• Quick Tutorial: Create a Clean Hand-Lettered Envelope Design

    Follow this quick tutorial to create a beautifully clean hand-lettered envelope. It provides a simple way to elevate your everyday mail!

    Unique hand lettered envelope with postage stamps and a geometric motif

    Let’s be honest: I’m not known for quick tutorials nor clean envelope designs (see exhibit A, below). Today, however, I’m switching it up to bring you a tutorial that is both fast and sleek. In this quick guide, you’ll learn how to create a beautifully clean hand-lettered envelope design. You’ll also find centering tips, a helpful free lettering exemplar, and hints for making effective postage stamp collages.

    Embellished pointed pen calligraphy mail art by The Postman's Knock
    Exhibit A: What can I say? I love a lot of flourish. That said, variety is the spice of life, and sometimes it’s nice to go back to basics.

    In order to make an envelope like this one, you’ll need six basic supplies:

    1. Write the Recipient’s Name

    First, use a parallel glider and a pencil to center two pencil guidelines on your envelope vertically. The two guidelines should be around 0.75″ apart. Draw a line in the horizontal center of the envelope. Then, optionally, draw centered guidelines to help you know where to start and stop writingLearn how to create a beautifully clean hand-lettered envelope with this quick and easy tutorial. Perfect for adding a personal touch to your snail mail! (this will take some guesstimation). Once your guidelines are all set up, use George Style lettering and your white gel pen to write your recipient’s name.

    Writing George Style hand lettering on an envelope
    If you want step-by-step instructions over how to write each letter, get the George Style Printable Hand Lettering Worksheet. For a basic exemplar, I invite you to download the Uppercase George Style Lettering Exemplar, which is free.

    Continue to write, using your parallel glider as needed to make clean, parallel strokes.

    Balancing the Name

    If the name doesn’t end up being centered, there are quite a few things you can do to balance it out:

    • If the name is too far to the left: Add an extra element or character, like a star, a heart, or a sun on the right.
    • If the name is too far to the right: Write a small serif “TO:”, “SEND TO:”, or “DELIVER TO:” on the left.
    • If the two names are too far apart (like mine): Put a small diamond or a circle between them.
    George style hand lettered name written on an envelope
    If your name isn’t spaced exactly right, don’t sweat it. You can always add a little embellishment to make everything cohesive!

    2. Write the Address

    Next, use your parallel glider to draw two more sets of guidelines. These new guidelines should be around 1/4″ tall and about1/8″ apart. Use Sans Serif lettering to write the recipient’s address on these two guidelines.

    A hand lettered envelope address written using a white gel pen
    For insurance, you can draft out the recipient’s address first with a pencil.

    Try your best to center the recipient’s address, but know that if the centering is off, you can rely on the balancing tips outlined above.

    3. Plan Out the Postage for Your Hand-Lettered Envelope

    Give the ink on the envelope at least a couple of hours to dry, then carefully erase the pencil guidelines. Then, decorate the entire top with an eclectic collection of vintage stamps. For tips and tricks for sourcing and arranging postage stamps, see the How to Create Snail Mail Magic With Artful Postage Stamp Collages article.

    Strategically planned postage on a hand lettered envelope
    All of the vintage postage stamps you see here were purchased on eBay.

    As long as the total value of your postage stamps meets or exceeds the cost of sending a 1 oz. letter, you can use any stamps you like (at least, if you’re located in the USA). Though I haven’t done so here, I often mix a “forever” stamp with small-value vintage stamps as decoration.

    4. Add a Bit of Embellishment (Optional)

    If you have the time and the inclination, you can flesh out the bottom of the hand-lettered envelope design with an eclectic geometric motif. To do that, use your gel pen and a parallel glider to draw a horizontal line around 1/2″ above the bottom of the envelope. That line should span the width of the envelope. Then, draw another line just under 1/4″ above it. Draw another line 1/16″ above the second line, and finish up by drawing a fourth line ~1/4″ above the third line. Decorate this set of four lines with short diagonal lines, as shown below.

    Unique hand lettered envelope with postage stamps and a geometric motif
    If you feel like your envelope could use a little more oomph, spice it up with a geometric motif.

    You can finish up by writing a return address on the back (or squeeze it on the front). Then, take pride in sending your super legible hand-lettered envelope to its lucky new owner.

    Quick Tutorial: Clean Hand-Lettering for a Unique Envelope Design
    If you suspect your envelope may encounter moisture on its journey, consider waterproofing it before sending.

    Pointed Pen Alternative

    If you like the clean hand-lettered envelope design concept but want to give it a pointed pen flair, consider this alternative:

    George Style lettering + elegant calligraphy + Finetec Arabic Gold makes a gorgeous combination!

    To make it, start by using your parallel glider and a white pencil to draw guidelines on a black envelope (affiliate link). Then, use Arabic gold watercolor and your favorite pointed pen + nib to write a George Style lettering name with a Janet Style calligraphy address.

    Envelope with Gold Lettering | The Postman's Knock
    If you’ve never used gold watercolor to write calligraphy before, see this tutorial.

    Once the ink has dried, erase your pencil guidelines and apply a smattering of tasteful postage stamps to the upper right corner. And voilà! A lovely and clean calligraphed envelope.

    I hope that today’s hand-lettered envelope tutorial helps you add a touch of elegance to your snail mail. If you enjoyed this project and want to take your envelopes up a notch, be sure to explore other embellished envelope tutorials on the TPK Blog for additional creative inspiration.

    Happy creating,