Addressing a Perfect Envelope

Posted by in Technique

Calligraphy and addressing is a labor of love for invites to any event. we get asked frequently why addressing is such an investment, and if they should take the time to add the personal touch themselves. Calligrapher Cheryl Dyer breaks down the details, and how you can make the decision for your event knowing whats involved in doing it yourself.

If you are anything like me, the daily stack of mail that drops through your mail slot has arrived at your home by direction of a computer printed address.  So, on the rare occasion that a hand-lettered (or even hand-scrawled for that matter!) address appears on an envelope it stops me in my tracks.

The address on your wedding invitation is your guest’s first peek into what is in store for your wedding event– why not stop them in their tracks? First impressions matter!

As a professional calligrapher I’ve quite a bit of experience addressing envelopes. I love working with couples who have hired me to do their hand-lettering for them, but I also like to share my experience with brides who choose to do addressing themselves. You certainly can create beautifully done envelopes on your own!

One common addressing problem for brides and grooms is address placement. How do you letter an address so it is an a consistent position on each envelope? How do you make sure your address placement follows straight guidelines? This is particularly difficult when envelopes are darker in color and one can’t place a guide inside.

 What follows is a step-by-step guide:

1. You’ve chosen your envelopes and writing utensil– great start! You’ll also need a cutting board, card stock, Xact-o knife, straight edge, pencil and ruler. 1_envelopes2. Using a pencil, trace around your envelope lightly onto card stock.


3. Cut out your envelope guide using a sharp blade and straight edge.


4. Draw guidelines onto your guide paper with a straight edge and pencil. If you have a t-square, now is the time to use it as it will guarantee level lines.  Make sure the first line is below the mid-point of your envelope– we don’t want your address bumping into the stamp! Draw a base line for each address line and also a line above it to mark the desired height of your lower-case letters. Each set of guidelines should have enough space between them to make sure the address is airy and not compact.


5. Using your sharp blade and a straight edge, cut out the inside of each set of guidelines.


6. Place the guide sheet over your envelope and lightly pencil each set of guidelines on the envelope. If you have the option, use a softer pencil lead.


7. The guidelines are easier to see under a desk lamp.


8. Address your envelopes!


9. After the ink has dried, lightly erase the lines with a soft art eraser.


10. If you are not skilled in calligraphy, there are plenty of options for beautiful opaque ink in mono-line pens.


Cheryl Dyer is a professional calligrapher who resides in Omaha, NE. You can see more of her work at: