Transform junk mail into beautiful envelopes

junk mail envelope

Whether we like it or not, many of us get bombarded with junk mail.  And try as we might to remove ourselves from junk mail lists, unsubscribe, plead with the postman… somehow it just keeps trickling in.  This project will give some of the paper in your junk mail pile one more use before it heads into the recycling bin.

With all of the colorful designs on a lot of junk mail catalogs and solicitations, many of them can make unique envelopes. They are extremely easy to make, and these one-of-a-kind, funky envelopes are sure to put a smile on your addressee’s (and maybe even your postman’s) face.

junk mail envelope tutorialFor this project you will need:

1 sheet of junk mail paper or 1 sheet out of a junk mail catalog

Scissors (If you need them, you can get lefty scissors on this website)


Card/Letter you want to put in the envelope

1. Place the item you want to mail (the card or letter) on the center of your junk mail sheet.  Make sure that the side of the paper you want to appear as the outside of the envelope is facing down.recycled paper envelope

2. Fold the sides of the sheet in around the card or letter – fold straight creases along the top, bottom, left, and right.  This should create a grid-like pattern of folds on the sheet.  (See the picture on the right.)

recycled paper envelope tutorial3. Use your scissors to cut out the four corners that were created by the folds.  This should leave you with a cross-like shaped paper that has a center for the card or letter you want to mail and 4 flaps surrounding it.  (Check out the picture on the left.)

4. Glue one of the larger flaps to the two side flaps to create a pocket for the item you want to mail.  Once the glue has dried, place your letter in and seal the envelope by gluing the remaining flap closed.reused paper envelope tutorial

If you are hand-delivering this envelope, then you don’t have to worry how sturdy your paper is.  But if you plan on mailing the envelope (especially if it’s to an international location), then you may want to line the inside of the envelope with some additional junk mail paper.  Magazine or catalog papers can be beautiful, but they can also be thin so before gluing the flaps closed in step 4, glue a cut out piece of paper that is slightly smaller than the main section of the envelope to the inside.

Read about other upcycled projects:

Think Again: Make a Last Minute Gift Bow with Reused Paper

Think Again: Strike Up a Matchbox Inspired Recycled Notebook

Think Again: Turn Old T-Shirts Into Drawstring Bags

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13 thoughts on “Transform junk mail into beautiful envelopes”

  1. Zaufishan says:

    I do this! I also make my own postcards, wrapping paper (as Karin mentioned) from 'that day' newspapers and greeting cards by re-using left over wallpaper. It's much fun and more… ethical when you know you're not wasting a scrap. Thank yous Karen for sharing. (=

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  3. Robert says:

    If you make lots of junk mail envelopes you can also make a shape and cut around it with knife. That way you can cut out a couple of envelopes at a time. Some examples of envelopes I’ve made can be found here.

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  9. I’ve made envelopes and wrapping paper for gifts from architectural blueprints I found in the garbage in Jaffa-Tel Aviv. Classy, earth-friendly and cheap…

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