Making my own envelopes

For the last project I used already made and sized envelopes which restricted me to those specific dimensions. I thought it would be too much work to create my own envelopes so I wanted to test just how difficult it actually is. I tested this using two different types of paper – watercolour and cartridge. These two types are good for cyanotypes due to their texture. I found a template of an envelope online and sized it down to fit my prints. These prints are around A5 size, so the final folded envelope is quite small. I like the traditional envelope shape so I stuck with that.


I simply cut out the template and traced it onto the back of the photo. This time I wasnt focused on the image or how it would appear on the envelope, however I centered it in the middle to have most of the subject on the front.

Once the shape was cut out, I folded all the edges. Even though the watercolour paper is thicker than cartridge paper, there was no problem folding it. The folds feel a little fragile and I had small tears in the paper.

cyanotype-envelope-watercolour cyanotype-envelope-watercolour
Next I folded the envelope from cartridge paper. This paper is thinner than watercolour but still very sturdy, much like a regular store-bought envelope. It was easy to fold and doesn’t feel like it will tear at the edges.

cyanotype-envelope-cartridge cyanotype-envelope-cartridge

Here are the two envelopes side by side. As you can see, the cartridge paper envelope on the right looks a lot thinner than the watercolour envelope. It was slightly more difficult to fold the watercolour paper because of its thickness but not by much. I feel that the watercolour envelopes feel more unique due to its texture and it’s not a common type of envelope that you would see sold at the store. I do, however, like the smoothness of the cartridge paper and I personally think it works best.


Here is a closer look at the folds of the envelopes. The watercolour paper creates thick creases and you can see the paper tearing apart on the right hand side, whereas the creases in the cartridge paper and thinner and more sharp, reducing the tearing problem.


It was very easy to create my own envelopes and I will definitely be making my own for this project. It gives you so much freedom and you’re not restricted to certain papers or sizes. I decided I will be working with cartridge paper because I enjoyed the final look of the envelope. I briefly looked at acquiring big rolls of cartridge paper so that I could create large envelopes and there is a lot of options. CassArt have a 10m roll of 120gsm paper or I could buy large A1 sized sheets of 130gsm cartridge paper from Viking. The next experiment will be me trying to tone my prints to see if that is something I would be interesting in doing.

P.s. I coated my cyanotypes very roughly so most of the prints have parts where I’ve messed up during the application process. I will do a much better job after these experiments! I’ve been coating them with a sponge brush but I’ve had some problems with that and I’m still looking for the best way to coat my paper evenly.




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