tutorial

Tutorial: No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

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This post was inspired by a Crafting Day Meetup I had with the lovely ladies of 'Cause We Can Events and The Event Boutique. The four of us had champs, macaron, and hummus for days. And got some work done.

The convo came to faking that calligraphy look on chalkboard and wood signs alike. You hear it as fauxlligraphy in some tutorials. There are great ones out there already too, but thought I'd take a crack with mine. Because guys, it's seriously as easy as 1-2-3, no fancy tools necessary.

So if you're looking for any last minute signs, read on and master this no-nib calligraphy trick!

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps
From chalkboards to wood signs to even burning cork, "fauxlligraphy" will get you that look without using the finicky calligraphy nib!

From chalkboards to wood signs to even burning cork, "fauxlligraphy" will get you that look without using the finicky calligraphy nib!


1. Draw your cursive

And I mean it when I say, cursive. I'm talking school-house, dotted and solid lines on paper, classic of the classics cursive. I'll explain the "draw" part below.

The beauty of cursive is that your excuse for "my handwriting is shit" can't really hold up. Printed, sure, but when we write in cursive, because it's usually not the way that we write every day, it helps to separate the act from "writing" and focus it on "drawing." Take notice of the loops, and the connection between letters.

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

 

2. Dot the downstrokes

Okay, let's break this down. The only difference between the cursive you just drew and calligraphy using those fancy nibs is in the downstroke. You see, the calligraphy nib pen was engineered brilliantly to create the thin/thick strokes that characterizes copperplate calligraphy. The nib is split down the middle into two tines, which open up and allow more ink to flow out as you apply pressure on your downstrokes.

So what does that mean for you? Downstrokes are just what you think they are, they're the strokes of your letters where your pen went down the page. Notice them?

Okay, remember those. Put a tiny dot next to the beginning and end of each of the downstrokes, to the left of it to mark where they are.

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

 

3. Fill the line

Now that you know where the downstrokes are, just connect the dots, literally. Go over the part of your letter where you dotted, and fill in to make it thicker. If you taper the shading a bit, it'll be more realistic.

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

 

EXTRA: To thicken, or to leave thin?

This is more of a stylistic thing. Leaving it just this way gives you a more elegant, script-style feel because the difference between the thick downstroke and the thin upstroke is not so stark. When you make this more dramatic by making it thicker, you create a more casual, laid-back, modern feel. Also, some handwriting look better with a certain thickness, so play around with it and see what feels right!

Fiber & Dye | No-Nib Calligraphy in just 3 steps

5 Must-have Tools for Wood Signs

This post was inspired by a craft day that I had with friends who are wedding planners. I've been obsessed with making wooden signs lately, and can't get enough of them--as a matter of fact, I've got scrap wood all over my living room floor right now for my brother's wedding that's coming up. It's a perfect addition for any event, rustic or elegant, and can be as dressed up or down as needed. Best of all, it's an inexpensive and easy DIY project.

If you're thinking about making a wood sign for your next wedding, or just want one on your wall read on for the five must-have tools and some Amazon shopping links!

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1. Cheap wood. I like going to Home Depot because they have bigger pieces that could get cut down to size, but craft wood from craft stores and online works too. Pine takes stain best! 

2. Wood Stain. Love the ones from Minwax because it goes on smooth and doesn't have a coating on it that would give wood a sheen. Instead, it has a very natural look.

3. Chalk. Work with it lightly to use as your outline. Tip here is to make sure not much of the powder gets on it, so clean up will be a breeze. Chalk pencil works great too, but I personally just like to have on hand a box of cheap chalk because it works great. Just try to avoid chalk paint pens just because it goes on a little thicker and more opaque.

4. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I cut/rip it into small pieces and use to erase the aforementioned chalk outline.

5. Paint pen. Last but not least, a great quality acrylic paint pen is of course the star of the show. There are cheap options out there too but this is the one tool I wouldn't skimp on. Using a cheapy pen with poor coverage or one that runs will make your life much harder and not worth the dollar savings. I love Liquitex Fine Tip in Titanium White and Molotow white in 2mm, the only difference here would be whether you prefer a chiseled tip that allows you to do thick/thin strokes (Liquitex) or a uniform round tip (Molotow). It's worth getting both and trying it out to find your soul-pen.

And that's it for the 5 must-have tools for wood signs. Any other tips, tricks, or tools you personally can't live without? Let me know in the comments below!

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