How can I Decorate Stationery?

Cathy Rogers

Many different techniques, from simple to extravagant, are available to decorate stationery. Starting with card stock or craft paper, you can use basic craft items like rubber stamps, metallic pens, markers, scrapbook stickers, and glitter to decorate stationery for special occasions. Use decorative hole punches and scalloped scissors to create shaped edges and patterns to decorate stationery. Foam tape can be used to create multi-dimensional designs.

Scissors, which can be used when decorating stationery.
Scissors, which can be used when decorating stationery.

Tie raffia through punched holes or glue bows made from raffia onto a card. Use calligraphy or elegant handwriting to spruce up stationery. You can even use a sewing machine to stitch a border around stationery or envelopes. Many methods for decorating cards, paper, and envelopes using stamps, markers, and specialty scissors are so simple that children can decorate stationery. Purchased stencils are available in many shapes and are simple to use to decorate stationery.

Elegant handwriting can enhance stationery.
Elegant handwriting can enhance stationery.

Use dried flowers, ferns, or leaves to create decorative stationery with a nature theme. Flat faced flowers such as daisies, petunias, pansies and violas are good choices to decorate stationery items. Choose paper that complements the flowers or leaves you have selected. Apply a thin layer of glue using a small paintbrush and attach the flowers or leaves to the paper or envelope. Tweezers and toothpicks are helpful when working with such delicate items.

Scrapbook pages are highly decorated stationary.
Scrapbook pages are highly decorated stationary.

Many rubber stamps are available individually or in sets in a variety of designs and themes, from elegant flowers and shells to whimsical animals and cartoon characters. Stamping can be basic, using single color inks, or extremely elaborate, incorporating other artistic techniques. Relief printing is similar to stamping in that ink is applied to a raised surface image and then rolled or stamped onto the paper.

Writing in calligraphy can add elegance to your messages.
Writing in calligraphy can add elegance to your messages.

Specialized papers such as vellum, a translucent paper that can be used as an overlay, and pressed cotton create beautiful stationery. Vellum stickers are available also. Embossed paper, which is raised like some wallpaper, is good for special effects and accents. Terra cotta cookie molds used with pressed paper and water create unusual pressed cotton cards.

To add a very special touch, use quilling, also known as paper filigree, to decorate stationery. Quilling is a time-honored craft in which the user rolls narrow strips of paper around a pin-like tool into a circle, and then shapes them into three-dimensional designs. Tatting, a form of lace making in which the thread is knotted into either a ring or a chain, can also be used to decorate stationery. With parchment and wrapping paper, you can create vintage-look envelopes to hold your newly decorated handiwork.

Tweezers can be used to handle delicate dried flowers.
Tweezers can be used to handle delicate dried flowers.

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Discussion Comments


@umbra21 - I think keeping it simple is best most of the time. I have a set of really nice stamps that I use if I really want to make my stationary a little bit nicer.

I probably wouldn't use them for wedding stationary, but for anything else they work really well.

Although, I think these days if you aren't sending it by email, you're already going above and beyond the call of duty and people will appreciate it.


@KoiwiGal - There are so many things that seem like a good idea at the time when you're making stationary.

I had what I thought was a really neat idea for making a set of holiday stationary using watercolors.

I wasn't planning on doing anything too fancy, just a simple flower that I practiced beforehand, but I thought it looked quite classy and unusual.

What I didn't take into account was the kind of paper didn't take well to watercolors. Apparently even with really good watercolor paper, you have to stretch it out and prepare it first, before painting on it.

With my rather flimsy paper the watercolors made it warp quite a lot as it dried, so my paper no longer looks quite right.

I still think I can use it, but it was really annoying to see my hard work curling up on me. Definitely do your research on any new materials before doing a big project.


One thing you've got to keep in mind if you want to decorate your paper stationary is that it will affect the way the paper can be moved.

So, if you are making, say, Christmas stationary and you are going to have to fold it in order to get it into an envelope, you need to make sure it's going to fold properly without either damaging the decorations or knocking them off the paper altogether.

Which is why I think a lot of the time dried flowers aren't a great idea. They'll work if you are putting them on a card that's not going to be folded (assuming you can fix them really securely and ensure they won't crumble) but I wouldn't put them on any paper, as they might snap if it gets bent the wrong way.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

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