Art and Math · How-to · Number Line

The Envelope Number Line Tutorial

How to Make a Number Line with a Parade of Envelopes , Paula B. Krieg
How to Make a Number Line with a Parade of Envelopes

This page has been many days in the making: It has been some time since I’ve felt so challenged by a tutorial page that I wanted to make.

I see this structure as a way to make a number line, but it can be many different things. My last post showed pictures of how the pockets facilitate exchangeable content. I can imagine it with all sorts of variations. Milestones of a journey would lend itself well to this structure. A timeline comes to mind, too, showing hours, or days, or weeks, or months, or years, or centuries, with the cards giving information about changes over various time intervals.

One of my favorite time-line projects that I’ve done with 10-year-old children is one that showed major world events on the top side of the line, and personal life events, such as the birth of a cousin, on the bottom side. Hmm…I should dig up those photos, that was a great project, but I digress.

number line evens
One version of this number line, set up to show even numbers

Here’s my black and white version of the directions:

How to Make a Number LIne out of a parade of Envelopes, B & W
How to Make a Number Line out of a parade of Envelopes, B & W

If anyone makes this PLEASE send photos! You can find my email under the About tab.


5 thoughts on “The Envelope Number Line Tutorial

    1. Oh Candy If you would just tell me if the directions work for you I would be grateful! As I said in the post, it was an unusually tough tutorial to make…went through more than the usual revisions. And, although it seems super clear to me, I have no idea if it’s even legible to anyone else.

      BTW…Your sacred/profane piece looks ethereal from the birdeye view!


  1. Hi Paula, where can I send you some photos from our tussle with the Envelope Number Line Tute on Sunday. The instructions of how to make the Line were fine and easy to follow, but our group of 4 found it difficult to to fold it into a book which was predominantly our aim. It probably was due to the different sizes of envelopes in Australia but we also found it challenging to be able to contain “cards” when the book was folded… does that make sense?


    1. Yes, this totally makes sense!
      First, folding it into a small square is easy once you get the pattern clear. The key to being successful with folding it into a square is to clearly mark the title square, and then do back and fold accordion folding making sure that the the title page always remains visible. Once it is well folded (the creases are sharply pressed) there is a very magical way of getting it to fold up again: with the book completely UNFOLDED you gently TWIST it and you’ll see how the book nearly folds itself. It’s a very satisfying fold!

      There are a couple of ways to store the cards within the structure. The easiest one to describe is this: once it is folded into the square, slide the cards into the available pockets. You’ll have to double up. You have probably figure out by this time that if you try to fold up the book with the cards in it that you will be folding the cards, which is not what you’ll want.

      I don’t think that the different sizes of the envelopes in Australia would impact the folding…just to be sure I will try out different size envelopes today and see if I can get about the same results.

      I hope this helps. If folding it up is still challenging for you, maybe we can do a video call and I can demonstrate! I have never done a video chat before so I don’t really know how to do it, but I think that it would be fun to figure out!


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