I think that a lot of people would like to try making mail art, but, due to time constraints, it never happens. Just like any artistic pursuit, though, you can choose how much effort you put into your envelopes! Today’s three short tutorials will give you options for making cool pieces of mail art even when you are pressed for time.
1. Galaxy Mail Art
This mail art relies on flecks of gold and silver for an out of this world effect! Writing the address in whimsical calligraphy without guidelines helps to make this a quick project.
First, get out a black envelope. Use a sharp, medium-flex nib (like the Nikko G) to write your recipient’s address in Kaitlin Style calligraphy and white ink. Don’t draw any pencil guidelines to even out or center your calligraphy! Not using guidelines will result in a whimsical, spontaneous look.
Next, moisten a gold watercolor tone with about 1/8 teaspoon of water. I’m using Finetec here, but any metallic watercolor palette will work!
Give the water a couple of minutes to soak into the paint, then dip an old toothbrush into the now-wet gold. Flick the toothbrush with your thumb to encourage the gold watercolor to distribute across the envelope.
For extra visual interest, you can also flick some Finetec silver across the envelope as well! Once you’re finished, try adding some galaxy-themed stamps (which are totally optional, but appropriate) and mail your envelope!
2. Ombré Wave Mail Art
This mail art doesn’t use a dip pen, so it requires very little clean-up. As long as you have a gel pen and some colored pencils handy, you’re good to go!
First, use a pencil to write your recipient’s first name on the left side of the envelope. Try to fill up the left half of the envelope with the name, then finish up the right half with a curved line.
Now, follow the steps in the Quick Ombré Lettering Mail Art Tutorial to fill in the recipient’s name with plenty of color!
Next, use a black gel pen to write your recipient’s last name on top of the curved line on the right. You can put dots between each letter like I did here, or you can keep things simple and omit the dots.
Finish up by writing the recipient’s address under the curved line. Make sure you follow the contours of the curve!
3. Falling Star Mail Art
This mail art has a more polished look than the previous two tutorials, but it’s still simple to make because you don’t have to center your calligraphy! I used a dark envelope and white ink here, but any envelope/ink color combination will give you good results.
First, draw diagonal pencil guidelines on an envelope.
Next, use Janet Style calligraphy to write the recipient’s address.
Now, fill in the negative space in the upper left corner of the envelope with seven (or so) vertical pencil guidelines. Space each guideline 1/2″ (~13 mm) apart, then use your dip pen and ink to draw one star at a random point on each line.
Finish by drawing tiny dots along the vertical guideline down to the each star.
Erase your guidelines, add some postage stamps to the right side of the envelope, and send!
There are two secrets to the speediness of each of these tutorials. First of all, none of the calligraphy or lettering is centered. When you have to center your lettering, you’re in for some math, which always adds a considerable chunk of time to mail art. Second, each tutorial draws pops of color and visual interest from a postage stamp collage. You can find out more information about creating postage stamp collages in this article!
I hope that at least one of these mail art tutorials comes in handy for you! If you make a piece that you’re especially proud of, I’d love to see it on Instagram, where you can hashtag #thepostmansknock or tag @thepostmansknock. (If you’re worried about posting photos of envelopes, check out How to Maintain Privacy with Artistic Photos of Envelopes!) It’s always so cool for me to see what you end up doing with tutorial ideas!
Thanks very much for reading, and have a fun, creative weekend! Don’t forget — the Ultimate Modern Calligraphy Kit Giveaway ends this Monday. If you haven’t entered yet, definitely consider doing so … the kit is an awesome prize, and will come in handy for making lots of mail art. 🙂