• Jubilant Watercolor Lemons Mail Art Tutorial

    Warm summer weather calls for refreshing lemons! Celebrate this beautiful citrus fruit by making it the star of gorgeous mail art. In today’s tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to create a handmade envelope with a jubilant watercolor lemon motif.

    In today’s tutorial, I’ll show you how to make this jubilant watercolor lemons mail art.

    My birthday was a couple of days ago, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do to celebrate: watch true crime documentaries and make art. In my pre-child life, I took my documentary/art time for granted. Now, I know better! As I handed our five-month-old baby over to my husband, I began to plan what I’d do for the next hour or two. The result: a colorful and jubilant watercolor lemons envelope. Today, I’ll walk you through how to make one just like it!

    Supplies List

    Jubilant Lemons Mail Art Tutorial

    In order to create this mail art, you’ll need:

    With the exception of the vintage book page and the white ink, you can find all of these supplies in the The Ultimate Beginner’s Watercolor Kit.


    1. Assemble a Handmade Envelope

    Part of this mail art’s “cool factor” comes from the contrast between the bright lemons and slightly yellowed, vintage paper. If you have a vintage book, tear out a page and use it to make an envelope (per the instructions in this tutorial). If you don’t have a vintage book, try looking for one at your local thrift shop!

    Handmade Stationery Set
    You can learn how to make 5.5″ x 5.5″ envelopes like these in the Handmade Stationery Set Tutorial. I chose to use the envelope in the bottom middle for today’s mail art.

    2. Make a Pencil Draft

    Next, grab a mechanical pencil and use it to draw a pencil draft of lemons. The illustration should extend from the upper left corner of the envelope down to the lower right corner.

    Lemon Illustration Mail Art Draft
    I used this Mediterranean tiles photo as a reference for these lemons.

    Finish up by writing your recipient’s address somewhere on the envelope, too. I used Amy Style calligraphy, which I feel complements the cheerful nature of the envelope art motif.

    3. Add Waterproof Ink

    Now, use a straight pen (fitted with a Nikko G nib) and Ziller Soot Black ink to trace over your pencil draft and your calligraphy. Once the ink has dried, erase any remaining pencil draft lines with a high-quality eraser.

    Drawing over the draft with waterproof ink
    It is super important to use waterproof ink for this step! Otherwise, the watercolor in the next step will cause the ink to bleed.

    4. Add Watercolor

    Next, use bright yellow watercolor paint (like “Lemon Yellow Hue” from the Cotman watercolor palette) to fill in the lemons.

    Yellow lemons on mail art
    Use your size 3 paintbrush for this step! Its size will make quick work of painting the lemons.

    Once the lemons have dried, use a light green tone to fill in the leaves.

    Lemons on mail art
    “Serpentine Green” is a good color for this step.

    Now, use “Cadmium Orange Hue” or a similar color to add dimension to the lemons. To do that, dry blend the Cadmium Orange around the edges of each lemon. (Not sure how to dry blend? Consider enrolling in The Ultimate Beginner’s Watercolor Online Course.)

    Jubilant Lemons Mail Art

    Then, use a dark green tone (“Hooker’s Green Dark”) and your size 1 paintbrush to outline each leaf and add veins to them. There’s no blending going on here. You’re just painting directly over the light green paint! When you finish, use white ink to fill in the little flowers in the motif.

    Jubilant Lemons Mail Art Tutorial

    5. Put On the Finishing Touches

    After the white ink has dried, use a light blue tone (“Cerulean Blue Hue”) to add a pop of color to the inside of each flower. Then, use your size 3 painbrush to add a white highlight to the middle of each lemon. Finally, apply postage stamps that complement the color scheme and content of your envelope art.

    Jubilant Lemons Mail Art Tutorial
    Don’t forget to add extra postage to your mail art! Square envelopes require a bit of a surcharge.

    Learn How to Watercolor

    If you love the look of watercolor, consider enrolling in TPK’s new The Ultimate Beginner’s Watercolor Online Course! In it, you’ll learn all the techniques you need in order to paint eye-catching, vibrant subjects like the lemons in today’s mail art tutorial.

    Enroll in the TPK Ultimate Beginner's Watercolor Course


    I hope that you enjoyed today’s mail art tutorial! Getting to create it was the perfect birthday treat — so pleasant and relaxing. I encourage you to try it for yourself this weekend!


    Lindsey's Signature | The Postman's Knock