A beautifully calligraphed envelope builds anticipation and makes a recipient feel special! That’s why, when you need an envelope for a card you’re going to give in person, it’s important to add a special touch. Today, I’ll walk you through how to make the perfect name-only envelope, and I’ll show you some examples of name-only envelopes that I’ve created in the past.
1. Gather Occasion-Appropriate Supplies
First, compile supplies that echo the mood of the occasion. Consider your envelope color (plain for serious occasions, playful for festive occasions), ink color, and calligraphy style. Depending on your envelope color, you’ll either need a regular pencil or a white pencil to make a draft. Be sure to grab a ruler, too!
Today, I’m making an envelope for a Christmas card, so I’ve chosen the following supplies:
- A7 red envelope
- Bleed Proof White ink
- Arabic gold watercolor
- Brause EF66 nib + oblique pen
- White pencil
- “Fabulous Flourishes” exemplar (from the Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course)
2. Make Guidelines
Now, use your ruler and a pencil to mark the vertical center of the envelope. Draw a horizontal line across the envelope 0.5″ (1.27 cm) above the vertical center, then draw another horizontal line 0.5″ (1.27 cm) below the vertical center. Finish up by drawing a vertical guideline in the middle (horizontal center) of the envelope.
Next, draw another horizontal guideline 3/8″ (0.95 cm) above the bottom horizontal guideline. Then, draw 55° slant lines to help you keep a consistent letter slant.
3. Make a Calligraphy Draft
Once you’ve drawn guidelines, it’s time to make a draft of your calligraphy. To do that, use your favorite calligraphy style exemplar and your pencil. Once you finish, measure the distance from the horizontal center of the envelope to the beginning of the calligraphy. Then, measure the distance from the horizontal center of the envelope to the end of the calligraphy. If the distances are roughly the same, keep your calligraphy draft. If not, take note of the calligraphy draft’s total length, erase the draft, and start over. (Marking where the calligraphy should start and where it should end will help you to get it right the second time around!)
Once the draft is centered to your liking, add flourishes as desired. The Intermediate Modern Calligraphy Online Course has quite a few flourishing techniques and exemplars. (You can find free flourishing tips and worksheets here, though!) If you prefer a cleaner look, you can skip the flourishes.
4. Write Calligraphy Over the Draft
Now, take your dip pen and the ink color of your choice and write over your draft. If you have any flourishes or embellishments below the calligraphy (like I do here), save those for last so you don’t smudge them as you’re writing!
5. Erase Guidelines
Once your ink has dried, use an eraser to get rid of any guidelines. If you used white ink like I did, you’ll need to be very careful taking on this step! (White ink might feel dry, but it takes several hours to dry completely.) Most other inks, however, dry within a few minutes and won’t smudge as you erase guidelines.
6. Add Gold Enhancements (Optional)
Regardless of what envelope color or ink color that you used, gold enhancements are always pretty! To add them, use your white pencil to draw parallel strokes to the right of the downstrokes in your calligraphy. It’s a good idea to add parallel line drafts to a couple of upstrokes or horizontal strokes, as well.
Then, load gold watercolor onto your dip pen (per this tutorial). Use the gold watercolor to draw over the parallel lines that you just drew. Wait for the ink to dry and, if necessary, erase any pencil draft lines. Then, you’re finished!
Use this tutorial as a blueprint next time you take on a name-only envelope for a card! I encourage you to vary the calligraphy style, the colors, and the size of the name to experiment with what works for you.
Examples of Name-Only Envelopes for Cards
The following name-only envelopes for cards will give you inspiration to make lovely calligraphy:
1. Iron Gall Ink Wedding Invitation Envelopes
2. Watercolor Calligraphy Envelope for a Birthday Card
I made this envelope to go with the “Little Black Dress” of Calligraphy Birthday Cards. Its blue tones correspond with the card that it carried. The calligraphy style is a heavily flourished Janet.
3. Simple White Ink Calligraphy
4. Starry Horizontal Envelope
Alright, are you ready to take on this holiday season with some gorgeous name-only envelopes? I can’t wait to see what you come up with! (If you’re on social media, tag me on Instagram — @thepostmansknock — so I can take a look.) Thanks so much for reading, and happy writing!