Our wedding invitations were completely DIY, right down to the calligraphy. Similar to my reasons for doing at home letterpress, I decided to do my own calligraphy to save money and to explore a new skill. After finishing 130 + invitations (inner and outer envelopes) I had a new found respect for professional calligraphers! This is a very time consuming DIY project, so plan accordingly. I set myself a goal of doing five every day for about a month, which worked out fairly well.
You will need:
- Dipping calligraphy ink, such as Speedball 2-Ounce Super Pigmented Acrylic Ink, Black
or Daler-Rowney F.W. Acrylic Ink Set of 6 1 oz Bottles, Primary Colors
- Dip nibs and a holder, such as Brause Pen Nib 66 Ef and Brause Natural Nib Holder
- Practice pad with slanted grid, such as Bienfang Calligraphic Practice Paper Pad
- Book with lettering styles and basic technique instruction
- List of guests names and addresses
I also used a piece of the paper from my practice pad inside the envelopes and a light table in order to utilize the grid as a guide to keep my lettering straight. My envelopes were Crane’s lettra series (very thick), but if you used thinner envelopes you might be able to do this without the light table. I then wrote out each envelope lightly in pencil and double checked the name and address before inking. I set each envelope aside for about an hour, and then erased over the inking to take off any visible pencil.
Below you can see some of my results, which were good, but definitely not professional quality.