How to Make an Envelope From a Piece of Paper

    by Amy Dombrower

    About the Author

    Amy Dombrower is a journalist and freelance writer living in Chicago. She worked in the newspaper industry for three years and enjoys writing about technology, health, paper crafts and life improvement. Some of her passions are graphic design, movies, music and fitness. Dombrower earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


    If you want to add a creative touch to a piece of mail, make your own envelopes at home. All it takes is a single piece of paper. Using the ancient Japanese art form of origami, you can form a simple bar envelope without having to cut or glue anything. It’s best to begin with a rectangular piece of paper, so regular printer paper will work. It involves a series of folds, but results in a secure, nice-looking envelope.

    Things You'll Need

    • 1 piece of rectangular paper

    Lay the piece of paper vertically on a flat surface. Fold the bottom edge of the paper up to meet the top edge. Crease well. Now the paper is folded in half into a smaller rectangle.

    Fold the top layer of the paper back down to meet the bottom edge of the rectangle. Crease well.

    Fold the top layer back up to the crease you just made. Crease and unfold.

    Fold the bottom edge of the top layer up to meet the crease you just made in the previous step, forming a small strip. Fold the strip upward again along the crease you folded to.

    Take the top edge of the model and fold it down to meet the bottom edge of the strip you just folded in the previous step. Crease and unfold, making a horizontal crease a couple inches from the top of the paper.

    Take the two bottom corners of the paper and fold inward to meet the bottom edge of the folded strip.

    Fold the sides of the model inward, forming a crease along the edges of the corner triangles you just folded. Make a vertical crease on each side of the model and unfold.

    Find the point where the horizontal crease near the top of the paper (from Step 5) and the vertical creases you just made meet on each side. The creases form a small rectangle on either side of the paper. Make a small, diagonal crease across each rectangle, from the edge of each side to the intersecting point. These two creases will be used later.

    Unfold the two corner triangles. Take the folded strip and bring it upward, unfolding along the center fold you made in Step 2.

    Fold the top layer of the two sides of the rectangle inward. Use the vertical creases and the creases from the corner triangles to fold in the two sides and flatten the bottom triangles.

    Take the top edge of the part you just folded, and fold it down along the existing horizontal crease.

    Fold the left and right edges of the model inward along the existing vertical creases. As you fold, bring the bottom triangles down to create a straight edge on each side.

    Fold the bottom corners back behind themselves along the corner triangle creases. They will tuck in and stay in place.

    Fold the top corners of the model down to meet the existing horizontal crease closest to the top edge (from Step 5). Crease and unfold.

    Fold inward along the two small diagonal creases made in Step 8. Refold along the crease you just made in Step 14, and tuck the top corners of the paper back behind the envelope bar.

    Close the envelope by folding the top down along the existing horizontal crease and tucking inside behind the bar.

    • Use a bone folder -- available at paper craft storers -- to smooth your folds.
    • Experiment with different types of paper.

    Photo Credits

    • Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images