You might be like me and have perfectly acceptable handwriting for day-to-day activities, and people can probably read it most of the time. And, it may actually be rather nice handwriting. But then you try your hand at place cards or a sign for an event…and it just looks, well, normal. Now, you can totally hire it out with a local (or not-so-local, as the case may be – you can order on etsy pretty easily) calligrapher or designer. I think this is a great option for a bigger event, or if you have given yourself enough time to place an order and receive it later. But, if it’s for a small get-together, that might be more on the end of last-minute, you can’t really pay someone to drop everything and do it. Maybe you can if you’re super-important, but I don’t fall into that category. Yet.
If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend the below. I figured it out late one night as I was deciding how to get just a couple calligraphy-type things done for this 40th birthday party. And, it turned out GREAT! I love that it feels polished and professional – great for the details of the event.
what you’ll need:
- printed font & copy you want on your signs (you can do this in any program you like, word, ppt, indesign – doesn’t matter – just print it out)
- carbon paper
- paper (I used kraft supplies here, but choose whatever works for your project)
- pencil or ballpoint pen (key here is that there’s enough pressure to transfer)
- final pen or paint & brush (I used black pen for the name cards and white paint for the sign)
what to do:
- Cut your paper to size, or grab the tags (if using something pre-made like the tags I used for place cards)
- Cut carbon paper to the same size as your paper, or at least the size of the writing you want on there – use painters or washi tape (low-stick is key here so you can peel it off) to attach to your paper. Just use a little, so it’s not hard to remove. The tape keeps the carbon paper in place as you trace
- Tape the printed font/copy on top of the carbon paper (you’ll have to cut to size if you’re doing something smaller)
- Use pencil or ballpoint pen to trace over the printed copy, so it transfers to the final paper. I outlined the edges of the bigger fonts, so I got the nuances of the lettering. The idea here is to get those details so the final product looks professional
- double check that you got it all transferred – just lift one side of the carbon paper to take a peek
- remove carbon and copy papers, and you should see a faint imprint of your font/lettering – YAY
- Now you use whatever final color/medium you want to color it in. Markers and paintbrushes have different widths, so be sure to use the right combination to trace and color in the font. I was more comfortable with a thinner pen and smaller paint brush, knowing I could easily go back over if I needed to, but it gave me more control.
- Now, just let it dry and you’re ready to rock!
I love that this is in my arsenal for any last minute ideas! Sometimes you just can’t plan out everything!