Most envelopes made from paper are without much character. You can create a unique handmade paper envelope using the following steps.
Step 1: Create a stencil Unfold an envelope and trace its shape on a piece of cardboard or thick plastic that is the same size as your mold and deckle. Cut out the shape using the knife to create an envelope stencil.
TIP: The mold is a frame with a screen stretched across the top. The deckle sits on top of the mold and keeps the pulp from running off. Find them at a crafts store, or construct your own from two flat picture frames with a screen attached to one of them.
Step 2: Dip the stencil in a vat of pulp Place the cardboard stencil between your mold and deckle. Dip the mold and deckle with the stencil sandwiched in between into a vat of paper pulp at a 45-degree angle, and draw them toward you.
Step 3: Lift the stencil out of the vat Raise the mold, deckle, and stencil to the surface in one continuous movement. Then remove them from the pulp. Allow the water to drain. Shake the mold and deckle from side to side to allow the paper fibers to settle.
Step 4: Remove the envelope from the stencil Remove the deckle and transfer the layer of pulp inside the stencil to a flat surface covered by a damp cloth. Place the mold upside down on the surface, tap it a few times, and then raise it up and let the paper dry.
TIP: If you plan to write on the envelope, coat it first with a sizing solution made by boiling ½ teaspoon gelatin in 1 cup of water.
Step 5: Assemble the envelope Fold the side and bottom flaps of the envelope and glue them down.
FACT: The first envelopes are believed to have been made of clay.