If you’re planning a wedding, you may be looking for a way to add a personal touch to the event. Creating your own DIY calligraphy wedding invitations can be a fun way to incorporate your artistry and create a keepsake that you will cherish forever. If you’ve never explored calligraphy, don’t worry—this guide will get you started on using DIY calligraphy to create your invitations and address your envelopes.
What You Need to Get Started
First, of course, you’ll need to collect the right materials for your DIY calligraphy wedding invitations. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need as a beginner calligrapher:
You’ll of course need a calligraphy pen for wedding invitations, so you’ll need to choose a nib and nib holder. There are two main types of calligraphy nibs: pointed and chiseled. While you can try out different varieties, Nikko G’s Pointed Nib is one of the most widely used among both professional and beginner calligraphers. A nib with medium flex, Nikko G will make it easy to get the hang of applying just the right amount of pressure as you write.
Depending on your color preferences, you have several ink options to choose from. Here are a few popular choices:
- Black: Black Sumi Ink
- White: Dr. Ph Martin’s Bleedproof White Ink
- Colors: Daler-Rowney Acrylic Ink
- Colors: Acrylic paint mixed with water (this is a great, inexpensive option for DIY calligraphy ink)
There is a wide range of ways that an ink can behave on paper, so testing is extremely important before you buy a large batch of envelopes. Ask for or purchase samples of papers and envelopes and test them out with your choice of ink. Here’s what to look for as you make your decision:
- Bleeding: Make sure the ink doesn’t bleed through to the other side or next layer of paper.
- Smooth surface: Choose a smooth-surfaced paper; it will be easier to write on.
- Smudging: Make sure your ink doesn’t smudge after drying overnight.
Pro tip: If your paper does bleed, try out a different ink or consider applying a gum arabic to thicken your ink consistency.
6 Steps for Making Your Own DIY Calligraphy Wedding Invitations
Now that you have your tools, you’re ready to get started on your DIY calligraphy wedding invitations.
Step 1: Print Out Your Guest List
Organize your guest list in an Excel spreadsheet. Word’s Mail Merge feature can automatically put together all the information, so you don’t have to manually format your list. (Skillshare instructor Bryn Chernoff shares a convenient Excel template and a detailed tutorial on how to use Mail Merge in her class, “Pen and Ink Calligraphy: The Art of the Envelope.”)
Having your names and addresses in printed form can help you envision how to position them on the envelope and get your spacing and alignment right. Try a few different options to see what looks best. If a centered alignment is too difficult to maintain, try a left alignment, staggered alignment, or no alignment at all!
Step 2: Look For Inspiration
If you’re not sure what kind of look you want for your wedding invitations, start with these places for inspiration and design tips. Pay particular attention to details like ink color, envelope shape, and how the addresses are aligned on the envelope.
Step 3: Pick a Script Style
Once you’ve narrowed down an overall look and feel of your invitations, you’ll need to hone in on a specific type of script. From modern and elegant to playful and whimsical, there are plenty of different styles that you can use for wedding invitation calligraphy. Take some time to look through these blogs for beautiful calligraphy script fonts:
Before finalizing your style, try writing out a variety of sample names and words from your guest list. You want to make sure that you love the overall look of your chosen calligraphy style—not just based on one or two names.
Step 4: Draw Guidelines
Use a ruler to draw straight lines to help you keep your spacing and alignment consistent. It may take a few tries to get the guidelines right for the size and style of the script you’re working on, but don’t worry—calligraphy is all about trial and error. You’ll erase the guidelines later, after the ink has dried.
Step 5: Address the Envelopes
Now, of course, is the most important step: putting ink to paper. This part will take patience—but take your time, and you can achieve some impressive results. If you’re brand new to calligraphy, here are a few fundamentals to keep your project on track:
- Nib placement: Position the nib firmly in the pen holder. Make sure it doesn’t wobble or slip out.
- Dipping the nib: Dip the nib straight into the ink, without allowing the ink to touch the handle. Make sure the ink makes it into the nib’s reservoir.
- Focus on your pen angle: You don’t want to write with the very tip of your calligraphy pen. Instead, think of it like a finger, and focus on writing with the “pad” of the pen (essentially keeping it at about a 45-degree angle). That’s how to get the best flow of ink and easiest movement on the paper.
- Create thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes: On the downstrokes, apply more pressure on your pen—this will release more ink and create a thicker line. Then, ease up on the pressure on the upstrokes for a thinner line. Together, these strokes create the signature look of calligraphy.
Want Step-by-Step Instructions for DIY Calligraphy?
Introduction to Modern Script Calligraphy With Bryn Chernoff
Step 6: Last Touches
After letting your work dry overnight, double check to make sure the ink is completely dry. You may be able to see this just by looking at it (check for any sheen); if it looks dry, gently tap a part of the ink and see if it’s tacky or gummy at all. If it’s completely dry, you can go ahead and erase all pencil markings.
Now that you’re done, you can finally send your invitations out to your guests—and imagine their delight when they see a beautifully hand-addressed envelope waiting in their mailbox.
Get the Full Envelope Tutorial
Pen and Ink Calligraphy: The Art of the Envelope With Bryn Chernoff