Hi everyone, I'm Marie from Maiden September! I’m a hand-letterer who specializes in pointed pen calligraphy. Like with many of us, I first learned modern calligraphy through Peggy’s book The Ultimate Guide to Brush Lettering. It's so weird AND rewarding when life comes full circle like that.
While most of my client work is focused on wedding details like envelope addressing, place cards, escort tiles, and day-of signage, I still love to WOW my friends and family by using my calligraphy skills to personalize their gifts. There really is nothing better than making people feel special on a big day.
Lately, I’ve been super into hand-lettered wrapping paper. I use it to wrap boxes, bottles of wine, and even bouquets of flowers. If you’ve been looking for a fun way to add some flair to your gift-giving, then you've come to the right place. Let’s get started!
I personally find it’s easier to write on brown kraft paper with a chalk/paint pen versus a dip pen or a brush pen. If you have smoother paper, then, by all means, a brush pen or pointed pen can easily be used.
Just like you would with normal wrapping paper, cut out the amount of kraft paper you will need in order to wrap your gift. In my example, I am wrapping a bottle of wine, so I am cutting a rectangle piece of paper that’s larger than the length of my bottle when positioned diagonally.
Pro Tip: Make sure you flip it over to the side you want to write on!
Take your pencil and ruler and start measuring line heights. Choose your line-height by how big you plan to write (I chose 2” lines). A piece of advice: if it’s a big sheet of paper, you may want to write larger letters to avoid fatigue (or else you’ll be here all night!). However, if you’re wrapping a smaller item, then use smaller text so it’s easier to read once wrapped.
When you know what size lines you’d like to make, take your pencil and make a horizontal tick mark at the edge of the paper (see red lines on the above photo).
Your lines don’t have to be perfect widths apart, but you do want to be sure to leave yourself enough space between each line so the lettering is easily legible.
If you’re using a ruler, move your ruler to the edge of your left tick mark and align it to the right edge of your paper (see red line in the above photo for reference).
Alternatively, you can use a laser level instead of making lines on the paper if you’re worried about eraser marks. In which case, just make the tick marks and proceed to step three. Of course, if you’re some kind of calligraphy savant, you can go sans ruler and laser level, and just eyeball it. In which case, I bow to you in admiration!
I prefer to write diagonally on wrapping paper because I think it gives a nice contrast once wrapped, but you could do horizontal lines if you prefer!
Repeat this for each line until you reach the end of your paper.
If you’re using a laser level, go ahead and adjust it between your first set of tick marks. If you drew guidelines, no need to use the laser level unless it’s hard to read your lines.
Next, grab your tool of choice (chalk pen, paint pen, brush pen, or dip pen) and start lettering! For my example, I’m writing “gracias merci Grazie thanks.”
Pro Tip: If you want the words to look continuous, place a piece of scrap paper underneath, and continue to write off of your wrapping paper. Continue the word from the next line.
Once you’re done, let it dry for a bit before you wrap your gift. And if you made pencil lines, be sure to erase them.
*Cat paw not necessary, but strongly encouraged 😹
If you’re wrapping a wine bottle like I am, wrap it so the words read horizontal, not vertical like in the photo above.
Et voila! Gift-giving just got a little more fun, and way more personal!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial -- if you end up making your own hand-lettered wrapping paper, be sure to tag me in your photo, @MaidenSeptember, so I can see your amazing work! Happy lettering everyone!
Hi, I’m Marie - Wifey, fur mom to five, taco enthusiast, eternal goofball, and rabid idealist. I’m also the calligrapher and owner of Maiden September, and I am obsessed with helping my clients achieve the wedding, event, or spacial aesthetic of their dreams through hand-lettering. Calligraphy is so highly personalized and customizable, and I love that I can use my skills to help my clients put their unique, personal touch on their event or space.
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