Introduction: Recycled Envelopes
Never buy an envelope again! Wow your friends and bill collectors with mail in these envelopes you've made out of junk. This envelope looks like the sort you'd purchase, with angled bits in the back. Check it out, try it, make someone happy & reduce the landfill all in one fell swoop. And please remember to rate my Instructable. Thanks!
Step 1: Materials Collection
Sources for free and fabulous "junk" paper are everywhere: junk mail, NYT Magazine, gorgeous catalogs for things you can't afford, old calendars, discarded books. Begin collecting as soon as you can because packrat-ism is a positive thing in this case! Whatever you don't use can come in handy for collages and other projects.
Here you see an excellent source for gathering raw materials. For envelopes, you'll want paper at least 8-1/2 x 11", and bigger is better. You will also need scissors and scotch tape. In the final step, you will want a Sharpie pen, or white paper to tape onto your envelope, for addressing purposes.
Step 2: Image Selection & Initial Folds
For the complex envelope, the bigger the paper, the better. Old calendar pages are ideal.
Begin by folding your chosen image on the diagonal. The first fold will create the bottom of your envelope's front. You'll want to fold over more than you might think, in order to make the envelope wide enough to hold most paper or cards.
Step 3: Fold in the Sides
Fold each side angle in to the middle, over the bottom fold you just made.
Details: The edges should overlap. Make sure you have enough paper on each side to cover up the envelope's future contents. A common mistake is to make one side too short, as the side bits are uneven at this point.
Then, as in origami, unfold it and reverse-fold each of the bottom corners. This makes it look more like an envelope, with the middle fold now on top.
Step 4: Complete the Shape and Tape It Down
Now fold over the point that's sticking up off the bottom piece. It will look squared-off. Make it match the side bits in an aesthetically-pleasing way. You can make it an interesting angle if you like, or if that happens to fit the way you folded the sides. (That's not a mistake - it's artistic license!)
Tape the sides down. Also tape over the edges. You want it to be as strong as possible because the post office workers will be so fascinated with your envelope that they'll handle it a lot.
Step 5: Final Steps & Voila!
Here's what it ends up looking like, front and back.
To address it, you can do one of the following:
1) use a Sharpie pen, glitter pen, or the like on a blank portion of your image. (Just be sure to pick something water resistant and extremely visible)
2) glue or tape on a piece of white paper that's been cut into an interesting shape to serve as an address label
3) Use one of those sticky tags for same purpose
Add your return address and a stamp. Tape shut and send. And await the oohs and aahs from your correspondents who've gotten so used to e-mail only that they'll be wowed by receiving this work of art, uniquely made just for them, in the post.