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
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  1. poodle Bee
    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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