Post last updated: December 30th, 2018

how to recycle photo calendars into envelopes

It’s that time of year when you toss last year’s calendar and start all over with a new calendar. If you are starting a New Year with the same resolutions, don’t despair. At least you can do something artsy with the calendar that failed to cooperate. Use those pretty calendar pages of cats, flowers, or horses to make envelopes!

  1. Remove your favorite photos from a calendar with roughly 8-1/2 x 11 photos. The calendar photo should be vertically oriented because your envelope template is about 10 inches in length. You’ll understand this the first time you try to make an envelope out of a mountain landscape and the photo is not as tall as your template.
  2. On the web, get yourself a free A2 size envelope template. The A2 size is for cards with a finished size of 4-1/2 x 5-1/2. Or an 8-1/2 x 11-inch letter that has been folded into fourths.
  3. Print the template out on copier paper then run it through your printer’s copier onto a piece of cardstock.
  4. Cut out the cardstock envelope template. A cardstock template is not ideal because you can’t see through it. If you envision yourself going off the deep end making envelopes, consider purchasing a transparent plastic template such as the one made by JudiKins. I’ve had mine so long it actually has 1994 printed on it. Copying onto a transparency didn’t work — the inkjet ink smudged off.
  5. Keep in mind where your address sticker will go and move the template around on the calendar page to get the best view of the cats, flowers, or horses. This is why a transparent template is best – you can actually see the image on the calendar page. I have never used the big cat envelope pictured below because I didn’t think about the address sticker.
  6. Trace around the template.
  7. Cut on your tracing lines and then fold on all the lines that form the 4-3/8 x 5-3/4 rectangle. If you want to be very precise, use a ruler with bone folder or ball stylus to score the envelope lines. In a pinch, a butter knife will work.
  8. Use double-stick tape or a tape runner like Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive for the two side flaps and the closure flap.
  9. Avery address labels don’t always stay on the glossy calendar envelopes long enough to reach the intended destination. I would suggest using clear tape over the address label or adhering the back of the label with a Xyron Mega Runner. That stuff sticks!


Left to right: envelope template, two envelopes, ruler, stylus, bone folder, Tombow adhesive and Xyron Mega Runner

Envelopes can also be made from magazine pages, gift wrap, scrapbook paper, sheet music (or a copier version), or recycle interesting junk mail. You can use the template to scale up or down in size by carefully moving it left or right.

If you are a free spirit like my long-time mail art buddy in Ohio, there’s an even easier way to make envelopes. She carefully tears apart an existing envelope, places it on the calendar page and proceeds to trace or cut around it. Sometimes her envelopes have been fashioned in such a way that I’m not quite sure how to get into them. Prior to 9/11, we had a lot of fun testing the mailman’s sense of humor.

So what do you think? Does this look like fun mail?


          1. This reminds me of a joke. A prominent politician visited a nursing home. He was used to being recognized wherever he went, but no one paid him any attention. So he went up to someone and asked them if they knew who he was. No, the person said, but if you ask at the office they will tell you.

  1. It’s really a fun mail, Linda. I do not understand well all about double-stick tape and a tape runner like Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive, because we have no this stuff here but I might use something like this.
    I think these calendar must look pretty.

    1. Nadezda — What we call double-stick tape is tape that has sticky stuff on both sides so that it adheres to both sides of the calendar page (to glue the envelope shut). It is made by a U.S.A. company called Scotch. If you don’t have this, maybe you have good quality glue sticks. If you have scrapbookers in Russia, ask them what they would use.

  2. Wow, this is really a lovely way to recycle old caldendar photos! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and best wishes for all good things in 2019!

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