Anyone who is interested in origami should memorize the instructions to at least one easy origami envelope project. You never know when you'll need an envelope and knowing how to make envelopes from any size of square paper is a thrifty trick for recycling. I like to fold my envelopes from 12 inch x 12 patterned scrapbook paper, but the same basic technique works well to make envelopes from wrapping paper scraps or old calendar pages.
1. Create a Paper Triangle
This envelope requires no tape or glue to stay closed, but you might want to secure the envelope with an adhesive if you plan on sending it through the mail. You don't want to risk it coming apart when it's processed at the post office. It is also a good idea to write the address on a separate white label if you're using a busy patterned paper for the project. The machines the post office uses to sort mail sometimes have trouble reading addresses if there is not sufficient contrast between the printing and the background.
To begin making your origami envelope, fold a sheet of 12 inch x 12 inch square patterned scrapbook paper in half diagonally to form a paper triangle. Fold the top layer down as indicated in the photo to the left.
2. Fold the First Side of the Envelope
Fold the right side of your paper 1/3 of the way across the diagonal fold. Using a sheet of 12 inch x 12 inch scrapbook paper, this is 5 1/2 inches from the right edge. When you're finished with this step of the project, your origami envelope should look like the photo to the left.
3. Fold the Second Side of the Origami Envelope
Fold the left side over so that the left point meets the right edge of the paper.
4. Start the Envelope Closure
Fold the left tip backward so it touches the left corner and makes a small triangular flap.
Separate the triangular flip and perform a squash fold to press the flap into a flat diamond. You will tuck the tip of the envelope into this flap to secure it.
5. Your Origami Envelope Is Complete
Congratulations! Your origami envelope is now complete. Fold a sheet of 8 1/2 inch x 11 inch paper into fourths, then decorate with flat embellishment like the origami heart or origami medallion to send a lovely handmade greeting.
Obviously, the primary purpose of the origami envelope design is sending individual cards. However, the origami envelope is also good for using as an organizational tool. For example, you can fold multiple envelopes and stash them in a modular origami box folded from four sheets of 12 inch x 12 inch paper to make a pretty but practical homemade coupon organizer. Tuck the envelope that you need into your purse when you go shopping. When one envelope starts to get tattered, it is easy to fold a replacement.
Not into folding coupons? The same basic method works for filing bits of memorabilia for your scrapbook. You can also attach an envelope to your 12 inch x 12 inch scrapbook page to use as a pocket for an origami booklet with extra photos or journaling from the featured event.
If you fold your envelopes from origami paper measuring 6 3/4 inches x 6 3/4 inches, they are the right size for organizing business cards or wallet sized photos.