Christmas mail art: 4 ways to decorate a big, beautiful stack of envelopes

Christmas mail art is the best: A beautifully decorated envelope is like a gift in itself. But a long Christmas card list might make addressing your envelopes seem like a daunting task instead of a glorious way to spend the evening. So we asked Hallmark Artists to come up with easy ways to create hand-lettered envelopes that won’t take you all season long. Here are four different, gorgeous ways to make everyone on your list feel like your very favorite person.

A pile of decorated Christmas mail art—envelopes in different colors with hand lettering, cut paper, painted swooshes, and more. |

Festive Stamped Christmas Mail Art

Supplies for making stamps

  • Craft foam sheet
  • Scrap pieces of cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Brush marker
  • Archival ink pad in two colors (or ink brayer and paint)
  • Scrap paper or butcher paper (to protect your work surface)

Supplies for hand-stamped Christmas snail mail: scissors, cutting board, craft foam, construction paper, glue stick, ink pad, envelopes, and pen.

How to stamp envelopes

  • Cut simple shapes from the craft foam—try stars or starbursts, circles or blocks.
  • Glue the foam shape onto a slightly larger scrap of cardboard.
  • Apply ink to the stamp. Practice pressing the stamps on a scrap sheet of paper to get the right amount of pressure and to try different designs.
  • Open the envelope and stamp your designs. Make sure to leave room for the recipient’s name and address on the front and your own return address in the upper left or on the back.
  • Let your envelopes dry completely before you address them.

Here’s some inspiration for stamped designs, from simple fruits and veggies to linocut shapes.

Mail art stamped with green and black designs. |

Cut Paper Christmas Mail Art

Supplies for cut paper designs

  • Scraps of colored paper or leftover gift wrap
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Brush marker
  • Gold metallic paint marker
  • White paint marker
  • White gel pen

Cut paper designs on Christmas card envelopes—red and pink ornaments, letters and trees with black, gold and white accents. |

How to make cut paper envelope designs

  • Cut a super-simple shape from the paper. We made different ornament shapes and trees and tried a few first initials.
  • Lay your cut paper out on the envelope to figure out your design.
  • If you’re going to write or draw on the paper, do that before you glue it down—that way if you mess up, you don’t ruin the envelope.
  • Use the white paint marker to draw simple designs—branches, stars, garland strings—on your envelope. 
  • Glue down your cut paper, then add the address. Don’t forget to put your return address in the upper left or on the back flap.

Red Christmas card envelopes decorated with cut paper designs and embellished with white marker illustrations.

Hand-painted Christmas Mail Art

Supplies for painted envelopes

  • Acrylic paint (we are big believers in a limited color palette)
  • Paintbrush
  • Artist masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Brush marker
  • Scrap card stock or paper

Supplies for hand painted mail art: acrylic paint, brush, envelopes, masking tape, and a marker. |

How to make painted mail art

To leave the perfect space for an address: 

  • Cut a square or rectangle from your scrap piece big enough to write the address. Use the masking tape to stick it to the envelope.
  • Paint swatches of color on the envelope—try abstract shapes, swashes or blocks of color, squiggles and lines and dots. (Want inspiration? Check out this post about mark-making.)
  • If you’re going to layer colors, make sure you let one dry before adding another.
  • When it’s all completely dry, pull off off the tape and paper scrap and add the address.

Other ideas to try: 

  • We love simple rainbow shapes.
  • And experimenting with the shape of the space you leave for the address.
  • With the right pen, you can write the address on a dry swash of color.

Hand painted envelopes with designs in green, blue, red, and pink. |

Bold Lettered Christmas Mail Art

Supplies for hand-lettered envelopes

  • Gold Metallic paint markers with bullet-shaped tips—not chiseled or angled—to make lines with a consistent weight (that’s called monoline lettering)
  • Paint markers in white, red and green (or another fun, limited color palette)
  • Pencil

Bold and gold hand-lettered addresses on dark green envelopes. |

How to create envelopes with bold lettering

  • Before you start, lightly sketch out the name and address—and maybe any other designs you want to add. It’s easy to draw pine and holly branches and berries, stars and diamonds, accent marks, and simple doves.
  • Want more inspiration? Try the lettering styles in this tip sheet.
  • Make the name the star—go big and bold, but don’t forget to leave room for the address. (Unless you’re hand-delivering a card! Then go huge.)
  • Let each color dry before adding the next.

Hand lettered addresses on dark green and pink envelopes. |

Want to make sure you get the address just right? Here’s how to address an envelope.

Need ideas for what to write in a Christmas card? You know we got you.

Christmas mail art addressed in four different styles. |

Envelope Decorating |

We hope this gets you fully inspired to send Christmas cards. Want to make it even more fun? Read about our annual Christmas Card challenge and join us in sending Christmas mail art all over. Post photos and use #PSWriteBackSoon to show us!


Leave a Comment

  1. 11.11.19 | Reply
    Jen Mullen wrote:

    Oh, you are so ahead of the game! Fun ideas–thanks!

  2. 11.3.20 | Reply
    Barbara Kern wrote:

    There are Pen Pal groups that decorate envelopes however this article has gotten me in the spirit to go bold and beautiful this Christmas.