Holiday Mail Art: 5 Ways to Decorate Christmas Card Envelopes

Christmas cards decorated with paint, stamps and hand-lettering.

Holiday mail art is the best: A beautifully decorated Christmas card envelope is a gift. But a long 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 five different gorgeous, easy ways to make everyone on your list feel like your very favorite person. And we’ve added bonus tips—the easiest way to add an envelope liner and some DIY confetti ideas.

Inspired? Create and share by tagging @HallmarkStores.

Holiday Mail Art with DIY Stamps  

Supplies for DIY stamp art: craft foam, cardboard, scissors, ink pad, glue stick, envelopes, cutting board, brush markers

Supplies for making stamps

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

White envelopes with stamped designs in green and black on a red surface.

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.
  • Press your stamp onto the ink pad (or use a brayer to apply paint). Practice pressing the stamps on a scrap sheet of paper to get the right amount of pressure and to try different designs.
  • Open and flatten 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.

Cut Paper Christmas Mail Art  

Light pink and green paper, scissors, glue stick and assorted pens on cutting board with decorated red envelopes.

Supplies for cut paper designs

Red envelopes decorated with cut paper on pink backdrop

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 or silver glitter 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.

Hand-Painted Holiday Mail Art  

Hand painting shapes in blue, red, green and pink acrylic on white envelopes.

Supplies for hand-painted envelopes

  • Crayola acrylic paint (we are big believers in a limited color palette—choose 3 colors and use white paint to make lighter shades)
  • Paintbrush
  • Artist masking tape (“low-tack” means it’s less sticky and won’t rip paper)
  • Scissors
  • Crayola brush markers
  • Scrap card stock or paper

A collection of white envelopes decorated with painted shapes.

How to make hand-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.
  • If you’re going to layer colors, make sure you let one dry before adding another.
  • When it’s all completely dry, pull off the tape and paper scrap and add the address.
  • With the right pen, you can write the address on a dry swash of color.

Bold Lettered Envelope Art  

Hand lettering in gold pen on dark green envelope

Supplies for hand-lettered envelopes

Pink and green envelopes with bold hand-lettered names.

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.
  • 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 the name can be super huge.)
  • Let each color dry before adding the next.

Easy Painted Envelope Backgrounds  

Hands creating a faint red background on a white envelope

Supplies for painted backgrounds

Writing an address on a painted white background on a kraft paper envelope

How to paint backgrounds to make addresses stand out

  • Play around with techniques and designs—like translucent washes or snowy circles—on scrap paper or extra envelopes. Test the markers you’ll use for addresses on your backgrounds once they dry.
  • Slide a piece of paper into your envelope before you paint to prevent bleed-through.
  • Paint designs on your envelopes and let them dry.
  • Once you’re absolutely positively certain they’re dry, add the addresses with permanent markers.

Bonus Tip: Wrapping Paper Envelope Liners  

Hands adding a red wrapping paper insert to a kraft paper envelope

Supplies for wrapping paper envelope liners

  • Envelopes
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Glue stick
  • Optional: Chipboard (cereal boxes are perfect) or poster board for templates

Hands adding a red and black plaid wrapping paper insert to a kraft paper envelope

How to add envelope liners

If you’re just doing a few liners, follow the directions below. If you decide to make a whole bunch, make a template using chipboard or poster board (first three steps). Then trace the template onto the wrapping paper and follow the last two steps.

  • Open the flap of an envelope and lay it open and flat on the reverse side of a piece of wrapping paper.
  • Trace the envelope shape onto the wrapping paper and cut it out.
  • Cut a sliver (1/8″ or less) off each side and about 1/2″ off the bottom.
  • Slip the liner into the envelope, design up, and close the envelope, creasing the liner.
  • Open the envelope and glue the liner in place.

Confetti dots made of tissue paper used to decorate a kraft paper envelope and added to the inside of a greeting card

Another Bonus Tip: Christmas Card-fetti  

What’s a Christmas card party without confetti? We much prefer the giant kind, cut with paper punches from tissue paper. (Find the easiest DIY tips here.) Sprinkle a few pieces inside a card or use a glue stick to decorate the envelope. Circles are classic and perfect…but snowflakes or trees or other holiday icons would also be pretty great, too.

NOTE: All envelopes shown are decorated with made-up names and addresses so we don’t violate anyone’s privacy.