DIY ~ WEDDING CALLIGRAPHY | tools you’ll need to do it yourself | Addressing Your Wedding Invitation & Save the Date Envelopes!


Scroll to the bottom of this post to turn on the musical stylings of my favorite new artist, Warpold Wine.  Mmm mmm goodness.


So, one big decision I’ve made in the process of planning my wedding is that I’m personally going to address the envelopes that will hold my save-the-dates, and then, based on that outcome, I will decide which way to go on my wedding invitations.  Why did I decide this, especially since there’s so much room for failure and frustration?  Well, there are two major reasons, and one minor reason.

Major Reason 1. My name isn’t Moneybags McTonsocash.

Major Reason 2. Way back when I was but a wee babe, I had myself a chic little calligraphy business.  I was kind of super young, but I worked hard at it, and ended up landing some serious business.  Shout out to the recipients of the MVP/Most Improved, etc. sports award certificates… hand-scribed by moi! Your names may never again be written with that much love, care and attention to detail.

Hmm, this was back in the early 90s, so that means all of you are probably in your mid 20s right about now.  Which means you may be in need of some calligraphy services in the very near future. Yes?  Go home and take a look at that certificate.  If you like what I did when I was 10 years old, then get in touch and we can discuss your vision for your wedding calligraphy.  ;)

… Anyway, so given my childhood undertakings, I couldn’t reconcile outsourcing the task.

Minor Reason 3. I heart the handmade.  I strongly believe in doing it yourself if you can do it well.  Don’t have experience with calligraphy?  No problem – do you have good handwriting?  That’s a strong start.


Note: Tunes I Use is at the bottom of this post.

You can get everything you’ll need at your local specialty art supply store.  I get my tools from DaVinci’s in NYC on the corner of 23rd and Lex., because they carry lefty nibs and it is surprisingly hard to find these.  By the way, the difficulty of finding nibs for left-handed people has always weirded me out, especially because I’ve heard and was told in my youth that left-handedness is often the mark of an artist.  No offense, right-handed artists reading this.  You outnumber we lefties, so I am probably setting myself up for a fight (if so, one rule: no hand-attacks), but I’m really just reciting what I’ve heard throughout the years.  Of course there’s always the possibility that everyone in my life has been humoring me all this time.  Hmm.  My fiance does have a scarily high success rate when it comes to fooling me.  This, I will revisit.


There are tons of inks from which to choose.  Since my save-the-date envelopes are red, I am currently experimenting with Winsor & Newton’s #974 white ink, and seeking results similar to those achieved in the following images, from Moira Events (1-3), and Papineau Calligraphy (4).

I may switch to silver ink, as I am doing a process of elimination to find the most opague white ink available on this planet and it is proving quite a challenge.  DaVinci’s tells me this one, below, is the best.  We’ll see.

The ink:


There are nibs for right-handed and left-handed people.  I’m a lefty, and for my envelopes, I will be using one of the bottom two nibs shown in this image (LC-3 & LC-4):


Four of my nibs (here, LC-3 is on the pen holder):

Pen Holder

I use a Speedball pen holder.  You shove the rounded base of your chosen nib into the pen holder.  Once joined, the two together make your calligraphy pen.  Hurrah!

For inspiration, I’ve gathered up a personal gallery of some of the most gorgeous hand-written calligraphy I’ve ever seen.  I find the four examples below to be among the most inspiring whenever I sit down to write.  They are the work of Primele Calligraphy.

I will post updates on my progress with regard to finding the highest quality and most opague inks and which style of calligraphy I end up choosing to do.

Talk soon! -Alison

Stay tuned for continued installments of DIY Wedding Calligraphy.


12.31.09 Update: You may have noticed, I’m way into a certain artist right now.  So much so that the CD jacket made a cameo appearance in this post’s feature photo.  That’s when a person is way into something, methinks.  So, allow me to suggest the following for your listening pleasure…

Artist: Warpold WineAlbum: Warpold WineIdeal for: sitting back, relaxing, doing your own wedding calligraphy, break-ups, make-ups, commuting, frolicking, wrestling with your significant other, and good deeds.  Also, New Year’s Eve festivities.  Sample it here, or check out the touring schedule.

I live for the wow factor in my weddings, and the chill factor in my music. Just let it run; there are 12 tracks, each one with its own charm and brilliance.  Standouts: tracks 4, 5, 7, 8… no I can’t do this.  I love it all, and it actually pains me to play favorites.  Currently listening to 8.  OMG, track 8.  CHILLS, people.

Label(s): "DEAR TKB..." Advice Column, {Art + Design}, {Details}, {DIY + Freebies}, {Paper}, {Personalize}

Love all of this...


  1. Andrew on December 30, 2009

    Haha! Moneybags McTonsocash!

  2. Lauren on January 3, 2010

    Good for you for deciding to do this yourself! I wish I had the talent to do calligraphy. I can't wait to see how they come out!

    • alison on January 3, 2010

      Thanks! It’s really rewarding making something with your own hands and saving mass amounts of money at the same time :) By the way, don’t count yourself out; I’ve always felt that if there’s a will, there’s a way! Thanks for the feedback, Lauren, I’m looking forward to posting the next installment on this… DIY is my favorite part of the blog!

  3. knottybride on January 3, 2010

    Thanks! It's really rewarding making something with your own hands and saving mass amounts of money at the same time :) By the way, don't count yourself out; I've always felt that if there's a will, there's a way! Thanks for the feedback, Lauren, I'm looking forward to posting the next installment on this… DIY is my favorite part of the blog!

  4. MoiraEvents on January 20, 2010

    Hi! Since I didnt post it on my blog, I thought I'd mention that at {Moira} we use Daler and Rowney acrylic artists ink in opaque white and use Speedball nib #101. Thanks for referanceing us, we really appreciate it!!

  5. MoiraEvents on January 20, 2010

    Hi! Since I didnt post it on my blog, I thought I'd mention that at {Moira} we use Daler and Rowney acrylic artists ink in opaque white and use Speedball nib #101. Thanks for referanceing us, we really appreciate it!!

  6. allibee524 on September 3, 2010

    I, too, am left handed. At first, I thought all nibs were created equal. Not until reading this did I realize we leftys have our own special nibs lol. Thank you so much for talking about that little tidbit. I have been trying to make heads or tails or anything legible with a calligraphy pen. I have written decent stuff, but had to hold the pen at really awkward angles. I am going to buy some left-handed nibs as soon as I can find some. My envelopes are black and I will be using silver or purple ink. Again, thank you so much for writing this!!! Otherwise, I might have never discovered the source of the problem (other than just my beginners mistakes lol).


  7. Shelly on May 9, 2012

    It’s been about 1 1/2 years since your post of DIY Calligraphy and I’m soooo curious how it turned out? I tried to find other posts about your calligraphy adventures and couldn’t find the follow-ups. Do tell…..

  8. rachael on May 10, 2012

    so fantastic! thanks for sharing the tunes too…I am digging #8!

  9. lisa on August 1, 2012

    Great post! such a great left-handed perspective! (I am also a lefty!) I’m definitely also curious to see how your project turned out!

  10. Kristen on September 21, 2012

    What a beautiful talent you have! What abou tit being waterproof? Did you test it? I recently received several RSVP cards back and my calligraphy had smeared from water droplets. I am going to be addressing a friends invites and I want to look for ink that will be waterproof.

  11. Anna on November 5, 2012

    Thank you so, so much for showing me that there’s a tip for us lefties!! So the next question is..; will you be doing a tutorial for us? Pretty please! :)

  12. Lori on November 8, 2012

    Lefty! I actually had a calligraphy teacher tell me lefties can’t do calligraphy and that she wouldn’t allow me (a lefty) in her class. NO JOKE! So I didn’t even try. But this is beautiful… you’ve made me want to give it a go.
    Thanks for upping the ante and giving me a challenge.

  13. Mayette on January 16, 2013

    Gorgeous! I don’t know if I missed any follow-up posts… how’d it go? I want to purchase a beginner’s set this week!

  14. Dominika on August 27, 2013

    These are gorgeous!!!! What is the best way for someone to teach themselves calligraphy? Any books you would recommend? Thanks!!

  15. Sabrina on September 15, 2013

    thank you! i have a set of nibs for that, a gift from my sis and i have no idea what to do, this is a tips for beginners, and i enjoy the songs a lot! thx again!

  16. Andrea Pellman on January 1, 2014

    Can’t wait to dust off my calligraphy stuff that has been so neglected over the years. Love the music too! Will purchase NOW!

  17. Sarah on October 18, 2016

    Thank you for posting. Calligraphy is great for thank you notes, which I have a website on.


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