Introduction: Fabulous Calligraphy

In this Instructable, we'll be making elaborately decorated letters in an hour or less! Minimal artistic talent is required, as long as you're willing to compensate with patience. Entertain yourself during a dry presentation, decorate your journal, or add some bling to the next letter you send. Whatever it is, everyone could use some calligraphy in their lives!

Lets make an entire alphabet! This is going to be FABULOUS!


    The supplies for this project are pretty easy. You will need:

    • Gel Pen: Unless you want to try to make a large letter with a marker, a gel pen will give you the most polished look. Any color you like!
    • Pencil and eraser
    • Paper
    • Possibly a ruler: I don’t use a ruler when I draw these, but you might need one if you’re a bit uptight or just can’t draw straight :).
    • 1 hour

    Step 1: Summary for the Impatient

    If you’re like me and can’t be bothered to read more than three words, here’s a visual summary. Good luck!

    Step 2: Draw a Nice Square Letter

    Draw a nice square letter with your pencil, or if you’re drawing a word sketch the entire thing out. Keep it light so you can easily erase it later. If the letter is smaller than 3 inches tall, you're going to have a lot of trouble. If it's bigger than 6 inches tall, you might consider using a marker instead of a pen in Step 9: Ink.

    This step is pretty self-explanatory. Just make sure you have a nice letter at the beginning or everything else is for naught!

    Step 3: Sketch the Main Shape Outlines

    Sketch the OUTLINES of the main shapes to use in your letter over the basic letter you created in the last step. I’ve provided a library of possible shapes to use, or you can invent your own. Don’t worry if the shapes overlap or don’t have all the details yet; we’ll worry about that later.

    Some things to think about while you complete this step:

    • Try to pick at least three shapes.
    • Add a shape with bold lines and one with skinny lines. Variety looks nice.
    • Once you think you’re done with this step, look at the outline from across the room. Is your letter proportioned oddly?
    • Don’t be afraid to re-do it.

    Step 4: Add Smaller Shape Outlines

    Add some shapes at corners and intersections. (Just sketch in the outlines for now.)

    Find the corners and intersections on your letter, and then add some additional, smaller shapes to those areas. I’ve provided a new shape library. Like the last step, don’t worry if its not perfect yet. Make sure the letter is still proportioned how you want it.

    Step 5: Add Spaces

    Time to add spaces between each shape. Basically, we want a little bit of white space around each shape in your letter. If your letter is about 3 inches high, the spaces should be about 2 millimeters wide. If your letter is larger, you can use the formula 2*[your letter height]/3 to get your width in millimeters. Or you could just eyeball it.

    In my opinion, it looks nice if you make the edges of the shapes very slightly curved.

    Step 6: Erase Extra Lines

    Easy enough!

    If you draw really darkly you might consider erasing the important lines a little bit too.

    Step 7: Fill in the Details

    Next, fill in the details of the basic shapes your using in your letter.

    Step 8: Flourishes

    Finally, the fun part! Add flourishes to the corners of you letter, and along the edges. As usually, I’ve provided a library for inspiration.

    Step 9: Ink

    Ink it and erase the remaining lines. Your letter should have some bold lines and filled in shapes along with skinny lines. If it doesn’t, add them.

    Finished! How fabulous!

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