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Updated by Jelena Cekic on Apr 29, 2021
Headline for How to Make a DIY Custom Envelope - Step by Step
Jelena Cekic Jelena Cekic
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How to Make a DIY Custom Envelope - Step by Step

Let's see what you can do to make attractive custom envelopes for special occasions, gifts, and so on.




Whether you’re sending birthday wishes, Christmas cards, wedding invites, or business letters, the best way to have your mail stand out is by designing a custom envelope. Boring, plain white envelopes tend to get lost among the countless utility bills, marketing, and spam mail, so if you want your letters to grab attention, you’ll need to personalize them – inside and out.

Fortunately, the entire process is relatively easy and straightforward. Within minutes, you could create a DIY custom envelope that looks as artsy or as professional as you would like.

Take a look at this step-by-step guide to creating the best custom envelopes that’ll thrill any recipient.


Step 1: Find a Decent Envelope Dieline Template

Envelopes can be pretty easy to make but pretty easy to mess up, too. You need to be very precise with your measurements and the envelope outline and make sure that each corner comes together perfectly without awkward overlaps or gaps. Not to mention that you need to make sure that the size of the envelope matches the size of the letter, card, or invitation you’re sending.

So, instead of trying to do the measurements and calculations by hand, it’s in your best interest to start your DIY custom envelope by downloading a free envelope die-line template. It’ll make the whole process a whole lot easier and save hours of your time, especially if you need to create multiple custom envelopes.

As an added benefit, you can always use the template to overlay your custom design, then send it back to the creators and have them print it all out and put together your envelopes. Alternatively, you can move on to the next step.


Step 2: Design Your Artwork

The next step in the process is designing your artwork. How your envelope should look depends mostly on its purpose – birthday cards and business letters rarely share some common ground, so it’s natural that their envelopes should differ.

If it’s a casual envelope you’re designing (like for a birthday), it’s a good idea to incorporate some bright colors and humorous artwork. Your goal should be to improve the recipient’s day and put a smile on their face. Add some personality to the envelope using your favorite colors or adding some of your sketches or designs.

More formal envelopes, like those for wedding invitations, need to be more elegant. Consider your wedding theme when designing them, and triple-check your spelling and dates to make sure there are no mistakes. You can use unique fonts on your wedding envelopes. Just make sure that it’s all legible; you don’t want your guests to be confused.

Finally, if you’re creating custom envelopes for business purposes, you’ll want to keep them clean and professional. Ideally, you should put your business name, logo, and address on the envelope and avoid overly complicated designs.


Step 3: Don’t Forget That Envelopes Have Two Sides!

As a general rule of thumb, any artwork you put on the envelope should go on the front of it – where you usually put the address of the recipient, the postmark, and the return address. The back of the envelope (with the flaps to seal it) is usually left blank.

However, if you want to add some patterns or have your entire envelope using a color other than white, you should keep this in mind before you start printing, especially if you’re using die-line templates.

Your die-line template could either have two layers in a single folder or two separate files for each side of the envelope. If you want two-sided printing, you’ll need to create a separate file in your Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to design the second side of your envelope.


Step 4: Choose the Materials

If you’re printing the envelope die-line template at home, you’ll need to choose the right materials. Sure, you could use your standard printing paper, but that’s not usually the best option. Standard printing papers aren’t thick enough and cannot handle colors and unique pictures all that well, so your envelope could end up looking amateurish.

Thicker coated, or matted papers usually work best for delivering high-resolution images and sharper colors needed for envelopes. You could even use glossy paper if you want your envelope to look more sophisticated.

However, before you invest in the materials, you should always check your printer’s specifications to see whether it can handle different types of papers. If you have an older printer, you might need to have someone else do the printing for you.


Step 5: Print out the Envelope

Finally, it’s time for printing. Double-check the size of the envelope and carefully inspect the artwork and design before you start printing. Make sure to leave about a fourth of an inch bleed gap around the entire outline to ensure that everything gets printed properly. Additionally, make sure that the sides of the envelope are correctly placed – there’s nothing worse than printing a double-sided envelope and getting the placing wrong.

If everything’s good to go, hit “Print.”


Step 6: Cut out the Outline

With your envelope printed, it’s time for perhaps the most nerve-wracking part – cutting. Ideally, you’d send your envelopes for die cutting to ensure smooth, even edges that look perfect. If you decide to go the old-fashioned way and cut out the shape yourself, though, all you need is a steady hand and a pair of sharp scissors (a good boxcutter paired with a metal ruler might prove to be helpful as well).

Carefully cut out the shape and try to keep the edges as clean as possible, especially if you’re making a custom envelope for business purposes. Otherwise, freehand cutting could actually be positive and give your envelope a more custom-made, vintage design.


Step 7: Glue It up

Finally, it’s time to put it all together. Use high-quality paper glue and fold the two side flops and the bottom flop, having them meet in the center. Put some glue where the sides overlap with the bottom flop, then press it all down. Leave to air dry, and make sure there’s no glue touching the top flop – you’ll still need to put your letter, card, or invitation inside.

Once everything is completely dry, seal the envelope and send it on its way.


Final Thoughts

Creating custom DIY envelopes can make your mail more eye-catching and intriguing. So, don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd and make all your letters and cards a bit more exciting with custom envelopes.