Broke-Ass Tag: DIY calligraphy

11/12

Affiliate Disclaimer NewI knew BAB and I were going to get along when I saw the tagline “Creativity is our Currency.” Creativity is something I pride myself on, and when I can glean from the imagination of other awesome people, I’m usually set to create something truly impressive.

The hand-craftedness of the majority of my decorations was something that began as a ploy to save some major cash (oh, and save, I did!), but as the months went on, I developed what I can only describe as a deeper connection to my wedding day. When all of those projects and ideas came together in one place for one purpose, I was able to look out across this scape that I not only imagined, but crafted in many ways from scratch, and feel a whole new level of love. I remembered my now-husband peeking over my shoulder as I finished up signs, trips to Michael’s for more supplies and spending time with my family and friends making sure everything came together. There is plenty of love in any wedding regardless of how much you hand make, but for me, making something for someone has always been my highest level of love.

The largest DIY undertaking by far was the flowers. All of the flowers. Every centerpiece, bouquet and boutonniere started as a cardboard box FedExed to my house, before being unpacked, stripped of thorns (THE. WORST.) and eventually trimmed and arranged. It was an undertaking. There were tears. It was worth it.

Bridesmaids Bouquets || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

I’ve always been pretty big on flowers and having beautiful designs within my budget was more important to me than a lot of brides. The arrangements were a mix of cymbidium orchids, Picasso calla lilies, pink garden roses, Burgundy Moonlight carnations and dahlia (which was actually a substitute when the blooming kale didn’t arrive). Rather than purchasing wholesale greenery, I filled everything in with rich, ruffly kale. From the grocery store. $1.89 a bunch. Eight centerpieces, a bridal bouquet, three bridesmaids bouquets, six boutonnieres and a lot of flowers left over for miscellaneous decorating cost me just over $700.

Bridal Bouquet || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Of course my centerpieces were arranged in my very first DIY (not to mention what got me started with BAB in the first place): the faux mercury glass compote bowls that came out to around $4 each. I’m still in love with them!

Shannon's DIY Centerpieces || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photo

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

In lieu of traditional favors, we purchased boxes of 12 wine glasses from Bed Bath and Beyond for 10 bucks a piece, then I hand painted them with alcohol ink in several colors that complemented my palette. I bought four packages of three colors and those tiny bottles took care of 108 glasses and 18 different candle holders (did you see the fun video on Instagram?) BEFORE they got sent to a friend to help her paint votive holders for her wedding. Each piece had three colors that blended together to create a gorgeous (not to mention trendy) watercolor effect and there are guests STILL commenting on how gorgeous they were.

DIY Painted Wine Glasses || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photo

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Having a deep, inexplicable attachment to handwriting, I definitely wanted to do all of my signage. Keeping with the watercolor motif, I used a wet brush technique to create a splatter design on an easel canvas that’s slanted so it stands on its own before writing over in gold paint pen. If I had to do it over again, I would have used more muted colors so that the gold popped a little more, but I still loved the final product.

Hand-Painted and Lettered Signage || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Keeping with the handwritten, watercolor theme, I also hand-wrote my envelopes with a calligrapher’s pen, but swapped four watercolors for traditional ink. Yes, a great many of those went in the trash after they were opened, but the number of people hanging onto theirs for a keepsake makes me feel completely validated in spending all of that time and effort overachieving.

Hand-Lettered Envelopes || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Of course, there was the last minute DIY that I wasn’t expecting when I realized I’d messed up ordering my cake. It wasn’t planned and it was a total pain, but you know what? I kinda like the way they turned out. Gold, glitter and pearls make everything better in my world. After my amazing crew of helpers topped two cakes and a homemade creation with some of the left over flowers, I think they turned out wonderful!

Target cakes made beautiful! || Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photography

If you love to create, create for your own wedding. It feels so personal and it’s an amazing bonding experience with those you love. If you don’t, talk to the people in your life who do. For most of us, the opportunity to contribute our talent is a real honor.

I’ll be back in two weeks with some step-by-step information on how everything was made. In the meantime, remember that creativity means a lot of things and it is totally a valid currency!

  • 10/31

    Today we’ve got a special DIY treat from author and master calligrapher/designer Molly Suber Thorpe of Plurabelle Calligraphy, whose gorgeous new book, Modern Calligraphy, is available now wherever books are sold! If you love the look of calligraphy, but can’t quite justify the price tag, Molly’s book teaches you everything you need to know to make your wedding invitations and wedding pretties look profesh. We had a chance to preview a copy of Modern Calligraphy, and it is a bargain at twice the price! Here’s an easy DIY project from Molly’s book that’s fun to try even if your calligraphy skills are at (what can generously be described as) a beginner level. Take it away, Molly! 

    These beautiful place cards will make a statement on any table. Each card has a unique watercolor wash background flecked with contrasting acrylic paint, and the possible color combinations of watercolor and calligraphy are endless. This project can be made over and over again and adapted to any occasion, whether it’s a wedding reception, holiday dinner, or birthday party.

    • Level: Beginner
    • Yield: 75 place cards
    • Time: 8 hours (including drying time)
    • Budget: $65.00

    Supplies:

    • 90 3.5×6-inch pieces pieces of heavy watercolor paper cut
    • Pan of assorted watercolors
    • 1 tbsp acrylic paint in an accent color for splattering
    • 2 tbsp table salt
    • Ink, watercolor or gouache of your choice for the calligraphy
    • 1-inch-wide artist tape
    • Wide paint brush
    • Small paint brush for watercoloring
    • Dish of water
    • Paper towels
    • Bone folder
    • Calligraphy nib and holder
    • Old toothbrush

    Instructions:

    1. Apply a strip of artist tape across the full width of each watercolor paper card, starting 1 inch up from the bottom short edge. Press the tape down firmly, especially along the edges, so that no watercolor will be able to seep underneath. There should now be 1 inch of paper exposed below the tape and 4 inches exposed above it.

    2. Using the large paint brush, brush both the front and back of each card with water, then pat dry with a paper towel. (This prevents the paper fibers from expanding unevenly and warping.) Since there are so many cards, I recommend painting about twelve at a time so your workspace doesn’t get too cluttered.

    3. Using the smaller paint brush, paint the cards with an abstract watercolor design in the colors of your choice. (I normally combine two to four watercolor shades per card, but play around with what you like best.) Don’t let this step scare you! This should be liberating because there is no wrong way to do it. You can fill up the entire paper with paint or leave portions of it unpainted. You can overlap the colors or keep them from touching. You can paint uneven blobs or perfect pinstripes or streaks fanning out in circles like fireworks. You can use light, similar shades for an elegant, understated look, or bright, contrasting ones for a bold, festive effect. Each card can be different – if you use the same colors, they will tie together in a series.

    4. If your paper is soaking wet, blot off excess watercolor with a folded paper towel. Then sprinkle the cards with a pinch of table salt. The salt crystals create a unique pattern by absorbing the wet color they land on, producing slightly lighter spots when you brush off the salt later (see step 6).

    5. With the old toothbrush, splatter acrylic paint randomly over the card. Choose a color that will really stand out from the background colors you chose. I really like using gold to add some sparkle. Lay flat and let dry.

    6. Brush off the salt and carefully peel off the tape. If the cards aren’t flat (which can happen in humid weather), press them between a stack of books overnight.

    7. Fold the cards in half and make a sharp crease with a bone folder.

    8. Use ink, watercolor, or gouache to calligraph the guests’ names in the blank strip on each card. If you’re nervous about messing up, just practice each name on scrap paper a few times until you’re comfortable. Let dry completely.

    Special thanks again to Molly and her team at Macmillan Publishers! Be sure to pick up her new book ASAP! (Grab it on Amazon right here.) SEE HOW PRETTY! 

    Emily