• Envelope Art: 8 Easy Ways to Kick It Up a Notch

    You don’t need copious free time in order to make envelope art! In this article, I’ll go over eight ways that you can make engaging envelopes without a hefty time commitment.

    This mail art was created using the 5.5" x 5.5" envelope template and one of the clipart illustrations from The Letter Writer's Complete Resource.

    Pre-2018, before I became known as “Mom”, I routinely made time-consuming envelope art envelopes (like these). Now that I have young children, 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 use printable templates or whip up 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.

    Envelope Art: 8 Easy Ways to Kick It Up a Notch
    The printable hand graphic on the top envelope and the fox on the bottom envelope can both be found in The Letter Writer’s Complete Resource.

    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 meets or exceeds the current first-class postage rate, 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.

    Right-Justified Envelope
    This Germany-bound letter has a simple address, so it relies on postage stamps for personality.

    3. 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.

    DIY Envelope Glue for Handmade Envelopes
    It’s a good idea to make a batch of handmade envelopes to use for later. If you do that, you can apply DIY envelope glue to the envelopes’ flaps.

    4. 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.

    Easy DIY Envelope Liners Tutorial
    These printable envelope liner patterns can be found in The Letter Writer’s Complete Resource. Feel free to use any pretty paper to make your envelope liners, though.

    5. 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.

    Wax Seal | The Postman's Knock
    If you use a wax seal, don’t forget to put extra postage on your envelope to cover a non-machinable envelope fee.

    6. 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.

    Calligraphy Swirls Tutorials (Part I) | The Postman's Knock
    You can learn how to make these simple but lovely flourishes in this tutorial.

    7. Justify to the Left + Don’t Use Pencil Guidelines

    Here’s the secret to writing quick calligraphy: don’t use pencil guidelines, and justify everything to the left. That way, you don’t have to worry about planning out guidelines then erasing them. Centering everything takes a ton of time, so if you justify the entire address to the left, you’ll find that your writing goes very quickly.

    White Calligraphy Ink Showdown Part II: Bleedproof White + Winsor & Newton | The Postman's Knock
    You’ll be surprised at how quickly an envelope like this comes together. If you’re new to white ink, you can learn how to use it here.

    If you opt to do this, you just about have to use Kaitlin Style calligraphy or a similar bouncy style. That way, you can continuously adjust the positioning of your letters if they start to creep up or down.

    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.

    Six Calligraphy Envelopes, Two Hours
    This envelope took about ten minutes to calligraph: five minutes for the recipients’ names, four minutes for the block-lettered address, and one minute to apply postage.

    I hope that today’s blog post helps you to send envelope art, especially if you are dealing with a tight schedule! To see more examples of quick envelopes, check out these articles: Six Calligraphy Envelopes, Two Hours and 5 Unique Ways to Address an Envelope. Thanks so much for reading, and we’ll reconvene this weekend with an inspiring tutorial.


    Hello, warm weather and leisurely art and calligraphy creation sessions! TPK is welcoming the season with a spring clearance sale.