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How to Make the Envelope as Much Fun

as the Birthday Card

You’ve found the PERFECT card for your friend’s birthday. You know they are going to think it’s hilarious. You are sending a gift card to their absolute favorite store. You even manage to write a thoughtful note inside. And then you close up the envelope and turn it over…

Only to feel like addressing the thing brings the excitement down a notch. Or twenty.

Addressing envelopes the ‘regular’ way (with a ballpoint pen and a stamp) can feel a bit, well, blah. Especially if we are excited to send what’s inside.  But that doesn’t have to be the case!

You might be saying that you don’t have time for art projects. Or that you’re not artistic or crafty. None of that is really required. You can address an envelope that will be a joy to recieve without a lot of time or creativity!

Here are a handful of really simple ways to make the envelope as much fun as the birthday card (or any card!) with just a fat chisel tip Sharpie marker.  And then a few extra ideas to get crazy with a little washi tape, if you are feeling dangerous. (Wink.)

If you can draw a straight line (or thereabouts) you can make a border around the edge of your envelope. Just run the Sharpie’s fattest side along the edge of the envelope. It’s okay if it hangs over a little bit. (Put several sheets of scrap paper underneath to keep the marker from getting onto your desk.)

This border can also extend to the back of the envelop as well; outlining any seams and the flap itself.

I TOLD you these were simple!!! If you nailed the straight line above, then bring it in a tad and draw your border slightly to the inside of the envelope edges.

If you are feeling really daring, you can draw a second border line inside of the first using a different color, or make one line fat and the second line thinner.

Still drawing lines!! Draw one fat curvy line across the entire envelope. Write out your address above and below the curve however it fits best.

I happened to illustrate this curvy line on the envelope I had already added a border to, but you can do it without the border for a different look.

Polka dots are ALWAYS fun! Just address your envelope and add dots all around with the tip of the Sharpie. Making them a different color than your address is nice; you can also use multiple colors for a confetti feel! (And you know I love that!)

You can also get creative here by using stars or tiny flowers in place of (or in addition to) the dots.

Writing your address in a fat chisel tip Sharpie makes it bold and gives it visual weight. Outlining it in scallops (or a circle or box) emphasizes it further.

You could double this scalloped line for twice as much fun!

Or you can add the scallops off to the side (or to the top or the bottom) of the envelope for a more decorative look. You can start with one set of colored in scallops and add on if you wish.

These can be as big or small as you’d like, with as many rows and colors as your imagination can dream up.

Getting snail mail is one of my favorite indulgences,

and I think receiving mail is actually a common joy.

-Mary Lambert-

Another super quick way to add some flair to your address is to draw a little embelishment off to the side. Here I have just added six flower-petal shapes and colored them in to emphasize the name.

Or you can draw an ACTUAL flower. Same concept as above: you are linking the embelishment to the address by putting them close together, which makes them look like a whole instead of two distinct items. 

These are the same petal shapes, with a center and leaf added on for good measure.Voila’! A flower!

If you have mastered the above ideas and want another creative idea, try writing your address a little differently. I like to mix up capital and small case letters, print and script words, and to use the bold chisel tip for the numbers.

You can also experiment with adjusting the spacing and height of words or even individual letters.

You can emphasize the addressee’s name by outlining it in a different shade of Sharpie, like I did here. This is a pretty simple form of emphasis, a la’ junior high school.

You can also create a nice shadow effect by using a different color to make a second line on the inside or outside of the down stroke of each letter. The trick to getting this right is to choose one side of the letters from the beginning and to be consistent throughout. Here is a good explanation of how to achieve this effect.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of simple embellishing with a fat chisel Sharpie marker, let’s move on to playing with washi tape! Washi tape is a biodegradable decorative tape made of Japanese plants that is removable and repositionable. It is relatively inexpensive and widely available in every pattern and color imaginable, so there is something for everyone.

Washi tape is great for embellishing envelopes! All you have to do is rip off a couple pieces and you are on your way! No creative expertise required.  Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.

Add a little banner under your stamp! Tear off a little piece of washi tape and fold it over the envelope in the space your stamp will go. You can cut the ends into a flag or angled or even just leave them torn. Paste your stamp right on top!

Easy peasy!

Even simpler than above, just use a colorful piece of washi tape to close your envelope. It really doesn’t get any easier than that, does it?! And you’ve added an element of joy to your recipent’s opening of your card.

Many rolls of washi tape are sold as sets of coordinating colors and prints. Use a few of them together to wrap around the outside of your envelope for a fun element. Just line them up one atop the next or slightly overlapping. You can wrap the ends around to the back just an inch or all the way across to seal the envelope.

A slightly more elaborate design, but not beyond your ability!! Just tear off pieces of washi tape to layer diagnoally. I placed the two black pieces first and worked my way in from there. You can either trim the ends right at the edge of the envelope or wrap them around. This is the perfect frame for your address.

This washi design looks more complicated than it is. It works best with envelopes that have a triangle flap in back. Just tear your pieces of washi tape and line each piece up next to one another or overlapping them slightly. 

You can cut the strips off at the edge of the triangle or wrap them around to the back of the flap. If you wrap the washi around to the back you will need to glue your envelope closed or place a sticker or seal over the flap.

And there you go! If these ideas seem to be simple, they were meant to be. Sometimes we make things out to be a bigger deal than they need to be. It really takes one fat chisel Sharpie and one roll of washi tape and you can transform a simple card into something that will light up someone’s mailbox.

No more boring mail! Our mailboxes are full of bills and responsibilities. Encourage your people by sending them something fun to open instead.♥

Add some joy to your inbox.

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