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How to Make Envelopes from Magazines - Totally Green Crafts

How to Make Envelopes from Magazines

Everyone has a pile of old magazines gathering dust that we just can’t seem to part with.

To avoid throwing them in the garbage where they will eventually end up on a landfill pile, we suggest repurposing them.

It is super simple to make a handcrafted envelope and you will be helping to save the environment. 

Another benefit of recycling old magazines and repurposing them into envelopes is the personal touch.

Depending on who you are writing to, you can personalize the envelope. These will create much more original and fun envelopes than the plain brown or white ones from grocery stores.

What will I need?

  • Some old magazines
  • Scrapbook labels or plain white address labels
  • Scissors
  • Glue (PVA, a glue gun, or a glue stick will work)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Blank envelope


Making the Template

Carefully unstick the envelope and flatten it out.

If you have time to spare you can hold the envelope over a steaming bowl to gently melt the glue.

This will easily separate the envelope without damaging or tearing it in any way. 

This envelope will act as the template for your homemade envelopes.

Cutting Out the Paper

Once you have done this, lay the envelope flat on top of the magazine page you want to use to make your envelope.

Adjust the positioning of the template on top of the magazine paper to ensure the front of the envelope looks the way you wish it to. 

Do not worry too much about getting the pattern completely straight, having it at an odd angle adds a jaunty aesthetic. 

Draw around the flattened envelope with a pencil to make an outline. Cut this out with your crafting scissors. 

Origami Time

Place the template on top of the cut out section of magazine paper. 

Use the original fold lines as a guide, and fold the magazine paper along them. We advise placing your ruler along the fold lines and using this to help you make the creases.

Using this ruler method will ensure your folds are clean and straight. This in turn will make your finished envelope look neater. 

Let’s Stick It Together

Fold the left and right triangles into the center of your envelope. 

Look at the original envelope and make a note of where it was originally glued. Using this as a guide, fold and glue the lower portions of the side flaps. The type of glue you should use will vary depending on the paper type and what sticks it together best.

Stick together and set aside until the glue has totally dried. 

Finishing Touches

To finish off your homemade envelope, you simply need to add an address label.

You can use a plain white label or a scrapbooking label. If you are feeling particularly fancy you can find some paper that complements your envelope design.

Stick to the front and allow to dry completely. 

What can I do if I don’t have an envelope to hand?

Cut your magazine paper to 8.5 x 11-inch rectangles. This is a standard size, but you can alter these measurements to fit whatever letter or card you wish to post.

Turn the sheet of paper so that the design you wish to be on the front is facing your counter.

Place the document for posting in the center of the magazine rectangle. 

Fold the long sides of the paper along the edges of your document. Adjust the folds as required to ensure the document is completely encased. 

Fold in all 4 corners. 

Fold the bottom edge up and over your document. Using a pen, mark where the diagonals fall to use as a guide.

Add lines of glue on both sides of the paper from the guide line to the fold. 

Fold the bottom corner to meet the guide line and press down to glue shut. 

Allow to dry for a few minutes. Insert your document into the envelope and fold the top edge down. Crease well and apply glue to the edges.

Fold down and press firmly to seal the envelope. Add a storebought or handmade mailing label and write on the address to complete the process. 

Another method does not involve anything except paper, a ruler, and glue. 

Choose the paper you want to make your envelope from and turn it so the design is facing down. Fold the corner of the paper over to make a triangle, leaving a small section of paper overhanging at the end. 

Cut this excess off and unfold the triangle you have made, to form a square. Fold back into a triangle.

Ensuring the front design is facing down and the long folded edge of the triangle is close to you, fold the top corner down so the point reaches the fold. 

Fold the right side in about ⅓ of the way and repeat on the left. Ensure they are even or your envelope will be crooked. 

Press the point of the left side triangle into a diamond to tuck the envelope into.

Fold down the top triangle and tuck into the diamond. Glue!

Additional Notes

For a sturdier envelope, we recommend using a magazine cover to make your envelope.

This method does not just work on magazine pages. It can be translated to any material that is capable of folding. Suggestions include old maps, empty cereal boxes, and any other scrap paper you have lying about the house.

For a more secure close, you can reinforce the glued edges with some Scotch or double-sided tape. 

We strongly advise you to stick on an address label or some plain paper as a backing for the written address. It makes the address much easier to read. This is so that your envelope does not get rejected by the postal service and will manage to make its way to the recipient. 

These create beautiful, unique envelopes and help to save the environment at the same time. Recycling has never been so easy, or so beautiful!

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