Behind The Scenes: How To Address An Envelope with Straight Lines AND No Erasing!

Updated: Dec 2, 2019


Do you ever wonder how all those beautiful envelopes that circulate Instagram and Pinterest are created? Have you learned a bit of calligraphy, and questioned where the heck to start with using your new skill to send some lovely looking snail-mail? Just how in the heck do we calligraphers manage to letter in such straight lines?!?!

Look no further! This week I'm taking you behind the scenes of how I address envelopes (for fun, and for clients)!

As always, there are a lot of different ways to go about creating those beautiful envelope layouts, but this is my favorite way gets all the leg work out of the way right in the beginning, leaving you free to create your mailable masterpiece! It also avoids adding any pencil lines directly on your envelopes, so no erasing necessary!

Here's what you'll need:

  • a writing surface with paper taped down

  • a pencil

  • a ruler

  • a laser level (inexpensive is fine! Mine cost $10)

  • artist's tape / painter's tape

Let's get started!

First, I create a template that looks a bit like this:

It may look like a bit of a mess, but let me explain. The vertical lines will be where you'll line up your envelope, and the multiple horizontal lines are where you'll line up the bottom of the envelope for each line of the address. The laser level (off to the right) will shine a base line for you to letter each line of the address on.

To make this template:

1. Measure how wide your envelope is, and draw out the vertical lines

2. Draw out the bottom-most horizontal line in a place that puts the envelope a bit lower than your writing "sweet spot"

3. Decide where you want your address lines to be on the envelope, and measure up from the bottom for each one. Then, use those measurements to add additional horizontal lines for lining up the bottom of the envelope, to create each line of the address

To finish, secure your laser level so it lines up with the 1st address line, with the bottom of the envelope sitting against the bottom horizontal line on the paper.

Now, as you move the bottom of the envelope up to the next horizontal line, your laser level will create the base line for your next block of address script! This makes addressing multiple envelopes quick and easy, and you can always leave the guidelines on your desk to be used again for future snail mail!

You can add extra lines as-needed. For example, in my template above I added a couple vertical lines for where I wanted to start indentations. I also added a waist line for my lettering off the to the sides, so I could reference how large I wanted my lettering to be. Finally, I added the same type of lines inverted at the top of the page, so I could address return addresses on the back flap of the envelopes!

I hope this gives you some inspiration for how to address envelopes. Give it a try, and experiment with what works best for you! Have a different method for addressing envelopes? I'd love to hear from you! Please share your methods in the comments below!

More from Shannon that you might enjoy:

Want to jazz up your calligraphy by mixing your own custom colors? Click here to check out my step-by-step guide to mixing your own calligraphy ink!

Need some inspiration for your next envelope design? Click here to visit my envelope gallery!

Let's get to know each other even better! Click here to learn 5 things that most people don't know about me.

#calligraphy #learncalligraphy #midwestcalligrapher #lefthandedcalligrapher #howto #lettering #art #envelopecalligraphy #addressingenvelopes

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