The making of : an envelope step by step

For today I have a post that is a bit different from the others. I have been asked several times how I make my envelopes , how I go from the “digital” world to the “real” world. So I decided to write a post about this, showing step by step how I create an envelope.

Let’s start by some information about the software I use. I use in fact two different products: Photoshop Element and Paint.net. Paint.net is a free software, easy to use, that proposes a big amount of features. Paint.net is very often enough to fulfill my needs. Photoshop Element is more complex to use but of course it proposes more possibilities. When do I use one or the other? I usually use Paint.net because I have it on all my PC at home (I have three), I’m quite familiar with it and I can work quickly with it. If I know I will have to do something quite complex and specific then I use Photoshop Element which I have only on one of my PC. 
Of course, there are a lot of other software that could be used.
Then I start with a template. The envelopes I create are approaching the C6 format (they are actually a bit smaller, but large enough to contain a standard postcard of an A4 sheet folded in four). I selected this format because this is easy to make such envelope in an A4 sheet of paper. I created this template after several trials and errors until I reached the size I wanted when printed on my printer. Each printer brand is different so there is a need for adaptation for your own printer. For the record the template I use has a size of 2480x2480 pixels (the image below has been reduced to save some bandwidth. If you want the actual template then contact me).



On this template you see that the front of the cover is at 45° which is not so easy to manipulate. So using my software tool I rotate it to have it horizontal.

Then I can start decorating my envelope. I work layer after layer. For this example I started “painting” the background using various brushes. What is important is to select, before you start, the colors you want to use on your envelope. Here I selected some shades of blue.  

Then I add some embellishments with some stenciled brushes. For the purpose of this tutorial I made it simple.


Then I add the address of the destination and my address on the back. 


To finish I rotate back the image and crop it to its original size, 2480x2480 pixels.


And I print it on an A4 sheet of paper. Now we are in the physical world.


Let’s have  look to the tools I will use.


1) This is a self healing cutting mat. It is very useful to cut using a cutting knife without destroying the table below! I have this one since years and it does not seem to suffer from the thousands of cut I have made so far
2) Cutting tools: a pair of scissors and a cutting knife. You can do everything with scissors, but I’m not very good at cutting with scissors so I prefer to use a cutting knife and a ruler for the straight lines.
3) A corner punch. You will see a bit later what I use it for. The one I have is a small one and works very well. But you can do without it, and you can round the corners with a  pair of scissors or you can also skip this step.
4) A bone folder. This tool is not mandatory but I highly recommend having one. This is so useful to make clean fold. I have been doing Origami for years without knowing the existence of bone folders. How did I do? Now that I have one, I can not do without it.
5)vGlue: I use two type of glue. A glue stick and a glue tape. Both have their advantages and their drawbacks. The advantage of the glue stick is that you have some time to move a bit the parts you are gluing before the glue gets dry. It helps to correct mistakes. The drawback is that the glue wets the paper and sometimes it creates wrinkles. The glue tape is a dry glue so no time to play around. But it gives a nice look. Depending on the paper I use I will choose one glue or another. But really this is a matter of personal preference here.

So let’s start by cutting around the image.


Then let’s cut the small corners. 

You need to round these corners to make sure your envelope will close nicely. For this I use scissors because it does not need to be very precise, but I’m sure I could find some punches that would do it well.
Then I round the corner of the top flap using my punch. Just because I like them like that ;-)

Then I fold my envelope with my bone folder.



Now let’s see the back side.


I don’t like the bottom flap to be pointing like that so I always trim it. And then I glue the bottom flap.


Now I can fill my envelope, glue the top flap to close it. And I stick the stamp. I have noticed that on printed paper stamps do not stick very well (I have had several times the experience of a stamp falling out during the postal transport…) So I add glue. 



Then I put my envelope under an heavy book for the night, and it’s ready to be mailed out.
I hope you enjoyed this “tutorial”. Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions that could remain.

9 commentaires:

  1. Really good tutorial, Eric. Great step by step pictures. And now I want self-healing cutting mat!

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    1. Thank you. Glad you liked it.

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    2. I was wondering if you use a specific type of paper for printing your envelopes - or is it just regular office type paper.

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    3. I use regular office paper. But I had to make some tests because some papers do not "take" the ink like others. I habe tried some good quality paper that gave a very nice printed image but when I folded the sheet (and even worse when I marked the fold with my bone folder) the ink started to fall apart. So you need to make sure the paper really soaks well the ink. Also don t use a paper too heavy. Because at the end you don t want your envelope to exceed the standard weight (20g in France) knowing that you will add something in the envelope...

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    4. I use regular office paper. But I had to make some tests because some papers do not "take" the ink like others. I habe tried some good quality paper that gave a very nice printed image but when I folded the sheet (and even worse when I marked the fold with my bone folder) the ink started to fall apart. So you need to make sure the paper really soaks well the ink. Also don t use a paper too heavy. Because at the end you don t want your envelope to exceed the standard weight (20g in France) knowing that you will add something in the envelope...

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  2. Merci de partager ça, Eric. Tes envelopes sont super!

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  3. Thank you Eric for putting this together. I appreciate your step by step process; very informative and helpful. It's interesting to see someone else's process and to learn from it. By the way, do you use an inkjet or laser printer?

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    1. Thanks a lot. I use a laser printer because this is what I have access to easily

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