I heart envelope liners. I really do. They take an invitation set to a whole other level. Add color and flair. An unexpected touch of coordination. But…they’re time consuming to make. And seemingly expensive to purchase (depending on what you consider expensive, but usually the same price as your color envelopes or more). And yes, people just chuck envelopes in garbage ten seconds after opening them. I get that. Honestly, I rarely have clients who go for them, but I get super-psyched when they do (yes, I get that excited over paper). A liner means I get to add another design and style element, and the overall finished invitation set is going to look cohesive and polished. So, here’s a step-by-step tutorial about making your own envelope liners. And they aren’t just for sets of invitations; even a store-bought birthday card would look great with a little extra jazz. And let’s be real, I really do care about my invitations, so I don’t care if you get your liners from me or make them yourself. Just do it!
Step 1. MATERIALS…Envelope(s), text weight paper for liner, scissors, pencil and adhesive
Envelopes- A European flap is best (deep point) but any pointed envelope will do. Square flaps aren’t the greatest in my opinion for using a liner because the flaps are smaller, so you see less liner. I have a picture at the end of two square envelopes with liners so you can see what I mean.
Liner paper- Any text weight paper will do…”text weight” is simply regular ol’ paper. Can you use card or cover stock? Yes, but it will be a little trickier when it comes to the fold, and will add weight to your envelope (which could push your postage up to the next bracket if the invitation set is pretty thick).
Adhesive- My all-time favorite is the Tombow Adhesive Runner. You can buy it locally at Archiver’s Photo Memory Store or Michael’s, or online (much cheaper!). Quick and easy. Double-stick tape will also work, but stay away from glue sticks. I find that they always ripple, even on the kinds that say “no wrinkling”. Just a heads up.
Steps 2 & 3. MAKE A TRACING…Open up your envelope and lay it over the back of paper (keeping the front clear of pencil marks). You are going to trace the outer edge of the flap, and down to the pocket of the envelope. This is where your paper can stop; there’s no need to go all the way down inside the pocket.
Step 5. TRIM TRIM TRIM….Now you need to trim about a half inch around the entire thing to accommodate the glue on the flap. You can do this by sight, or use a ruler. Honestly, I always do it by sight (laziness). This is about how much needs to come off. When you get to the point, try to round it out in one smooth motion. The trick is to manipulate the paper, not the scissors. Takes a little finesse but 30 liners later you’ll be a pro!
Step 6. GETTING YOUR FOLD ON…Insert the liner into your envelope and make sure it fits nicely, and all the glue on the envelope flap is visible. (If not, head back to Step 5.) While it’s in place, hold it down in the pocket and carefully fold the flap down, folding the liner down with it. The liner is going to shift a little under the flap and that’s okay, just keep holding it firmly with your other hand on the pocket. This is where card/cover stock may give you trouble because it’s thicker. If you’re using a thicker stock, scoring the paper might be a good idea if you really want a super clean fold. Simply mark on the paper where you want the fold to be, and using a ruler, run a metal nail file down the line a few times. Why a nail file? Because I find an official scoring tool (called a “boning tool”, seriously) to be redundant when a metal nail file works great and I have one handy. And they’re way cheaper than a boning tool.
Steps 7 & 8. GLUE THAT SUCKER IN PLACE…Using your chosen adhesive, put some on the FLAP END ONLY. The part of the liner that goes in the pocket will NOT BE GLUED. It needs to shift slightly when the envelope opens and shuts. TRUST ME. When you press the pieces together, put the flap flat on the table and press it that way, so you know it’s adhering in the right position.
Step 9. TRIUMPH!
Optional Step 10. TEMPLATES…If you want to be super awesome, make yourself a little template to use over and over again. Then all you have to do is trace and cut and the liner is already the right size. That being said, all envelope are NOT the same, so it will only work for the same brand of envelope. There’s another lesson there too: be aware of liners that you buy online, separately from envelopes. I’ve ordered some liners from Etsy and had to trim all of them to fit my envelopes.
Here are some liner/envelope samples from my stash. Get creative! Mix textures, pair metallic papers with matte envelopes. Choose a crazy pattern that’s totally unexpected, or pick something that totally coordinates. Go forth and be artsy.