I love receiving post, and I love to write letters, though I don’t do so nearly often enough. There’s something so rare and lovely about seeing an envelope poking out from a pile of brown bills and circulars which is obviously something fun. This week, a few tips on how to create beautiful and accomplished-looking envelopes, invitations, gift tags or any other paper paraphernalia, using just your PC and a printer. Whether you have a Windows PC or a Mac, your basic in-built programmes are likely to contain Powerpoint (tool of jaded office executives the world over, and hence an old friend of mine). As well as producing mind-numbingly dull graphs and bulleted presentations, it can be surprisingly versatile; I do practically all of my crafty stuff using it, including the montages you see on the blog.
If your capability with Powerpoint extends to the point where you can open a file and create a text box, then we’re cooking and ready for the off. If you are a Photoshop aficionado and are reading this with horror at my simplistic and antiquated ways, then please cast your eyes away from the screen and cease your tut-tutting. Right then…
- Choose a great font. Either choose from the default font menu, or start with the list and resources below of mostly free-to-download fonts, and have a play until you find one you like. Many of the sites let you type in your own words to sample the font before downloading (urbanfonts is good for this), so if you have a particular phrase or wording in mind, head there to see what it looks like in each font; with calligraphy and ‘handwriting’ fonts the letters can vary a lot.
- Use a new text box for each line of text, so that you can move words around, rotate and position far more organically than you can within a single text box. You can see here that I’ve used a large font for the surname and then used the green rotate icon to turn it slightly. Having individual boxes also allowed me to overlap the ‘B’ of Brown with the ‘A’ of Amelia. The stars here were drawn using Powerpoint’s own shapes library (create one, copy and paste until you have a small constellation).
- For dramatic capital letters, use a text box for each letter, whack up the font size and then – using a new text box – position the rest of the word (in a much smaller font) where you want it. You can see below how for this address I used multiple font sizes:
- When you’re ready to print, cut out practice templates from inexpensive paper which are the same size as your envelopes, and print /adjust until you have it exactly positioned right, to minimise wastage or misprints.
- For white text on a coloured background, create a large coloured square to sit behind your text onscreen before converting the text to white. You can either print this directly onto the envelope as I did here, or onto a large self-adhesive label to then stick onto plainer envelopes. To avoid a white edge around your image when printing directly onto envelopes, select a print size slightly bigger than your envelope.
- Don’t be afraid of mixing fonts, and adding graphics like I did for my envelope flap ‘monogram’ below, which I print onto a stash of envelopes for thank-you cards or letters;
Incidentally, I love printing things on the back of envelopes… be it a warning not to open birthday cards before the big day, a simple return address or a message; it’s all the more fun because it’s unexpected…
I could continue for hours on this topic, but in the spirit of brevity, and due to the pile of actual letters I’ve meaning to write for far too long, I will stop here for now. Below are some of my favourites and all of the fonts I’ve used here. All are free for personal use apart from the delicious Jacques & Gilles which cost me about $30. I use it all the time, such as for these labels and this post, and it makes me smile. Definitely worth it for me.
- Personalised stationery, particularly as presents for little people, like this
- Monogram stickers to use as gift seals or for the back of envelopes
- The letter from Santa which mysteriously appears in our hearth in late December
- Invitations and gift tags
- Labels for homemade baking and jams