• Intricate Golden Butterfly Envelope Art Tutorial

    The star of today’s envelope art tutorial is a handy printable! Just add some gold watercolor, fun hand-lettering, and elegant calligraphy.

    Intricate Golden Butterfly Envelope Art Tutorial
    Despite all its details, this envelope art tutorial isn’t as difficult as it looks. The lace butterfly is such a useful printable!

    Every once in a while, I get a big chunk of time to make a stunning envelope. This week presented no such opportunity (we welcomed a new baby into the family a month and a half ago, after all), but I still wanted to make a pretty piece of snail mail to send a thank you note. With the help of the lace butterfly printable, today’s envelope art tutorial comes together quickly!

    The Inspiration for This Envelope Art Tutorial

    For a long time, I’ve wanted to make an envelope art tutorial based on the rent check envelope below. One thing stopped me, and that was the mountain motif: it’s pretty specific to Colorado and other mountainous areas. I decided that a tutorial with such a motif wouldn’t have wide appeal.

    Rent Check Mail Art Envelopes: A Collection | The Postman's Knock
    This embellished envelope was created six years ago (2016), but it’s still one of my favorite mail art concepts!

    After giving it some thought, I realized that mountains could be swapped out for a butterfly. I also liked the idea of bringing some gold into the motif. And, voilà! Today’s envelope art concept is much quicker and — I think — has wider appeal. Here’s how to make it:

    1. Make a Gold Watercolor Circle

    Start by using a pencil to draw a circle that’s about 1.75″ (4.45 cm) in diameter in the horizontal middle of a kraft envelope. (I’m using an A7 “Straw Kraft” envelope from Cards & Pockets.) Try to position the circle a bit closer to the top of the envelope than the bottom of the envelope.

    Making a pencil circle on an envelope
    I just traced around my glass ink jar‘s lid to make this circle.

    Next, moisten a pan of gold watercolor, and use that watercolor to paint the circle.

    Gold circle on an envelope
    I used a size 2 paintbrush for this step, but any small-ish paintbrush size works. Finetec Arabic Gold watercolor is a great fit for this project!

    2. Draw an Embellished Banner

    Now, use a pencil to draw two curved rectangles that originate from either edge of of the gold circle. The rectangles should extend to about 3/4″ (~2 cm) from the edges of the envelope.

    Drawing a Banner With a Pencil
    Curve the left rectangle one way, then curve the right rectangle the other way.

    Next, draw extensions and add embellishments to the banner as shown below:

    Drawing a pencil banner draft
    Don’t skip drawing the dense vertical lines! These lines will give the banner some dimension and a neat vintage look.

    3. Add a Butterfly and Lettering

    Now, cut out a Tiny Butterfly from the Printable Illustrated Lace Butterflies packet. Generously apply glue to the back of the butterfly, then center/glue it on top of the gold circle. Next, use Roman Style lettering to write the recipient’s first name on the left side of the banner. Then, write their last name on the right side of the banner. Finish up by using some of the letters as starting points for embellishments.

    Hand-lettering on a banner
    You might need to erase or modify some of your embellishments from the previous step to accommodate the embellishments that come off of your letters.

    4. Draft Out the Recipient’s Address

    Now, use a pencil, the Perfect Calligraphy Envelope Generator, and a ruler to make two sets of calligraphy guidelines below your banner.

    Making pencil guidelines to write an address
    Don’t skip drawing the slant lines, too! Those will help you to write consistent, right-leaning calligraphy.

    Just to be safe as far as spacing and centering goes, go ahead and write a draft of the recipient’s address. (I’m using Janet Style calligraphy for this step.)

    Pencil draft calligraphy
    If you want to skip this step to save time, you can. I think the time investment is worth it, though, to ensure that your calligraphy is nice and centered!

    5. Add Ink

    Once you’re happy with your pencil draft, go ahead and trace over everything with your favorite pen/nib combination and sumi ink. (If you don’t have sumi ink, any fairly thick black ink should work.)

    Sumi ink on envelope art
    I used a Nikko G nib in a straight pen to trace over the banner components. Then, I used a Brause EF66 nib in an oblique pen to trace over the Janet Style calligraphy address.

    Now, take a white gel pen and use it to fill in the letters in the banner. Incorporating white into the design helps to tie everything together!

    Filling in lettering with a Gelly Roll white gel pen
    It’s important to use a white gel pen for this step — not white calligraphy ink — because the gel pen ink won’t bleed over the black outlines.

    Once you finish using your white pen to fill in the letters, use it to enhance some of your embellishments. It’s a good idea to add some thin outlines to the banner and a few well-placed dots.

    Intricate Golden Butterfly Envelope Art Tutorial
    Adding a few outlines to the inside of the banner helps it to “pop”!

    6. Add Postage and Send!

    Once you’re finished, search your stamp collection for something that complements this envelope art motif. A stamp design that incorporates golden tones is ideal, but something black and white or a butterfly-themed stamp could be cool, too!

    Intricate Golden Butterfly Envelope Art Tutorial
    Curious about where to find cool postage stamps and how to use them to add panache to your envelopes? See this article.

    I hope that this envelope art tutorial inspires you to play around with putting together a design like this one! You can’t go wrong with the circle + banner + calligraphy formula. (I love this formula so much that I used it on the TPK calligraphy starter kit box design.) Thanks so much for reading, and happy creating!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock