How to easily hand letter a card and/or envelope even if you don’t know how to do calligraphy.
It is that time of year again…the season of weddings, graduations and more has begun. I have been invited to two weddings at the end of May, as my luck would have it they are both on the same day.
Ed and I always like to give the newlyweds or a graduate a monetary gift in the way of a check tucked in a card. Giving a card in a plain envelope is just not my style.
I like to hand letter the envelope and add a tulle bow (weddings) and colorful ribbon (graduate’s school colors) to the back of the envelope to make it prettier so the card feels more gift-like.
I also take the time to hand letter the envelope. I used to do calligraphy, but as I have gotten older, my hand is not as steady. It takes practice and my lettering is not what it used to be. Then I remembered that it is not hard; it just takes a little set up. If you follow these simple steps using your own unique handwriting, you may smile at just how nice your handwriting can look.
I rely on the letter-building method to make mine look better. Once you do it, you will truly be able to do it in a few minutes.
Here is how I do it.
How to Hand Letter an Envelope Using Your Own Handwriting
- card & envelope
- thin-tipped markers
- soft eraser
- 25 inches tulle less needed if using ribbon
These are my go to pens and eraser.
Move the envelope’s flap out of the way so it does not interfere with your lettering. Taking it one step further….a reader, Barbara J. reminded me to put a piece of card stock or thin cardboard into the envelope. This ensures you have a smooth surface to write on.
1. Using a ruler, find the center of your envelope and make a light mark with a pencil.
2. Draw a light line with a ruler as a guide to write your names on.
3. Use a soft lead pencil to lightly sketch the names you want on the envelope and then count the letters and spaces to find the center. April & Justin = 14 characters. I used the space right after the “&” as the center to start my lettering. Note: You can do this on a separate piece of paper if you like, I just got in the habit of lightly writing it on the envelope since I can easily erase it later.
4. Starting at the center point and working out to the left and right, lightly write the names. This way you are sure to keep the names perfectly centered.
Erase the line and sketched names underneath. Don’t worry if your letters look stiff, you will fix them in the next few steps.
6.-1 Once you have the names written, you want to go back over them to widen the downstrokes of every letter.
6.-2 Simply draw a second line along the parts of the letters where as you write the letter the stroke of the pencil goes down. Connect this line where the letter begins to curve.
Your letters should look like this now.
I like to outline each letter first, then fill them in.
8. Once you are finished, put the envelope aside. Do not try to erase the pencil lines yet. Wait 10 minutes to make sure the ink is completely dry or you run the risk of smudging the ink as you erase the pencil lines.
9. Once the ink is dry, use a soft eraser to remove the pencil lines.
There is no right or wrong way to create letters. Above I printed each letter. Get creative and make up your own techniques and flourishes to your basic letters.
Instead of filling in the downstrokes, I added horizontal lines. Try adding dots, swirls and loops to each letter, especially capital, ascending and descending letters to create one of a kind hand-lettering. The more you play around and practice the better you will get. Look at the fonts on your computer or type books at the craft and book store for ideas.
And remember, it does not have to be perfect, you just want to add a little style to the act of giving.
How to Make Giving a Wedding or Graduation Card into a Festive Gift Envelope
1. Before sealing the envelope, use a hole punch to make two holes on the bottom of the back flap.
3. Make sure the lengths are even and tie the tulle into a bow. Trim ends of tulle if needed.
4. Insert the card in and seal the envelope.
5. Fluff the tulle to straighten the bow.
Now your card looks more like a pretty gift and will have the receiver exclaiming……ooooohhhh! for me? :-)
Hand lettering these cards has fueled my passion to start doing it more. It is not hard or time consuming once you gain a little practice and a steady hand; that and a magnifying glass. I had to find one to make sure I filled in every letter completely as my eyes are not as sharp as they used to be. ;-)
If you would like to learn even more creative hand lettering ideas, check out this post: A Lost Art: Pretty Lettering
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