fountain pen friendly envelopes g lalo

Quick Review – Heavyweight Fountain-Pen-Friendly Envelopes

John BosleyReviews 2 Comments

One of my favorite ways to use a fountain pen is to write letters. This year, I decided to participate in InCoWriMo for the first time. If you’re not familiar, InCoWriMo happens every February and stands for International Correspondence Writing Month. The goal is to write a letter every day of the month.

When I started preparing all of my supplies, I realized I was out of envelopes. You can’t very well mail a letter without an envelope, now can you? I went over to my local paper shop, only to find out that they had shut down. I could have gone to a big-box office supply shop, but instead decided to take my chances and order some online. The downside, of course, is that I couldn’t feel them or try them out with a fountain pen. Still, I figured I’d take a chance and see what showed up.

fountain pen friendly envelopes packaging

The packaging may not be fancy, but the price is right.

Fountain Pen Friendly Envelopes

Having fountain pen friendly envelopes isn’t nearly as important as having fountain pen friendly paper, but it’s still a nice thing to have. An envelope that arrives without a bunch of bleeding or feathering will make a much better first impression. None of the envelope reviews that I found discussed use with fountain pens, so I concentrated on looking for envelopes that were more heavyweight so at least they would feel nice even if the paper wasn’t the best.

After a bit of searching I settled on some A6-sized self-seal invitation envelopes. One thing to keep in mind is that envelope sizing does not relate to paper sizing. An A6-sized envelope is the perfect size for an A5 sheet of paper. While you might say that an A6 is just an A5 folded in half, the other envelope sizes don’t necessarily correlate the same way. An A4 envelope is actually smaller than an A5, whereas an A4 sheet of paper is double the size of an A5 sheet. I used this envelope sizing chart as a reference when deciding what size I needed.

Testing Out The Envelopes

Testing out the envelopes is as easy as using a variety of fountain pens and inks on them and seeing what happens. While I can’t test every combination of nib and ink, I did try and use a wide selection so that any issues would become apparent. Here is what my test envelope looked like when I was done with it:

fountain pen friendly envelopes writing sample

None of the various pens or inks feathered, but some did lose their crisp edges.

As you can see, the inks all look pretty good. The lines could ideally be a bit more defined, but overall the writing is legible, even with broad and wet nibs. I think for addressing these envelopes, especially for this particular envelope size, a medium or fine nib would be ideal. On the inside of the envelope, you can see that there was some bleed through, but not so much that it would bleed onto your correspondence.

fountain pen friendly envelopes ink bleed

Many of the inks bled through the envelope, though not enough to affect anything inside of the envelope.

For those who value the privacy of their letters, the heavyweight paper that is used (105 gsm) keeps your words on the inside of the envelope. Still, I was able to read a single-page letter if I held it up to a bright light source. These aren’t privacy envelopes, but they do offer some degree of privacy during casual handling.

fountain pen friendly envelopes letter

None of the writing is visible through the envelope.

fountain pen friendly envelopes privacy

When held up to a light source, it is possible to read what is inside of the envelope.


They might not have the same paper quality as some of the papers you’re used to using, but I would say that these envelopes are indeed fountain pen friendly. You won’t get an extremely crisp line with broad or wet pens, but it shouldn’t feather or bleed. I have probably sent out about 15 letters using these envelopes and have had no issues with them. The paper has handled all of my pens just fine. The self-sealing feature has sealed very well and without any problem. The paper is thick enough that the writing on the letter is not visible without holding it up to a light. While I’m sure there are better envelopes out there, I am perfectly happy using these envelopes for everyday letter writing.

Comments 2

  1. Though not exactly the right size, you can fit A4, folded in 3, in an American standard number 10 envelope (though I still try to use a DL envelope for A4.)
    Not perfect, but Pen+Gear from Walmart, if it’s made in India or Vietnam, is pretty decent for standard fountain pen inks like Waterman, Parker, Sheaffer and Diamine (or similar. Not as good for “special properties” inks.)
    Find something water resistant that plays nice with the paper, there’s a lot of options. I use Platinum Carbon Black with impunity for envelopes, as I don’t do anything fancy like calligraphy on envelopes, usually. Plays nice with even some pretty awful paper.
    DL envelopes, I was disappointed when Amazon stopped carrying the 50 count packs of Clairefontaine envelopes. They weren’t the writing paper 90 GSM, but 80 GSM, which didn’t bother me, and were about half the price of the 90 GSM ones. But, found some serviceable 100 GSM that work nicely, still in my limited budget. No clue what brand paper, just they’re from England.
    There’s options out there, depending on your needs and budget! Good article that should help people!

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