Calligraphy: Handmade Wedding Invitations

Check it out! I made it on Oh So Beautiful Paper!

Stretching my limitations and challenging my capacity is one way to describe this wedding suite. I usually calligraph and PRINT wedding invitations. This one was all hand calligraphed.


About the bride: Lynsey is an UBER classy girl from our neighborhood. Her and her sister run Alder & Tweed an interior design firm based out of Park City, Utah. And when I say classy, I mean basically every outfit is sartorial street-style straight out of Manhattan.


She’s my dream client. However, I only had 14 days to complete the invitations before the wedding. This means I had about 2-4 days tops to complete invitations and envelopes so guests could get their invitations! Most of the invitations were delivered by hand, so mailing wasn’t too much of an issue. There were a couple of invitations that were mailed outside of Utah, which made me nervous, but because it was such an intimate event every guest had the date saved.


The invitations themselves were classic. I worked on flourishing the names and did a slightly flourished running script for the main text. I hesitate to call this real Spencerian, because it’s fairly casual and doesn’t have the classic Spencerian shades. I opted out of that for the text because of the paper. The felt-finish paper caused some issues with keeping fine, smooth hairlines. Overall, I feel like it worked because of the rustic venue for the event.

For the finest hairlines, I used a Nikko G nib (it works best on those rough papers) and Old World iron gall ink. The Iron Gall ate about 3 of my nibs through the course of the 30 invitations and envelopes, but it was worth it.




The lightbox was my BFF for this project. I created the design on layout paper, drew in the text with a dark micron pen and taped it onto the light box. I used light adhesive washi tape to tape each paper in place while I lettered. It took about 8 1/2 minutes for me to write out each invitation.


The bride and family were over-the-moon to see their names ornately flourished. I really had fun with the addresses. I got in a groove and just flourished these names to bits!


The wedding was stunning. See snippets here and here. And here.

Want to learn calligraphy? Take my online class! Learn with videos, images, text and personal coaching (like real comments from real professionals). Purchase the pointed pen kit right here.


How to Make A Stamp With Silhouette Mint

CHECK OUT my instagram for details on how to win your very own Mint™ machine!

I’ve had my Silhouette Mint for a little bit now and I’m crazy in love with how quickly and accurately I can make a stamp. The below stamp design took under 20 minutes from design to stamp. The bulk of the time was spent waiting for the ink to dry so I could scan it in.


This new-fangled miracle-worker should be on every calligrapher/designer’s list this year. It’s not terribly expensive and it cuts a lot of time out of the stamp-making process.

The stamp itself is a different technology than traditional rubber stamps. It creates a recessed area where the ink holds. Because of this, you can create super-fine hairlines and still get a great impression! You’re “limited” to 7 standard sheet sizes with the stamps, but they cover just about every range, it doesn’t feel like a limitation at all.


See below for a step-by-step video on how to make your custom design into a stamp.

Use code: MELISSA for an exclusive discount on the Silhouette Mint for amazing Black Friday deals. I get an affiliate fee on each purchase made with the discount at It helps fuel the content over here. I honestly wouldn’t be hocking Silhouette’s products if I wasn’t absolutely obsessed. I hope you like this fancy gadget as much as I do! Deals start at 12:01am MST on Thursday, November 26!

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*Deals end December 4th. Free Shipping applies to Contiguous United States. For 20% off subscriptions, use code BLACK.


Right-click on the image above to download for your own Mint making!


By downloading the above material, you agree to terms of use: This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Printable: 2015 Thank You Cards

I’m so excited about this year’s Thank You Printable. Or should I say PrintableS, because I’ve teamed up with the fabulous Natalie Malan. We were in the same vender area at Pinners Conference two weeks ago when we came across this great idea. She’s amazing at watercolor florals and I can do some calligraphy, so we put our creative minds together and here we are!


The first design is a simple wreath with warmer colors. I played around with various banner ideas, but ultimately I liked the simpler text.

Each card can be printed as a postcard, double-sided (like above) or single-sided for a flat card to be mailed in an envelope.


Seriously, aren’t these florals beautiful!? Natalie sells prints in her shop and on You can also find a sweet watercolor kit (hello Christmas!) available in her shop.


The second one was screaming for an organic brush script so I played around with different styles. I chose this version of the text for the way the ascenders, descenders and flourishes play with the floral border. I like how the organic lines of the letters compliment the flourishes.


You can download one below and the other on Natalie’s Blog.


*By downloading the above material, you agree to terms of use: This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering any files is NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Check out past designs here:

TUTORIAL: DIY Ink/Paint Holder

I made this and shot pictures like 2-3 years ago. I just discovered it while cleaning up images on my desktop (which is a hot mess) and figured I would share. I’m sure it’s been done various other places, but I need to cross this off my list so here we go.


I found myself wanting small jars for mixing custom ink colors in gouache (for calligraphy, but works for any aqueous media) and then tipping them over. Constantly. We replaced the flooring in my studio not long ago because of how horribly stained it got. Also, I hate carpet.

So I made this little ink tray. You may want to, too.



Cut down your block to 12″ wide. Sand the edges so they’re smooth to the touch.


Mark out every inch along the board with a pencil. Optional: create an indent with the tip of the screw so your bit won’t slip around as you start the process.


Measure how deep you want the drill to go and tape it off. This will allow you to have consistent heights when you put your jars in the board.


Drill away! Go slowly and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area with protective glasses.


Admire your handywork!


Use the sticky tack to apply to the bottoms of your jars so they don’t move around. it also helps tilt the jars when the ink gets low.

This tutorial or freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. You may publish 1 photo along with credit back to the original post. If you would like to use this tutorial or freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Calligraphy: Fresh Living

I was on TV last week! I forgot to really talk about it, but here it is! We had a great time talking calligraphy and why it’s so nice to have the skill on-hand.


I feel like I cheated on KSL’s Studio 5 by going on Fresh Living, but I had a great time showing Debbie and Casey the ropes of the pointed brush.


Watch the segment right here. or see below: 

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