... call me a traditionalist and a stingy bastard: I didn't want to spring for the extra postage.

So I designed an envelope. I'll update this post with a nicer PDF copy of it, that will be my gift to you, my four readers, but here are the photos of the process.

Okay, in the first picture, what are we looking at? The envelope itself is two separate pieces of paper: the front is a nice decorative piece of cardstock, and the back is a very simple, very plain monochromatic piece. The top line drawing is the back and the bottom cutout will be the template for the front piece. I chose those angles for the tables completely arbitrarily: I'm guessing it's about 30º. You could use a 45º angle or whatever you like, actually. The important thing to understand is that the front piece has two side tabs that will be pasted on the inside of the body of the envelope and one large tab on top that will be folded down on the outside of the back. The back piece only has one bottom tab that will be folded up into the inside. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

The second picture represents each piece cut out in the desired materials. My wife found an excellent book of patterned cardstock, available at any scrapbook place for certain. Should be available in any craft store or some stationery outlets, perhaps.

The third picture is how you will lie the bottom tab of the back piece onto the low edge of the front piece. I made that flap extra big on purpose because I'm using that double-sided window insulator tape. Actually, I should've made all the flaps that big. No reason to give myself less surface area to work with, when using that double-sided tape, which I actually had to slice in half lengthwise for this project! That's ludicrous, no one should have to go through that.

But yeah, you tape (or glue, if you have an excellent glue you're comfortable with; I do not recommend glue stick unless you're very confident of its affixing properties) the large tab from the bottom of the envelope back to inside the bottom of the envelope front.

Now, the left picture shows the beauty of double-sided window insulator tape: you just leave that waxed strip on there until the last second. Were it not for that, you'd be stuck eyeballing how the two pieces will line up before you slap them together and clamp them down, praying to your deity of choice that you didn't miscalculate anything in this imperfect analog world. This way, you can line, align, and realign to your heart's content. When everything's perfect, just lift one corner of that waxed paper backing and whip it away. I think it's fantastic.

I'm not sure what the second picture represents. I took it about a month ago and its meaning is lost on me. I think I was just trying to represent how you shouldn't be afraid to shave off an edge if your measurements are slightly off. I'm definitely glad I invested in a self-healing cutting mat and a metal ruler (though sometimes that Xacto knife actually shaves slivers off the metal ruler, no joke).

With the large tab on the bottom of the envl. back affixed in place, it's nothing to tape/glue the side tabs of the front piece into place. Really, all the work of lining up the two pieces lies in that bottom tab. This is when it's invaluable to use that double-sided tape: line up the two pieces, pinch the right end of the tab, start peeling from the left, compress it there and peel the rest of the way. Simplicity itself.

All you need to assemble are the three sides of the envelope, and leave that fourth tab alone until you fill the envelope. Or, if you're giving a pack of these envelopes to a friend, leave that waxed paper strip on the fourth flap for a handy touch. Like I said, I'll draw up a PDF of the proper measurements. The two most important things are:
  1. Find a strong cardstock that won't crumple in processing, and
  2. Make tabs large enough to accept a strip of double-sided tape, and then some.

1 comment:

christy b., that's me! said...

Did you ever post the pdf? I would like to try your envelope.