Personalizing your envelopes

A fun trend in cards is to decorate the envelopes. This provides an extra professional look while maintaining the homemade and crafty appearance. Decorating envelopes can be simple but you need to keep a few things in mind.

Remember the purpose

An envelope is a way to package your card so that it gets to it’s destination safely, and without a bunch of strangers reading your message. Envelopes must conform to several standards if they are going to be mailed. The main one being that the mail carrier needs to be able to read and identify where it’s going.

This card is adorable and the envelope is cute, but can you spot the issues?

First, the decoration is stamped onto a separate piece of paper which is then attached to the envelope. This is an issue as anything attached to the envelope must be completely sealed down or it will get stuck in the machinery used to sort the mail.

Second, the punched circle overlaps the edges of the envelope. Again it will cause issues for the sorting machines, and may cost you more in postage because of the hand sorting that will be required.

The final issue is that the decoration is placed where the return address is supposed to be. If you place one small stamp next to your return address it’s fine. But this is large and precludes the ability to have a return address on the front of the envelope. A return address is not a requirement for something to be mailed but it’s nice to be able to get something back if it can’t be delivered.

Subtle is better 

Subtle decorations can add a fun element.

Use the same stamp and ink color on the envelope that you used on the card. This provides continuity between the card and envelope without disrupting the function.

Another whimsical idea is to stamp the card and then, without re-inking, stamp the envelope. This will give the envelope a softer imprint of the design from the card.

Remember to watch the placement. The lower left corner, and both right corners are great for stamping. Keep in mind that the postage will be placed in the upper right corner so only put something there that won’t be lost under the postage.

Not every envelope has to be mailed

Now that I’ve reviewed what to watch out for don’t throw out the envelopes that are decorated but can’t be mailed. You can always save those cards for hand delivering or place them in a larger envelope than can get through the postal service.