Archive for the ‘tutorials’ Category

Best Tooth Fairy Ever

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We have a killer Tooth Fairy. Not in the creepy horror film way, but in the OMG-she-totally-knocks-it-out-of-the-park sort of way. She’s amazing. Not to toot her horn too much, but she’s a darling little 6″ sprite that writes the sweetest little love notes to Penelope. They even have occasional back-and-forth correspondence that’s total cuteness overload. 

We don’t have many ridiculous or time-intensive traditions at our house. Really, we don’t have many traditions at all. But this is one that really jives with our family core values. It’s creative. It’s cheap. It makes my children’s childhood magical. 95% of the time the Tooth Fairy has her act together, but some times she’s busy. And she gets the tooth the next night. But she usually includes a very heart-felt apology in her little love note the next night. 

Cute dress from the ever darling My Sister’s Closet

I age restricted the video in case little eyes come across the video. Let me know if that’s an issue. I’m still pretty new to this whole YouTube publishing thing. Click on over to YouTube if you’d like to subscribe to my weekly videos. Content includes creative art-related DIYs, art material reviews and lettering/calligraphy time-lapse videos. I’d love it if you subscribed, but you do you. ;)

So here’s what you need: 

Knowing calligraphy isn’t an absolute must*, but it certainly helps. ;) I can teach you how. 

Since I have a Silhouette machine, I downloaded an envelope template from the Silhouette design store and resized to my liking. The final envelope size is somewhere between 1″-1.25″ wide. The letter is about 3/4″ wide and 1 1/2″ tall. So these letters are TINY! It’s what makes them so fun. If you’ve got a Silhouette, resizing an envelope template and cutting out on your machine is easy-peasy. I have cut out envelopes by hand before. Not the most fun thing in the world, but also not the most time consuming thing ever, either. 

The paper listed above handles ink really well. If you’re using a very fine point pen (Sakura has .003 micron pens that will give you a ridiculously small point), then any kind of smooth paper will do. 

If you’re using pen & ink, the Modern nib alternative to the one in the video (the Leonardt Principal) will get you a nice fine hairline. Make sure you use a fine ink as well. I prefer walnut as it’s easy to use and it doesn’t corrode your nib like iron gall inks do. 

Once you’re done with writing your note, fold up the note to fit inside the envelope. Wrap the envelope flaps around the note and seal with a wax seal. You don’t have to glue the flaps closed because the wax will do the work for you. I use wax seal wax and a drill bit to make a fun imprint. 

Then grab your dollar bill and fold it into something exciting. These are my favorites out of the ones I’ve tried:

Then tuck the envelope in one of the folds of the animals and you’re done! I’m sure it’s easier for the Tooth Fairy to slip a buck under the pillow and be done with it, but this is just straight up magical. Let me know if you end up doing this with your kid(s)!

 

 

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Post-Holiday Thank Yous for Kids

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Finally coming up to the surface after a very wonderful, but very busy holiday season. OH wow. It was great. My kids were spoiled, too. So, how do I include them in giving thanks for their massive haul of presents? They make the backgrounds and I make the cards out of them. It’s really quite easy. I made a video about it, but I’m sure you can figure it out on your own, though, too. ;)

SUPPLIES:

  • paper (I love this stuff, you can find it at Walmart usually for $5)
  • watercolors 
  • brushes
  • Sakura brush markers (they’re waterproof)
  • -or- a Thank You stamp/sticker (I made my stamp with the Mint)

No need to cut the papers down, give them to your kids and let them have fun! But not so much fun that they totally saturate the page with water and pigment. We need the paper to still have some integrity. So try (sometimes easier said than done) to pull the paper away and give them a new one to color once they have markings in all four quadrants of the page. Teach them how to splatter their paint (only if you have washable colors like crayola watercolors!).

Once you have a collection of pages from your kid(s), let the papers dry and cut the paper in fourths (5.5×4.25). Now add your Thank You phrase! You can write it by hand with marker or use a Thank You stamp (like this or this).

Now on the back, write your Thank You on the back on the left half of the paper. Be sure to leave room for your kid to make a mark, whether it’s a scribble or part of their name. Write the recipients address on the right half and stick a stamp in the top right corner. BOOM. DONE. Postcard postage is 34 cents now, so keep that in mind. :) 

I hope you get your kids involved in expressing gratitude with us! Let me know how it goes by tagging me on Instagram @melissapher. And if you’re looking to learn how to do that fancy-pants calligraphy on the front of the card, look no further. I teach brush lettering with personal coaching (one-on-one feedback that’s actually helpful) over at calligraphy.org. Hope to see you over there! 

*Affiliate links used for products I use and love.

10 Awesome Markers for Addressing Dark Envelopes

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Welcome if you’re here from Studio 5! I hope you stick around! I’ve got free printables, tutorials and more. :) Check me out on Instagram and give me a follow if you’re interested in more creative living. 

If you missed the segment, click here to watch.

One of the tricky things about addressing envelopes, if you’re not a calligrapher, is finding the right pen to do the trick! It’s especially tricky if you have dark envelopes and you want to make an impact in the mailbox. Which, if you know me at all, I like to bring out a smile when I send friends & loved ones snail mail. There are so many markers out there, this certainly is a very small cross-section of the ones you can find. This small collection of markers will serve you well as you work on darker papers. 

Let me emphasize the following: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A CALLIGRAPHER OR EVEN HAVE GOOD HANDWRITING TO ENJOY THESE TOOLS. But if you are a calligrapher or if you have awesome penmanship, you’ll find they’re also fun. 

And if your penmanship sucks? Check out my free penmanship tutorial and download right here. Want to learn brush lettering? Check out my online class right here!! Use code BRUSHLETTERING for a special discount! 

WHITES

Looking for this black paper? Get it right here.

Let’s talk about pretty white pens. They’re tricky because you want those whites to be as opaque as possible. You need that pop! My favorites, in order of largest marker size to smallest are: 

METALLICS

When it comes to metallics AND opacity on dark papers, we venture into super tricky territory. There are really only a couple of markers I’ve used and can recommend here. But I’ve found that for the most part, each of the ones I’ve used includes a gold, copper and silver. Silver often times looks a lot like white (BONUS!). The golds usually take on a more green tone, so I personally like to stick to the copper if I’m going for a gold/black kind of look. So here we go with the second list, again, going from largest to finest. 

And don’t feel intimidated if your penmanship isn’t incredible. These markers will take your writing to the next level. IF you’re worried about writing in a straight line, I would highly recommend getting a LetterMate right here. They’re little plastic life-savers. ;) 

STAY TUNED!! Next week I’m sharing a tutorial on how to address those little envelopes of yours quickly and effortlessly. Thanks so much for popping by! 

Affiliate links are used. By purchasing through my affiliate links, your pricing doesn’t change, but it supports this blog and new content here. Thank you!

2017 Thank You Printable

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The time of year has come where it’s time for the annual Thank You freebie! I love doing this because it gives me a chance to work on styles and techniques I don’t always get to do on a regular basis. For this year, it meant I got to put the watercolor floral classes I’ve taken from Natalie Malan to use. I wanted to go for a slightly muted palette, but it only worked slightly. It’s like a bright, muted palette. ;)

Also, I feel like I must mention that this month completes the 10th year I’ve been blogging! I can’t believe it’s been that long. So much has changed: 6 moves, 3 children and a few career changes to say the least. I didn’t know I would be blogging this long. But here we are! ‘Tis the season for gratitude, so I may as well express that I’m so grateful for the opportunities that blogging and social media has given me. I’ve made dear friends, I’ve traveled, I’ve learned so much and I’ve felt the creative inspiration through the connections that I’ve made. It’s been pretty awesome. Will I still be here, writing in another 10? We shall see! 


This year’s Thank you takes on two forms. One is a plain, 5.5×4.25 rectangle with cut lines for you to follow, the above is a suggestion. You can download the JPG and use Silhouette’s print & cut feature to make a gorgeous full-bleed card with a scalloped edge. See below for the tutorial! 

You certainly don’t have to have a Silhouette in order to take advantage of this printable. Just click The download link below with the description “hand cut”. :) Just giving you some fun options.

DOWNLOAD SILHOUETTE FILES HERE

DOWNLOAD HAND CUT FILES HERE

But I’ve got TONS MORE ‘Thank You’s. Check out the whole list of past years’ printables below!

Want to learn calligraphy? Like the brush lettering I use here? Check out my class on Calligraphy.org. I’ll give you one-on-one instruction to help you get there. We start from the very basics, but because of the personal nature of the instruction we offer off-script learning for the more advanced letterer. Use code BRUSHLETTERING for a 10% discount on the class. :)

Materials used for this DIY: 

This printable is free for personal use only. Any redistribution or commercial use of this printable without written consent is prohibited. © Melissa Esplin 2017. Affiliate links used, by purchasing through an affiliate link, you support MelissaEsplin.com and the free content provided here. Thank you for your support! 

 

Random DIY: Gigantic Yard Googly Eyes

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If you’re here from KSL Studio 5, WELCOME!! I’m excited to have you here! If you’d like to join my next calligraphy workshop in Salt Lake City, click here to register. If you’d like to learn calligraphy online, click here instead. ;)

Here’s the link to the Studio 5 segment, in case you missed it. ;)

This DIY is too simple and hilarious not to share. Last year I bought some 7″ googly eyes from amazon and hung them on my willow tree in the front yard. It rained. The googly eyes fell apart. $7 down the drain. I think those googly eyes would have been great if I had used them inside, or if I lived in a climate that never rained or snowed during the month of October. :/ BUT this year I decided I needed to keep with the googly eye tradition and just make my own. 

And honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t make a million of these bad boys before. They’re easy and cost basically nothing. I had everything on-hand because, well… I’m a craft supplies hoarder. I didn’t have black cardstock, but I did have black lined writing paper, so I used that. You can cut out your own by hand or on a craft cutter like the Silhouette (which is what I did) OR you can print out the eyeballs from the template I’ve designed by clicking the download link below: 

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