• 12 Artistic Envelope Ideas

    In a mail art rut? The artistic envelope collection showcased in this blog post will inspire you to dazzle someone’s mailbox!

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock

    There’s hardly a better canvas to practice your art, calligraphy, and lettering skills on than an envelope! Envelopes’ practical, temporary nature makes them great for trying out new techniques and exercising old favorites. In this post, you’ll find 12 artistic envelope ideas to fire you up for making your own mail art!

    1. Be Bold with Your Illustrations

    It’s okay to let an illustration dominate your envelope! Try dedicating the space on the left to an artistic element — like this flourished bunny — and use the remaining space on the right for the address.

    Free Printable "Flourish by Number" Bunny | The Postman's Knock
    You can learn how to make this flourished bunny in the Free Printable “Flourish by Number” Bunny packet.

    2. Ditch the Dip Pen

    Many artistic envelopes make good use of a dip pen. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to know how to use a dip pen in order to create eye-catching mail art! Try experimenting with different lettering styles, graphic elements, and a gel pen.

    Four Simple Envelope Embellishments: Part II | The Postman's Knock
    This geometric envelope layout was created with a white Gelly Roll pen. You can find a tutorial over how to make it in the Four Simple Envelope Embellishments: Part II post!

    3. Embrace Decoupage

    If you don’t like to draw, there’s another way to grace your envelopes with a dose of creativity: decoupage. This is also a great technique to use if you’re short on time! Just cut out your illustrated element, glue it on to the envelope, write out the address, and the envelope is ready.

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    This little henna bluebird makes the envelope fun to look at! If you choose to decoupage, make sure that everything is glued down securely. Otherwise, post office machines may inadvertently catch a loose edge and tear the illustration off!

    4. Give the Return Address a Chance to Shine

    If you prefer to put your return address on the front of your envelopes, try adding some embellishment! Emphasis is normally placed on the recipient’s address, so giving the return address some love is a surprising way to switch things up.

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    You can click here to find a tutorial over to make a return address like this one!

    5. Don’t Ignore the Back of Your Envelope

    The front of an envelope usually takes center stage. Try switching things up by keeping the front of the envelope plain …

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    The front of this envelope features nice and simple Janet Style calligraphy.

    Then, make the back of your envelope pop with a cool illustration or flourish!

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    You can learn how to draw a medallion like this one in the Simple Calligraphy Medallion tutorial.

    6. Use Ombré Lettering

    I love using ombré lettering to make a recipient’s name stand out on an artistic envelope! The trick is to write in pencil using faux calligraphy first, then fill in the empty downstrokes with watercolor or colored pencil.

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    Check out the Quick Ombré Lettering Mail Art Tutorial to learn how to achieve an effect like this!

    7. Use Doodles to Fill Up Negative Space

    There’s a time and a place for clean and professional-looking envelopes. Some days, though, you just want an envelope that expresses your creativity with lots of different doodles!

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    The calligraphy and the doodles on this envelope were created using iron gall ink. Yellow gouache lends a pop of color!

    8. Coordinate Colors

    Try coordinating your envelope or calligraphy colors with the predominant color(s) of your postage stamps! Be sure to pick out your stamps before you write, then choose your ink(s) accordingly.

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    I used yellow gouache to color coordinate this Flourish Formal address with the Jimi Hendrix stamps.

    9. Take Inspiration from the Season

    If you’re at a loss for mail art themes, look no further than the season that we’re in! You can use themes from an upcoming holiday to cobble something together. (For those in the US, the Fourth of July would be a good theme right now.)

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    It won’t surprise you to learn that this envelope was created in October! Instructions for making the spider can be found in the Not Your Average Calligraphy Drills: Garden Edition packet.

    10. Make a Messy Sketch

    This hurried sketch of a perfume bottle features the recipient’s address! If you can incorporate an address into your messy sketch like this, all the better.

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    If you utilize watercolor in your messy sketch, try using your finger to flick excess watercolor from your paintbrush onto the envelope. This will give the piece an off-the-cuff, effortless look.

    11. Use Watercolor Calligraphy

    Watercolor calligraphy is a unique technique that will leave your recipient wondering how you achieved such a cool effect! You can learn how to write with all different colors of watercolor in the A Video Crash Course on Watercolor Calligraphy tutorial.

    Woodland Watercolor Wreath Envelope | The Postman's Knock
    If you like the wreath on this artistic envelope and want to make one like it, check out the Woodland Watercolor Wreath tutorial.

    12. Vary Your Mediums

    You don’t have to stick to one medium per envelope — feel free to experiment! The envelope below was created using felt-tip pens, a dip pen, and graphite pencils.

    12 Artistic Envelope Ideas | The Postman's Knock
    In addition to utilizing different mediums, this envelope has different lettering styles! The George Style lettering of the name pairs well with the Kaitlin Style calligraphed address written underneath it.

    I hope that you enjoyed this artistic envelope collection, and that it fires up your creativity in some way! If you’re concerned about using non-waterproof elements on envelopes, check out the How to Waterproof Paper post. You may notice that I love to use a lot of postage stamps; if you’re curious about stamp collages, see the How to Make a Stunning Postage Stamp Collage post. Remember that you don’t have to use the techniques above on envelopes. They would work just as well in a sketchbook, bullet journal, or DIY greeting card!

    I know that many people are hesitant about the post office’s reaction to artistic envelopes. Try to follow the advice in the 10 Mail Art Tips article, and your envelope will have a good chance of being delivered! Thanks very much for reading this post, and we’ll reconvene on Friday with a neat tutorial.


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock