My favorite craft books are always the ones that not only have lots of projects, but that inspire me to take the suggested projects and make them my own. Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe arrived in my mail box at the perfect time of year to do just that.
The first half of the book is a primer on simple calligraphy--what pens and ink to use, how to expand into other mediums like watercolor and chalk. Once that has enticed you to buy a beginner set of nibs and a tub of ink, there are about 15 pages of fonts with clear directions on how to practice writing them. (Confession: I spent the last week of our family draw writing the alphabet over and over again.)
The second half of the book contains about 20 projects. If you or a friend are planning a DIY wedding, the projects are worth the price of the book several times over. From a full formal invitation set, to sweet cupcake toppers, to beautiful thank-you notes and table numbers, you'd be all set.
But even I found several projects I'm going to try. There's a great section on digitizing your calligraphy for a blog--which has obvious applications!--as well as some cute, confetti-style birthday party invites.
To begin, though, I finally settled on the gold-trimmed thank you notes, except I decided to apply the treatment to our Christmas cards.
While the instructions in the book are much more thorough, I hope you can see the basic idea from the photos above.
With scrap paper on the front and back to protect the cards, I carefully clamped my stack of postcards together on three edges. Then, using a small can of gold spray paint, I carefully sprayed the unclamped edge.
As Thorpe mentions in the book, it's important that you not position the spray paint can perpendicular to the cards so that you don't get paint in between the cards. Also, think light mist, not a heavy spray. You don't want the paint dripping off the stack of cards.
Once you've sprayed, allow the unclamped edge to dry for 10-15 minutes. Then, reposition the clamps to expose a different edge and repeat until all the edges are sparkly gold.
Combined with calligraphied addresses on the back, I think this really gave our Christmas cards a little something special this year!
If you, too, would like to dip your nib into some calligraphy, the nice people at St. Martin's Press have given me one additional copy of Modern Calligraphy to give away. To win, leave a comment below. I'll pick a winner on Friday.
[St. Martin's Press provided me with a free copy of Modern Calligraphy, as well as the additional copy to give to one of you. My opinions, as always, are my own.]