They say that you should hand write the envelopes for wedding invitations. Well, my handwriting is pretty bad so I couldn’t see that happening for my daughter’s wedding. Enter my Cameo machine! I got the look of handwritten (or better) without having to actually do it all myself by using my Silhouette sketch pens. Read on to see how I did it.
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Skill level: Beginner
Silhouette Sketch Pens OR your own pens in the pen holder (provides more flexibility in colors & consistency in ink flow — make sure to get the correct type for your machine). I love the RSVP pens by Pentel
Fonts in a variety of styles
Step 1: Setting up the page
The very first thing you need to do is set the envelope size as your page size. Measure your envelope & then input the height & width in the Page Settings Window.
Step 2: Choosing your fonts
Next decide the style you want. Formal or informal? Trendy or classic? One font or multiple? We wanted ours to be readable & casual, but still interesting. We achieved that by using a mix of sketch fonts. Regular fonts are made to cut, so what you get is an outline of each letter. Sketch fonts are made to write with so you get what looks like a single line, but it’s really 2 lines. The width of the pen is less than the width of the space between the letters, so in reality what’s happening is that the 2 lines are virtually, but not REALLY, on top of one another. Here’s an example of the Madilyn font by Rivka Wilkins in both regular & sketch:
If you don’t want to purchase sketch fonts from the SDS, look for thin fonts so that the sketching looks like a single line. Some regular fonts that aren’t thin will look good as an outline, some won’t. You could use sketch fills (Designer Edition & above only) or multiple internal offsets for regular fonts, but personally I would find that too time-consuming.
You may need alter a regular font before using your sketch pens so you don’t get overlapping lines (see pic above). In this case, Cut Edge or Auto-weld is the best option so that you can change the information each time. You could do a regular weld, but then your text becomes image which so you can no longer edit it.
HINT #1: Practice using your return address. You don’t want to set up your entire project & then realize you don’t like the first letter of your last name, or that the 7 looks too much like a 1. Some fonts don’t have elements like commas or ampersands included. If you are searching for fonts in the Silhouette Design Store, use the font preview box.
HINT #2: To make it easier to find fonts that coordinate, search by artist. Many designers have a consistent style.
HINT #3: Fonts are loaded into the software as it opens. If you add a new font you’ll need to restart your software.
Can’t decide? Consider this—there’s no rule that every envelope has to be the same. You are perfectly free to use as many designs as you want. I’m going to show you what we chose, but at the end of the post I’ll show you more variations to inspire your creative juices.
Step 3: Creating the text
Once you’ve selected all your fonts, add your text for each part of the address. You can copy from a word processor or other program, but you will need to open the Text Styles window & select the font BEFORE you paste. If you don’t do that, it will come in with the default Arial font, even if you are copying from a program where you have used the desired font.
Title: For the Mr. & Mrs., Ms., etc., we set the text off to the side of the names. There will be some variations here and you can save time by keeping a copy of each one off to the side on your drawing area to pull over as needed. I used my drawing tool to add a lines above & below the title.
Font I used: Architect Sketch by Dresden Carrie, Design ID#74804
Names: To provide a contrast to the other portions we chose a cursive font here. This is where you need to be careful to see if you’ll need to use Cut Edge/Auto-weld. You may need to adjust your character spacing to make sure all the letters touch. Using all lower case makes it casual (don’t tell my high school English teacher). There will again be variations here. Here are some I needed to use:
Font I used: Madilyn Sketch by Rivka Wilkins
Street Address/City/State: We just went with a nice, casual block font.
Font I used: Beautiful Morning Sketch by Dresden Carrie
Zip Code: This is actually the same font as the address lines, but I wanted to increase the spacing between the letters. Although you can mix fonts & sizes within a single text box, you can’t mix line or character spacing.
Step 4: Aligning the text
Once I had the names, street address & zip code text boxes created, I made sure each text box had center justification & that the zip code box was spaced appropriately below the city/state. I then selected all the boxes, aligned center & grouped them.
The next step is to move your Title text box into place where you want it in relation to the names/address. Do whatever looks good to you. You might like it bigger or may need to make it smaller. Once the address looked the way I liked it, I grouped it all together. This made it easier for me to align it on the center of the envelope. Or you can eyeball it if you want.
We put the return address on the back flap. It follows the same layout. We chose not to do interior envelopes, but if you do you can use the same principles.
Step 5: Setting up the pen
Now you are ready to get your envelope & machine set up for using your sketch pens. Before I go any farther, let me just say that you WILL make some mistakes. Just accept that in the beginning & you’ll save yourself stress. Hopefully you ordered a few extra envelopes anyway. (We actually ordered WAY too many – we counted number of guests instead of number of families in our estimate. OOPS!). Whether you did or not, be sure to test your sketch pens on some scratch paper first to make sure everything is working right. You can probably scrounge up more envelopes if you need to anyway. No one will know if they aren’t all the same. Shhhhh – it’s our secret.
Okay, now that I’ve added that disclaimer, let get set up.
You want to choose “Silhouette Sketch Pen” as your material type (this is for version 3 — V4 will change a bit). When you do that, your blade type will automatically go to Sketch Pen . This is important because the mechanism on the machine handles a blade differently than sketch pens. You can see the difference in this picture.
UPDATE FOR VERSION 4: With the revamp in version 4 of the method for sending the job to the machine, you do a different process. Select a type of paper for Material (something like patterned paper), then for action choose Sketch. That will give you tool options of a Silhouette Sketch Pen or the Pen Holder. To learn all about how the Send area works in version 4, see this series.
Consider using 2 (or more) colors of sketch pens. Using the Advanced Cut Mode & cutting by line color is super helpful here. With a Cameo 3 or Curio machine, you can put one in each of the 2 tool holders. Just make sure you have the correct tool slot chosen for each line color. With any of the other machines or for doing more than 2 colors, you can add pauses in between each line color so that you can switch out the sketch pens.
If you are using the Silhouette pen holder, make sure you have your pen loaded correctly into the holder. I’ve got a post here about how to assemble the pen holder. I used the RSVP pens by Pentel because they write for me every time & last forever. A white gel pen on a black envelope is also an awesome look.
Step 5: Writing with the sketch pens
Test on a piece of scratch paper first. You want to make sure your fonts will be readable with whatever pen & font size you are using.
Occasionally, you run into a font (even one from the Silhouette Design Store) that will cause a line to be drawn to the upper left corner in the middle of a word (see pic above of sketch pen vs. blade). It only happens on some fonts in some sizes in some letter combinations, typically with Sketch Pen chosen as the blade type. If this happens, the best thing to do is save yourself some stress & go with another font. You can choose Ratchet Blade as blade type, but the results aren’t great & it doesn’t always solve the issue. You may read about all kinds of solutions, but I can assure you from EXTENSIVE testing that sometimes you just can’t make it work. If it is a font from the SDS, you can send photo of the sketching to the support team & ask for a refund. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I didn’t have luck with putting 2 envelopes on the mat at the same time. Each time, as the pen moved to the lower envelope it would graze the corner & create a little line. It might work for you – I just decided to not worry about it.
While the machine works
Once the sketching starts, if it is going slowly click off of the Send to Silhouette window onto a different one. On my computer, this sped up the process a great deal.
While the machine is sketching, it’s perfectly fine to start editing your text boxes for the next recipient.
Here are some other designs I came up with just for fun. You’ll notice that on some I used a funky font or even a design for the first letters of the names or added other sketch images. You can alter the level of casual vs. formal a great deal. For these, I used the Silhouette brand sketch pens in pink and blue.
Since I have the Business Edition of the software, I can run multiple machines simultaneously. I had 3 going at once. Yep – power crafting!
If you don’t have BE but do have more than 1 machine, you can put the design for the return address on a USB stick (Cameo 2 or 3) or SD card (Cameo 1 or SD machine) & sketch from that. Or you can work with multiple computers. If you weren’t aware, Silhouette Studio is a free software so can be downloaded free from the website and put on as many computers as you like. Any of the paid upgrades like Designer Edition or Business Edition can be used on up to 3 computers at a time.
Did this method make it any quicker to address all the envelopes? Probably not. But it gave the look we wanted &, hey, it’s my baby girl so I went all out for this wedding. Wouldn’t you love to get something like this in the mail? I even had one invitation returned due to an incorrect address & the person who returned it had written, “Beautiful handwriting!” Score!
As always, I’d love to hear your comments & questions.