Introduction: Folding Your Own Envelope -Origami Style

Fold your own envelope from a single sheet of A4 or letter sized paper.

Step 1: Start With Letter Sized (or A4) Sheet of Paper.

begin with a letter or A4 sized sheet. Whatever you write on the reverse side of the sheet will be wholly contained inside the final sheet.

Step 2: Fold One Corner Underneath Fully As Shown.

Step 3: Unfold Same Corner.

Step 4: Repeat Mirror Image.

Step 5: Unfold Again

same as previous side

Step 6: Fold Through Centre Where Fold Intersects the Point of Intersection of Folds 2 & 4.

Step 7: Unfold All and Begin a "butterfly Fold" of Sheet As Shown.

Step 8: You Should End Up With What You See Here.

Step 9: This Shows the Reverse Side of That Same Fold From 8

Step 10: Fold the Corner of This Newly Formed Flap As Shown.

Step 11: Repeat Same for Other Side.

Step 12: Fold Pockets.

place your finger inside the pocket that is created and you should be able to end up with a boxish pocket.

Step 13: Crease the Sides of This Box Down.

Step 14: Finished Step 13.

Step 15: Same As 13. and 14. for Other Side.

Step 16: Fold Corner of New Box Up Into Opposing Corner.

getting tricky now,

Step 17: Same for Other Side.

Step 18: Fold the Envelope Tongue

Fold up little tongue that is left between those last two guys

Step 19: With Some Luck It Should Look Like This

Step 20: Fold Nose Over.

fold the entire nose over at the top of the boxes you folded in 13 & 14.

Step 21: Tuck Nose Under Tongue

you need to tuck this new nose under the tongue you folder up in 18.

Step 22: Tuck Underneath

here it is being tucked underneath. this is where you will later close the envelope into.

Step 23: Voila. Getting Close.

Step 24: Fold From Sides.

Step 25: Same Other Side.

Step 26: Fold Corners

now fold the corners of these new pieces over as shown.

Step 27: Fold Other Corner

again on other side.

Step 28: Tuck Under Previous Folds

this whole new flap can now be tucked under your previous folds. here it is intucked.

Step 29: From: Flap

and here it is tucked. a convenient flap to write your name on!

Step 30: You Can Address and Stamp the Other Side and It's Legal Postage! is an illustrator file so you can add your own graphics for printout.

pushingtheenvelope.jpg has my howtoon graphics and should hopefully print correctly to letter sized paper in portrait format.


icecubejr (author)2008-05-04

Can somone please tell me how to download the pattern it dosnt work

SaraB21 (author)icecubejr2015-09-22

I have to agree with you! I can't seem to get the file to open either!


I can't either! The jpeg file doesn't seem to be there.

airship (author)2005-10-05
This is cool, but NOT legal to mail in the US. This is from the U.S. Postal Service Web site:
To be eligible for mailing at the postage rates for letters, a piece must be:
  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-½ inches high x 5 inches long x .007 inch thick.
Folded, this item is, by my measurements, 2 3/8" high x 4 1/4" long, so it's both too short and too narrow.
Not only do you not get the letter rate for something this small, you can't mail it at all.
Too bad, 'cause it's cool.
Rusky78 (author)airship2013-08-13

airship, why do you have to be such an arse? "legal" measurements are for bulk mailing discounts, but for a single mailing, any ole envelope will do. There's nothing improper let alone illegal about using these folded envelopes, as long as they are sealed and posted.

saul (author)airship2005-12-15

i have to check on this now. i admit to not checking my sources after being told it was legal. what a buggar. i guess it is back to the folding drawing board, or using bigger paper....

maeve (author)saul2009-06-16

Don't bother, it will still get delivered.

maeve (author)maeve2009-06-16

PS Ithink this is soooooo cooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

maeve (author)airship2009-06-16

Phew! Here in Ireland this is uncategorised, but what the heck, THEY STILL DELIVER IT!

ANTQNUT (author)airship2009-04-22

wow. why did you go through all that work to prove someone, that probably spent a long time working on this envelope instructable, wrong. wow.

cirano (author)ANTQNUT2009-05-20

ease up. it is good info airship provided. It doesn't undermine the ible anyway, the envelope fold is still pretty cool. More info never make diy things uncool.

kibbler (author)airship2008-12-30

I sent it, and it worked. Those post office peeps don't really care.

edunbarr (author)airship2007-09-14

Shoot, I get stuff smaller than what the PO considers "regulation size" all the time! Post cards from loan companies, Christmas greetings from my dentist's office... I don't understand why something like this would be "illegal" to mail when I get tiny stuff all the time??

Rusky78 (author)2013-08-13

airship, why do you have to be such an arse? "legal" measurements are for bulk mailing discounts, but for a single mailing, any ole envelope will do. There's nothing improper let alone illegal about using these folded envelopes, as long as they are sealed and posted.

dravenous (author)2010-07-25

i normally like dont have a clue how these things are done but was worth it trying for the 1st soooo much FUN thanks for the tips i can fold one....wooohooo but it took some i got something to pass on its a bit old scwlish but well worth it..sweet

nightninja87 (author)2010-01-08

thanks this website saved my butt again i was making a gift for my gf and couldnt remember how to make this envelope was in one of my origami books and cant find it thanks for this ible

stopanator (author)2009-09-19

fun way to make and no need for envelopes :)

nate121 (author)2008-05-17

i say to many steps

maeve (author)nate1212009-06-16

Maybe but its ok if you put it on "show all steps". I thoought it was handy because usually I get stuck with origami stuff but all the pictures and simple steps helped.

paperairplanecreator (author)2009-05-11

dude thats so awsome! not only are you saving money, its fun to make.

gimmetc (author)2009-04-07

thanks very much and it was easy and produced a nice envelope, but the A4 letter size makes envelopes that are 2 in X 4 in

tjk94 (author)2009-03-03

I have also noticed that if you put a giftcard in the "pocket" shown in step 19 it fits perfectly (its the same pocket you use to close the envelope in the end).

sydburn (author)2008-12-20

excellent directions, very well made

unknownname (author)2008-12-03

***** 5 Stars ***** (If You Think You Ended Up With A Small Envelope, You Would Think To Find A Larger Piece Of Paper With The Same Scale) I Laughed The First Time Giving It To The Post Office But They Take Them :)

snowmoonelk (author)2008-06-11

Fab but too tiny!

456acdc5443 (author)2008-02-25

thanks now I don't have to spend a hole bunch of money on envelopes

cheepy (author)2007-12-04

I Love This Envelope! IT IS COOL! I am gonna make my own envelopes all the time now!! Thank Saul!

originalwynne (author)2007-11-08

i didnt quite get step 22 do you think you could post a clearer pic or a vid? thanx

Elotopia (author)2007-09-22

I love this pattern! Have been making envelopes like crazy!

whopoder (author)2007-08-15

Perfect! The best envelope ori-style! I saw this long time ago... i think. No matter! Ty for this instructable :)

aliciaecm (author)2007-05-01

That sucks about the US postal service. Here in the UK we can send whatever we like. My friend posted me a message in a travel sized shampoo bottle, and my tutor at college painted a white stripe around a pebble, wrote an address on it and stuck on a stamp and it got posted fine. Great instructable! I always have trouble making envelopes.

DillyDog (author)2007-04-02

I just tried this with a piece of A3 and it works just great. It is a perfect size for posting. Works out to be about C6 in size. Thanks for the idea. I think I'll do all of my personal mail this way now!

b-dog132 (author)2007-01-20

if u love origamie go to

oushkul (author)2006-05-21

BTW. It folds to 3 1/2 by 6 inches :o) Should get around your minimum size issues...

oushkul (author)2006-05-21

I'm new to the site. Love some of your ideas. I've got a way to fold A4 into a natural looking envelope which has a really cool way to open. I'll post it shortly as a new project.... Happy folding....

ssvalenteno (author)2006-03-28

Hey Saul Great post, I am a origami nut good job describing the folds and good pics, fuzzy yet clear to understand

Ingerson (author)2006-03-20

Don't worry too much about the minimum size regulations: just think of the unusual things Wired Magagine recieves it their "Return to Sender" competition. Snippet from their website: "Every month, WIRED magazine features a cool piece of reader-submitted concept art. Past winners include a guitar, a vintage computer, a boomerang, sneakers, and military MREs. Refashion your refuse into a conceptualist objet d'art, slap a mailing label on it (no boxes allowed!)" so a small envelope will get their just fine. mamato: please do an instructables step by step for the Florentine fold: the end result looks great but I keeping getting confused by the diagrams in that link you left.

erikabuentello (author)2006-02-11


sharath (author)2006-02-09

it works great save for the tiny size. well, using different size of paper could be the soln, but can someone modify the folds such that it works for A4 paper.

mamato (author)2005-12-30

i kinda like the florentine fold which i used for christmas cards:

it's simpler, quicker, and i believe has a better original to final size ratio so it might fit into the uspo criteria.

with this folding, the stamp also works as a seal... what else could you ask for ;)

eleraama (author)2005-10-15

Or glue/tape two pieces of 8.5x14 together (which I think is A4, or legal, and is fairly common in offices)

eleraama (author)2005-10-15

You'd need a piece of paper at least 12.5 inches wide by almost 13 (12.94) inches long, which is paper sizes A2 or B3 and above to mail in the US. US "Tabloid" size is also big enough (but I've never actually seen it sold...) And Japanese JIS-3 works too (and I knwo this because I'm having a little too much fun finguring this out)

declandog (author)2005-10-10

kinda defeats the purpose, but you could put it in a bigger envelope...I had these really cool cow postcards that were wood and the first one got destroyed in the mail. So I sent the next one in an envelope. It still had the same affect. You'd be amazed at people's reaction to anything handmade these days.

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