Calligraphy Envelope Exchange: Ultimate Guide to Creating Beautiful Snail Mail | Liz Jung | Skillshare

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Calligraphy Envelope Exchange: Ultimate Guide to Creating Beautiful Snail Mail

teacher avatar Liz Jung, Calligrapher & Graphic Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

22 Lessons (1h 4m)
    • 1. Hey Calligrafriends!

      2:20
    • 2. Dark Envelope Addressing

      5:59
    • 3. Erasing without Smudging

      1:09
    • 4. Light Envelope Addressing

      1:56
    • 5. Return Address

      2:13
    • 6. Floral Ornaments

      3:54
    • 7. Gold Butterflies

      1:43
    • 8. Bookmark Part 1

      4:11
    • 9. Bookmark Part 2

      3:33
    • 10. Watercolor Card Part 1

      3:51
    • 11. Watercolor Card Part 2

      4:26
    • 12. Watercolor Card Part 3

      4:37
    • 13. Horizontal Card

      2:29
    • 14. Writing a Personal Letter

      1:50
    • 15. Pressed Flowers & Origami

      2:03
    • 16. Envelope Liners

      2:24
    • 17. Wax Seals

      4:06
    • 18. Posting an Envelope

      1:31
    • 19. DIY Envelope Drying Rack

      4:57
    • 20. Envelope Etiquettes

      1:47
    • 21. How to Store & Display Received Snail Mails

      1:53
    • 22. Final Words

      0:55
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About This Class

Do you feel lost as to how to create and exchange a calligraphy envelope? 

All the love and details that go into completing one envelope can feel daunting at first. But it can also be so much fun and even life-changing! I am here to make that creative process easier for you! 

In this step by step easy to follow class, you will learn:

✒ How to address an envelope with free guide sheets

✒ What materials and tools to use for pointed pen calligraphy

✒ What to include within the envelope

✒ Easy to follow watercolor lessons with floral wreath

✒ Ways to add an extra oomph to your envelope

✒ Wax seal demonstrations

✒ Snail mail etiquettes

✒ How to create a DIY envelope drying rack

✒ How to store and display received envelopes

Multiple Guidesheets Available

With the help of numerous guide sheets that have been provided for you, you will feel guided every step of the way and feel confident to create your own beautiful envelopes.  

Join the Envelope Exchange Challenge:

Be part of the amazing calligraphy community by signing up for the annual envelope exchange challenge at www.flourishedhope.com . This will be a great way to put your calligraphy skills into a real project while fostering a meaningful friendship with like-minded people!

Get Social!

Share your journey! Please do snap a photo of your envelopes and post it on Instagram. Be sure to include #flourishedenvelope and tag @flourishedhope so I can cheer you on and share your lovely work!

Further Resources

You can find more calligraphy-related tutorials on my YouTube channel :^)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Liz Jung

Calligrapher & Graphic Designer

Teacher

Hello! I’m a calligrapher + graphic designer based in Victoria BC. It is my goal to share my love and passion with other creatives who wish to learn the art of pointed pen calligraphy with fun and ease.

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Transcripts

1. Hey Calligrafriends!: Have you always wanted to learn calligraphy, and someday exchange an envelope with friends and family? Maybe you have tried before, to address an envelope, but didn't know where to begin? Or perhaps, as a calligrapher, are you searching for inspiration for your next snail mail? You are not alone. Hi. I'm Liz. I'm a graphic designer and calligrapher based in Vancouver, Canada. In this course, I'm going to share my tips and tricks, as to how to create a beautiful calligraphy envelopes, with efficiency and fun. I started my pointed pen calligraphy in March 2020, and deeply fell in love with the medium. By exchanging envelopes with calligraphy friends, it opened up a whole new world for me. It is my wish, to spread such joy, hope, and friendship, through beautiful envelopes. In this course, you'll be guided in every step of the way, to learn the ins and outs of creating a lovely snail mail. Along with lots of free materials, like the guide sheets and printouts, you'll be able to complete your own envelope projects, with enjoyment and confidence. No matter which level you are, from a total newbie, to a seasoned calligrapher, I hope this course inspires you, and motivates you to try something new. If you wish to participate in an exciting envelope exchange challenge, please head right over to my website, www.flourishedhope.com, to sign up. Without further ado, let's get started. 2. Dark Envelope Addressing: The first thing you need for an envelope addressing is envelopes. There are many shapes and sizes that you can freely choose. But the standard and recommended size is A7. I've got my stack of great quality euro flap envelopes from a local business called Paper Circle Canada. The first step before we do anything is to see how many lines we need for the recipient's address. What I usually do is type out the recipient's full address on a Google Doc. Spell and space the words as you would like them to appear on the envelope. I usually like to center my address, so make the alignment as the center in the Google Doc. It is also helpful to choose a font style that is generally similar to your script so that it makes it easier to figure out the spacing when writing later. When writing the address on the envelope, it is important to establish and use the guidelines well. There are many ways to go about how you can use the guidelines. During my research, I've seen others using the tools like a phantom liner, laser leveler, and a light pad. For a person like me who likes to do the basic pencil sketch before inking, I've custom-created a guide sheet that works efficiently. Now, if you head over to the course resources link, you'll be able to download and print my A7 envelope guide sheet. When you are printing, please make sure to choose print as an actual size rather than fit or scale so that the guideline works in a correct measurement. There are two pages to the guide sheet, one with four-millimeter x-height, and one with three-millimeter x-height. Four-millimeter x-height will be able to fit four lines of the address. Three-millimeter can contain a longer address with five lines. I've noticed how addresses in US and Australia works well with the four-millimeter guide sheet. Addresses in India and Asia fit better with a three-millimeter guide sheet. Once you have printed the guide sheet, place the envelope in the center, following the dotted guideline. Then gently make all the guidelines onto the envelope by connecting the lines referencing from top-bottom, right, and left edge of the envelope. Please do draw all the lines, including the central line, horizontal lines, and 55-degree angle lines in order to not leave any pencil marks in the end. I lightly use a mechanical pencil rather than an actual pencil. It always helps me to mark where the x-heights are with small x's, like this. Now that you have finished getting the basic guidelines done, write the address, minding the center line. If you refer back to the Google Doc, you can roughly estimate where each of the first letter should be placed or where the letters fall in the center line. I usually write first with a basic copperplate style. Then if you wish to make a face here, add flourishing. It's okay to always erase and restart. I always make angled circles for numbers because all the numbers are based and should fit into an oval shape. When you add flourishing, always keep in mind that readability is more important than flourishing itself. Flourishing should enhance the beauty of the writing, not overpower it. Fill in the empty gaps to make an overall balance. Then we are ready for inking. For dark-colored envelopes, my favorite ink to use is Dr. PH Martin's bleed-proof white. It always gives a stunning opaque white finish. Nikko G is my all-time favorite nib. I always prep my nib in a jar of Windex to make the ink flow smoothly. I put on a guard glove made from an unused sock to avoid hand oils smudging onto the envelope. When inking, try not to rush but enjoy the process. Remember, the most fundamental rule for writing calligraphy is upstroke light, down-stroke heavy. I go through the same process for any other alignment. Step number 1, draw the guideline using the guide sheet. The left align address is the easiest since there is no worry of misaligning. Step number 2, make a base sketch of the address add sorchin if desired. Here I am using the three-millimeter x-height guide sheet for the address in South Korea. Step 3, ink the address. For the smaller x-height like three-millimeter, I personally like to use the Brause 66 EF nib. This little but impressive nib handles all variations from fine hairlines to juicy down-strokes. Now, we are almost ready for the next step. Adding decorative ornaments. 3. Erasing without Smudging: I've received so many questions as to how to erase the base sketch without smudging. This is especially an issue, when you are using metallic inks. I use this little tool, to erase almost every base sketch that I drop. A kneaded eraser is great since it's mastery, gentle, and yet effective. To prevent any inks, especially metallic inks, from smudging, dry the ink for one to two days. Most of all, it's important to keep the base sketch lightly, to begin with. For dark-colored envelopes, using a black eraser also helps to prevent white residues. If erasing seems like a lot of work to you, I will show you another way, where you don't need to erase anything in the next video. 4. Light Envelope Addressing: For our light-colored envelope, we can take advantage of a light table. This way, there will be no need to erase the base sketch from the envelope. Sketch your base address right on top of the guide sheet. For this method, you don't need to sketch so lightly, be as bold as you would like to be. If you wish to make the sketch more visible, outline the finished sketch with a pen. Here, I'm using the Sakura Micron Pen. Now, prepare a light table and place the envelope on top of the guide sheet with the base sketch. We are ready to ink the address as it is now. But here is one more extra tip. This is optional, but if you wish to make sure the base sketch to stay secure while inking, you can cut the edges off and insert the guide sheet directly into the envelope. This way, you can see the base sketch as clearly as possible. Here, I'm using my favorite black ink, Moon Palace Sumi Ink. This ink is great for calligraphy practices and envelope addressing since it becomes water resistant after it dries out. The inking is now completed, and there is no need to go through the process of erasing. Which method do you prefer? 5. Return Address: When I first wrote my envelope to a calligraphy friend, I couldn't find any information as to where and how to put the return address. Those of you who is wondering the same question, here it is. The best place to put a return address is on the flap. I've seen people who use a custom dye stamp, a generic sticker, but I use this useful ruler to draw the guideline. It's called AB calligraphy ruler, which you can purchase from John Neal. For your information, there is a sister ruler for spencerian script as well. First, draw the centerline. Make a small tick mark where the ascender line will begin. Align the ruler to the vertical line. Choose the X height of your choice. Here, I'm using these holes designated for a four-millimeter. Simply use another ruler as a base, and lightly draw the horizontal guidelines by gliding like so. Make the perfect 55-degree angle lines like this. It's a small little tool, but very useful. I personally write my name in calligraphy, and just a simple sans serif for the return address. In whichever form or style you choose, please do write your return address, since I've had several incidents where international mails returned back to me. Ink the writing, and erase the pencil sketch. Now that we have finished the envelope addressing, the next step is the fun part, where we add extra umf the envelope, with that grid of ornaments. 6. Floral Ornaments: If you wish to add more personal flair to the envelope, I think adding some touch of gold never disappoints. Coliro, also known as Finetec is one of my most treasured metallic ink. It's handcrafted exclusively in Germany and the makeup pigments are very fine and rich. It works just like a watercolor, so very easy to use. If you wish to learn how to use Finetec with a pointed pen, please head over to my YouTube channel for a detailed instruction. I usually use Pinterest to search for a reference images, but I can make my own style. You can freehand ink these ornamental designs. But to make the process both more efficient and easy, I have made multiple guide sheet. You can download and print these sheets under the course resources link. As mentioned before, please print a guide sheet by selecting the option actual size, not fit nor scale. Now that you have the guide sheet ready, I will show you a simple trick that will make your life so much easier. It's called a carbon transfer method. Simply flip the page over and pencil in the areas where the image has been printed. No need to be neat here, but try to fill the area as condensed as you can, then place the carbon heavy sheet in the placement where you wish to make the transfer. It's useful to do this on top of the light pad so that you can see where the envelope and the transfer paper align to one another. Secure the envelope and the paper with a washi tape. Then sketch the design with a mechanical pencil following the guideline. It's a tedious process, but this method is sufficient if you need to do multiple envelopes. This method may not be so effective when it comes to dark colored envelopes, like you went through the same process, but the carbon transfer is too weak for you to see. In such cases, there is something you can purchase to solve this problem. These carbon papers come in both black and white. Since manually pencil filling takes time and doesn't show up enough on the dark envelopes, these manufactured carbon papers work like a charm. The carbon papers usually come with these steel edge tools. I chose the smallest size to trace the design. The carbon shows up just enough for you to see when inking. Whichever method you choose, once you have the basic sketch done, we are ready for inking. Using a vellum envelope is one way to skip all the transfer methods and deliver a beautiful result. If you wish to use simpler decorative ornaments, I have prepared some butterfly series that you can use. Let me show you in the next video. 7. Gold Butterflies: By any chance, if you feel like the floral design is too complicated and time-consuming, these butterfly ornaments may be another option for you. Same rule applies where you can pencil in or use the carbon paper to transfer the design onto the envelope. In the guide sheet, I have indicated where the envelope and the first line of address begins with the dotted lines. You can always suggest and customize where the butterfly would be transferred by turning the paper. Not only can you add the butterfly on the front, but I often enjoy adding a small butterfly on the backside where the flap is as well. Enjoy the beautiful butterflies coming to life. Possibilities are endless how you can decorate the envelope. Let your imagination bloom. All is completed as to the envelope. Let's dive into what we can create to be included inside of the envelope. 8. Bookmark Part 1: Give yourself a big round of applause since one big part of the envelope has been finished. When someone reaches to this point, one starts to wonder, what we can send within the envelope? I asked the same question to myself and I wanted to send something meaningful and yet functional. I started to custom-design a bookmark where the recipient could use in their daily life and could be a reminder of this amazing calligraphy community. Please download and print the vintage bookmark guide sheet under the Course Resources link. This guide sheet also features two Different x-heights, depending on what word I wish to write, I chose the bigger or smaller x-height. I enjoy writing the recipient's name, so I sketch out the composition first on a paper referencing the guide sheet underneath. I try to make the flourishing as elegant as possible in addition to floral designs, make sure to draw the cut line of the bookmark with a pencil. The cut line is the smaller shaped line. Then I ink the name on top of the vellum using one of my other all-time favorite nibs, blue pumpkin. Did you know that there are two different nibs that go by the same nickname as blue pumpkin? If you wish to learn a deeper understanding of the difference between the two blue pumpkins, please visit my YouTube channel at FlourishedHope. Blue pumpkin nib does the wonder on a vellum with the Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleed Proof White. Carefully cut the vellum. Someone asked me how I can cut these shapes so precisely. My only advice is to take the process slowly. Don't rush, but using the inner edge of the scissor, cut each corner slowly using the best angle. Also, make sure to erase the pencil mark with an eraser. Now, here I am using a colored paper stock from Michaels. This paper has lovely selection of color and it comes with a nice subtle texture. Using a light table, draw the cut line of the bookmark, where it's the bigger shape line. All papers are ready and we are set to assemble the bookmark. For this, you'll need some eyelets of any size of your choice, crocodile punch and eyelet setter, and a ribbon of your choice. I have purchased all three supplies from Michaels. First step is to punch a hole that matches your eyelet. Insert the eyelet into the hole and compress to secure the eyelet with the papers. Tie a ribbon to complete the bookmark. Let me show you two other tricks to elevate the finishing touches to the bookmark. 9. Bookmark Part 2: First trick, guilding. Just like the envelope decoration we did in the previous videos, applying gold leaf to the bookmarks can add an extra shimmer to your pieces. For guilding, you need gold leaves. You don't need the whole sheet. But like I have here, a jar of broken pieces does the wonder. A glue of your choice. There are artist-grade gold leafing glues, but any type of sticky glue will work. This glue that I'm using is a student-grade glue that was purchased for my young son. You'll need two flat brushes with a small dish. Now, pour some glue onto the dish and apply the glue evenly onto the brush. Then simply apply the glue onto the paper surface. The key here is to apply it nice and flat. Apply the gold leaf onto the glued areas. I try to avoid harsh flat edges of the gold leaf, so be spontaneous and loose. When you have covered all the glued areas, using a dry brush, brush over distinct areas to naturally scrape away the loose parts of the gold leaf. Ta-da. Just look how much shimmer it adds to the bookmark. You can add the gold leaf anywhere; on the vellum layer or on the colored paper layer. It's up to you. If the vellum seems to warp and wrinkle due to the wet glue, simply compress it within a thick book overnight, then it'll be flattened. Second trick to fancy up the bookmark is the rhinestone stickers. There are tons of choices for these crystals stickers at Michaels. I chose the one where it has many sizes available within a single sheet. All you need to do is to cut each stone and gently apply it whichever spot you wish. I personally added them in the center of the flower. It's a small little detail, but I enjoy how it adds an extra wow factor. The bookmarks are finally finished. I'm curious as to how your bookmarks have turned up. I encourage you to post photos of your pieces onto the class project section. 10. Watercolor Card Part 1: This section is for those who love watercolor and loose floral designs. I will take you through every step of your way to create this five by seven inch watercolor card, with floral wreath. For watercolor, you don't need the top of the line most expensive watercolors. But it's also true that you don't want to use grainy dollar store quality paints either. Try to find a nice medium brand where it will deliver great results without breaking your bank. Watercolors come in tubes or in pans. After you purchase your watercolor, the first thing I would recommend for you to do is to make a swatch table. Here, I'm using 24 color watercolor paints from Paul Rubens. I made a smaller swatch, using the colors straight from the pans, and just diluting the colors by adding more water. The bigger swatch involved some patience, where I've mixed every two colors together to see what combination of colors I can create. Not only color swatching is very therapeutic, since you can just wind down without thinking too hard, it also allows for you to get used to what colors that you have at your hand. Now, before I create any watercolor piece, I create a key selection of color palettes, before I begin painting. On Pinterest, I search for an image, where I like the overall color palette. Here, I have found an image of a gorgeous wedding bouquet. I study, and write down key color palettes where I wish to resemble. I see that I need a dark olive green color. I referred to my color swatch table, to see which of the two colors will give me the closest olive green that I am desiring. It is a combination of 24 with number 10. By using two separate brushes, I mix the green. Then, I tested out on a paper, to see how the color really looks like. I tried to dilute the color by dipping the brush into the jar of water, and spreading the color to the right. Because in watercolor, you can achieve many tons of color, just by adding more water into the same base color. I go through the same process for all other key colors. You can record the color palettes into a book, like I have here. Or you can cut small squares of watercolor, and create acute color swatches. These are great for you to see how each color looks like on a bigger area. It's also fun to make, and can be a great prop for your flat lays later. Here is an overview of the colors that I have chosen for this project. Burgundy red, variations of green, dark and light, deep cobalt blue, deep violet, burnt orange, and yellow orange. I've tried to choose a muted tone overall. Now that we have all the key colors ready, let's jump right into the actual painting. 11. Watercolor Card Part 2: Now let's look at what kind of paper we should use. If you have purchased a nice enough watercolor paint, you should invest your money into a quality paper to achieve lovely results. The paint and water spreads more evenly and visually pleasing on a quality paper. Look for 100 percent cotton assay free papers. Also keep in mind that there are generally two different finishes to the paper, cold and hot pressed. Hot pressed watercolor paper has a smooth surface where it makes it easier to scan your work digitally. Cold press watercolor paper has a slightly textured surface, which I love the pillar. Please head over to the course resources link to download a guide sheet for the watercolor card. You're more than welcome to sketch and paint freely. But if you think a base sketch will help you process, please transfer the base sketch onto your watercolor paper by using the carbon transfer method, which I have covered in the previous videos. I wouldn't recommend using the manufactured carbon paper that we have used on the dark-colored envelopes since we want the base sketch to be subtle for the watercolor projects. Some pencil marks may not be erasable once you cover it with a watercolor paint so let's keep it as lightly as possible. Copy over all the sketches by going over the lines. Base sketch is finally ready. Get your pre-mixed key colors ready and jars of water, some clean mixing palettes. I personally love these flourish shaped ceramic ones. For the brushes, Princeton round brushes are my favorite. Don't forget a few sheets of paper towels. Let us begin with blue colored petals. If you refer back to the base sketch in the guide sheet, you'll be able to see how I have color-coded blue petals. Usually, cool colors give an illusion that they are further away so these cool-colored petals will act as a base for the other warm colors. Try adding a touch of green with the blue to give some variations. Now, let's paint the red flowers by using a mix of the red, orange, and purple. I've noticed the trick to creating visually pleasant flowers is to have empty spaces in between the petals. You can avoid the flowers becoming a huge blob of paint by controlling the empty spaces between them and controlling the water amount on your brush. Keep a sheet of paper towel beside you so that you can control the water amount on your brush. Keep in mind that the watercolors become fainter when they dry out. It's important to create contrast to bring depth to your watercolor. Try to add dark colors to the flowers. Let's add some light-colored green leaves. Also, remember to refresh your jar of water to keep the colors nice and vibrant. We don't want the colors to go too dull due to dirty water. I always begin with two jars of water, one to clean the brushes, and one with cleaner water. Now, add some darker colored leaves. If you wish, this is a good time to use clear gold paints onto the leaves. This is something that always makes me nervous but by splashing some light paint, you can add a more lively atmosphere to the watercolor. Always test out on a test sheet before you splash with your brush so that you don't ruin your piece. You can also splash some Dr. Ph. Martin's bleed-proof white. Now that your watercolor parts are completed, you can finish the piece by writing the quote inside. 12. Watercolor Card Part 3: For the inside of the floral wreath, you can freely write anything or follow the quote that I have provided within the guide sheet. I made two versions of the watercolor card, and I chose to use the Dr. Ph. Martin's iridescent copper plate gold for one of the cards. This classic metallic ink is great since you don't have to brush on the ink every time, but you do need to give an occasional shake and stir to wake up the metallic particles. Iridescent gold has a different feel and shine compared to the Coliro. It has more of a browner tone. Don't forget to finish off the side edges of the floral wreath. Moving on to the second card using Coliro paint, I've added some gold highlights to the stamens inside of the flower. Adding some gold sparkles around the flower also makes the flower seem like they are blooming. It's the small details that make the piece a little bit more special. Gold stamens add a nice touch to the piece. Not many people know that you can use Ecoline liquid watercolors for pointed pen. But I absolutely loved the rich colors and how it creates beautiful marks on the edges when it dries. You can mix the colors to create virtually any color you desire. Here, I've mixed the red and blue to create a nice purple. Don't sweat it too much If you have made a mistake. Some minor mistakes can be fixed easily with Bleedproof White. Now, it is truly completed. As you can see, on this card, I've used the Finetec for the inside of the flowers and Ecoline for the quote. This one is with the Finetec leaves and iridescent gold for the quote. Which version do you personally prefer? I use this corner punch tool to give the card more of a neat finish. There are three different degrees of rounding you can choose. This one is the most minimal cutting with a squarish edge. This one is the medium one. It's a simple little tool, but for some reason, there's dissatisfaction when you punch away the paper edges. Always remember to sign your piece. If you feel like you don't have the time nor materials to paint a watercolor card, I have also included a finished card which you can print and use. If you wish, you can print the finished cards onto the watercolor paper, which will give you a lovely texture and feel as to the real watercolor card. Get one sheet of hot-pressed watercolor paper, measure, and cut it into the standard 8 1/2 by 11-inch size. Insert the watercolor paper into the printer, and done. The recipient will feel and see the big difference the paper stock makes in the final card. I hope you enjoyed the whole process and the end result. I still have lots of suggestions as to what you can include within the envelope. I'll share these ideas with you on the next video. 13. Horizontal Card: If watercolor isn't your thing, I have also prepared another guide sheet, that will help you to create a different, five by inch inch card. I have written an encouraging quote, that we can all relate to, and designed the decorative floral heart. Previously, we have used the carbon method, to transfer the base sketch. But here is another great way to work efficiently. You can print this guide sheet on any paper stock you wish, and use it as a base sketch. Let me show you what I mean. If you see the guide sheets closely, you'll be able to see a percentage indicated on the right side of the base sketch. It's the indication of opacity of the base sketch. Depending on which paper stock you choose to ink, you can choose the best percentage and print. We don't want the base sketch to be too obvious, since when you're inking, we all will make subtle mistakes. Choose a percentage, where you can see most of the base sketch, but it's not too standing out from the paper. After testing myself, for craft paper, 30 percent seemed like the best. For the dark navy blue,80 percent seemed the most fading. When you found the best percentage, interpeace with your favorite inks. I chose the most classic ink and paper combination for my cards, gold on navy blue, light on craft paper. When all is done, cut the cards into five by seven, and round out the edges. There is just one more thing, that we need to add before completing the card. Let's go over that in the next video. 14. Writing a Personal Letter: When all cards are done, the last thing I do is to write a personal note to the recipient. You can write directly on the back of the card, but I personally wanted to avoid any inks showing through to the front. I've created smaller size papers that go well with each card. White for the craft paper, baby blue for the navy, and pastel pinks for the watercolor cards. Now by taking these following extra steps, I ensure that my notes are written in a straight line. First, I placed the smaller no paper on top of any squared graph paper. Using this laser leveler from Ikea, it can be any brand, you write your personal note following the laser line. This way, you don't need to erase anything in the end. Trying to avoid any gel pens since they could transfer and smudge onto another paper while the envelope is being delivered. When you finish writing the note, either glue or tape the note onto the backside of the card. The inside cards are ready to be sent to the recipient. 15. Pressed Flowers & Origami: There are so many things you can include within the envelope to express your love and friendship. In my personal experience, one of the small items that seems to bring joy to the recipients are pressed flowers. I like to use smaller sized envelopes to include some pressed flowers that I have personally picked during the summertime. Making pressed flowers is so simple that my three-year-old son often helped me to make them. Just gather some wild flowers during your walk and simply put it in between any book of your choice. Thicker books the better, let it dry for a few days, and just like that it is done. These flowers will add some natural fragrance and vintage feelings to your mail. Another small special thing you can include within the envelope is origami. Folding origami has been a way for me to creatively up-cycle the ever piling practice sheets. If you wish, I have made some practice sheets available for you within the course resources link. One of the beauty of both calligraphy and folding origami was how it allowed me to get back in touch with my inner child. I hope by inspiring you to fold an origami, you also get a chance to create something just for pure enjoyment and exploration just as we all used to do as a little child. If they can be folded flat and included within the envelope, the possibility of what to include is as wide as your imagination. 16. Envelope Liners: Envelope liner is something that could enhance the overall look and finish to your envelope. I have created some free envelope liners, that you can download and use. As you may already know by now, course resources link has all the guides and freebies. Print the PDF to its actual size, not fit nor scale. Then, cut the liner following the cut line. Insert the liner into your A7 envelope. If you have printed the PDF to its true size, the liner should fit just right and not wiggle around. Fold it flat with the liner, and apply a glue or a tape. Here, I'm using the adhesive applicator from Tombow. Then, fold the flap once more to permanently stick the liner to the envelope. Easy as that. Pick and choose which liner will go best with your envelope. I've tried to choose the liner that goes well with the color of the envelope. If you wish to custom make your own liner, it is also super simple. For example, I found this lovely booklet of vintage theme paper from Michael's. The possibility is limitless. Just pick any paper stock, that is bigger than A7. Print, and cut the blank envelope liner on a thicker stock paper. Trace over on top of the paper you chose. Cut the liner, and voila. Look how much more personality the envelope liner adds to the blank envelope. Try to have fun developing your own theme and story, with the envelope liners. 17. Wax Seals: When all is done, organize all the inside materials, and put it gently inside of the envelope. I try to put inside materials, imagining I'm in the recipient's shoe. What I mean by that is, I try to think about what, and in which order the recipients would see things, when they open up the envelope. Now that we have poured so much love into this envelope inside out, we need to seal it well before posting. But sometimes the original glue, that was on the envelope, might not be strong enough to hold the envelope nice and secure, during the long trip. You can use a lovely washi tapes to double secure. Or if you're someone like me, this is the perfect moment to take out your wax sealing tools. There are three ways to apply wax seal to the envelope. Using the sealing wax gun with wax sticks. The sealing wax spoon with wax beads, and a candle. Or using the self adhesive wax seals like a sticker. My current favorite way is with the wax gun. For a wax gun approach, you'll need these wax sticks, which comes in a variety of beautiful colors. You insert them into the gun like this. You need a wax stamp with the design you like. I've got most of my wax supplies from a local wax shop called Artisaire. As you will soon see, you can add small delicate things into the wax. I usually enjoy adding bits of gold foils and white hydrangea. I have hand-picked these hydrangeas, and dried them in a book. Plug your wax gun into the power cord. When it gets hot enough, squeeze a small amount onto the envelope. Don't squeeze all the way through, but stop to squeeze a little before one full squeeze. Try to squeeze the wax a little bit higher than where you want the wax seal to harden. If you wish to add some details into the wax, you need to work quickly before the wax hardens. Gently, place the hydrangea, and gold foils. Using a tweezer, it helps with handling the delicate add-ons. Then, squeeze a tiny amount of wax on top of them. Push down the wax stamp slowly, until you see a nice ring of wax flowing outward evenly. Wait for a minute or so, then gently take out the wax stamp. Then, it's done. It turned out pretty nice. If you're doing a large batch, having some ice cubes to cool down the wax stamps help to create the perfect wax seals. I didn't know the therapeutic quality of wax sealing until I tried myself, when I started to exchange envelopes. Both calligraphy and wax sealing have a similarity, in a way where they teach you to slow down, and enjoy the moment. Whichever method you choose, I hope along with envelope addressing, you will also dive into the wonderful world of wax sealing. 18. Posting an Envelope: When all is ready, you need to apply appropriate stamps to your envelope. Here in Canada, it currently cost $1.07 to send a domestic mail, $1.30 for mails to the United States, and $2.71 for international mails. If you wish to tell more of a visual story through stamps, you can also get lovely vintage stamps, through online shops like Etsy. I usually like to take my envelopes, to the nearest post office, rather than dropping them off at the mailboxes. You can purchase the stamps at the post office, or online. Once you have applied the right amount of stamps, give the last tags, and say goodbye. Depending on the recipient's location, the mail could take from a few days to a few months, for it to arrive. This waiting game can be dreadful for you, since you want your precious mails to arrive safely. But try to enjoy this waiting time, because this is part of the beauty of exchanging mails. Especially, when we live in the digital world, where everything is instant and fast-moving. Good thing is that unlike a wedding invitation, you can take it easy with the arrival time with snail mails. It is respectful to let your recipients know that, you have sent the mail to them, so that they can anticipate without any miscommunication. 19. DIY Envelope Drying Rack: As you write the letters to your recipients, you will soon realize that there is only so much room in the house to lay down the eight envelopes flat while waiting for them to dry. There are products such as wooden drying racks available for you to purchase. But if you're not addressing envelopes that often, the cost of the drying rack could be another burden. No worries, we can simply make one with materials that you may already have. To make this paper drying rack, you will need two thick 8.5 by 11 size papers. Here I am using color card stocks that I purchased from Michaels. It can be any color, but I have chosen a simple gray so that it doesn't stand out too much when I later take photos of the final envelopes. We need a ruler, pencil, tape, and a scissor. Get one sheet of paper ready, and on the short side, measure and make a light tick mark at 1.5 inch, 0.75 inch, and 0.75 inch. Now, repeat making the same six tick marks on top of the paper as well. Connect the dots vertically. You'll end up with six lines, three lines on the left, and three lines on the right. Now, on the long side, make a light tick mark in an interval of one inch. If you're falling through, you will make 10 tick marks along the vertical line. Repeat making the same one tick marks on the right side as well. Connect the dots horizontally. These 10 lines will be where we will cut with a scissor later. I've only made the connecting lines shorter, rather than all the way across the page. This is what your pencil marks should look like. Make a fold like this, so that you make a small triangular mountain. Repeat on the other side. Now, that you have the two mountains ready, fold and hold onto the paper so that the mountain peak becomes flat. Using a scissor cut along the one-inch marks. Only cut until the edge of the folded line. Same goes for the other mountain, make 10 cuts. Now, cut about 2-3 millimeter off, and chip away smaller triangular shapes. Repeat on the other side, but make sure that you chip away in the same direction as the first side. These small triangular shapes will provide space and act as a subtle angle when you insert each envelopes to the drying rack. The inside paper after drying rack is done. Bring another sheet of paper and make a small tick mark at half an inch on both edges. Do the same on the other side and connect the tick marks with the line, you'll end up with two lines on the edges. This paper will act as a base for our drying rack. Flip the inside paper and apply in the adhesive of your choice. I have applied a roller tape on four edges of the paper. When you're done with the glue, turnover the inside paper, and align it to the half-an-inch line on the base paper. This step is just to secure the inside paper, so it doesn't have to be super perfect. Just make sure that the mountain peaks are about the same as each other. The drying rack is completed. Test it with your envelopes. It's space-efficient, sturdy, functional, and easy on your wallet. It can also accommodate various sizes of the envelope, plus you can make as many as you would like. I hope you also have fun making this DIY drying rack. 20. Envelope Etiquettes: Let's quickly go over some snail mail etiquette. There are much stricter rules to keep and avoid if you're addressing more of a formal letter, like wedding invitations. When exchanging letters between pen pals, the rules can be more flexible, but there are few important things that you should keep in mind. Don't use red inks when envelope addressing. I've heard that the post-office machines cannot read red inks when scanning. When you use inks that you have personally mixed, like gouache or PearlEx, make sure to add gum arabic. The gum arabic, both liquid and powder version, will prevent smudging. Always write the return address. Write your Instagram handle on the card inside since your recipient might know you better with your account name rather than your personal name. Protect recipient's privacy when posting photos online by covering the house numbers with objects like nibs. Expect extra time for the mail to arrive. Once you have posted your letter, give a little heads up to your recipient so that there is no miscommunication nor lost mail. On the other hand, if you have received a letter, do express your gratitude and, if possible, write back. I personally haven't done one myself, but consider hand canceling your letter if your mail is bulky and delicate. 21. How to Store & Display Received Snail Mails: There is an African proverb, where it says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." I've started to exchange snail mails with Calligrafriends since summer of 2020. Even though I have never met any of them face to face, every letter brought so much joy and love to my heart. To meet such kind and talented people has been one of my greatest blessings that I have received during my creative journey. Rather than keeping these beautiful letters in a box, I have displayed one piece from each letter I have received in a glass frame. These frames, and items like bookmarks, remind me of all the encouragement, and how great the calligraphy community is. I hope you'll also find such happiness and meaningful friendship by connecting with a Calligrafriend. 22. Final Words: Congratulations for completing the course. I hope by going through this course, you have picked up some good tips and tricks. I wish this course inspired you, and got your creative juice flowing. I am planning to run an annual envelope exchange challenge, to foster meaningful relationships, among like-minded people. If you head over to my website, you'll be able to find further details, and able to sign up to participate in envelope exchange challenge. I hope you could be part of the amazing community. Lastly, I just wish to say a big thank you for all your support and love. I look forward to connecting with you, and to send beautiful letters together across the world. Happy writing.