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How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

What’s a girl to do when she has a stack of Christmas cards to send out, but she also has some exceptionally ugly handwriting??  Well, if she also happens to have a Silhouette Cameo that she is completely obsessed with, why, addressing those holiday greetings with sketch pens is the obvious remedy, of course!

Today I present to you a tutorial showing how to use Silhouette sketch pens to address envelopes.  I chose this method because:

  1. It looks super fancy and professional and I like to impress. {wink}
  2. My hand is spared the pain of hand-addressing each and every envelope.
  3. My friends and family are spared from seeing my awful, messy, male doctor-like handwriting (no offense to male doctors!).

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

[Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I truly appreciate any and all support!]

 

The sketch pens come in a whole rainbow of colors, including metallic and glitter ones, and you can use them with any image, or in this case, font that can be downloaded online.  This tutorial takes you through the whole sketch pen process and it can be applied to any project, not just those involving fonts and/or envelopes.

[Note: I am still rocking Version 2 of Silhouette Studio, so that’s what all of the below instructions and screenshots will depict.   I updated to Version 3 not long after it was released, but it kept freezing and caused a lot of curse words to spill from my mouth (sorry, Grandma!), so I uninstalled it and reverted back to Version 2.  Maybe someday I’ll give the new version a try….]

 

Selecting Your Font

To address your envelope, you first need to select a font(s), of course.  I always like to use two different fonts for envelopes, just to fancy it up a bit more.  I usually pick a pretty script font for the name, then choose a more formal block-type font for the actual address….I just like the combo of the two styles together.  You can of course address your envelopes however you’d like with as many fonts as you like.

I first select the Text tool on the left to open up a text box and type in my recipient’s name.  Then I type in my text and go to the Text Style menu at the top to select a font from the list.

[These screenshots can be enlarged by clicking on them and opening them up in a new window….save your eyes!]

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Need Help Choosing Fonts?

I always struggle with deciding on a font for any project….“I like this one!  But this one is pretty too!  OH, that one’s really nice, as well….Ahhh, let’s just run through the list again!”  It can seem like a never-ending process at times….

Can you relate??  If so, check out my tutorial for previewing ALL of your fonts at the SAME TIME!  Once you discover this simple preview method, you’ll agree that it really is a life-changer for any creative person….it definitely cuts down on time spent designing!

How to Preview ALL of Your Fonts at the SAME TIME!

 

Options When Using Sketch Pens with Fonts

So now you’ve found the perfect font….it’s lovely and will sketch just like it appears on screen, right?  Wrong!  Well, maybe wrong.  Be aware that just because a font looks like it’s solid and filled in in the Text Style menu doesn’t mean that it will actually be filled in when sketched…..I know, bummer.

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

But fear not!  There are several options you can choose from when sketching a font to get your desired look.

 

Option #1: Using the Sketch Tool to Add Edge/Fill Effects

One option is to use the Sketch tool and play around with the Edge and/or Fill Sketch effects (and don’t forget to open up the Advanced Options window at the bottom for even more effects).

Now, I honestly haven’t ever sketched anything using these effects because, quite frankly, I haven’t been happy with the way they look.  I’m sure there’s some font/effect combo that is just wonderful (and if you find one, let me know!), but I haven’t discovered it yet.  Just be aware that this option is available if you want to play around with it….you might strike gold.

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Option #2: Doing Internal Offsets

Another option available when trying to sketch a font so it’s filled-in is to do one or more internal offsets.  This is where you type out your font, open up the Offset window, then do a teensy tiny internal offset that creates a mini border around the inside of each letter.

Sometimes one offset is enough, or you can do more.  If you are going to do more than one offset, I like to move the original word(s) out of the way after my first offset, group all my offset pieces so they remain together, do another internal offset on that new group, then repeat the process until I’m happy with the level of fill.  Once all my offsets are complete, I move everything back together to reveal a new filled-in word.

Of course it’s not really filled in, but since each line will be sketched, it will look filled in instead of just the outline of the text.

Hopefully this animated GIF will explain this process more clearly:
How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Option #3: Using a Font that is Already “Filled In”

A way to avoid having to do all these internal offsets manually is to select a font that is already filled in!  Some fonts are designed to look solid, and these sketch beautifully.

You can tell how a font will sketch by looking at its red cut lines in Silhouette Studio.  The cut lines become sketch lines, so wherever you see red, you’ll have sketch lines….so in this instance, seeing red is a good thing!  The example below called Return to Sender is a great option for sketching!

[NOTE: Just be aware that the more cut/sketch lines you see, the more TIME and INK it will require.]

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Some great “filled-in” fonts also work wonderfully in chalkboard projects.  Check out my list of fabulous and free chalkboard fonts to see if any of them would also work well in your sketch pen project!

Fabulous & Free Chalkboard Fonts

 

Option #4: Using a Font As Is

The easiest way to sketch a font is to of course use it as is.  Since I’m addressing around 25 envelopes, I’m taking the easy route here and doing just that!

The font I’m using for the name portion of the address is called Frosting for Breakfast.  The actual address will be written out in a different font called Ribeye Marrow….I really like this font for sketch pens because it comes built-in with its own internal offset…one less step for me!  So I guess I’m also using a bit of Options #2 and #3 in a way as well….work smart, not hard!

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Option #5: Using a Marker Instead of a Sketch Pen

I have yet to try this option, but you can also use different writing instruments besides a Silhouette-brand sketch pen that are not so fine-point and thin.  Silhouette makes some pen holder adapters (which I actually have but have not found the time to test out yet….boo) that are supposed to easily fit other writing instruments, such as regular pens and Sharpie markers.  There are also other popular adapters by Chomas Creations, or you can make your own adapter with this cheap-o hack from Silhouette School!

Another brand of pen or marker may also give you a great option to play with!

 

Tip: You *May* Need to Weld Your Fonts

One more thing before moving on to our envelope mockup: you may need to weld your font prior to sketching.  If you’re using a pretty script font or a font that has any characters overlapping, you should weld everything together so it makes each word a solid piece where the letters are connected and NOT overlapped.

Otherwise, all those little over-lapping portions will be sketched and look all whack-a-doo….nobody likes a whack-a-doo word!

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Creating a Mockup of Your Addressed Envelope

I like to create mockups of my projects because it helps me with the proportion, scale, and just finalizing my overall design.  Sometimes I create my mockup first thing when designing a project….other times I finalize everything at the end.  Either way, here’s how I create a mockup of envelopes I’ll be addressing.

Sizing Your Document to Match Your Envelope Size

The first thing you need to do is resize your document to the size of your envelope.  To do this, open up the Page window and then adjust the width and height dimensions accordingly.

I’ll be using some red 5″ x 7″ envelopes that were left over from sending out my son’s dinosaur first birthday invitations as well as last year’s Father’s Day cards/paint chip banners to both grandpas (I sure am getting my money’s worth from this box!).  Their actual dimensions are 5.25″ x 7.25″, so that’s the size I adjusted my page document to.

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Creating Your Virtual Envelope

In order to create my virtual envelope, I need to change the color of my page to match that of my envelope.  I first draw a rectangle using the Rectangle tool and then change its dimensions to those of my envelope using the Scale window (so, once again, 5.25″ x 7.25″).

I then center it on my page (you can use the Align window to help with this….just select the newly-drawn rectangle then choose ‘Center to Page’).

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

Then to change its color, open up the Fill Color window and select the shade closest to that of your envelope.

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Changing Your Text Color to Match Your Sketch Pen

Now I move my recipient’s name and address onto the envelope and then change the color of my text to match that of my sketch pen.  I do this by opening up the Line Color tool and then picking the appropriate color.  In this case, I’ll be using a metallic silver sketch pen, so I change my lines to be a light gray….close enough.

Make sure you change the LINE color here and not the FILL color like you did for the envelope’s rectangle in the previous step….remember, the sketch feature works with the cut lines.

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Sketching With Multiple Colors

I’m just using one color of sketch pen for this particular project, but it IS possible to use multiple sketch pens if you wanted!  For a tutorial on how to do that, check out how I made a Transformers Father’s Day card for my husband using both gold and silver sketch pens!

Transformers Father's Day Card

 

Sizing & Placing Your Text

I then adjust the size and/or proportion of my text and place it accordingly on my virtual envelope.  You can use the Align tool again to help center everything if needed.

I chose to make my recipient’s name very large and then centered everything on the envelope.  I’ll be placing my return address label (which is super cute, by the way….you can check it out below!) on the backside of the envelope over the seal, so I wasn’t concerned with leaving a bunch of open space up top.

 

Preparing to Get Your Sketch On!

Alrighty.  So now your virtual envelope is ready to become real….wahoo!  Let’s get ready to sketch!

Set Your Cut (Sketch) Lines

Like I mentioned earlier, your cut lines become your sketch lines.  To see that you have all your lines set properly, open up the Cut Style tool, click on your text box(es) and make sure it/they are set to ‘Cut’ in the menu.  Also click on your rectangle (a.k.a. your virtual envelope) and make sure that’s set to ‘No Cut.’

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

 

Sketching Your Envelope

Place Your Envelope on Cutting Mat & Load into Silhouette

Your design is ready and your cut/sketch lines are set….now it’s time to prepare your Silhouette!

First, take the cap off your sketch pen and do a few scribbles on a piece of scrap paper, just to get the juices flowing.  Then remove the blade from your Silhouette machine’s blade holder and insert your sketch pen (push it all the way down and remember to turn the blue knob back to the right after your pen is inserted).

Place your envelope (flap-side down) in the top left corner of your cutting mat so it’s in the exact same position on your actual mat as it is on your digital mat on screen (this is to ensure your text gets sketched in the same, correct location).  Also make sure that your envelope has the flap at the top so you don’t write the address upside down….not that I did that or anything…. {casually whistles while avoiding eye contact}

It would also probably be best to not use a brand-new cutting mat that is straight out of the package.  It might be too sticky and potentially cause your envelope to tear when being removed, so make sure you unstickify it a little by patting it on a couch cushion or t-shirt first.

Lastly, load your cutting mat into your Silhouette machine (make sure you select ‘Load Cutting Mat’ and not ‘Load Media’ from the options on your machine).

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Sketch Pen Cut Settings

Now you need to finalize your settings, so go to the Silhouette Cut Settings tool (ahhh this I’m-saying-cut-but-I-really-mean-sketch lingo is really confusing, I know).  From here, select Silhouette Sketch Pen from the menu.

I always leave all the defaults as is:

  • Menu: Silhouette Sketch Pen
  • Speed: 10
  • Thickness: 18
  • Cutting Mat: Checked
  • Blade Setting: Sketch Pen

Once you have these set, it’s time to sketch, so just hit ‘Cut’!….but you’re really sketching….but it’s called ‘Cut’….ay-ay-ay…..

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

Here’s a super fast clip showing how amazing this sketch pen function is!

 

A Beautifully Sketched & Addressed Envelope!

A few minutes later, you should have a beautiful and professional-looking print job.  Amazing, isn’t it?!  Your friends and family are going to be soooo impressed!  Go ahead, pat yourself on the back. :)

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

You can see that the metallic silver Silhouette sketch pen worked pretty darn good!  Just a couple light areas, particularly on the ‘l’ in ‘Claus’, but I’m not sweating the small stuff.  Overall I was very impressed with my first time addressing envelopes this way!

How to Use Silhouette Sketch Pens to Address Envelopes

 

A Note About the Amount of Ink

I should point out though that the sketch pens are short so they do run out of ink pretty quickly.  I think this silver pen worked for about 18 envelopes (although I did use it for my husband’s Transformers Father’s Day card earlier this year), so I also ended up using the metallic bronze sketch pen for a few as well as the black pen for some.

I really like how festive and fancy the silver looks on the red (and my Uncle Bryan assured me they would be delivered just fine….he’s been working at the Post Office for decades so he should know!).  The bronze was a little more difficult to see, but it was still very pretty, and the black was the easiest to read, and still looked super cool.

[Sorry, no pics of the other sketch colors….Santa Claus here probably doesn’t mind having his address shared online like this, but I’m pretty sure my friends and family would.] ;)

 

Festive Envelopes for My Red-Nosed Reindeer Photo Ornament Christmas Cards!

These sketched envelopes made the perfect final touch to my red-nosed reindeer photo ornament Christmas cards.  Check out my tutorial to see all the details on how I made them!

Reindeer Photo Ornament Christmas Card and Silhouette GIVEAWAY!

I also made some matching return address labels that went on the backside of the envelopes over the seal….look for a tutorial on those in the near future!

Reindeer Photo Ornament Christmas Card and Silhouette GIVEAWAY!

 

So, did I miss anything regarding addressing envelopes with sketch pens?  If so, please let me know!  And have fun fancying up your cards (and impressing your friends and family)!

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been

 

 

Jane

Tuesday 23rd of May 2017

My pens drags a line across the envelope after finishing.. any idea how to prevent this? I am using the Silhouette brand pens.

Megan Milliken

Saturday 25th of June 2016

I addressed my wedding invitation envelopes with metallic black sketch pens a few years ago and they were SO PRETTY! This really does give a beautiful, unique look to an envelope.

Michelle

Sunday 29th of November 2015

I am addressing envelopes and it was working fine. Now when I enter the first line of the address, I press enter to go to line 2 and it does not work. Nothing happens when I press enter. Help!

Christine

Sunday 29th of November 2015

Hey Michelle! Sorry you're having troubles! Is your text box still the same size? Did you do any welding of your text? If so, you'll probably need to create a new text box and type everything again (welding turns the text from a font to an actual image so it can't be edited anymore from the font menu...super technical!). Good luck!

jane

Sunday 22nd of November 2015

Can you do more than 1 envelope at a time? do you have to enter the address each time or can you use something like information from an excel spreadsheet?

thanks!

Christine

Wednesday 25th of November 2015

Hey Jane! You can do more than one at a time if you can fit the envelopes on your cutting mat at the same time. Then one envelope would be addressed, followed by the next, and so on. I manually typed in each envelope at a time, but I'm not sure if you can use an Excel spreadsheet. My guess is no since it would have to be inserted into Silhouette Studio and aligned and welded, but I'm not positive! That's a little too fancy for me. ;)

Jennicke

Friday 23rd of January 2015

You've given me hope!!! Lol I'm trying to address my wedding invites with the sketch pen, but so far it's been a disaster with the mats! I first did it on my normally used mat, which looks about as used as the one that you used on this post, but it left ink marks from older projects on the back of the envelope. So then I tried a new mat. Bad idea lol it got horribly stuck! How did you go about getting the envelope not to get marked or curled?! Thank you in advance!

Christine

Friday 23rd of January 2015

Hey there Jennicke! Sorry to hear you're having troubles with your mat....I hate when that happens! My mat had been pretty well broken in thanks to all the Christmas cards I made. Did you "unstickify" your new mat a little before placing the envelope on it? Whenever I open up a new mat, I always remove some of the insane stickiness by first sticking it to my shirt, a pillow, or a couch cushion (sometimes all three!) to make it a little less sticky so things can easily be removed....I learned the hard way with my very first project! Silhouette also makes light-hold mats specifically designed for paper products, but I haven't tried those myself.

If you're using an older mat that has ink residue left over, maybe try and cover up the inky parts with some washi or painters tape then place your envelope on top? You might also be able to place a little strip of washi tape on the side of the envelope if it's shifting at all....just make sure it doesn't tear the envelope when you try and remove it. I didn't have any ink problems since my envelopes were red. You could also try and dodge the ink parts of the mat by using a different area (not the top left corner, which is what I'm assuming you're doing) or flipping the mat around and entering it from the opposite side (I know, break the rules and ignore the arrow!).

I hope this helps you find a solution to your pesky problem! Let me know how it turns out! And congrats on your upcoming big day!!! :)