Envelope Addressing with Dip Pen Calligraphy | Nikki Hess | Skillshare

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Envelope Addressing with Dip Pen Calligraphy

teacher avatar Nikki Hess, A Creative Mind is a Happy Mind

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

6 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Intro to Course

    • 2. Tools and Supplies

    • 3. Setting Up The Addresses

    • 4. Setting Up The Template

    • 5. Addressing

    • 6. Class Project

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About This Class

In this class you will learn how to address envelopes with dip pen calligraphy. A basic (beginner level) knowledge of dip pen calligraphy is required, as I will be teaching HOW to address an envelope using a special technique but not how to write in Dip Pen Calligraphy. Whether you are creating envelopes for your own wedding, just for fun or you are a calligrapher who wants to offer this to your clients, this class is a great way to learn how to address envelopes in a balanced and evenly spaced way. 

As a full time calligrapher, this method of addressing envelopes has helped me immensely, and I hope it does the same for you!

You can follow me on Instagram !

Special thanks to Ben Sound for the Royalty free music in this video :)


One thing you will need to use the technique shown in this video is a laser leveler. Which can be purchased through Amazon here or you can find similar ones at most Home Improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. The Stanley one has been my favorite, but there are lots of different versions on the market. Here is the name of the one I used in this video Stanley STHT77148 Manual Wall Laser.

I also talked about the following supplies, but feel free to use the ones you already have:

Nikko G Nib

Sumi Ink

Meet Your Teacher

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Nikki Hess

A Creative Mind is a Happy Mind


Hello, I'm Nikki. I am a watercolor and calligraphy artist. I ABSOLUTELY love to create art and I LOVE to teach others to do so as well.

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1. Intro to Course: Hi, I'm Nicky. I'm a calligrapher, watercolor artist and illustrator. Today I'm gonna be teaching you how to address an envelope with a dip pen. Calligraphy for this class, you will want to have a general knowledge of depend calligraphy. You by no means need to be advanced. But you do need to be able to use a dip pen because that's what we're gonna be focusing on today. We're going to be addressing some common mistakes that happened when addressing envelopes with depend calligraphy. I'll show you my number. One best tip when addressing envelopes keep everything straight and even imbalanced. It is the best method I have found after three years of struggling to find the right method for a depend calligraphy and making sure everything stays where I wanted to stay. I'm so happy with this method. I'm still excited to share it with you guys. The supplies are only about $25 total for this, and I've I've listed everything in the class notes if you want to buy any of the things that I'm suggesting today, but I really hope that it just helps you guys to dress your envelopes better and really excited. So let's get started 2. Tools and Supplies: The first thing I want to talk about is our tools and supplies. It's very important to use quality supplies when you want to create something of quality on . The first thing to start with is envelope. You want to purchase envelopes that are pretty sturdy that are made out of a quality paper . You don't want something like this. That's really you know, something you send your bills in. We want something a little fancier than that. I really like to get my envelopes from paper sores. Paper source can be a little bit more expensive. There's also cards in pockets. There's Elsie I paper and a few other ones listed, but these are great places to get quality envelopes, and I have never had any issues with these envelopes. I will say as a side know, if you are using handmade paper, for example, it could be really rough. And that's what we're going to get into our next tool, which, since we're using depend calligraphy, we're going to use a nip now. I today am using any Koji nib, which is pretty standard. A lot of people use a. It's a good beginners nib. It's pretty inflexible meaning you have a little bit more control over the ink flow. That's usually the right now to use for envelopes. But if you are doing something like handmade paper, you might wanna explore your different nip options. For example, if I can get this open, there's tons and tons of meds, and these are not. All the nets are available on the market, but this rose one is very, very in more flexible right, but it's harder to control. I still struggle with using this one, but finding it that works well for you. If Nico Ji isn't a favorite, no problem. Choose one that is best free now I want to move on to ink. Ink, of course, is very, very important. Today. I'm using Sumi Ink. This is a great Inc for beginners. It's also has a really high viscosity. It's very OPEC you're not gonna see through it, Andi. It's just it's just a Great Inc. In my opinion. Hello. Different Nibs react differently to different papers. Here I wrote the same thing using two different banks. This was assuming Inc the top one in the black and the blue one was a Cali Inc and As you can see, it's blood into the paper. This is the same envelope, but just different ache. What I always like to recommend is test out your ink in your envelopes before you start a project. If it's a personal project, it's a lot less pressure. But if this is a client project, always make sure to test out everything before hand. You don't want toe run into an issue. I had a wedding once, where the bride provided all her own envelopes. There were 100% cotton, and when I went to write with the blue ink that she wanted, it bled all over the con envelopes. Now, if you do experience something like that where you can't change the envelope type, but you still need to complete this project, there's a couple things you can do to fix it. One is a workable, workable fixative, and you can spray this on the envelopes, and then sometimes it basically gives envelope a little more tooth, and you might be able to write on it without the ink leading. Of course, test out an envelope first to make sure it works. Before you do this to all that Another option is gum Arabic. You can take gum Arabic and mix it with an ink. That is exactly what I did for those cotton envelopes. And once you get the thickness that you need, it'll allow the ANC to state basically on top of the envelope instead of bleeding into it. So this is another great option. Then we are going to use my favorite thing for addressing envelopes, and that is a laser leveller. You see these at Home Depot and or I see my husband using these when he hangs up mirrors and stuff. But it's so helpful, and I just This is my favorite way to address envelopes, keeps everything lined up and straight, so this will be a very important tool. 3. Setting Up The Addresses: Okay, now we're gonna work on setting up our address is what I like to dio is I ask my clients to son there their their guest addresses over in a word document. They could be left aligned. But what I do is I move them into a program and I center them all. And I make them a font that is similar to the size of how big I writing calligraphy. This really, really helps because it's basically laying out the spacing you'll need on your envelope before you actually start to write on your envelope, if you feel more comfortable. I know some people have taught this method to like to use the script fought since they'll be writing in calligraphy. So that works better for you. Feel free to do that. So we take all the addresses and I lay them out like this, and then I just fold this in, and now I know my center line. So this will be the middle space of my envelope, and I know that passed the middle on the right hand side. These letters will exist, and on the left hand side, these letters will exist. This really helps me to space out the envelope and make sure that everything looks even and centered 4. Setting Up The Template: The next up in this process is laying out the template for our envelope calligraphy. First, I just take a simple piece of computer paper. This method is going to seem so easy to you guys, but it's my favorite method. I've tried so many, and this one works the best. So we're gonna take this piece of paper. Just a simple piece, a computer Reaper kind of center it and I like to keep it, probably maybe an inch inch and 1/2 from the top and make sure it's pretty straight. And then I just trace my envelope. Now, when you do this, make sure you're using an envelope that's a spare envelope, because sometimes the black pen can make some marks on it. And you don't wanna make marks on your nice fancy envelopes, okay? And you really want to make sure the corners are very visible because that is going to be your guide when you put this in. Now this is a standard a, um, a seven envelope, but you can use any other style of envelope. There is a nine. You could go smaller with a six. It's the same method every time, just make sure, of course, that your envelopes match your invitation. Next I am going. Teoh, take my ruler. This ruler has really been through a lot, Aziz. You can see I use it quite often if one thing to mention if you are using vintage stamps, whether it's your own wedding invitations or your calligrapher and you're doing these for a client, you want to make sure the layout, your stamps, for example I like to do, is I I speak with my client about how they want the ventures stamps laid out on their envelopes that I make this little piece of card stock with them glued on. And now I know exactly how much space I need for their ventured stamps. Please, please, please make sure to do this If you're using vintage stamps, if you're not and you address all your envelopes and then you find out that the vintage stamps are way too big and they're covering up partier address, you are just going to be so sad. So if I look at this, I can see that I need about 2.5 inches of space from the top and this is my outline for my envelope. So I'm gonna go down three inches and three inches will be the start of my, um, template going to make a line all the way across. This is the first line of the address. Thanks. The reason I put a dot on this side and this site is because I want to get a very good measurement and I want to make sure that Linus straight if I Onley measured on this side, I could be a little bit wonky on the other side. So make sure you make a dot here and there. My specific style of calligraphy. I like to have my lines spaced out 1/2 of 1/2 of an inch. That's my style. If it's not your style, no problem. Figure out what yours is. I also want to mention that I typically do four lines of an address, so I do the zip code at the very bottom. Not all calligraphers do that do what's best for you, but when you're laying it out, just make how many lines you need and space them out accordingly. So, again, this is half on inch space for each line, and I'm gonna do the same thing. I'm gonna make dots on both sides and I'm going to draw a line all the way through. Perfect. Now, the next thing I want to do is find the center of this because that will be important when it comes to our addresses. Remember having this line down the middle? We know what is going to be on the right hand side of what's gonna be on the left hand side . So I need to know what the middle of this envelope is. A standard. A seven envelope is about seven and a corner, meaning I'm gonna be right over 3.5. And I'm just gonna make a line, do all the way down really, really simple way to make a template. And now I have a template for this exact envelope. Let your ink dry before you. I mean, this pen is gonna dry really quickly, But before you go ahead and put it on there because if you're working with my white envelopes, you might get a little smudge on them. If the ink isn't dry, so let it dry. And, of course, always test. That is my best advice for anything when it comes to calligraphy, always always test it. So if you use your first envelope and it's bleeding or something, figure out what's going on, Why it's bleeding. Maybe you need toe put a hair dryer, too. It really quick, but I've never had an issue with it. A zong as I wait just a few minutes to make sure it's dried. So now we have a perfect outline that we're gonna use our laser laser level or to help us right straight. 5. Addressing: I tell my paper to the side. Most calligraphers do this, so if that's what you do, don't worry about it. That's the whole point of having this guy. It is no matter what, Even if it is tilted, you still are lining it up straight because it's inside of this little box. So we're gonna flip on our laser leveller, and we're gonna start at this line at the top line. Make sure envelope signed up. Um, side note. This is why calligraphy envelopes are so expensive because it takes so much time. But it's a labor of love. So what I like to do is I actually I'm going to start at the S in the middle here. And I like to start with that because it gives me a really good idea where the center is. See, sometimes you just can't. There we go. Okay. So, Susan, this is a brand new nib, and it is very sharp, as you guys can probably hear it scratching. Um, but okay. So as you can see, then I took over here and I write the other side. So as I, as you can see, there's about this much space over here. So I'm gonna do the same here because I know that there is going to be about that much space for the other side. After a while, you really get used to this and you might not have to start in the middle anymore. I actually don't start in the middle anymore. I start on the left hand side because I feel like I know how much space I have. Then your next. Now that I'm on the second line, I know that the two is Ray under the A or sorry, it's to the right of the M. So I'm gonna go ahead and do that, then for the last address. What I like to do is space it out and all start on the left side first, because I wanna have exactly under that last line, so I'll start with the one and the nine, and then I'll put the zero in the middle. And then it's easy to fill in these other pieces, and I like to do dots, but that's totally up to you and we'll way have a finished envelope. It's nicely centered, and it's ready to dry, and females 6. Class Project: Thank you so much for watching my course on depend calligraphy. I hope you found it helpful in addressing your envelopes and that this method becomes an awesome thing that you incorporate into your own technique for our class project. I would love you guys to participate you. The class project is three envelopes with depend calligraphy can choose any ink or paper color you'd like. I just ask that you use fake addresses. Please post your class projects in the class project section of this class and I can't wait to see what you guys create. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to me. I'm always here to answer any questions you have. Thanks again.