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Sunday, February 21, 2010

DIY Calligraphy - Addressing Envelopes

For someone who's so fabulously artistic, I have terrible handwriting. Not only do I have terrible handwriting, I make typos. I didn't even know you could make typos while handwriting, but I miss letters or they run together all the time. It's not that I don't know how to spell the word (usually), but someone that doesn't translate on paper very well. And, even when I get the words spelled correctly, I'm lucky if anyone else can interpret them.

So, when it came to my wedding invitation envelopes, I was left with a dilemma. What was the best way to address them? I figured I had a couple options:

1. Be traditional and handwrite the addresses, drop them off at the post office, and, like a mother dropping her kids off at school for the first time, wave at my little darlings, cry softly, and whisper, "Godspeed little doodles" in the hopes that the post office would be able to read my chicken scratch.

2. Buy labels and *gasp* computer print them. Well that might work, just don't tell grandma.

3. Pay a calligrapher to write each one with a gorgeous sweeping, elegant, style that I can only dream of...Hmm...let's see. $2.00 x 150 invitations = how much were labels again?

4. Run the envelopes through my computer printer! Oh wait, the haste of a 20% Paper Source sale, I already purchased 200 A7 envelopes in "night." And, unless HP has come out with the best printer since sliced bread (i.e., can print light ink on dark paper), that's not going to work.

What's a DIY-er to do?
and then...I found the solution!

Look, I did these myself!

Was it calligraphy class?
Bribing a relative with good handwriting?
Surgically transplanting my hand with Laura Hooper?

It was...Wedding Bee and the AMAZINGLY clever Jennifer.

Ok, here's the secret: tracing (shhh...don't tell)

Start by computer printing the address in a color similar to the color or your envelope.

Can you see that?
What about this one?

It is hard to see, but with the right light, and some patience, it's not so bad.

Templates and printer settings will vary from computer/printer to computer/printer, but I can tell you that I used Adobe Illustrator to make sure everything was lined up correctly, changed my printer settings to "5.25 x 7.25" and "envelope" and just ran them through one at a time. I did have to copy/paste each address into Illustrator, but I got into a rhythm and it went pretty quickly. (Plus, I've computer-printed addresses for wedding invitation clients in the past, so I'm kind of use to it by now).

Then I used a Uni-Ball Singo broad white gel pen and just traced! The ink wasn't perfect, and I had to trace a few lines over as I wrote, but overall, I think the one's I've completed came out gorgeous!

They have a wonderful handmade quality, but I didn't have to pay a lot or risk people knowing what my actual handwriting looks like.

A couple vintage stamps to complete the look... and ta-da!

So I still have a lot more to do, but at least it's progress, right?


  1. Wow...they came out great! I was thinking of doing mine by means of this process also.
    I have a question....on the Uni-Ball you used.......did it dry instantly, or did you have to take extra care not to touch where you had just written?

  2. Thanks! It didn't try instantly, instantly, but by the time I finished the next one I could lay it on the previous. There are a couple smudges on the backs, but that may have happened anyway, even if the ink was totally dry.

  3. I LOVE this idea! What font did you use? It looks great!

  4. GREAT idea! What font did you use for this?

  5. Thanks, I wish I could take credit for the idea, but it definitely works!
    The font is called Burgues Script.

  6. I'm a wedding bee'er too and I found the same faux-ligrahpy tutorial! It's really nice to see the finished product! Plus I was wondering about a pen, so thanks for the rec! What size font did you use?

  7. Barrister Global Services Network, one of premier provider of IT solutions, printer repair , Printer Service, managed print services, Barrister Global Services. Printing services as printer repair and Managed Print Services are among the best services provided by barrister.

  8. Just amazing and to think I was thinking it would be worth it to pay so much money to have my done by someone else! You are the best! :)

  9. Adorable..i will defiantly use in designing Plastic business cards.....

  10. Awesome, I was thinking of doing this also for the mailing address but what did you do for a return address?

  11. Thanks! For the return address we actually screen printed white ink on the back of the envelopes. Since each return address was the same, it was worth making the screen to do that. Otherwise, I would probably recommend a nice label, like those in matching colors from Paper Source.

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  13. was your envelope color black? wondering what color font would show up enough to trace on black envelopes

  14. The envelopes were navy blue and I used dark blue ink. I'm not sure how it would work on black envelopes. Depending on how dark the envelope is, black ink may still show up. The only suggestion I have is to try a couple and see what works. You may only be able to see a sheen from an angle.


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