Birthday Card Tutorial

Birthday Card Tutorial



Supplies needed:


Craft cards such as these or any other blank card




Markers (I used a Tombow fude black pen and a Tombow dual brush pen in green (color 158)) 



1.       Draw guidelines:

a.       Draw lines to mark the center of the card.


b.       Draw a line 0.25” above and 0.25” below the center line.

c.       On the top half of the card, draw two lines 0.5” apart starting from the line drawn 0.25” above the center.

d.       On the bottom half of the card, draw three lines 0.5” apart starting from the line drawn 0.25” below the center.   See below for how your card should look now.  I have written a “c” on the center line.


2.       Pencil in your lettering.  I chose to do block letters for the word happy and script for the word birthday.  I also have a free traceable printable for you here for the lettering if you don’t feel confident in your lettering. 


3.       Once you are done writing your letters in pencil, you can ink them.  I used the black marker for the word happy and then wrote birthday with the green tombow dual tip brush pen.  You can choose to write in brush calligraphy, write in faux calligraphy, or keep the letters the same thickness.


4.       Now we will draw the banner.  Draw a curved line above the word happy which starts at the top left edge of the card and ends at the middle of the card.  Repeat the same curved line from the top middle of the card to the right top corner.


5.       Draw small inverted triangle to represent the banners. 


6.       Now, outline the word HAPPY using the white gel pen.  In order to get the shading correct for the outline, imagine a light source on one corner of the card.  In my case, I pretended that the light source is on the left.  Therefore, all shading will be towards the right side of each letter and under the horizontal lines.  For curved lines, the shading follows the same principle and curves with the shape of the line.

7.       Next, add outlines for the word BIRTHDAY using the same steps outlined above.  Below is a closeup of the shading I did.  As you can see, I added outlines to the right side of every stroke, even the thin strokes.


8.       Color the banners using the white pen and the green brush pen.  Let the ink dry for a few minutes (or longer depending on the markers you used) and erase the lines.   Add dots randomly around the card using the white, black, and green pens.   Now, you are done!



I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  There are so many ways to customize this card design.  Here are some ideas:

1.       Use different color combinations for the brush pens and/or the color of the card.  A black card with metallic lettering would look amazing.

2.       Use different styles of lettering.  For instance, you can write happy in script and birthday in block letters.

3.       Personalize the card by adding in the name of the recipient.

4.       Add an envelope liner coordinating with the color of the card.  See here for a tutorial on how to make your own envelope liners. 

I look forward to seeing the fun things you come up with.  Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or send me an email with your creations.  If you have any questions please reach out on Instagram or leave me a comment below.

My Calligraphy Journey

Today I want to share a little about my calligraphy journey. I have been practicing calligraphy seriously for almost 3 years. I started towards the end of 2016 with the Postman’s Knock Amy style worksheet, sumi ink, a straight pen, and a Nikko G nib.  Below is a picture of one of my first few attempts at writing calligraphy.


I continued to practice with various worksheets and videos I found online and eventually signed up to take a 4 week copperplate class at Society of Scribes in NYC. It wasn’t until I took this class that calligraphy really clicked for me.  I learned about the history of calligraphy and the proper formation of letter forms. I learned how to hold a dip pen properly and how to regulate the pressure of my downstrokes to create thick but graceful downstrokes.  Overall, the class was so amazing and if you have an opportunity you should definitely take a class to learn copperplate.  The class should be several weeks long so you really have the opportunity to practice often and get feedback.  Modern calligraphy is based on copperplate calligraphy so learning copperplate has improved my modern calligraphy skills.

See below for some examples of my calligraphy before I took the class.


Here are some photos of my calligraphy after the class.  My style has evolved to be more traditional and delicate.


I love to keep learning so I am now starting to learn Spencerian!  I’ve got some books and bought the online course from I am looking forward to chronically my journey to learn Spencerian on the blog. 

Calligraphy Tip: Prep for new nibs

In today’s post I want to discuss new calligraphy nibs. Manufacturers add an oil or wax coating on each nib to protect the nib from rust. When you buy new nibs its important to remove this coating to ensure that the nib will perform properly. If you don’t remove the coating, the ink will not stay on nib or bead on the nib and prevent ink from flowing. I would actually suggest trying to use new nibs without removing the coating just so you can see the difference.

There are many ways to prep new nibs and below I am going to list a few methods:

The Potato

I first heard about the potato method from Lindsay at the Postmans Knock and I absolutely love this method. I usually order multiple nibs at the time and then buy one potato to use for all of them. To use the potato, gently insert the nib, at an angle to prevent the tines from being damaged, into the potato. Do not push the nib in too far, just past the vent hole is good. Wait 12-15 minutes and then gently pull out each nib. Gently swish each nib in water, dry completely and your nib is ready to use.


I really like the windex method because everyone has windex lying around at home. Place the new nibs on a paper towel, spray with windex and wait 12-15 minutes. Then rinse the nib with water and make sure to dry the nib completely as storing them wet can cause rust.

The two methods I noted above are my favorite methods and I made you a video of me prepping my nibs with both methods.


Many people like to use saliva to prep their nibs. Some people will either put nibs directly in their mouth or spit into the paper towel and then wipe the nibs clean. I have never used this method but I am sure it will work in a pinch!

Rubbing Alcohol

I have used alcohol pads to wipe nibs but I did not really like the results. It takes multiple pads to get the manufacturer coating off and I don’t find this an effective method.


Many people use toothpaste to gently clean the nib. You can use a Q-tip or a small jewlery brush to rub the nib with toothpaste and then rinse off.


Another way to get the coating off is to run the nib QUICKLY (2-3 seconds) through an open flame. While I am sure this method will work, I am afraid to use this method as I don’t want to ruin my nibs.

I hope you enjoyed this informational post about prepping calligraphy nibs. Which method is your favorite?

November Calendar Printable

Hello November! You really snuck up on me, I can’t believe its almost the holiday season. Each month I create a calendar for my desk and this month I though it would be fun to provide a printable on my website for it. Below you can download my November printable calendar before I colored it in. There are so many uses for this printable.

Tag me on instagram so I can see your lovely creations! See below for some ideas:

  1. Print it out on regular printer and trace on a 5x7 watercolor paper. Then you can use watercolor to color it in. See my instagram post for inspiration or come up with your own color scheme.

  2. Print out the calendar and use it in your bullet journal as the main calendar page. You can even print it on 5x7 stickers!

  3. Print it out and use it as a coloring activity with kids.

November Calender Printable_1.jpg