There are several different methods of making origami envelopes, but 4x6 envelopes are probably the most versatile. They can be used to mail prints of your favorite photos, party invitations, or recipe cards.
The envelope in this tutorial is a design that I created after looking for a simple way to send photos of my son to his grandparents. It is a beginner level origami project that requires a 12x12 sheet of scrapbooking paper. Lightweight patterned paper is preferable to heavier cardstock... weight paper. Cardstock is more difficult to fold neatly. You can purchase sheets of scrapbook paper individually at most major craft stores, although buying stacks of coordinating prints tends to be more economical if you want to fold a large number of envelopes.
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What kind of paper should you use?
In most cases, light colored paper with a subtle pattern is the best choice for making origami envelopes that you plan to mail. Dark or heavily patterned paper makes it hard for the address scanners at the post office to read where your envelope is supposed to be delivered.
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Make the Initial Folds
To begin making your 4x6 origami envelope, place your paper in front of you with the patterned side face down. Fold in half. Unfold. Fold the left and right sides in to meet the middle crease.
Fold the bottom of the paper up about 2 1/2 inches. Crease well. This creates a pocket for your photo, party invitation, or recipe card.
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Fold the Corners
At the top of the paper, fold the left and right corners in to meet the center crease. Fold the tip of the triangle you've created down so it is touching the base of the corner folds.
Slip your photo, party invitation, or recipe card into the pocket of the envelope.
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Finish Your Origami Envelope
Tuck the triangle tip into the pocket to seal the envelope. Go over the fold at the top of the envelope with your fingernail or bone folder so it's nice and crisp.
If desired, you can run a strip of patterned washi tape around the edge of the envelope pocket before sealing your envelope. Washi tape is a type of patterned Japanese masking tape that is used in many types of paper crafting projects. It reinforces the envelope while adding an extra decorative detail.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Project Variation: Making an Origami CD/DVD Case
With a few minor tweaks, this origami envelope project can easily be used to make a case for a CD or DVD. In Step 1, the folds will need to overlap instead of meeting in the middle. Your paper should be 5 inches wide at the end of this step. Fold the bottom up about 3 inches. In Step 2, fold the left and right corners down 1 1/2 inches instead of folding them in to meet the center crease and skip the last fold completely.
Another simple origami envelope design that uses patterned scrapbook paper... can be found in our Easy Origami Envelope Pattern tutorial.