Pre-2018, before I became known as “Mom”, I routinely made time-consuming envelope art. Now that I have a young child, though, the days pass by in the blink of an eye. While I indulge in creating intricate envelope designs every now and then, I mostly send mail that looks cool but takes under thirty minutes to make. If you’re pressed for time, too, I hope that you’ll be able to use some of my go-to shortcuts!
1. Embrace Decoupage
If you don’t have time to draw a detailed illustration like lace or a fig tree, rely on your printer (or a book/magazine)! Find a graphic that you like, print it off, cut it out, and securely glue it to your envelope. Boom! Instant envelope art.
2. Make a Postage Stamp Collage
When you’re in a rush, you can rely on your postage stamps to add visual interest to an envelope. In the US, as long as the total value of the postage stamps is $0.58 or above, your envelope will be delivered! You can find vintage postage stamps suitable for collage on sites like Etsy and eBay. For specific tips and postage stamp sources, see this article.
3. Use a Printable Mail Art Template
There are several mail art templates peppered throughout the TPK site, and most of them are free. Basically, you print out the template, cut it out, glue the flaps in, and write the recipient’s address. Add a stamp, and your envelope is ready to send!
4. Make a Handmade Envelope Out of Any Paper
If you find a paper that you particularly like, fold it into a handmade envelope! I’ve been known to make envelopes out of vintage books, pretty magazines, and even takeout bags. You can find instructions for making handmade envelopes in this tutorial.
5. Add an Envelope Liner
Envelope liners add heft, artistry, and a delightful surprise to any envelope. They’re super easy to make out of any paper! Find instructions over how to create your own quick envelope liners here.
6. Add a Wax Seal
A wax seal is an easy way to add elegance to your envelope. For convenience, you use sealing wax with a wick. Just light the wick, let the wax drip onto the bottom of the envelope’s flap, then press a wax seal into the wet wax.
7. Add a Bit of Flourish
If you have a couple of extra minutes, add some swirls or flourishes to your envelope. That time investment will go a long way in giving the envelope a dose of elegance.
8. Focus On the Recipient’s Name
When I’m writing envelope calligraphy in a rush, I focus on writing the recipient’s name in eye-catching calligraphy. Then, I’ll often use small and simple block lettering to write the address. It’s a foolproof way to make a pretty envelope that doesn’t take up a ton of time!