Posts Tagged ‘lettering’

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! 

 

Embossing Hand-Lettering & Calligraphy

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Close To My Heart sent me a sweet care package of embossing goodies to try with calligraphy. I’ve had a blast ever since they showed up on my doorstep! It’s been so fun to make cards and address envelopes with my new gadgets. And now I want every color under the sun to use for embossing! The raised texture is fantastic. And I’ve been able to get reliable results time after time with my pointed pen and my pointed brushes. It’s definitely a worth-while investment. 

Materials used: 
Gillott 404 Nib 
Oblique Holder 
Strathmore Bristol Paper
Size 2 Liner Brush
CTMH Embossing Powder
CTMH Heat Tool
CTMH Watercolors
Glycerine

I found that the Versamark liquid (for refilling stamp pads) was too sticky to use as ink, so I opted for glycerine. I’m glad I was able to find a suitable substitute as the glycerine doesn’t gum up my nibs or brushes. That said, I do like to use my cheaper nibs and brushes for this particular activity. I don’t want to be destroying my sable hair brushes in the process! 

Check out the video or read through the post details to find out how to emboss your own lettering!

 

  1. Dilute 1 part glycerine and 1 part water to make your ink. It helps to use a pipette to dilute with water so you have good control. 
  2. Pen or brush your words/phrase/name on the paper. Use a nice quality paper so the glycerine doesn’t bleed. Before lettering, make sure to scrape or drip off excess “ink” so you’re not laying down too much glycerine. It can affect how the embossing happens. 
  3. Place your paper over a scrap sheet, I like using a thin sheet of paper so that I can easily clean up excess embossing powder. 
  4. Pour a generous amount of embossing powder over your design. Tap excess off the paper onto the scrap sheet. Set project aside and funnel excess powder back into the embossing powder jar. 
  5. Heat your design with a heat tool. Keep the tool 2-4 inches away from  your work and move the tool as the powder melts. 
  6. Optional: Add a watercolor wash over your work. 
  7. For best results, the watercolor wash should happen after. The watercolor resists the embossed work, so no need to do it prior. If you do happen to do it beforehand, you may find the glycerine bleeds over the wash and your lines will get fuzzy. 

Products from Close To My Heart (CTMH) were provided for this video. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The affiliate links used help support this blog and the tools used for making more tutorials, reviews and content. Thanks for your support!

3rd Annual Halloween Pic or Treat

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I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 3 years now! It’s my new favorite tradition: hosting a photobooth for trick-or-treaters. It’s near impossible to get photos of your kids on Halloween, let alone ones that are well-lit and show off the whole costume. So each year I open up my home to our neighbors to swing by and grab a photo.

I have a printer that connects up with the booth so everyone walks away with a physical print of their photo. This year, we had people hit up our house first because they knew that we were the “photo house”. It just makes my day.

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For new neighbors and visitors of our neighborhood, I made a sign detailing the photobooth and how it works. I can only imagine a parent might be a little bit hesitant at first that their kid is invited into a stranger’s home to “take photos”. Gross. So I put it in clear writing that images are not distributed in any way after the event. We also had candy out for those who wished to opt out of the photobooth. Our neighborhood gets a steady flow of trick-or-treaters each year, so there’s usually a small queue lining out the door. It’s a fun social thing. I imagine if our neighborhood did a trunk or treat, this would be a fun thing to set up for that, too.

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I winged the signage without a ruler, and I’ve got to say I’m pleased with the outcome. I’ve been practicing my chalk work ever since taking Skyler Chubak’s chalk lettering class. It’s been most helpful!

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My sister was there as I was setting up the booth. It took me way longer than it should have to set everything up because of dumb technical difficulties. ugh. Thankfully we worked through those!

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Penelope and her BFF Kate went as twin wolves. They are both obsessed with everything wolf. It’s adorable.

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Even Mickey & Minnie showed up.

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I didn’t do much by way of dressing up. Thanks to Penelope for the witch’s hat. Junie wore a hand-me-down from Felix.

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She’s too dang cute.

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Felix is wearing a batman costume meant for 3-year-olds, and has been sporting it non-stop since Halloween. He loves his “Ba-MAN”.

It was a glorious year for us. As disappointed as I was to not have made a single costume, it was nice to keep things relatively simple. Best Halloween yet. Next year, maybe we’ll do a family costume. I had better start planning now.

Freebie: Valentine’s Day Treats 2016

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We had a grand time this year prepping for Valentine’s. I nearly forgot to share what we did. I found a gigantic bag of (my favorite) Hi-Chews at the grocery store a month ago, so I knew immediately I wanted to do something punny with those. So here we are.

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The kids love these things (I had to buy a second back of Hi-Chews just to finish all the valentine’s because a bunch may or may not have been eaten many weeks before the fact.

I found little 3″x3″ zip closure baggies at my local Pak ‘N Wrap. You can find these just as easy at papermart.com. I just didn’t want to wait for shipping. I wrote out the little phrase, printed and cut these little fold-over cards and stapled them together. Mega easy.

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Penelope designed and I made a stamp so she could own her valentine’s day treats. Felix even helped putting them together! I love when I can include both of them on the fun! I know it’s too late for 2016 Valentine’s, but I figure I’d share this printable for anyone looking to use this idea in the future. See the link below to download the printable.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

*By downloading the above material, you agree to terms of use: This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Sign Painting Inspired Photo Backdrop

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Sometimes I enthusiastically say, “Yes!” to a project before understanding the scale. It’s a problem I get myself into constantly. As much as these decisions cost me in time, I benefit in learning new things: new methods, techniques and at the very least when I should say, “no.”

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AlixMegan and I were asked to head up a photo booth for Alt Summit this year. After mulling through several ideas, our theme was b&w pre-internet, we settled on some typographic backdrop for the photo booth for Alt Summit (summer 2015). It took until the 11th hour to think of what words to use.

I’m no copy editor. Coming up with copy is difficult for me. I can make it beautiful, but figuring out what to write can be like pulling teeth for me. It took several conversations as a team and an hour long phone call with my mom. I figured it would make the most sense to do onomatopoeias. Since it’s B&W pre-internet (which I thought was kind of vague) I started with the sounds you would hear from pre-internet technology like the “click and clack” from a typewriter. Then it grew from there to include any onomatopoeia that I could think of. I didn’t want to repeat the words too many times.

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Initially I had thought about inspirational words or phrases, but we didn’t want readability to be an issue. The short words turned out to be great.

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This sign ended up being roughly 9′ wide and 4′ tall. Doing something this large isn’t typical of my day-to-day work. Also, sign painting and lettering isn’t something that I do often. I was more than a bit out of my comfort zone here. Between that and the fact that the only space I could complete the sign was the kitchen area, stress levels were at an all-time high. My stress always sky-rockets around Alt Summit. So Chris knew he needed to steer clear. The kids quickly learned that lesson after an embarrassing amount of yelling, “GET OUT!! I can’t have you touching the paper!!”

I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking they live in a mausoleum, but I also can’t have their sticky otter pop hands anywhere close to the paper. My paranoia mounted the further along I got. Stakes were escalating, I couldn’t start over!

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In my efforts to keep Pen and Felix out of trouble and my precious paper out of harm’s way, I barricaded the kitchen off with various chairs and a car seat. Chris got a kick out of it. That buffer saved my bacon a couple of times by keeping Felix from barreling through the room on his way outside.

At one point Alix came over to help fill in words with her two littles in tow. 5 kids under the age of 7 made for some interesting work time. Her kids were so good at staying clear of the paper and paint. Mine, not so much.

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The event went well, but as we were setting up for the backdrop I noticed that we had an awkward blank space on the top left corner of the backdrop. I made it a point to have my art supplies with me so that I could letter names for people (that was so fun!). So it was no big deal to whip out the white paint and brush and get to work on a couple extra pieces to fill out the negative space.

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If you look carefully, you’ll see that the “alt.” logo, arrow and “BAM” are a slightly different white. I had a different white, a teeny brush and I had to do it while the backdrop was hanging so I didn’t have a hard surface to work on. It certainly wasn’t my best work, but I was able to fill in the blank and make it look like it was supposed to be there.

I may be biased, but we rocked the photobooth. I’m glad I said yes to this project and got out of my comfort zone.

Project materials:

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