All things GOLD!

 
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Ok, so here’s the scoop, gold will NEVER go out of style. Whether it’s home decor, jewelry, or paper products, you can never go wrong with adding a little touch of gold for a classy and sophisticated look! I love all things gold and I’m here to show you THREE ways I add them to my stationery work that’s different from gold foiling -- which can be expensive and not as versatile!

  1. EMBOSSING

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Materials:
Paper
Inkakinkado Embossing Magic
Stamps + Ink Pads or Embossing Pen
Heat Gun
Embossing powder - My favorite: Princess Gold

This is basically like gold foiling but the art work is raised a bit and the process is a little messier :P . I love using the embossing technique for a quick added sparkle to DIY gift tags, or cards.

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  1. Clean the paper surface with the Inkakinkado pad. This helps remove static to avoid embossing where you don’t want it.

  2. You can use a stamp, or a special brush pen to put ink on the paper.

  3. Quickly, pour the embossing powder over the ink. The ink acts as a binder. Then shake off the excess on a piece of paper (or coffee filter to easily put the excess back in the container).

  4. Then turn on your heat tool, disperse the heat on the embossing powder (make sure you are holding the paper so that it doesn’t blow away and that your fingers are away from the heat. Don’t burn yourself!), and then watch the magic happen! As you heat up the powder, it will start to melt and then solidify back into a smooth shiny gold layer.

2. GOLD LEAF

Next, we’re getting extra fancy and romantic with adding gold gilding flakes to projects. This method adds a more loose, abstract, and modern look to your paper goods. I love using this method for place cards, wax seals, greeting cards, invitations, etc.

Materials
Nuvo Gilding Flakes
Any adhesive (my choice Sakura Quickie Glue Pen)

Steps for paper:

  1. Add adhesive where you want the gold flakes to cover.

  2. Quickly add the flakes over the paper (Tip: Use tweezers to prevent the flakes from sticking to your fingers) and gently press them. You can use your fingers, a paper towel, or a sponge to brush away the excess flakes for a rustic look.

For wax seals: Use your usual wax seal materials and process, but add the gold gilding flakes before you stamp it!

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3. GOLD CALLIGRAPHY / LETTERING

There are a variety of ways to use your lettering skills to incorporate gold. This is perfect for DIY wedding/event projects!

My go-to mediums:
Calligraphy ink: Dr. Ph Martin Copperplate Gold
Gel Pen: Gelly Roll Pen
Watercolor: Kuretake Gansai Tambi Starry Colors

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Please let me know what you’re excited to use and/or any questions you may have by commenting below!

Happy Crafting!

 
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Creating the Perfect Piece

 
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Ok, it’s story time -- A client asked me to letter a poem that was to be framed as a gift. Now this was back when I was an extreme newbie -- I excitedly whipped out my stack of quality card stock, favorite brush pen, and I went straight to work! I wrote everything out first in pencil to have the correct spacing (completely thinking that this was sufficient planning) and then I started to go over it with my brush pen. Little did I know, my spacing in between words and letters were off because of the lack of accuracy of spacing when converting pencil to brush strokes. Let’s just say that a lot of good paper was used up. Eventually, I grew weary of wasting my time and money by continuously messing up, but then I discovered the wonders of tracing paper. Tracing paper is a slightly translucent paper that allows you to see through it so that you can TRACE… hence the name ;) . I love the Strathmore 300 series Tracing Paper because it’s affordable, easily accessible at your local Michael’s, and it has a smooth surface which prevents your brush pen from fraying quickly (great for practicing your basic strokes!).

I’m going to give you behind-the-scenes look of my composition process for projects that include brush lettering quotes. I hope this helps you in your lettering journey!

Materials:
Pencil / Scratch Paper
Tracing Paper
Cardstock (for your final piece)
Lightbox (mine was a gift so I don’t know the brand, but this one looks decent!)
Brush Pen

 
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Draft 1 - Pencil, layout, Sketch

Sketch out a variety of layouts first to see what captures the look and feel of your piece best. You can play around with heights, fonts, angles, shapes, etc. When you lay it all out, pick the one that you like most and move on to step two!

 
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Draft 2 - Pencil mock-up

Now that you have your basic idea sketched out, you can draft it at the right size! I like to have my card stock below my tracing paper so I can make sure the composition fits on the page. As you sketch it out, feel free to adjust things as you go along. That’s the beauty of a pencil and a draft. :)

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Draft 3 + 4 - Ink + Make Corrections , then Repeat!

Now it’s time to see how it looks using a brush pen! Ink up your pencil draft and then take a look at your piece as a whole. Is spacing consistent? Are the rows of words lining up nicely? Mark up places where you see that adjustments are needed (spacing, thickness, shape, etc). You can make another ink rough draft by grabbing a new piece of tracing paper and tracing over it. After 1-2 times of adjustments, and when you are happy with how it looks, you can move on to the final draft!

 
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Draft 5 - Final Draft - Use a Lightbox!

A light box helps you transfer your draft onto the final piece. You can place your your final piece of cardstock on top of the tracing paper and let the light box do its thing. All you have to do, is trace! Not only does this process help you with placement, but you are able to reproduce your favorite designs over and over again perfectly (if you aren’t at the digital design phase yet)!

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Let me know if this was helpful (or if you have any other lettering questions) by commenting below or you can contact me HERE. :)

Until next time,

 
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Top 4 Brush Pen Lettering Errors & Fixes

 
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When I first started lettering, I examined my work and kept thinking to myself “Something doesn’t look right!” I couldn’t quite pin point the reasons at first, but after much thought and self-study, I realized that it came down to a few minor things that made a world of difference!

Error #1 - Rough Edges

The Fix - When I first started lettering, my hand tensed up which resulted in rough edges. The tenseness restricted my mobility and prevented me from being consistent with the pressure I put on the brush pen. If you’ve encountered the same problem, remember to relax the hand and make sure that you are writing with the forearm, not just with the hand and wrist! As you write, your arm should be moving along the paper as well, while also using the side of your hand on the stabilizer on your writing surface.

Error #2 - Messy transitions in between strokes

The Fix - You may find that your transitions from down strokes to up strokes are not clearly defined. You can fix this by gradually releasing pressure from the pen as you approach the point where you’re going to switch strokes, and then simply lift the pen to “reset” the brain before you start the next stroke! Lettering takes patience and attention to detail — don’t rush it.

 
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Error #3 - Inconsistent thickness of your down strokes

The Fix - Inconsistent thickness in your down strokes can be unappealing to the eye. Make sure that the angle at which you are holding the pen is consistent, as well as the pressure that you put on the pen as you write! Be sure to warm up with your basic strokes before a project to ensure consistency!

 
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Error #4 - In-cohesive letters

The Fix - To make your letters look aesthetically pleasing, EVERYTHING must be consistent. This means the general shape, thickness, angle, size, etc. of your strokes and letters should be the same throughout your piece. When I look at my rough drafts (done on tracing paper), I go back and circle the spots where there are inconsistencies. Then I grab another sheet of tracing paper and go over it again — fixing my mistakes.

I would love to hear your thoughts and if this was helpful to you! Let me know by commenting below!

 
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