Introduction: How to Make Envelopes From Maps

About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!

I happened upon a large collection of nautical charts.  And I love maps.  I went through my collection and have stored the ones that are worth holding on to and have been using the remaining ones for wrapping presents.  But I know there's lots more that i can do with them.  So now have made quite a few envelopes too!

This is an easy project that you really can use any attractive paper to make.  Or if you really like the nautical charts but can't get your hands on any I'm happy to sell you some!

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

I use;
  • maps, charts, atlas pages, blueprints, placemats - anything large and attractive
  • a sample envelope
  • posterboard for a template
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • glue
  • ruler

Step 2: Make a Template

The easiest way to make a template is to take a sample envelope and unfold it.  Carefully tear apart where the envelope is glued until you have an "exploded" envelope.

Then trace that envelope onto the poster board. 

Finally, just cut out the envelope pattern.

Now you have a somewhat rigid form to trace onto the back of the maps or charts.

Step 3: Trace and Cut Out the Blanks

Give some consideration for how the envelope pattern will appear when you are done.  diagonal writing and patterns are cool but some really should be oriented horizontally for the best presentation. 

Also note that the envelope will have a top and a bottom.  With my pattern here the flattened point is the fold of the back side.  Orienting the pattern the wrong way will result in any writing being upside down!  I sure don't want that.

Trace the pattern onto the back side of the envelope.  This makes folding it easier as well as leaves your lines hidden better when the envelope is sealed.

Then just cut out the pattern.

Step 4: Fold the Envelope

Using the notches in the original envelope as a pattern you can see where you should fold the blank.  I found that a good straight edge like this square or an art ruler that's upside down work well. 

Step 5: Glue the Seams

Apply a glue to the overlap areas of the side folds.  Then press the bottom fold into place.  if you put on too much glue you might want to have something inside the envelope so the front and back don't adhere to each other.

I found it was good to put something heavy on the seams so they were not able to unfold before the glue dried.

Step 6: Now Go Write a Letter!

Sure, these envelopes might put a smile on the face of the person that opens the envelopes with your check inside when you pay a bill.  But they definitely will put a smile on the face of a friend or family member.  Today letter writing is much more rare and this will help make sure your envelope doesn't just end up tossed out with all the credit offers and other junk mail.  (On a side note, this website is for opting out of credit offers for 5 years.)

You will, of course, need to glue or tape the envelope shut in the same way you made the envelope.  No licking the old maps - okay?  Oooh... or how about using a wax seal?

Note that these envelopes probably should have a white address label on them so that your postal worker doesn't have to work too hard to figure out where your letter goes!

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