Posts Tagged ‘lettering’

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:

Tutorial: Lettering with Watercolors

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learn-calligraphy-online-workshop

Learn calligraphy online at istilllovecalligraphy.com. You’ll learn the basics of pointed pen, flourishing, addressing envelopes and developing your own style. The course comes complete with a beginner kit of supplies and personal coaching from calligraphy experts Melissa Esplin and Erika Paulsen. Click here to find out more.

Thanks for the shout out Creative Market!!

Not quite ready to dip your toes into the deep ocean of pointed pen calligraphy? Try your hand at some brush lettering!

It’s been a LOOONG time since I’ve shared a tutorial here! Life is just passing me by at the moment, but settling down on the horizon. I’m very much looking forward to getting back into the blogging swing of things.

I was on KSL’s Studio 5 sharing a segment on how to letter with watercolor. Using a brush and watercolor is very forgiving as it caters towards a looser style. Lettering in your own handwriting, uneven kerning, inconsistent line weights are all a-okay here.

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The possibilities with watercolor are so endless. Artwork, greeting cards, business cards, gift tags. The list goes on! Check out my pinterest board for more DIY ideas using watercolor. Let’s talk about how to letter our own simple greeting cards!

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Supplies

You can certainly use crayola watercolors, but an intermediate or student set will make the colors more vibrant and you’ll have more control over the pigments.

You’ll want a round brush or a liner brush. Both would be great. The maroon brush in the image above is a size 8 round Kolinsky sable. It’s SUUPER awesome. However, I found a little set of 4 synthetic brushes (blue striped ones above) at Michael’s that includes size 10 and 12 rounds and size 6 and 8 liners (here’s another set). Liner brushes are long and skinny, round brushes are round with a sharp point at the end. Both provide great drama (the liner a little more), but make for a completely different touch.

We’re making greeting cards so the paper is really up to you. You can cut down watercolor paper to greeting card size, or you can use a nice cardstock. Both will work great because we’re not using a lot of water. Watercolor paper will give the work more texture and cardstock will give a smoother finish. For this tutorial I’m using watercolor paper.

Click “read more” for the rest of the tutorial!

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