Enough with the boring envelopes. As someone who loves envelopes, possibly even more than cards, I think it's high time we start making our mail as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Oh, also, you need to start sending more mail. Your grandma would appreciate it.
Besides envelopes and a reason to write, you'll need to gather a few fun tools & decorative bits.
Now, what should we do with all this stuff? Pile it all on? Sure, I guess. If you really like that sort of look... I'm not sure the post office will appreciate the mess, though.
Instead, here are some ideas to try! (In order of trickiness)
1. Fun with pens & shapes
You'll need: Envelopes, washi tape, gel pens, & a paper punch.
I love this flag punch. I use it for a lot of things; tiny banners, cards, gift tags, etc. Turns out it also makes super cute address labels. You can either trace it or glue it on. If you glue it, make sure you get all the edges so it doesn't peel off in the post. On dark envelopes, metallic, white, and any opaque gel pen make addresses easier to read. Neon pens are fun and so are these Souffle Puffy Pens. They're similar to heat embossing, except require no heat or messing embossing powder.
2. Circles Labels
You'll need: Circle stickers, a pencil & a pen
This involves a little more handlettering. That may sound daunting, but handlettering is really just all about practice. A pencil helps immensely, as does a good eraser. For this font, I curved it to sort of fit into the top of the circle. To give it a distinct look, I made all the letters narrow with a low center of gravity. Another fun way to use the circle labels is to cut them in half and use one half for the destination and the other for the return address.
3. Filling up big envelopes (or small ones)
You'll need: A pencil, a good eraser & a Faber Castell Brush Pen
Do not, I repeat, do not buy a calligraphy pen. They always make your handwriting ugly. Maybe I just don't understand how they work or haven't practiced enough, but whatever. The trick is the brush pen! The nib is soft, like a paint brush. Duh. It's also much finer at the tip which means finer lines. We use them all the time at Paper Source for the handlettering classes we teach. We do not even bother with all those calligraphy pens we carry.
Anyway, pencil, brush pen, and a bit of instruction are all you need. Here is a video. Watch at least the first two minutes.
Done? Ok. Notice how on the down stroke the lines are thicker? That's because he's pressing harder. On the upstroke, there is very little pressure. That's how you get that style. Pretty simple, huh? You can use those rules to write in cursive or print! Also notice that his stuff is not perfect. It is OKAY to not be "perfect". Now go practice, and use the pencil to sketch things out beforehand. When you feel confident in your handlettering you can use it to write big, loopy, ridiculous addresses on your envelopes. But don't show it to your engaged friends. They will ask that you address all 200 of their wedding invites. As a favor.
4. Time to get crazy
Right now you're probably going "But Catie, I don't have any of these crazy-colorful envelopes you have because I live in Hawaii & we don't have a Paper Source here." Ugh, your life is so hard, is what I would say. Then you say "All I have is this boring white envelope that came with the Hallmark card I bought." Snoozeville! Gawd, they will probably just throw it out with the Amex bill.
Let's put this cattiness behind us. I have an idea.
Here's what you'll need: Stamps, ink, glitter & confetti, brush pen, & a fun label. I like these labels from the Flourish Collection. They're based in Seattle. Stamps are also a great way to add color and pattern to an otherwise plain envelope. I used a simple circle stamp. For smaller polka dots, use a pencil eraser!
Now, let's put those handlettering skills to work! This time I wrote really fast, so the letters are a little lopsided and messy. This is the style I wanted. Imperfections always make things a little more fun.
Did you know? If you run out of space on the front of an envelope, you can put the return address on the back. Super high-class, right?
For the final touch, I slipped the everything into a cellophane envelope & added confetti! I used the cello envelope that fits a 4bar (tiny) card, but they come in a variety of sizes, all available through Clearbags. This has been my favorite way to send mail all year. An important note, though. Make sure you affix the stamp to the outside of the clear envelope. If the post office can't cancel the stamp, because, say, it's covered in shiny plastic, they may send it back to you!
Well, this has been fun! Now to send all of these off to my imaginary friends. If you have real friends you'd like to send some love to, I'm giving away a snail mail fun pack!
For more ideas, visit my Pinterest board.
Also check out all these hand lettering tutorials on YouTube!