There’s been a crispness in the air that can only mean one thing: Halloween is on its way! Every year, I make some sort of free printable to celebrate. This year brings this delightfully creepy Halloween mail art pair! You can download both of the envelope templates by clicking here, then return to this post to read about assembly.
The Spider Illustration
Before we touch on how to put the envelopes together, I’d like to talk about the spider on the front of the envelopes. The illustration was inspired by the Australian garden wolf spider, a spider that looks delightfully Halloween-y with its hairy body and thick legs.
To draw the spider, I used a crow quill nib (which you can fit into a crow quill holder) and a crosshatching technique. “Crosshatching” is really just a fancy name for drawing a lot of crisscrosses to represent a subject.
The crosshatching technique lends itself well to Halloween illustrations because it has a vintage feel to it! In this context, the vintage flavor adds to the creepiness factor.
The spider is just realistic enough to make you shudder, but the crosshatching technique reins in the realism a bit. After all, when have you ever seen a spider with a lot of crisscrosses on its legs and back?
The Halloween Mail Art Envelope Templates
After I drew our arachnid friend, I used Photoshop to digitize the illustration (you can learn how to do this with your own illustrations in the Digitizing Artwork & Calligraphy eCourse). I then made two versions of envelope templates in Photoshop: the first features one large spider, and the second has three spiders in varying sizes. You can download both of these envelope templates for free by clicking here! Once you download them, print them and cut them out.
You can print the templates on any paper you like! I, personally, chose 32# laserjet paper because laserjet paper handles dip pen calligraphy well, and I knew I would be using a dip pen to write the addresses on these envelopes later.
How to Assemble the Halloween Mail Art Templates
To assemble an envelope template, flip it over such that the illustration is face side down. Then, fold up the bottom flap. You can run a bone folder along the fold to ensure a nice, crisp crease!
Next, fold in one of the side flaps.
Then, fold in the other side flap.
Finish up by folding the top flap of the envelope down.
Once you have made all the folds, you can use an adhesive such as a glue stick (I like UHU brand) to securely affix the side flaps to the bottom flaps. Don’t glue down the top flap yet!
Flip the piece over, and you’ll see that it’s now a proper 6-1/4″ x 4-3/8″ (15-3/4 cm x 11-1/10 cm) envelope!
To seal the top flaps of the envelopes, you can either glue them shut, tape them with washi tape, or use DIY moisten-to-seal envelope glue.
Complementing the Halloween Mail Art with an Address
I tried out two styles and two colors of calligraphy on these Halloween mail art envelopes, and I loved the very different results of both! For the first, I used Beth Style calligraphy. As the envelopes aren’t extremely large, I used the 1/2″ Address Guidelines Template included in the Beautiful Beth Style Envelopes portion of the premium worksheet set to draw pencil guidelines.
Next, I used iron gall ink to calligraph the address. The ink is Walker’s brand that I ordered from Scribbler’s in the UK; in the US, McCaffery’s Penman’s Black is an excellent brand as well. I love iron gall ink because it has been used for centuries — rumor has it that it was a favorite of the vikings — and it is still wonderful for making thin hairlines and thick downstrokes!
For the next envelope, I used McCaffery’s brown ink and all-lowercase Kaitlin Style calligraphy. This was a fun envelope to make because Kaitlin Style calligraphy doesn’t require any pencil guidelines! After I was finished, I used a syringe to make little globs of watered-down ink on the envelope. The ink droplets added a lot to the playful Halloween effect!
While I used calligraphy for the addresses on both of these envelopes, you can use any lettering style! Feel free to get creative here. You can also modify the spider illustration to personalize it! For example, you could draw bows on its legs or a speech bubble containing your return address. No matter what creative liberties you choose to take, the envelopes will look great, and your recipient will really appreciate them!
I hope that you enjoy assembling and embellishing these little freebies! If you have any questions about them, please feel free to ask in the comments. Thanks so much for reading TPK, and have a wonderful weekend!
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