We are starting to wrap things up in the True North Paper Co. studio before heading out for the holidays (insert: eating way too many baked goods, playing in the snow, and good ol’ family hang time), so I thought I’d share some different ways to incorporate Calligraphy when wrapping your gifts.
I’m one of those crazy people who absolutely loves wrapping gifts. Put me in a room with some wrapping paper, scissors, tape, ribbon, gifts, and some good Christmas tunes and I’ll be one happy camper. But I do get that my enthusiasm for this task may not be universally shared, and it often just becomes a last minute project that needs to get done in a hurry. So to hopefully help you along the way, we’ll be looking at 3 simple ways to incorporate calligraphy and hand lettering into your Christmas wrapping. And when I say simple, I really do mean it.
1. Wrapping Paper
Grab a roll of plain wrapping paper, anything from Kraft, to white or even red and green. Use a pointed pen to get creative with calligraphy or a paint brush for hand lettering (for my example I used a Pentel Arts Aquash Pen). If you’d like a more formal or classic look, using a ruler to draw light pencil guidelines to ensure that your writing stays straight may be helpful. I wanted a more organic and free-form feel for my wrapping paper so no guidelines were necessary – I just started writing and eyeballed it to make sure things weren’t getting too wonky.
If using a pointed pen nib and ink, you may want to do a little test run and make sure that the ink you use doesn’t bleed on the paper (if it does, adding Gum Arabic will help!). I used Dr. Martin’s Bleedproof white ink mixed with water. Along with ink, you can also use paints – any you have on hand should do!
And now it is as simple as writing on the paper. It’s so simple I almost feel ridiculous writing this, but just write whatever you want on your wrapping paper! A simple “Merry Christmas” always looks good. Lyrics to your favorite Christmas songs would be a fun addition under the tree. And another way to go is writing the person’s name for whom the gift is for over and over again on the paper. As you can see, there are SO many options for what you can do and create by simply writing on your wrapping paper - use your creativity to achieve a look that you love! Just make sure that the paper is fully dried before you start wrapping.
2. Gift Tags
Tags are a simple addition to any gift that can either tell you who the gift is for and from, or have a little holiday message on them. I have a tag-shaped paper punch – a handy-dandy left over from planning our wedding – that I used on white cardstock to create my tags. If you have a paper punch that will work, great! But it’s definitely not a necessity. Using scissors, cut out your own shapes and use a hole punch to add a hole for ribbon, or head to the store to buy blank gift tags. Crafts stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby always have plenty in lots of different colors.
Once you have your tags all set, get busy using calligraphy or hand/brush lettering to jazz them up! Be creative with different colors and styles to construct a look that you love. Giving a gift to your significant other? Instead of simply writing “to:” and “from:”, use a simple phrase such as “For the one I love”. If your tags aren’t needed to indicate who a gift is for, you can use little sayings such as “Merry & Bright”, “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Rejoice!”, “Deck the Halls”, or the always classic “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!”.
And lastly, we come to cards! A great addition to a gift or simply on their own to give to family and friends. There are tons of beautiful cards out there (and you’ll still find me frequently hitting up the greeting card section at stores), but I also love the idea of handmade cards. It adds another personal touch that warms the heart when I receive them.
Again, I went really simple with the cards I made. White cardstock folded in half with modern calligraphy on the front. Using calligraphy and hand lettering also allows you to make the card even more personal by including specific names or stories on the front. We’re talking “Bah Humbug! We’re sad we can’t spend the holidays with our favorite people on the West Coast, but we love you just the same!”.
The great thing about incorporating calligraphy into your wrapping (or anything you do, really) is its versatility. Do you want a more formal-looking wrapping paper? Use a copperplate style of calligraphy on gold or red colored wrapping paper, and get those flourishes going. Looking for something a little more organic and natural? Use a simple modern calligraphy style on Kraft or white paper, and incorporate some twine and greenery (this is the look I went for in this post!). And what about a classic Christmas look? Bring out that plaid and patterned wrapping paper, and use Christmas tags and cards in matching colors.
As you can see, these 3 ways to incorporate Calligraphy into your wrapping are simple, but hold such variety and versatility, allowing you to be creative in achieving the look you want. I hope these tips can help you in your wrapping quest, and help bring a smile to the ones who receive them.