It sounds really rather easy, just fold and glue? The good news is that it is, the bad news is that it took me a while to figure out exactly what folds I should be making, and where I should be gluing. So, here is a pictography of an envelope that I made for a penpal this afternoon.
Step 1: Find a piece of paper you really like and select a size for your envelope. Mine is purple and measures 4" x 6". The paper under the fold is my template for sizing. I then folded the purple paper almost perfectly in half, leaving a bit of space
between what will become the back of the envelope and the fold line for the flap.
Step 2: Make the appropriate folds.
Here, I folded the ends of my envelope, on the left and right, to make my envelope 6" wide, and then made the fold for the flap in the middle of the paper so that my envelope will be 4" tall.
See how that little space I left in step 1 gives a bit of a window for a letter to peek out?
Step 3: Make the appropriate cuts, I use an X-Acto knife for this.
The only cuts that are really necessary to make are to eliminate the fold overs on the bottom third of the sheet, leaving a plain square bottom. All others are really personal preference.
This is what my paper looked like after all my cuts were made.
Step 4: The lining.
This step is (obviously) entirely optional. But I like to line my envelopes. Usually I use colorful scenes cut from magazines as a delightful surprise for my mail recipients. But I could find anything suitable in the stack of Time magazines next to my desk, so I chose a lavender colored piece of paper, cut to size, to glue into the backside of the inside of my envelope. If that doesn't make sense, please excuse my poor word choice and reference the picture.
Step 5: Glue tabs and fold!
This is where the envelope really comes together. With a touch of common sense, this step can't really be goofed. However, in my case, I accidentally glued the tops of my middle tabs instead of the insides, so the middle tabs in my finished product are on the inside of my envelope, rather than decoratively on the outside.
Oh well, this way, when sealed, my envelope will have a modern feel to it. At this point, further decorative cuts may also be made. i.e. flap corners.
Step 6: also optional (sense the freedom in the envelope-making process?), exterior decoration.
Wanting to keep my envelope simple and minimalist, I cut rectangles from the scraps of my lavender colored sheet of paper and glued them to the front of my envelope. It adds visual interest, makes the address easier to read for the mail carrier, and by adding a lighter colored background - frees up the ink options I have for addressing my letter! To keep with my monochromatic theme, I think I'll use some Waterman Violet.
As a last note, the envelope can be sealed simply using a glue stick, or with a sticker, or wax seal.
Although not earth-shattering, I hope that this little how-to helps you get the basic elements of folding and gluing down. Now get out and there and mail a friend or family member your very own work of art.