Best Pens for Hand Addressing Cotton Envelopes

2 Metallic Pens Put to the Test on Cotton Envelopes

Many question hand writing or calligraphy on 100% cotton envelopes due to their highly tactile, porous, and absorbent finish. In this post, we put two types on pens to the test on our cotton envelopes to see which might work for hand writing or DIY faux calligraphy, if you prefer.

Cotton envelopes tested with silver pens

We traced addresses onto A7 Cotton Wedding White envelopes in silver ink using the following two styles of pens:

Test Pens

Test Points

  • Ease of Writing or Tracing
  • Coverage
  • Bleeding
  • Drying Time

Our results and recommendations are below.

Calligraphy Marker

Our medium point calligraphy markers have fairly wide, flat, spongy tips that write with an even flow of opaque paint. They are offered in silver, gold, white, and black. The results of tracing smaller and larger addresses with these pens are pictured below.

Cotton envelopes tested with silver calligraphy marker


  • Smooth, easy writing over cotton finish
  • Even coverage
  • No bleeding
  • Fast drying


  • Wide tip made precision writing (or small letters) difficult, even when using just the corner
  • Pen has a strong odor

Gelly Roll Pen

Gelly Roll pens have small roller ball tips that roll opaque gel onto the surface. They come in several styles, multiple ball sizes, and a full spectrum of colors. Here are our results:

Cotton envelopes hand written with silver gelly roll pen


  • Smooth, easy writing
  • Even coverage (on small letters)
  • No bleeding


  • Larger or thicker letters require multiple passes which may result in uneven coverage
  • Slower drying time

Conclusion & Recommendations

Both pens produced acceptable results on the tactile and absorbent surface of cotton envelopes. Both pens flowed smoothly over the paper, did not bleed, and provided nice coverage. However, for smaller, more detailed letters, we recommend Gelly Roll pens, and for larger, bolder letters, calligraphy markers seem to do the trick.

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