My family first got a scanner around the year 1998, and I remember being fascinated with the concept. You could draw something, and all of a sudden, there it was on your computer screen! And then, you could take it a step further and make copies of what you’d drawn. Amazing.
I’ve never quite gotten over the thrill of scanning artwork to duplicate it, which may explain all of the printables on the TPK website! Printable mail art is one of my very favorite things to create … I come up with envelope designs all the time that I want to keep and re-use! In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to make your own printable mail art envelopes, too. You’ll just need a printer, a scanner, and your drawing instrument of choice.
1. Print Out the Blank Mail Art Envelope Template
You can find the blank mail art envelope template for free by clicking here. It doesn’t really matter which paper you print the template out on as long as that paper will play nice with your drawing instrument.
2. Draw Pencil Guidelines
It’s helpful to know exactly which part of the envelope will appear front and center. For that reason, you may want to use a ruler and a pencil to draw guidelines that separate the front of the envelope from the flaps. As you draw your mail art design in subsequent steps, you can keep the front of the envelope in mind.
3. Create Your Design
Remember: you can use this template over and over once you create it, so it’s okay if you dedicate extra time and care to making the design! Feel free to use the writing instrument of your choice. I like drawing with a dip pen and ink; but any pen, paint, or marker will work!
4. Scan the Design
Use your scanner to scan the finished design into your computer. If your scanner presents you with a choice, I’d scan the finished template in at a resolution of 350 dpi.
5. Save the Scan + Make Copies
If you know how to digitize artwork, you can play with your design in Photoshop (or your preferred program) to modify it. If you aren’t very tech-savvy, that’s fine! You can skip playing with the design and just make copies of what you created by printing off the scanned file.
6. Cut, Fold, and Send
Cut out your printable mail art envelope along the gray guidelines. Fold all of the flaps behind the main rectangle/front, then glue the side flaps to the back flap. Write your recipient’s address on your envelope, add a stamp, and you’re ready to send it!
Free Printable Envelopes
I enjoyed creating the design for this tutorial, and I love the way it turned out. If you like it, too, I’d like to give it to you! You can find both the black and white plus the turquoise and brown versions of the printable mail art envelope by clicking here.
What Prompted This Tutorial
I get many of my tutorial ideas from Pinterest, and this tutorial was no exception. However, this post is unique in that the idea came from my own past work! I made a set of three fairytale-themed printable mail art envelope templates in early 2014, and someone had “pinned” a photo of them.
In 2014, there were no children in my family … my nieces, who are big fairytale fans, didn’t exist yet! I think that’s probably what prompted me to get rid of the printable fairytale envelopes in 2015. My tasteful aesthetic was too mature for such silliness (eye roll). After mid-2015, if you tried to find the fairytale envelope templates on the TPK website, you got a 404 error — meaning you were out of luck!
When I came across the old photo of the fairytale envelopes on Pinterest, I realized how imaginative and cool the designs actually are. I guess my perspective has changed now that there are kids in the family — they’ve really helped me to loosen up! The envelopes aren’t just for kids, though; I think they’re perfect for anyone who has a bit of a playful streak. So: if you like the fairytale envelopes, they’re back up on the website after a 3+ year hiatus, and better than ever after some editing in Photoshop! You can find them in the TPK catalog.
I hope that this tutorial inspires you to make some printable mail art envelope designs of your own! If you come up with something that you really love, I’d love to see it. 🙂 It’s always so rewarding for me to see the different ways that you run with tutorials like this one! You can always email the file — or a photo of the finished piece — to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and enjoy your weekend!