How To: Create a unique envelope

As the holiday season starts approaching, you’ll definitely start getting the itch to send cards to your family and friends. One of the most intimidating things about creating a card is creating a cute envelope to go with it. The envelope is the first thing that someone sees when they receive your card, so you want it to be unique and make a statement. I’ve created this simple “how to” to help break it down and make it easier to get started.

The first thing you’ll have to decide when you start creating a card/envelope combo is what theme you want to do. For this tutorial, I chose a simple theme for the envelope, “neon”.

Normally, I would probably choose my card theme first, and then match the envelope to the card, but since I’m only going over the envelope piece in this how to, I chose a simple envelope theme that could go alongside a wide range of card themes.

I used a simple envelope maker to create this envelope (similar linked here). They’re super easy to use and come with easy to follow instructions. Making your own envelope allows you to create an envelope out of a paper of your choosing- that way you can customize it for the type of medium you plan on using, or can use a fun color. Making your own envelope also allows you to create cards of many different sizes, and have an envelope that matches them perfectly!

After I created my envelope, the finishing step was to glue it shut. To avoid using classic Elmer’s glue (and inevitably making a huge mess) I seal my envelopes using Tombow glue tape. It’s a super easy way to finish an envelope quickly, and with no mess.

To use, you simply press down and pull where you want the glue to apply. Pictures below to demonstrate.

easy tape applicator
blue lines indicate where the glue tape was applied
I used a super thin paper, and a bright light for this photograph, so that the tape would be visible.
Quick and easy envelope!

After finishing actually creating the envelope, the first thing I do is add my stamp, so that I can work my words and designs around it. Fun stamps are easy to find- just go on the USPS website or check your local post office. Because this envelope was going to be bright and colorful, I chose a stamp that would be pretty on brand!

Bright stamp for a soon to be bright envelope.

Now on to the actual addressing. I always sketch out what I’m going to do, before I lay it down in pen, just so I can make any corrections without having to start all over. As always, I used my trusty Tombow Mono Mechanical Pencil and Mono Eraser.

Address done in pencil

When addressing an envelope, depending on the look you’re going for, you can mix different styles/types of lettering, or you can go completely classic and do everything the same. I chose to mix and match my lettering types, since I was going for fun look on this envelope.

For the address itself, using something simple and easy to read is great, because it increases the chance that the post office will recognize where you want it to go, and your creation will actually reach the person that it is intended for. I used only black ink for the address itself, for this reason. (Thanks, Mom, for this helpful tip).

After I’m happy with my pencil drawing, I trace it with whatever pen/marker I want, and then erase my stray pencil marks. For my tracing, I used the Tombow MONO drawing pens.

trace pencil
erase stray marks

Now for the fun! Next I added some color to my faux-calligraphy on the name. All of the color I did on this envelope was done using the Tombow Fudenosuke Neon set. I’m obsessed with it.

adding some color!

Once I was happy with the way my address looked, I moved on to adding some simple decorations to the envelope! I try not to do anything too crazy, or anything that is going to mess with the address. This isn’t a necessary step, but it does add some fun details. If you’re happy with the way your envelope looks pre-decorations, then do what makes you happy!

envelope with decor

After adding my easy decorations, I was done with the front, and moved on to adding the return address.

I think it is cohesive to match the theme of the return address to the front of the envelope. But I like to change it up juuuuuust enough so that they aren’t exactly the same. But again, that is all up to personal preference.

For my return address, I mimicked the shapes for decorations that I used on the front, but changed the type a bit, because the faux calligraphy wouldn’t have looked as great in this small space.

Return address complete

And just like that, you’re done with your unique envelope!

With an envelope as thin as this one, I would take it in to the post office and ask them to run it by hand, so that it doesn’t get destroyed (thanks again, Mom). But a heavier-duty paper envelope would do fine getting thrown in the mailbox to be sent out.

Drop any questions about my process below! Thanks for following along and hope you are able to better create fun envelopes and send your family and friends some good-ole snail mail. #makesnailmailpopularagain

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