Hand Lettering a Card & Envelope

How to easily hand letter a card and/or envelope even if you don’t know how to do calligraphy.

Why give your monetary gift in a plain envelope when with a little effort you can give something festive, pretty and perfect for the occasion.

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

Supplies needed to make a the gift of a check and card into something extra special

supplies needed: 

  • card & envelope
  • thin-tipped markers
  • pencil
  • soft eraser
  • ruler
  • 25 inches tulle less needed if using ribbon
  • scissors
the best pens for hand lettering

These are my go to pens and eraser.

  1. Pigma Micron 08
  2. Penstix No. 3015-EF 0.5mm
  3. Penstix No.3013-EEF 0.3mm
  4. Soft lead pencil
  5. Soft eraser
How to hand letter and envelope

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.

Wedding envelope lettering

Erase the line and sketched names underneath. Don’t worry if your letters look stiff, you will fix them in the next few steps.

How to hand letter names for a wedding card

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.

DIY wedding card hand lettering

Your letters should look like this now.

Hand lettering tutorial
How to improve your handwriting

7. Go over each letter with a fine-tipped marker. Don’t worry if you don’t match up with every pencil line as you can erase these later.

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.

Hand lettering tutorial

9. Once the ink is dry, use a soft eraser to remove the pencil lines.

Hand lettering practice to come up with your own style
Easy to create hand lettering that anyone can do with a craft store pen

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

wedding gift ideas

1. Before sealing the envelope, use a hole punch to make two holes on the bottom of the back flap.

DIY Wedding card envelopes

2. Thread a 25-inch piece of tulle or ribbon through the holes as shown.

calligraphy tutorial

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.

Why give a plain card when with a little effort you can give something that is stylishly pretty and festive

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

No fancy calligraphy skills needed to create pretty hand lettering for envelopes, chalkboards and more. Follow these easy steps and in no time you will be creating your own unique hand lettering or script

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  1. Please can you send me an ABC of “April and Josh” font? I love it!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Zsuzsi =

      I wish I could send you a font, but Ashley and Josh is written in my handwriting that after I wrote the two names I did a little tweak to make my own handwriting look better.

      In the post, you can read how to do it yourself with your own handwriting. You simply add another stroke to all the downstrokes in the letters and then fill them in with your pencil or pen. It is really easy and will make your handwriting look more stylish. Try it – your handwriting will look very different with thin and thick sections on each letter. :-)

  2. Thank you, Diane!! I will do this for this coming Christmas when I give a few small gifts to open but mostly cheques to my children and grandchildren. I always thought calligraphy looked difficult but your post is great! My hand is shakier as I’ve added on the years and two fingers are now frozen/numb from a compressed ulnar nerve in the elbow with the result that the rest of the hand has lost strength and control. Naturally, it’s my writing hand – go figure! Anyways, thanks again and by the way, I didn’t have ANY ads pop up or get in my way and I’m on a tablet.

  3. Sheila Atkinson says:

    Thank you for your tutorial. My son’s Graduation is coming up in 3 weeks and I’ve been making a special stepper card with a fold out cap. I’ve also made a scroll and wanted to write a special message in it. Now I can make it look pretty ?

  4. Donna Talipsky says:

    Great post! I enjoyed watching the progression of your envelopes. I have so much to learn. I wish I were years younger as when I first took calligraphy lessons. So much has changed!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Donna – A agree that so much has changed from when I took calligraphy classes so long ago, too. It is much more free from now. Which is fun to do and very pretty. Using calligraphy markers instead of the drippy pens that were all that was available 30 years ago also makes it easier.

  5. Nice tutorial!
    Are you aware how hard it is to navigate on your site if you’re on a tablet? There are so many ads it’s super hard to scroll without accidentally clicking them. Just thought I’d let you know in case you rarely visit your site on a tablet.

  6. Hi Diane,
    Found this on Pinterest. This is such a great tutorial. I’ve just started Art Journaling and I want to do my own lettering. This is a very simple, yet effective technique that can be embellished in so many ways. I will also use this on invitations and greeting cards as well.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Karen Mercado says:

      I also saw this on Pinterest today and had to check it out! It’s so simple yet very detailed that almost anyone can do it. I’m starting a scrapbook and am definitely trying this.

  7. Such a great idea! Beautiful & wonderful tutorial thank you so much for sharing :)

  8. i love your tutorial, but the amount of ads on the mobile site is RIDICULOUS. I can’t even scroll without accidentally opening up two or three ads. I realize that you would like to be reimbursed for your time and effort, but that just seems like screwing over your visitor. I won’t be back.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Leia –

      I totally agree with you about the amount of ads. I recently went with a new ad platform and they are putting in way more ads than I like. I will notify them to cut the amount down.

  9. This post has revolutionized my writing, thank you so much for sharing! It was just okay before, but the simple addition of the thickened downstrokes makes card and gift tags a joy and so pretty. I have much more confidence and ease with signs and chalkboards now, instead of relying on printables. I’m finding a thin nib calligraphy pen especially helpful (I just angle it for thicker downstrokes). I really appreciate you sharing your talent, thanks!

  10. Candace Moore says:

    diane- I love this post!!!! I always try to write fancy on cards. This is the nicest idea I’ve seen yet!! Would you consider putting the full alphabet though, I don’t know josh, Justin, Ashley , or April. Lol. ?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Candace – You don’t really need an alphabet since you use your own handwriting. Try the double downstroke technique with your own handwriting, that is all I did. If it makes it easier for you to see lettering to make yours better, find a favorite handwriting font on a Font website like Dafont. Print out the alphabet and use it as your guide. :-)

  11. Drop the eraser and get yourself some Artist’s Kneadable Putty, you won’t regret it.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Molly – Thanks for the tip. I used to always use kneadable putty, that is what we used when I took calligraphy classes in college. :-) I forgot all about using it. Will have to purchase some the next time I am at the crafts store.

  12. It’s a wonderful idea adding a bow on the envelope! Love it and want to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Michelle James says:

    I love this. I think it would be fun to take it one step further and create your own font using your letters. Have you ever done this? I haven’t tried it yet.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Michelle – I have tried making my own font using the font making sites online, but it was a total fail! The letters looks uneven and didn’t connect correctly. I have not given up though, I think I just need to search for a site that offers better guidance on how to do it.

      1. Michelle James says:

        Diane – I never thought it would be so tough. I can see how the letters not connecting would be a problem. I would love to give it a whirl someday.

  14. Pam Clark says:

    Great tips!! We’re going to our first graduation party of the season tomorrow.

  15. Another great idea Diane, your creativity is inspiring

  16. Barbara Jaeger says:

    We have a wedding coming up and I’m definitely going to do this. LOVE the bow idea and appreciate the lettering suggestions. Can’t wait to try it! (As an additional tip, I usually slip a piece of card stock or an index card inside the envelope to ensure a completely smooth writing surface).

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barbara – Great tip about using a piece of card stock to keep your writing surface smooth. I will add it to the post. I think you have done calligraphy :-) When I was in school we used thin cardboard and wore thin white cotton gloves so the oils from our skin would not get on the paper we were working on.

  17. L.O.V.E. the tutorial! So sweet to add the bow to the envelope like you did! Ü

  18. Diane…With your detailed instructions, I think I might be able to do this, (with lots of practice). Yours is beautiful! The gorgeous bow on the envelope would be a wedding keepsake for me. All of your work is so creative!

  19. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Thank you ever so much for such a valuable lesson. I was thinking….. no way could I do that….. then I read and viewed your valuable lessons. Nothing so great as a one one one lesson for FREE!

  20. Just in time! I have 2 graduations in a week!

  21. I will have to bookmark this post for future reference. Thank you for the tutorial, the cards look very wedding festive. I ♥ them!
    – Lisa

  22. I love the idea of adding a bow to a card so it seems more “gifty”. Will definitely be doing that!

    Your lettering looks great.