A while back, I posted an article titled “Let’s talk about envelopes“, to inform clients about the various types of paper out there and the best ones to choose for addressing in hand-calligraphy.

Here’s why…

Calligraphy ink is a light acrylic, similar to what artists may use when painting. It isn’t made of the same stuff as permanent or waterproof pens or markers. Therefore, it needs plenty of time to dry on regular paper envelopes and will usually do quite well. However, try using it on shiny or glossy surfaces, and it will sit on the surface, rather than absorbing. (Think of it like painting on a canvas, which is ready to accept the colored medium, versus painting on tarp or wax paper – you wouldn’t really do that, would you? 😉 ). Look at this sample below: yikes. We want to avoid that.


TIPS: 1) Whenever possible, choose regular cotton, matte, pressed envelopes rather than the glossy stuff. Even laser printing ink will smudge on those, not just calligraphy ink. In worst-cases, you’ll end up costing time sending them back to the design company for addressing in the only way possible. Gussy-up your invitation suite with graphic design, lace, ribbons, and other items, but be sure to leave envelopes plain.

2) Allow plenty of time in your schedule for ink to dry. I like to err on the side of caution and never return hand-calligraphed stationery to clients without having left them to dry, at least overnight. They are always dry when returned.

3) Especially in tropical or humid climates, the elements may affect the outcome of the ink. How many times do we receive cards, bills, etc. in the mail with the ink slightly smudged on the envelope from rain or snow? It can happen. Since we can’t control precipitation (or even the way the USPS will handle our items) we can take care on our end. When you receive stationery, store it in a cool, dry place and be careful not to get it wet, or run humid or sticky fingers over it when sealing it, etc. My clients always receive an order form with “fine print” for care details.

Hope this information helps! 🙂