No Thanks
Let

Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Envelope Books

Martha Stewart Living, December 2000

In December, the mail becomes perceptibly different: Prosaic white envelopes are joined by others in surprising colors, heavier weights, and odd sizes. Some are embellished with seals, and most are addressed by hand. These envelopes are a joy to behold and tear into -- a pleasure that ordinary mail rarely provides.

The idea for binding envelopes together came from a curious old fabric-covered book with envelope "pages" we found at a flea market. Each yellowed page was labeled -- Stamps, Receipts, Tickets, etc. -- for use as an old-fashioned desk organizer. But it looked as though it had never been used. Although its origins were a mystery, we found its purpose inspiring, and we used its form as a starting point for several other "book" projects.

The envelopes are bound together with bookbinding tape. Your choice of envelopes and cover, however, will determine the book's shape and character. Browse through stationery stores, and take inspiration from your favorite envelopes; to make a book, they must all be the same size, but their colors may vary.

A paper-bound envelope book can serve as a special holiday card, with each "page" hiding a treat or a thought for the day. Eight-page books, for example, are perfect for the eight nights of Hanukkah, while seven pages suit the seven days of Kwanzaa. More durably bound in cloth, the envelope book is sure to become a prized possession.

Envelopes hiding recipe cards are a treasure for a young cook; an enclosure of seeds is a welcome present from gardener to gardener. Wide envelopes make handy storage for photos. Or leave the envelope pages blank and let special purposes suggest themselves in the coming year.

Handmade and personalized, a cloth-bound book with envelope "pages" makes a thoughtful alternative to a store-bought organizer. Here, such a book provides a tidy catchall for desktop odds and ends. Each envelope page is designated for a different purpose: receipts, "to do" lists, business cards, coupons, stamps, tickets, and notes. Join envelopes with bookbinding tape that has been cut with decorative scissors.

An envelope book is the ideal package for small gifts. A silver and blue Hanukkah book has eight pages -- one to be opened on every night of the holiday.

With twelve pages, each assigned to a different month, the "coupon" book makes a lovely gift from a child to a parent. Children can design coupons to be traded in for help at the appropriate time of year -- shoveling snow and washing dishes in January, for example, dog-walking and car-washing in July.

Return to Envelope Books: Cloth Binding How-To.
Return to Envelope Books: Paper Binding How-To.

Comments (18)

  • LyndaDenise 23 Aug, 2012

    Great ideas - I remember my Grandma had one or two of these - used for embroidery floss and needles. I like the idea also that for binding can possibly use Japanese Washi tape lots of fun colors and designs that way found this website with lots of pretty tapes: http://www.cutetape.com/ I've gotta try this soon. Thanks Martha Stewart Crafts!

  • sundaecone38 15 May, 2010

    I meant, "how to BIND" not "bound"... :-)

  • sundaecone38 15 May, 2010

    I'm thinking of using this idea to collect my grandmother's best recipes in and to give as keepsake at our next family reunion. The problem is I'M HOPELESS when it comes to following written instructions such as this one. Do you guys at Martha Stewart have a video of how to bound an envelope book?

  • mariekoran 4 May, 2010

    Hi, I just accidentally reported barb11sl as inapropriate !!! Her comment was at the bottom of the page, and I accidentally clicked on report instead of see more comments ! Sorry Barb !

  • claudiagreca 7 Sep, 2009

    I made one for our household budged, like the old times. I couldn't find bookbiding tape so I used the regular black electric tape and it works wonderfully!

  • surely-m 2 Nov, 2008

    This would be a great way to save your Christmas cards. Bind them with the largest ones in the back, or sort them by like size. Be sure to put the year on the cover(s). This way, you will not only have all of your wonderful Christmas cards in one place, but you will have everyone's return address, and the holiday stamp as well - it always adds to the charm of the envelope and card. Then every year's card-book can be easily displayed on a shelf, a table... wherever!

  • barb11sl 23 Oct, 2008

    this would be a wonderful way to store coupons according to the aisles in a grocery store or for different stores in your area which offer coupons

  • elle_denise 22 Oct, 2008

    I will be using this tip for sure. I have tons of stuff laying around w/ no place to put it: sticky notes that have lost their "stick", membership cards, receipts, coupons, etc.

  • LouLou2007 21 Oct, 2008

    OH, Wow, mnm843mx,what a great idea;I think I'm going 2 do just that.

  • mnm843mx 21 Oct, 2008

    Why not turn the book into the 12 nights before Christmas. Each night read a Christmas story out of the envelope. And make Christmas Eve a special story.

  • bethilyssa 21 Oct, 2008

    glassine envelopes will ensure that the book lasts a long time - much longer than paper or cardstock envelopes would

  • OdetteF 21 Oct, 2008

    This is a neat idea! I would have the office supply store put a spiral binding on them to give more space when the enveloppes are filled...

  • swayze 20 Oct, 2008

    I actually like the idea as using it for the guest book at a wedding. Obviously it would be a lot bigger of a book depending on the number of guests, but give everyone an envelop with paper inside to write their guest statement then put it together later.

  • swayze 20 Oct, 2008

    I actually like the idea as using it for the guest book at a wedding. Obviously it would be a lot bigger of a book depending on the number of guests, but give everyone an envelop with paper inside to write their guest statement then put it together later.

  • julyalovesdarwin 11 Aug, 2008

    This would make a great wedding gift too, with gift certificates for each month of the couple's first year of marriage.
    I like the Advent Calendar idea!

  • lilysnana55 25 May, 2008

    I was thinking how this could be used as an advent calendar with 24 pages and a Christmas related scripture, thought or story in each pocket. The first pocket might contain a calendar and each pocket a Christmas themed sticker to place in each square as the days count down to Christmas. This could be re-used year after year by replacing the stickers, poster and re-arranging the stories or adding new ones.

  • lilysnana55 25 May, 2008

    I was thinking how this could be used as an advent calendar with 24 pages and a Christmas related scripture, thought or story in each pocket. The first pocket might contain a calendar and each pocket a Christmas themed sticker to place in each square as the days count down to Christmas. This could be re-used year after year by replacing the stickers, poster and re-arranging the stories or adding new ones.

  • adecoder 18 Apr, 2008

    This is interesting. I am going to have to think how I might use it for my college student away from home. receipts, budget, and gift certificates, hmmm.