How to Make Glassine Envelopes

Written by jensen johansson
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How to Make Glassine Envelopes
Making glassine envelopes can be fun. (the envelope image by Kimberly Reinick from

Glassine is a waterproof, thin paper; suitable for envelopes and bags. It comes in the form of sheets and self-adhesive tapes. To make a glassine envelope, choose one of two options: use regular paper and self-adhesive glassine tape, or use a prefabricated glassine sheet. The problem with the latter is that paper glue will not hold it; you either weld glassine sheets with a custom welding machine or join them with tape, which is visible on the surface. Glassine is also difficult to fold; its characteristics are similar to that of thin plastic; it breaks easily.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Piece of A4 paper
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Glassine sticker tape

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  1. 1

    Choose a clean, flat surface (preferably a table). Lay down a piece of A4 paper, an envelope, glassine tape, glue, ruler, pen and scissors.

  2. 2

    Open the envelope, gently. Do not damage the edges. You will get a complex shape consisting of a rectangle (folding in the centre), three triangles (upper and side flaps) and an irregular tetragon (lower flap).

  3. 3

    Lay down the envelope on the piece of paper. Use the pen and ruler to draw the shape of the opened envelope. Draw the edges first, then remove the envelope and draw the rectangle in the middle.

  4. 4

    Cut the shape out with scissors.

  5. 5

    Put the ruler on the upper side of the rectangle and fold the upper triangle over the ruler. Repeat the step for the remaining three sides of the rectangle.

  6. 6

    Unfold the envelope and apply paper glue to the left, right and lower flaps' edges. Glue the side flaps first. Glue the lower flap onto the side flaps.

  7. 7

    Apply glassine sticker tape to the outside of the envelope. Use scissors to cut it at the edges.

Tips and warnings

  • Glue the upper flap only after the contents are in the envelope.
  • Now that you know the shape of opened envelope, you may try to make a bigger or a smaller one.
  • Experiment with lower flap shapes. Use your imagination.
  • To paint glassine, you will a need glassine paint kit. They are available in art stores and most stores which sell glassine. There are several types of glassine paint kits: paint pen kits, wooden cross craft kits, chalks and paint colour kits. They are not cheap, so a better solution would be to buy coloured glassine.

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