Crazy Calligraphy

So while our invites are just being sent out this week and I can’t yet share those with you, I would love to share a little piece of their DIY goodness: the outer envelopes.

When I first started dreaming about our wedding invitations, visions of letterpress and professional calligraphy danced through my head. Then, reality set in. We didn’t have the budget to splurge on every detail, and invitations ended up getting bumped further down the priority list, behind my dress and our gorgeous loft.

I decided to take on the enormous task of making our invitations and got this crazy idea to learn calligraphy and address the outer envelopes myself. I love learning new things, and as you might have noticed by now, I never shy away from a challenge. The question was, how to start? In the big, wide world of calligraphy, people take things very seriously and it can be a little overwhelming for a newcomer. So, I started with a how-to book:

(Photo credit)

This was a great book for someone just learning to do calligraphy. I put a lot of research into picking a Calligraphy 101-type book because there were a lot to choose from. It shows you what you need to buy, teaches you the letters, and gives you lines to photocopy and practice on. I’m glad I splurged and spent a whopping $4 buying this used off of Amazon, instead of trying to learn off a website.

(Photo Credit)

I then bought Speedball C-2 and C-3 sized nibs, plus nib holders for each. The book recommended you learn on a C-3 because it’s larger and you can see what you’re doing better, but I decided that I needed a smaller C-2 sized nib to actually address the invites.

Also, don’t forget your ink! I bought black to learn with and silver for the invites. I made sure to not buy the cheapest silver there was, because I was worried it wouldn’t stand up to the black envelopes. Even with outrageous NYC prices, I got the two nibs, two nib holders, and two colors of ink for less than $20.

I spent a lot of time practicing each of the letters before I even began trying to write words. I would suggest you start learning at least a month before you have to start addressing. I started about two months before and still could have used more practice!

The finished product!

I ended up being really pleased with how the envelopes turned out. What you can’t see from a picture is how sparkly the silver is and how textured the letters look becaues they were handwritten with a nib. Were the letters always perfectly spaced, perfectly level, and perfectly written? Ohhh no. But I really love the gorgeous, I-spent-a-lot-of-time-handwriting-this-just-for-you look.

I will say that out of all of my DIY projects (including the ones you’ve already seen and the actual invitations), this was the one that came closest to driving me insane. Although we didn’t have the money to spend on a professional calligrapher, I personally don’t think those people make enough money!

What crazy DIY project almost left you batty? I say almost, but Mr. Star and Momma Star might put it another way. 😉


Mrs. Star

New York City
Wedding Date:
October 2009
Finding my Bridal Glow, Part 3
The Ring and Its Many Stages
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  1. Member
    KellyV 2520 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:42 am

    Those look great! Good for you for learning a new trick, thats awesome! I went the fauxligraphy route…and that combined with assembling the FRICKIN invitation suite left me frazzled. When men propose, they should be required to tell teh bride 2 things 1-Peonies are only REALLY available for like 3 weeks. If you want them, book now. and 2-PAY SOMEONE TO ASSEMBLE YOUR INVITATIONS. Just got done last night, can ya tell?? 😉

  2. Member
    krissybee 3921 posts, Honey bee @ 9:48 am

    great job Miss Star!!!! you are giving me courage to give it a try!

  3. star Member
    star 659 posts, Busy bee @ 9:49 am

    Wait, you didn’t get the Bride Guidebook that came with your E-ring?? Haha, I make that joke all the time to Mr. Star :)

  4. deviledegg Member
    deviledegg 1250 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:49 am

    Looks good! Way to go for taking on this task! And, I love the black envelopes and the silver ink—great combo!

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Nicolle, Guest @ 9:54 am

    I am SO doing this. Thank you for the inspiration. I only have to do about 40-45 invites so this seems very manageable for me, and i have almost a year to learn! Good job!

  6. Member
    lalalandTN 131 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:05 am

    Beautiful!! You did a great job and EXCELLENT choice for the silver ink. Just fabulous!

    Thank you for the inspiration…sometimes it just makes sense to put the effort in to learn a new skill and save some green at the same time! Heading over to Amazon right this second :)

  7. Member
    MaryKaters13 37 posts, Newbee @ 10:07 am

    I want to try this! Now that I see you learned and did a great job, I know I can do it too. I love the silver and black combo, too!

  8. cloud Member
    cloud 800 posts, Busy bee @ 10:13 am

    They turned out beautifully! Great job :)

  9. stiletto Member
    stiletto 903 posts, Busy bee @ 10:24 am

    Mad props, Star! You did a fabulous job :)

  10. elephant Member
    elephant 6339 posts, Bee Keeper @ 10:25 am

    These look so good! Great Job!

  11. Member
    tessabella76 3143 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:29 am

    They look great! I had a brief moment of insanity and thought I would teach myself calligraphy but luckily I came to my senses! DIYing the invites themselves is causing me enough grief!

  12. Member
    Grey56 644 posts, Busy bee @ 10:37 am

    And, um, your wedding is in October and you already sent your invites out! I’m in trouble! :-)

  13. balletflat Member
    balletflat 852 posts, Busy bee @ 10:51 am

    You did a great job on your calligraphy! :)

  14. Member
    ZoeKat 590 posts, Busy bee @ 10:56 am

    Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve been looking for a good calligraphy book.

  15. peeptoe Member
    peeptoe 1804 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:17 am

    Awesome job!!!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    ktdid, Guest @ 11:19 am

    They look really good, Miss Star.

    For bees who aren’t quite as brave as you (like me!) I cheated….. I made a template using Word that fit my envelope size, printed it out using the computer onto a piece of computer paper, cut the paper to the size of my envelope, placed it inside the envelope and then carefully TRACED over it using a calligraphy pen. I found that a light box (can be bought at a craft store or we handmade ours using a simple 4 sided wood frame made from scrap wood and an electric window candle) made it simple to see AND it sure beat trying to get my printer to cooperate with my envelopes! This would only work if you were using white or lighter colored envelopes but I wanted to share because it was such a time-saver and looked so professional when I was all done!

  17. mouse Member
    Mrs. Mouse 5771 posts, Bee Keeper @ 11:37 am

    Wow! What a daunting task to take on. They turned out great!

  18. frenchbulldog Member
    frenchbulldog 1088 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:32 pm

    Your calligraphy looks great! MAD props to you for learning and doing this yourself :)

  19. Member
    pvaulter718 2116 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:44 pm

    Star… I bow down to you. I could not handle the calligraphy, even with the set I bought to learn how. Which is probably how it ended up at goodwill a few weeks ago.

  20. kitten Member
    kitten 868 posts, Busy bee @ 12:30 am

    I wish I would have started learning calligraphy well before I was engaged! What a great money-saving skill to pick up!

  21. poodle Member
    poodle 3386 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:09 am

    great job! those look amazing, I’m scared of doing mines cause my hand will go numb lol

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