Fold up some mailart by creating a Japanese-style self-sealing envelope out of a single sheet of paper. Write the name and address on one side, and a long letter on the other, fold up, add a stamp, and post!
- Plain white copy paper to practice
- A heavier paper for the real thing – 100gsm minimum won’t wrinkle too much when painted. 190gsm Bockingford Watercolour is used here
- Writing pen. The trusty Lamy Safari can be seen in these pictures
- Paints, inks, coloured pencils, crayons
- Washi tape to seal (optional)
- Transparent pocket to protect envelope in the mail (optional)
Practice the fold with copy paper first, then move on to the thicker sheet when you’re happy with the creases.
Step by step:
Fold page in half widthways, and open out flat.
Fold one corner up to meet the centre fold.
Repeat with the diagonally opposite corner.
Fold one long cut edge up to meet the other cut edge, as above.
Repeat with the other cut edge. Do you see the corner point on the left hand side?
Take it up to slide under the triangle on the left. Then take the top right corner point, fold it down, lining up with the right hand side, to slide under the triangle on the right. Easier to do than describe!
Ta da! A beautiful self-sealed origami envelope, ready to personalise.
Undo all the folds, and lay the page ‘outside’ up.
Add the name and address of your dearly beloved recipient in your best handwriting.
Then decorate the rest of the page. I went for loose brushstrokes of inky blue. Take time out as your waiting for the sheet to dry.
Turn the page over and think about all the things you want to ask/describe/share.
You can fill the page with words, as I’ve done here OR embellish around the edges first.
Once the ink is dry, fold two diagonal corners in to meet the centre crease.
…and repeat each fold in the same order as before.
It looks so different when decorated, doesn’t it? This is when you could seal the envelope with a strip of washi tape, if you like. Now too is the time to slip your mailart inside a transparent pocket to protect it from the vagaries of the postal system.
Add a stamp (*maybe* a little more up-to-date than this one.)
Post your letter into the mail box, S.W.A.L.K (Sealed With A Loving Kiss) and wish your envelope a safe journey.
IF you take photographs of your special missive, please tag @paperhazell on Instagram, The Travelling Bookbinder on Facebook, and @PaperHazell on Twitter – Thank You!
14 thoughts on “FOLD UP SOME MAILART”
Just did this origami mailart project. What satisfaction!. I love it.
This will be great for keeping touch alive in my work with elderly individuals. Thanks so much!
Aw Peggy – that’s brilliant! I’m so glad to hear that you’ll use these envelopes in your work. Thank you!
oh what a wonderful idea! Two letters inked in blue and violet are drying now and then I will write funny summer poem-letters!
Hurray for inky violet and blue letters Eva! Makes me happy to imagine your friends opening their funny poem-letters
This is lovely! Time to write a letter and try this beautiful envelope. Thank you.
Hey Jet, It’s a pleasure. Happy letter writing!
WoW that was fun and so easy! Made birthday card for daughter. I love how the folded back envelope matches so cool in a new way. Checking who’s birthdays are next. 🎁 Thanks, Hazel
Dear Monique, Great to hear that you’re making personalised birthday card letters all folded up! Lucky friends and family
Great instructions and easy pictures to follow. Not always the case so greatly appreciated. Many thanks…Elaine James brought this to the attention of the San Francisco Correspondence Co-op at our last meeting August 16th via Zoom.
Thank you Jennifer! And thanks to Elaine James for sharing this project with the SF Correspondence Co-op – that’s fantastic! Happy folding and mailing, Rachel
I used this to send some ATC cards across the Atlantic. Looks great and was so easy to make. Thanks for sharing this.
What a great idea Karin! Love the idea of ATC cards sent in origami envelopes….Thank you for writing!
Thank you so much for the step-by-step directions here! I saw your IGTV with Toast, but as much as I followed your directions, sometimes it turned out and other times it didn’t — and I definitely couldn’t figure out how to slide the two ends “inside” the little folds. These instructions helped me see the error of my ways! I love this little envelope and can’t wait to use this with friends, not to mention show the kids. Thank you for sharing this great idea!
Dear Jacey, Delighted that you’re now folding up a storm of envelopes! Isn’t origami so tricky until you know how, and then it seems SO obvious?! Glad you figured it out, and that these instructions helped….Happy folding! Rachel