Easy Envelope Addressing with Calligraphy | Nikki Hess | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Easy Envelope Addressing with Calligraphy

teacher avatar Nikki Hess, Artist & Corgi Mama

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

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

    • 1.

      Introduction and Class Project


    • 2.

      Tools and Supplies


    • 3.

      Setting Up Your Addresses


    • 4.

      Setting Up Your Template


    • 5.

      Calligraphing Envelopes


    • 6.

      Thank you


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





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

Teacher Profile Image

Nikki Hess

Artist & Corgi Mama


Hello, I'm Nikki. I am an Artist, Teacher and Corgi Mama. I ABSOLUTELY love to create art and I LOVE to teach others to do so as well. My art focuses on the boundless inspiration provided by nature. I enjoy all things whimsical and enjoy a close connection to mother earth, I believe it comes through in my art!


Want to get inspiration and tips and tricks to your inbox? Sign up here!


I have 5 years of experience in the wedding industry, so you'll also see courses on Stationery such as how to make wedding invitations, envelope calligraphy, designing fabric signs etc... However my true love and passion lies in watercolor, I absolutely love painting with watercolor and teaching others how to do so as well, so you'll find plenty of that here. Las... See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction and Class Project: Hi, I'm Nicky. Welcome to my class on how to address the envelopes with dip pen calligraphy. When I first started doing envelopes, I had no idea how to keep everything straight and even imbalanced and in the center of the envelope. And I went through a lot of trial and error, but I have found a method that I think is the best, it is the best path that I have found. I have not seen it anywhere else. And I'm going to show you that today. If you have ever struggled with addressing envelopes, this course or this class is definitely for you. So I'm going to show you my major hack for getting your address is straight and even. But I'm also and in the center of the envelope, but I'm also going to tell you about a couple of other things such as what do you do if your ink starts bleeding on the envelopes were to source gray envelopes and a couple of other tips that can be helpful for addressing envelopes with calligraphy. The class project is for you to do your own envelope. I want to see you guys use my method and create an envelope with calligraphy. I just love seeing what you guys create. So please post in the class projects and let's get started. 2. Tools and Supplies: Okay, let's chat supplies. Supplies are some of our most important aspects when we're doing envelope calligraphy. The first one I want to talk about is your envelopes. Now, you don't want to use just any old envelope. You really need to get high-quality envelopes. If you are working with a really thin envelope that's not made out of quality paper. Think of the stuff that you send your bills in. Well, I don't know. Does anybody do that anymore? But you want something thick and something that can withstand the calligraphy ink. I'm going to give you guys, I have a PDF that you can download in the resources section where all the supplies I talked about and everything envelopes were to purchase them is going to be in that PDF for you. So it's a nice little frame of reference if you need it. But I love purchasing their envelopes from a couple of different places, places that are available to you without a wholesale account, our LCI paper cards in pockets. You can also purchase from Paper Source, but I find them to be a lot more expensive. Then if you do have a wholesale account, which I have a wholesale account because I'm a wedding stationary. So I use a lot of envelopes. Announcement converters is fantastic and you can get a lot better price for your envelopes. And they're great quality. Some particular brands that I like, I like Jima and those are some of my favorites. Key cooler. There's a ton of options there, but your envelopes are really important. Let me just tell you. I'll give you guys a little example. I had a project where the bride wanted to provide the envelopes. And as somebody who has gone through this, I do not recommend that. I recommend that you just You tell you, repeat to them that you are the expert. I mean, you don't have to say it like that, but you have the experience and you'd like to pick envelopes because you know the ones that are going to work for you. But anyways, I was new and the bride wanted to provide the envelopes and she wanted a specific color. So I got this specific color, which is a blue ink. And her envelopes, her envelopes were 100% cotton. As soon as I took that blue ink and wrote in calligraphy, it bled everywhere. It was a mess. And there is a way to get around that. So this leads me to talking about our next supplies. So if you're having issues, one is gum Arabic. If you notice that your ink is bleeding, what it means is that the ink is too thin and it's seeping into the pores of the paper. So you can add something like gum arabic, which will thicken up your ink. However, this will change the color slightly. I've noticed it usually darkens that a bit, so just be mindful of that when you're trying anything new, I really recommend just try it on a sample of envelope first. You don't want to do a whole batch of something and then realize that you made a big mistake. This stuff is great if you need to thicken up the ink so that it doesn't bleed. Another option which I don't have it on hand, but I'll show you guys a picture of it is a workable, fixative. If you are using envelopes that are not that high of quality and it's starting to bleed. Or if your envelopes are just not agreeing with your calligraphy ink, you can spray them with a workable fixative and that should basically help to seal the envelope so it won't bleed. But please try one out first to make sure that it's right. On a side note, I want to mention something really quick. It's a big mistake that a lot of calligraphers make. A big mistake that a lot of calligraphers make is they take this ink. This is bleed proof white. It is zinc based. It is not waterproof. And they mix it with a calligraphy ink because say, Oh, I want to make gray. This is the biggest mistake you ever make. This basically, this combined will either turn be completely removable so you just wipe and it'll come off or it basically turns to dust and comes off. So that's just my side tip it really we're not using this today, but I just want to tell you guys, please, please, please never ever, ever blend this with anything. Also, I don't recommend using this for envelopes unless you want to spray your envelopes. It's, the opacity is great, but this was developed for illustrators to fix small mistakes for things like animation and cartoons a long time ago. This is not meant to be calligraphy ink because it will come off your envelopes. I just had to say that we talked about what what to do if your ink is bleeding. Now something else that's really important is your nib. There's lots of different nibs. You guys, there's so many. I really encourage you to experiment with the different kinds I like to shop at paper ink arts for my nibs because they have a ton of them. I personally stick with the Nikko G. Typically, it's very inflexible. So you have a little bit more control over it. However, if you're working with some things such as handmade paper, Nikko G is going to be way too inflexible and it's actually going to tear up your paper. You'll want to use something like the rows, which is super flexible, but it's really hard to control the flow of ink through this. This takes a long time to get good at using a nib like this. Personally, I never worked with handmade paper. I don't like it. I have never had it go well, if you can avoid it, I recommend avoiding it. Otherwise. If you want to take on a handmade paper job, please, please, please try it first and make sure that you like it or that you can do it. Because if you take on an order of 100 envelopes, you're gonna inspire real fast if you've never done it. Alright, so we talked about our nibs are envelopes. Now let's talk about ink. Sumi, ink is a really good basic ink, has a high viscosity, so it flows really nicely. However, it can be a little thin, so depending on your envelope, it might bleed a little bit, so just be mindful of that. One of my very favorite inks that I find that doesn't really bleed on anything for the most part is Ph Martin's Black Star. It's waterproof too, which is great. And now these are just black ink. You can explore all the different color inks, but this is one of my very favorites when I'm using black ink. And of course, this is a thing that is my secret to addressing envelopes. And that is a laser level. And it provides a nice line for us, which is fantastic. I have this in the PDF. If you guys want to purchase swine, any laser level will do. You can get them at Home Depot, but you can also get them on Amazon. Then lastly, I'll show you why we're gonna be using this, but just a pencil or a pen and a piece of paper, because this is how we're going to be doing our template 0 and a ruler. Those are all the supplies we chatted about. For this specific class. You're just going to need this piece of paper. You're going to obviously need your dip pen, some ink. And I know you probably don't have your laser level area. Yes. So if you can go and buy one, but otherwise just watch and then you can practice on your own. 3. Setting Up Your Addresses: Now let's talk about gathering your guest addresses. What I do is there's a couple of ways you can do it. One is I let my clients know that I need their addresses exactly how they want them reproduced and calligraphy. If they want it to say Mr. and Mrs. Smith, then they need to write Mr. and Mrs. Smith. If they want full names, they need to write it also. And I let them know that we can either do an ampere Sam or we can do spell it out. Or I also do this little sign. So I like to, or I used to like to have them do it. Just put it in a Google document, so just pop in the address is exactly like this. This is another thing. If they want the the state spelled out, they need to put it like that. And if they want it on four lines or three lines, that's another option for them. So that's one way you can do it. Another way you can do it is you can send them a spreadsheet like this spreadsheet here. And what I'm going to do is if you have the software, if you have the Adobe Creative Suite, InDesign is a great way to merge all of these into InDesign and then you're able to print them out and I'll show you how to do that as well. But first, I'm going to show you our first example with the document. If they're just putting it into a Google document like this, they don't have to center or anything, but they can just either copy and paste addresses in or type them all in. Then I take that I sent her all of them and then I increase the size to something that is similar to the size of my calligraphy. Another option two is you can use a script font if that's even more helpful for you. Basically, what you wanna do is you want to be able to see the exact layout that will be on your envelope. This will really help you with spacing and to keep everything balanced. Then once I do that and they're all centered, I print them out. And I fold it in half. So fold it exactly in half. And now I will know everything that needs to be on the left side of the envelope and everything that needs to be on the right side. This is just a basic guideline and it really helps you to keep things straight. And even especially when you're first starting out, To be honest, I don't have to do this anymore because I've done so many envelopes. But when I was starting out, this method helped me so much. And I really think it's the reason why I can do envelopes so easily now. So just having this center line here is really helpful. So you know, what needs to go on the left side and what needs to go on the right side. Now I'm going to show you the other way that I mentioned, which is using InDesign. This is a list of guests addresses from one of my clients, and this is the spreadsheet that I sent them. Obviously, it's not filled out when I send it to them. But as you can see, there's columns up here and it's really easy and straightforward. Names, addresses, city, state, zip code. I knew that all of her guests, we're going to be in the United States. But if they are not in the United States or say you're in England, makes sure that you have an option here. So I put country, country, if not in the US because my clients are in the US currently. And then another thing I want to mention is if the zip code has a zero in the front, what's going to happen is it's going to be an issue when you merge it into InDesign. So here I'll show you them. I'm sorry, it's an issue here. So as you can see, it just deleted the zero here. So in order to get around that, what you need to do is just put an apostrophe and a zero and it'll leave it. It doesn't matter if it's left justified. You can write justify it if you need to, but it's not necessary. So you have that, okay. A basic spreadsheet. I like to use Google Spreadsheets because they're editable and easy to use and share. And then like I said before, just make sure you tell them you want they need to send this to you exactly how they want them to be the addresses to be reproducing calligraphy. This client here wanted Dr. and Mrs. Miss. They wanted that title for everybody, so they entered it here and they also wanted the ampersands, so that is what we have here, the address, the city. They didn't want this state spelled out, they just wanted the abbreviation and the zip code. So this is great. And what we're going to do is we need to export this as a CSV file. Download, sorry. Cvc, CSV, sorry, not a CVS file. That is a store. So you want to export it or download it as a comma separated values. So CSV file. Alright, we're getting into InDesign and we want to select New File. And since we are going to be printing these out on paper, my file size is going to be the size of a paper. So for me that's 8.5 " by 11 ". And we just want to utilize our paper as best as possible. And then I'm gonna make a little text box right here. And we are going to grab the data from our addresses. So come up to Window, go to Utilities, data merge. And we are going to select these lines right here and select data source. Now we're going to grab that CSV file. And we can see right here, all of the columns that we had in our spreadsheet are now transferred over to this document. I'm going to click names and names is going to pop up. Then I'm going to select Enter for the address. Enter again. So every time you press Enter means that that category is going to be on a new line. I want the city and state rate by each other. So I'm going to click on city, then make a comma, and click on state. Then I like to put the zip code at the bottom. So I am going to hit Enter again and have the zip code bottom. I'm going to center this because I want my addresses centered as a guide. And then I'm going to, and I like to do my zip codes spread out. So I'm coming over here and increasing the space between the letters. But technically it will be the space between the numbers. So this looks pretty good to me. I am going to increase the font or the font size because I don't know about you guys, but reading tiny, tiny letters is difficult for me. But if it's not difficult for you feel free to make them as small as you want. Now I'm going to come up here again. I'm going to create merged document. It's going to be grabbing all of those addresses now. And I want it to be all records, but I want there to be multiple records on each page. So we're utilizing the paper as much as possible. We're not wasting paper because we're going to print a bunch of the addresses on one sheet. All this other stuff. So margins is just gonna be the margins between each text box. I'm going to I don't need them to be huge. And that should be fine. And then I like to do columns. You can do rows if you want. When you're doing calligraphy. It doesn't matter if the envelopes or an order typically. So I just like to do columns and then hit Okay, and it's going to populate all the addresses. Now this is very important. No overset text was generated when emerging records. That's great. So overset means if the name was super long, that it might have cut off some of your name. So make sure you go through and make sure everything is there. I can see right here that this, I don't want a dash between a name. So what I'm gonna do is it's very important that you go through this and make sure it looks good. So I'm just going to hit enter there. And these are all of your addresses. Isn't it nice, they're all lined up and centered. And you can do that exact same methods. So you can print this out and then you can find that center line here. And you can either draw the line down or folded over and it'll help you see where the center line is for each address. So this is a great way if you want to save paper and you want to make it a little bit easier for your client because they're able to fill out this document. That that's a great way to do it. This is just know that whatever is on this document is what's going to be on this document. So any changes that you need to make, make sure you make them hear. If for some reason you come in here and you're like, what? I really want the state to be spelled out, then you're going to have to come in here and spell it out here and then read, download a new CSV file. So just be mindful of that. And like I said, again, just make sure to go in here and check to make sure everything looks good before you print things and nothing got cut off. It did tell us that there was no overset text, so that's really good. Yeah. This is another way if you don't want to do the first way that I showed you with just laying them all out in a Google doc. This is another way you can do it to save paper. 4. Setting Up Your Template: Now we're going to make our template. This is the template I make that tells me where to write where and helps me to keep everything straight and aligned. What you're going to do is you're going to grab the envelope that you're going to be using. Since I do wedding invitations, a very standard size isn't a sudden, so this is 7.125 " by 5.125 ". And I'm going to take my envelope and my computer paper. I'm going to try to get in the center. It doesn't have to be perfect. I am going to take my pen. Now. If you have, if you don't have a pen with archival ink, I love these mono line pens. Archival ink doesn't bleed. Once it's dry, it's dry and you can get water on it. But if you don't have that and you're just using a regular pen, it might come off on your envelopes. So I highly recommend having an archival pen. Otherwise, you could also use a pencil. I'm going to use archival pen so you guys can see it nice and easily. And I'm going to go around my envelope. So I'm just outlining my envelope because I want the exact size of it. Now that we have this, we're going to take our ruler. The ruler has been through a lot. And we're going to find our exact center mark. Since this is 7.25, sorry, 7.25, not 1.25 that I said earlier. Three three-and-a-half inches would be seven. So just over three-and-a-half. And from there I'm going to make a line and I want that line to go past or the envelope is I'm going to label this, you guys don't have to, but this is our center line. Now from here, there's a couple of things you want to think about. If you're using regular postage, you don't really need to worry about it. But if you're using vintage postage, you need to know exactly how much space will be taken up by the vintage postage. First. If you don't do this and you address your envelopes, you might have some of that postage getting blocking some of the address. So make sure you decide on that before. And what I like to do is I'll make a little guide. So I'll put my stamps on how they're going to be on every envelope. Then I'll cut it out and I'll place it here so I know. And then you're able to make your guide. Since we're just going to say this has regular postage, we're going to come down about, Let's say, I like to go about two-and-a-half inches. So come down here two-and-a-half inches and put a dot over on this side and a dot on this side. Now I'm going to draw a line all the way across and go past a little bit. And that is our first line, that will be our name line. And this is where you need to decide how big your calligraphy is if you're doing calligraphy and block lettering. For me personally, I like to have about a half an inch of space between each line. So I'm just going to put a dot for a half of an inch and I'm gonna do three of them. Because remember my addresses are four lines. Again. I'm just going all the way across here. And again and again. So name, this will be the address. I'm just labeling it for you guys see no city and state and zip code. So this is our basic template. I'm going to be using this for all of my envelopes. And what I do is I just grabbed my envelope. Some little trick I want to tell you guys right now, always have your envelopes in a stack like this. So when you grab it, you'll put it the correct way. You don't want to have them like this. And you grab it and you do the address upside down, and then you have to redo all your envelopes. It's a trick I learned a long time ago and it has saved me so much heartache. Definitely do it. We grab our envelope, we place it, we make sure it's on the right-side up. We place it here and we take our laser level are and all we have to do is just line or laser level or up all the way over here. And we'll be able to write our calligraphy and we have this nice line here so you don't have to do pencil marks and erase them. You don't have to try to use a light box that's underneath and sometimes it's too hard to write on or anything like that. This is the best method, in my opinion, this is the best. In our next video, I'm gonna show you how to start addressing your envelopes. 5. Calligraphing Envelopes: Now that we have are we're all set up and we're ready to go. I have my ink, these are my addresses. I'm just going to put them up here. We are going to start addressing. So remember that we have this center line, which is telling us what goes in the middle or what goes to the left and what goes to the right. I'm going to turn on my laser leveler and I'm going to grab some ink. Make sure I have enough in there. Okay. And I'm going to grab my nib, my pen and my nib. All right. I can see here that the D to a and is gonna be right, or basically and is right down the center. So I'm gonna come here right down the center and I'm gonna write, and in calligraphy. Then I'm going to write Shawn Lane. And this might take a couple of times for you guys to get the hang of it. But be patient with yourself. All good things come with time. You're just building muscle memory. Another thing you'll notice too, is you'll have to play with how big your calligraphy is. Because sometimes you might need to write it a little bit smaller. That's why you should always, always order extra envelopes. So since I did this, I did that side. Now I'm gonna go ahead and I'm going to write Sasha Colby. Sasha Colby. So you can see Wayne comes almost to the edge. So I'm going to start Sasha over here almost to the edge. When you do this over and over again, you get used to where things can be or should be. And then I really think that's why I don't need to use this anymore, this method. But it was so helpful for me. Oh my goodness, when I first started. Okay, perfect. Now we just go down to our next line. And since our next line, we don't have to write on the right and left because we can just see where it starts. It starts, the two starts right under the a. And of course take into consideration how big you write your numbers. But this way, you know. And it's really nice because we have this nice red line that's guiding us. Make sure that it's straight. Sometimes you can bump it and it can get crooked. I'm using that Ph martin. Great. Now the block star ache. Oh, and another thing is always makes sure that your envelope is perfectly lined up in this square. You don't want it to be off a little bit because it'll it'll mess yet. Now, we are going to do Denver, Colorado, and we can see that Denver is right under the three. So that is where we will start. Oops. I haven't done a lot of calligraphy lately because I've been doing a lot of watercolor painting. Colorado. Perfect. You can see everything is nice and aligned. Then lastly is our zip code. And if you guys followed the other method that we use for InDesign, the zip code will be spread out a little bit more. But since I did this method, the other one, I'm going to have to spread it out myself. And the way I do that is I'm going to start in the exact middle with that zero because that's the number that's in the middle. And then from there, I'm going to do the first number, the furthest side, and the last number on the furthest side. Then from there I can easily find the middle of what those other numbers should be or where they should be. And I'm going to put little dots in-between. There you have it. We have our beautiful envelope that was really, really easy to get nice and centered because we have this nice little template here. And it just makes it so much easier, makes sure you let your envelopes dry. That is something that I will say. I am very impatient and I have ruined many an envelope. Make sure you let them dry. 6. Thank you: Congratulations you did it. I really hope you enjoyed my method of addressing envelopes with dip pen calligraphy. It has been a lifesaver that I figured this out. Like I said in the class, I have done so many envelopes that now I don't need this method, but I really, really highly suggest it for anybody who's starting out or anybody who's struggling. I was three years then when I figured this out. So it helped me a lot and I hope it helped you too. If you guys found this class to be helpful, Will you please leave me a review or share on social media that way, other people who need help with addressing their envelopes with dip pen calligraphy, we'll be able to find my super awesome method. I hope you guys have an amazing day and thank you so much for watching.