Ashley is a friend of my college roommate! She emailed me asking if I could do about 150 place cards for her upcoming wedding. After she sent over a few styles that she liked, we settled on an airy modern calligraphy script on kraft paper. I love how the white on kraft looks rustic, but clean.
It’s definitely wedding season — I was also in a wedding recently (my dearest friend since seventh grade), and repurposed what was left of my bouquet for these photos :)
Here are some photos, plus tips in case you want to DIY your own place cards as well!
As this was my first time doing place cards, I quickly found that I didn’t have the right tools for it. At first, I tried using my Xacto-knife to cut sheets of 8.5 x 11 kraft paper into cards, but I only got about 4 sheets in before realizing that it would take me FOREVER. Armed with coupons, I immediately went to Michael’s and purchased this paper cutter, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it has changed my life.
I found the best way to quickly churn out 150 cards was to go full-on Henry Ford mode on my stack of paper. This is significantly faster than making each card individually.
- Make ALL of your first cuts until you have a stack of 11 x 4 cards
- Make ALL of your second cuts until you have a stack of 4.25 x 5.5 cards
- Score ALL of your cards.
- Fold ALL of your cards
Note: Scoring is the act of using a dull edge to create an indent in the paper, which makes the fold more clean. The most common tool for this is a bone folder. I don’t have a bone folder, so I used an old credit card and that worked just fine for me.
It is really important to draft your names in pencil first. Names are of varying lengths and letter heights, so planning out the card in advance will ensure that it looks centered when it’s done! I like to use the Palomino Blackwing 602, as I found it to be one of my most easily erasable pencils.
Time for ink! I did my first run of names in basic script, making sure to follow my pencil marks. Because kraft paper is more coarse, I was not able to use a dip pen due to the paper fibers catching on my nib. This extra-fine Uni Posca white paint marker was perfect for the job.
Once the first pass was done, I added swells on individual letters to give my script the graceful line variation that is characteristic of modern calligraphy. You can find a full tutorial on this method over at Lindsay’s blog post, Cheating Calligraphy Tutorial!
I filled in the swells with my white marker, let the ink dry, and then gingerly erased the pencil lines with a soft kneaded eraser.
After doing a few names, you kind of get into a groove and before you know it, you’ve done 10 or more. I did these cards in small batches of about 20 or 30, usually in the evenings after I got home from work. I would put on one of my favorite podcasts and just write on — it was a great way to unwind from the day!