How to Make Shipping Envelopes

Melody of Kindercotton shared her blog tutorial about how to make your own waterproof mailers from recycled store bags.  If you know someone who uses store bags instead of reusable totes, ask him/her to save them for you!

I recently ran out of the Tyvek envelopes that I had been using to ship out my orders.  I liked them because they are water resistant and tear-proof, which keeps my fabric items safe in transit, but they are non-recyclable plastic, which I don’t like much at all.  The plastic material also smudged when I tried to stamp my logo on the packages.  That alone was reason enough to not use them!  I looked into buying recycled products, but I didn’t love anything that I found.  Luckily, I’m a pretty crafty person and I came up with a solution that uses very little new material (just some thread), holds up well in the mail, is water resistant, and is essentially free.

In order to make these mailers, you will need:
– A paper bag
– A plastic bag (I know, you all use reusable totes, just like me, but I bet you know people who don’t!)
– Scissors
– Thread
– A Sewing Machine
– Packing Tape

(click on any image to see a larger version of the photo)

1. Begin by cutting a paper bag approximately twice as large as you would like your finished envelope to be.

2. Cut a plastic bag to make a piece of plastic that is slightly larger than the piece of paper. Lay the plastic on top of the paper.

3. Fold the paper and plastic in half, plastic on the inside.

4) Using your sewing machine, stitch two sides of the folded paper and plastic together. Stop sewing about 1.5″ before the third open edge to leave a flap for closing the envelope. Back stitch to lock stitches.

5) Cut one layer of paper and plastic away from the open end, leaving one layer of each to fold over and close the envelope.

6) Trim excess plastic and paper away from the outside of the seams.  It is much easier to cut through the paper and plastic together than to just trim the plastic.

7) I like to embellish my envelopes with a stamp of my logo and a recycling icon.  I carved my stamps, but you can order custom stamps of your logo or artwork on for a surprisingly low price.  Search “custom stamps.”

8) When you are ready to ship, attach your shipping label and seal the envelope with the same piece of packing tape.

The inside of the package matters too!  If you order from KinderCotton, your item will arrive safe and sound in one of these mailers.  Before I send it on its way to you, I will wrap your order in tissue paper stamped with the KinderCotton logo and tied up with natural raffia.  I’m still looking for unbleached, Kraft tissue paper, but for now, I use white or a color that coordinates with your item.  I skip the invoice, too, for all orders except international orders which require them.  Etsy saves your order history in your account and you can look up your order at any time.

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  1. thats awesome!! i can’t wait to try it out!! thanks for the ingenious shipping bags!

  2. the sewing machine counts me out, i fear the needle. Much cleaner being able to use it though. I need to get over my fear!

  3. I JUST ran out of weather resistant envelopes, this is perfect timing and a fantastic concept. The really cool thing is you don’t have to buy an envelope that is too big just so the item fits, you can make whatever size you want. Really easy to follow tutorial with great visual aid, thanks!

  4. i love this idea! and i think the recycled stamp is a good idea, too – so i’m off to look for one :)