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This post is part of our #stayconnected series. Rediscover the joy of sending a handmade card in the mail with tutorials inspired by the Cultural Centre’s collections

Tutorial by guest contributor Mary Trepanier

Inspired by the collection

The beautiful letting on this birthday postcard has inspired this week’s post. The front of the postcard has a poem:
Wishing you a happy Birthday.
May Joy intensify the light of all your days,
And peace illuminate your spirit with its rays,
And may amidst thy gifts on every birthday morn,
Be new-lit joy, and peacefulness of soul new born.

The back of the postcard has a handwritten message:
To Florence
Wishing you many happy returns of the day. With love from
Minnie Oliver

Make your own calligraphy notecard

Now that you have been inspired to make your own cards, why not take the idea up a notch by using Calligraphy for the inside message or indeed the front?

With beginners in mind here are some easy steps.


  • 8 1/2 inch x 11 inch paper or card stock
  • 1/4 fold or Invitation size envelopes (will make one folded, or two cards when cut in half either direction)
  • Ruler
  • pencil
  • Calligraphy Pen or Calligraphy Pentel 
  • Vinyl eraser
  • If wishing to make only a message on paper that will be cut and glued to the inside of your card, suggest you glue with Darice glue strips
  • Lined paper to practice

About Pens

  • Calligraphy kits are available that include 3 or 4 different size nibs, coloured inks, instruction booklets and lined paper to practice on.
  • Sharpie makes Calligraphy pentels that work well for large lettering.


  • A sample alphabet will show you the order of the strokes and direction of your strokes.

Size of letters

  • The height of your letters (not Capital letters) will be 5 pen nibs high.  This is very important so that the nib can do its magic.
  • To do this measurement, point the nib to the side of the page and make 5 marks like making a set of stairs.


Getting the right angle

  • On your lined paper draw a line 5 pen nibs high above the line already there on the paper.
  • Lightly hold the pen at a 45 degree angle for this cursive style. To do this point the nib to the top left corner of the page.  Memorize how the pen feels in your hand and elbow.
  • Maintain this angle all across the page as you write.  You will slide your whole arm to the left, not just the pen.

Thick and thin magic exercises

  1. Make a row of zig zags or  Capital M’s or as I call them “ mountains”.  Your angle is perfect if the stroke going up is thin and coming down is thick.
  2. Make a whole page of these.
  3. Now make a few lines of crosses. When done correctly the two strokes will be equal in thickness.
  4. Now make a page of o’s.  Start your stroke as if you were going to make a letter c.  When done correctly an x can lay across the o right at the thin part and thick part equally.  Incorrectly they will look cross eyed at you.
  5. A lot of letters use the “o” so you are already half done your alphabet.
  6. Write the word ‘adage’ just for fun.  Pushing the pen from right to left on the ascender of the g will be difficult if you are pressing too hard.
  7. Finally space between words should be only the width of an “o” Otherwise you will have “rivers” in paragraphs.

Your Card

  • For instructions on how to make a card out of scrap or recycled paper, see Step 1 in the first week’s tutorial
  • Draw pencil lines on your card to guide you. 
  • Write your message.  Let the ink dry.
  • Erase the lines with a good eraser.

Pro tips

  • Write on lined paper to help with spacing and then use a light table to copy your lettering onto good paper.
  • Computers have a nice font called Lucinda Calligraphy. Print out your text, then use a light table and trace over the printed text.
  • Scan your lettering and use a printer to print it onto card stock if you’d like to multiples of one design.
  • Make sure you have an envelop of a matching size or learn how to make your own envelopes.

Other ideas

Try using calligraphy for

  • Place markers
  • Certificates
  • Plaques with sayings on them

Thank you for following along with this tutorial!

– Mary Trepanier

Share a picture of your handmade card!

We’d love to see what you make! Email a picture to Shannon at, tag us on facebook or use the submission form on the #stayconnected page.

All handmade cards welcome!