This artistic envelope concept is one of my all-time favorites. It requires a bit of time and spontaneity (there’s no set formula for properly positioning the bubbles), but the eye-catching result is worth it! Put on your favorite playlist or podcast, pull out your watercolor palette, and enjoy.
1. Prepare Your Watercolors for Making an Artistic Envelope
Begin by moistening the following colors in your watercolor palette with water: red, orange, blue, and purple. Then, moisten a pan of Finetec Arabic Gold. There’s no need to pull out your artist-grade watercolors for this project: a simple watercolor set like the Prang palette pictured below will work great!
2. Add Watercolor to Your Envelope
Now, get out a high-quality white envelope (try one from Cards and Pockets). Use a large paintbrush and random strokes to apply plain water to the left side of the envelope. While the water is still wet, load your brush with any color of paint, then touch the brush to the water. The watercolor will immediately start to bloom!
Continue to apply the brush’s tip to the wet water on the envelope using each color that you moistened. As the individual paint colors spread, they will naturally blend. If your water starts to evaporate, feel free to brush on more. Once all the water on the envelope has color on it, allow the envelope to dry. It’s okay if it bubbles up a bit in the process.
3. Add Bubbles
Once your paint has dried, use a fine-tipped black pen (I like the Pilot G2 05) to draw random sizes of connected circles on top of the paint.
There isn’t a particular pattern that the bubbles should follow. I do have a couple of tips, though: first, vary the bubble sizes. Most bubbles should be small, with plenty of medium-sized bubbles mixed in and a few large bubbles here and there. Second, don’t draw bubbles outside of the watercolor. Third, try to cover 1/3 of the watercolor area with bubbles. Less than that will look too sparse. More than that will overpower the watercolor.
4. Add an Address
Now, use a pen to write your recipient’s name in George Style lettering. Instead of filling in the George letters with diagonal lines, however, use bubbles.
Next, use Janet Style calligraphy and sumi ink to write the recipient’s address.
5. Apply Postage to Your Artistic Envelope
Finish up this envelope art by applying postage that echoes the colors that you used in your funky motif. If you can find it, the Janis Joplin Forever stamp that USPS released in 2014 is a perfect fit … it’s available on eBay. Otherwise, the USPS store always has something cool!
Once you’ve affixed your postage, it’s time to give your envelope one last appreciative gaze, slip a letter or a card inside, and send it on its merry way!
While this tutorial gives you a specific color scheme, you can endlessly customize the watercolors that you use to reflect your mood or the season. For example, I used autumn colors to make this mail art in October a couple of years ago:
No matter what color scheme you choose to use, you can bet that your artistic envelope will be cool! I hope that you enjoyed the tutorial and that it inspires you to get to creating. Thanks so much for reading!