A Google search for “how to create envelope calligraphy” turns up surprisingly empty (there even seem to be tumbleweeds blowing in the “DIY envelope calligraphy” search). Sure, there are results — but all of them seem to focus on who to hire to create calligraphy for you.
If you’re planning a wedding, you know that it’s good to cut corners financially where you can. At the same time, the first impression guests get of your upcoming celebration is that address written on the envelope. Creating your own, professional-looking calligraphy is perfectly do-able provided you’ve got the time and the patience.
The truth is, right now, you’ve probably got the materials. I like using Pilot G-2 05 gel point pens to create calligraphy for personal projects, and chances are you’ve got a pen like that lying around somewhere. Aside from that, all you need are envelopes, a ruler, and a pencil.
For truly fool-proof calligraphy, you should draw light guidelines using a ruler and pencil. Measure a certain distance from each end of the envelope (my distance was 1-1/4″), and draw a very light vertical line. Then draw 4-5 address lines that are spaced equally apart.
Here’s a good calligraphy trick: pull up a font on the computer that you like (or browse dafont.com), and mimic that font. My font of choice will be “Porcelain”. Write out the person’s address using that font so you have a guide.
Remember, this font is just a guide/reference. What you end up with doesn’t need to look like the font at all. It’s just nice to have a model.
Use your pencil to freehand your calligraphy onto the envelope. Make sure the calligraphy is centered by utilizing the vertical guidelines. In this example, both the beginning and ends of my address calligraphy lines are touching the vertical guidelines.
Once you have freehanded your calligraphy with the pencil, use your pen to trace once over what you wrote.
Then, trace over the letters again to make “faux calligraphy”. If you want clarification on the process, check out my post on creating “cheating calligraphy”.
Now, just fill in the lines.
Wait for a couple of hours for the ink to dry completely, then erase the pencil guidelines. Remember, if your ink is dry to the touch, that doesn’t mean it’s completely dry; and an eraser may smudge it.
To create envelope calligraphy, you will need ample time and a pinch of fortitude. Lack of time and patience is why many people hire a calligrapher. If you’re going to try your hand at this to save money, I would recommend the following:
- Start as soon as you find out the size of your invitations and are dually able to buy envelopes. If the invitations and envelopes are a package deal, request to receive the envelopes first. Then, in the time you are waiting for your invitations to be printed, work on creating your calligraphy a few envelopes at a time.
- If you are absolutely certain you cannot produce something like the calligraphy above, you can always consider tracing printed characters onto your envelopes.
- Make your own envelopes!
- To save time, you can skip the step of writing out the address in pencil first. This leaves more room for error, but also gets your envelopes out the door faster.
Remember that this isn’t just for weddings! I send pretty calligraphy envelopes to all of my penpals. It’s exciting to get a letter in the mail … but even more exciting if it’s wrapped up in a pretty package!
Questions or comments to this post will be very much welcomed — I love hearing your thoughts and suggestions!