FOLD UP SOME MAILART

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope

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!

You’ll need:

  • 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)
The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. First fold

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.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Second fold

Fold one corner up to meet the centre fold.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Two diagonal folds

Repeat with the diagonally opposite corner.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Side fold

Fold one long cut edge up to meet the other cut edge, as above.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Repeat side fold

Repeat with the other cut edge. Do you see the corner point on the left hand side?

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Tuck side under triangle

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!

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Finished blank envelope

Ta da! A beautiful self-sealed origami envelope, ready to personalise.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Unfold

Undo all the folds, and lay the page ‘outside’ up.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Add address

Add the name and address of your dearly beloved recipient in your best handwriting.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Decorate the outside

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.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Ready to write

Turn the page over and think about all the things you want to ask/describe/share.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Paint or write your letter

You can fill the page with words, as I’ve done here OR embellish around the edges first.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Fold up once dry

Once the ink is dry, fold two diagonal corners in to meet the centre crease.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Refold

…and repeat each fold in the same order as before.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Finished envelope

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.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Add stamp

Add a stamp (*maybe* a little more up-to-date than this one.)

The Travelling Bookbinder: Mailart Origami Envelope. Ready to post

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!

Happy corresponding!

12 thoughts on “FOLD UP SOME MAILART

  1. 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!

    1. Aw Peggy – that’s brilliant! I’m so glad to hear that you’ll use these envelopes in your work. Thank you!

  2. oh what a wonderful idea! Two letters inked in blue and violet are drying now and then I will write funny summer poem-letters!

    1. Hurray for inky violet and blue letters Eva! Makes me happy to imagine your friends opening their funny poem-letters

  3. 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

    1. Dear Monique, Great to hear that you’re making personalised birthday card letters all folded up! Lucky friends and family

  4. 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.

    1. 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

  5. I used this to send some ATC cards across the Atlantic. Looks great and was so easy to make. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. What a great idea Karin! Love the idea of ATC cards sent in origami envelopes….Thank you for writing!

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