Christmas Calligraphy 3: Enhancing Cards

Making a gift more special

 By Pam Kessler

calligraphy-3-1There is nothing nicer than giving a gift to someone you love, and when you have made the gift, it is even more special. Grandparents treasure the artwork of their young family members and that doesn’t change, as the children grow older.

I believe homemade, thoughtful gifts will always win out over bought, and commercially produced presents.

Adding calligraphy to a gift is a way in which you can enhance your work.

This freeform calligraphy can be done by everyone and requires no exceptional skill other than patience, care and love.

The illustrations show three different ways that you can present the same idea using a photograph, an original drawing, and an original watercolour.

If you would like to use this idea to enhance your Christmas gifts, the directions can be found below.

Enhancing your gift with calligraphy

Materials Needed

  • photo and/or original artwork
  • card and backing paper
  • double-sided tape and coloured pencils
  • silver and gold Hybrid Gel Grip pens
  • Staedtler black 0.5 pigment liner
  • HB pencil, ruler, frame.

Handy hint – decide on your frame size first, choose a standard size, so you can easily frame your own work, and you can cut your card and backing paper to fit.

A photograph


  1. calligraphy-3-2Photo: Choose a photo to give as a gift. I chose Kapiti Island.
  2. Card: Choose a coloured card that complements your photo. Cut the card so just a small border shows around the photo. Use double-sided tape to attach the photo to the card.
  3. Google search: I researched the historical, geographical and bird life of Kapiti Island through the information on Wikipedia.
  4. Print: I printed out the information and highlighted the areas of text that I would copy.
  5. Lines: I ruled light lines on my grey backing paper.
  6. Pens and pencils: I chose four different pens and pencils with which to copy the information: a sharp black coloured pencil, a silver Hybrid Gel Grip pen, an HB pencil and a Staedtler black 0.5 pigment liner.
  7. Practice: Do several lines of your own writing style on a sheet of rough paper. Practice writing smoothly, run the words together, and alternate the pens and pencils so you build up a pattern through your writing.
  8. Background: Copy the information from the Wikipedia printout onto the narrow lines of your backing paper, remembering to change pens and pencils every line or so.
  9. Attach: To assemble your work use double sided tape to attach the photo and card onto the background.
  10. Frame: Add another heavy card behind your background to provide a solid base before you frame your work. Congratulations! Your gift is ready for giving.

To enhance the presentation of an original drawing and an original watercolour


calligraphy-3-3After I had chosen my artwork I followed the same steps as described for the photo, however I did change three aspects as explained below.

Google search: I researched feathers and butterflies for my background calligraphy, choosing the information I wanted for my scripts, from Wikipedia.

Mounting the artwork: I used squares of foam padded, double-sided tape, to attach the card backed artwork to the calligraphy background. By using squares of foam padded double-sided tape, placed in the four corners and the centre, I raised the artwork out from the background, which gives the work a slight 3D effect.

Framing the artwork: I used frames that have an extra inside ‘collar’ that prevents the glass from touching the artwork. This extra space allows for the thicker padded tape and thus the 3D effect is created.


Merry Christmas wishes,