Openinkstand Art & Calligraphy

Testing envelopes for clients


Sometimes a client will inform me that they are thinking of using an unusual envelope… maybe it’s shimmery, or coated with something, or a weird texture etc. When that happens, I ask them to mail samples to me and I will test it out for them using my tools and report back. Usually this is done free of charge if I am already engaged as their calligrapher, but if they are still testing the waters I may charge a small fee.


Here is an envelope that a bride sent for me to test, and on the back I used my usual inks and a fake address. This envelope is rather shimmery, so I first tested it with one nib.. didn’t work out.. and then I changed the nib, and then it was perfect. Sometimes that’s all it takes.. changing a nib or ink. Even if the client or bride didn’t ask for a test and just sent the stationery, I will use one envelope as a test to see which combo works best. That’s why it’s important to send extra envelopes to your calligrapher!



So for this envelope, the nib and ink combo worked great. However, some parts dry up, as you can see in the top photo. This happens because of the oils from our fingers touching the envelope repels the ink… it could be hers, the postman’s or mine, as this envelope has been exposed to the elements. It could happen with her stationery.. maybe not. Still, it’s my responsibility to disclose all this info, that’s what the testing is for. Now¬†educated, the bride can now make her decision whether or not to proceed with this stationery based on what it will really look like in my hands.

Happily, this bride decided to proceed. And I’m glad she did, as I think this paper is lovely!

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