Project – See-Through Letters


Well, I’m almost there, but not quite, when it comes to having the first of the products and membership levels online. I’ve been putting my poor old brain through quite the workout trying to get the new systems all figured out. But – I am almost there. So watch for good stuff coming next week!

For today – here’s a project I thought you might enjoy. Check out the video instructions here:

As always, for those seeing this by e-mail, head on over here for the post and video.

As a heads-up, I was able to complete a e-book version of my personal calligraphy journal that will be available next week, if all goes well.

I have the Intro Membership ready to go too, as well as the Calligraphy Basics Membership. I’ll also have some news about the Basic Italic course coming up, so stay tuned for next week!

Project – 1-4 Book Template

Last week I showed you how to create a 4-page booklet folded from a single sheet of paper.

A friend asked if I had a template for the page order, and so I put one together for her. Then I decided I might as well share it with all of you as well.


So here’s the template. You can download a .docx file here, or if you have an older computer, a .doc file here.

Here’s the video with some instructions for how to use this particular template.

And for those getting this by e-mail, here’s the link to the post and video.

Products coming soon…

I’ve completed the Intro Membership and the Calligraphy Basics course.

The Intro Membership is the Free membership everyone gets for signing up. Since all of you have already signed up, you will be getting this one for Free.

The Calligraphy Basics course is the foundation course with the kind of information that applies to pretty much any calligraphy alphabet you want to learn. More about that next week.

All I have left to do there is the behind-the-scenes systems that will get the memberships set up and accessible for you. I’m hoping to have that done in the next week or so. I’m excited about being able to offer these to you, because if you are interested in learning about calligraphy and how to do it well, this is a good place to start.

I’m also almost done my EGM Calligraphy Journal and hope to have it available by next week. This e-book has over 700 letters, quotes, designs, drawings and more, so if you’re looking for some calligraphy inspiration you’ll find lots here. My hope is that it will also inspire you to start your own calligraphy journal.

Watch for details next week!


Happy New Year!

Here’s to a Creative and Happy New Year to my Dancing Pen Community!

I realized late Tuesday night when I usually post and schedule my blogpost for the week that I had forgotten to get that done in all the rush of the year end and all the DPC projects I’ve been working on. Sorry about that.

Not that I wasn’t hard at work on things for you – I’ve been very busy on a number of projects that you will be seeing early in the new year! I’m excited to finally be getting these on the way – more about that soon!


I thought I would share a simple book/card project with you today. This is a four-page booklet folded from a single sheet of paper. You can use this idea with any size sheet of paper – the folds and slit will be the same. For this project I am using a sheet I created to make a Workshop Welcome booklet for my calligraphy classes. I still like the ideas in the booklet and thought they would be appropriate as we look at getting into courses and lots of learning this year. If you want to use this sheet as well, here’s the download link for the DPC Welcome Booklet.

Here’s the video instructions for you:

For those reading this by e-mail, here’s the link to the post & video.

Happy New Year!


Project – Dental Stick Pen

Sometimes it’s fun to create some of your own writing instruments. In this case – a dental stick pen!

A what? Yes – a pen made from dental sticks! Here’s a sample of what dental pen writing looks like:


Here’s the video describing how to make the pen and how to write with it:

For those getting this by e-mail, here’s the link to the post and the video.

I got my dental sticks at a local pharmacy, but if you can’t find them there, you can check for them online here and apparently you can order them online here.




Thanks to Guillermo who sent a link to a facebook page showing a photo of the same idea using regular toothpicks glued to a flat wood stick. Nice letter too! Check it out here.



Project – 2Pen 3D Letters

3D letters can add an interesting touch to a project. So today I want to show you a simple way to create 3D letters using two pens.


Here’s the video instructions:

For those getting this by e-mail, here’s the link to the post and video.

As always, please feel free to send me your samples of this project.

By the way, thanks to all of you who have commented or e-mailed about previous posts. I appreciate that and I enjoy hearing from you and learning from you. Suggestions are welcome as well – such as the one I got this past week asking what pens I was using. I will try to remember to include that kind of information from here on.


Project – Two-tone Letters


Today’s project is two-tone letters, as in the sample above. Following is the video which shows you how to do that.

For those who are getting this by e-mail, the video doesn’t seem to want to come along with the e-mail, so click here to get to the post and the video.

Enjoy! And please send me samples of your work – which I will add to this post later. (Speaking of which, check last week’s post as well for a lovely example of that project.)

PS. Just found this sample from my Calligraphy Journal:


Project – Feathered Borders

I thought this week I would share a project with you. It’s quite a simple one to do and makes a nice set of feathered borders for a line of calligraphy – especially if you are working on a long narrow piece of paper, like an accordion card or book.

So here’s the video showing you how to do this. Enjoy!

If you would like to send me pictures of your projects using this idea, I’ll add some of your images to this post later.




Here’s an example from one of the DPC subscribers who tried this project. Thanks to Kathleen Cavanaugh who lives in a rural area of southern Indiana. She often uses calligraphy to personalize handmade notecards, bookmarks, etc. Kathleen even included the instructions for how she made this, which I thought I would share in case it might be of use to others.

“I used a piece of soft pastel for the feathering, and after adding the text I scanned the page into my computer. Then used the tools in Picasa to crop, vignette, tone, and then make a collage using one of my photos for background. Finally, used another tool to add the mat and frame.”

Thanks Kathleen!

Make Your Own Graphite Transfer Paper

Here’s an easy and inexpensive way to make your own graphite transfer paper.

Start with a fairly thin but sturdy paper – like tracing paper. If you don’t have that, regular bond paper will work too.

Then, using a soft lead pencil, color in to cover the whole of one side of the sheet.

If you can get a solid graphite pencil (art supply stores carry them), or even a solid graphite pencil from the hardware store, you can cover the page a whole lot faster and easier.

Now use a tissue or paper towel to gently rub the graphite into the paper.

You could use the sheet this way, but it probably will have a tendancy to rub off quite easily.

So moisten a tissue or paper towel with rubber cement thinner and rub it over the graphite – use enough to get it all coated with the thinner. This will help to keep the graphite from rubbing off as easily where you don’t want it, but will still transfer well when you use a pen or pencil to trace your pattern.

Sometimes if I just have a small bit of writing or design to transfer, I’ll just scribble over the back of the pattern page with a soft pencil and then use that as a transfer sheet and pattern all in one. Saves having to fuss with a separate transfer sheet.

If you’re working on dark paper, then graphite may not show up well. In that case, try making a transfer sheet by using white or light-colored chalk instead of the graphite.


How to Transfer Designs & Patterns

When you’re creating special works of calligraphy, it can be a good idea to do a rough draft first to make sure you’ve got your design, spacing – and spelling – correct.

But then once you’ve got the rough draft ready, how do you transfer designs to your good copy?

If your paper is thin enough, the best solution is to use a light table.

But what if your surface is too thick for light to shine through?

Well, then you use a transfer sheet.

The kind of transfer sheet you use depends on the project. If the paper or surface is light, then a graphite transfer sheet can be used. (Click here for instructions on making your own Graphite Paper.)

If you’re working with a darker surface then you may need a white or lighter color transfer paper.

It would probably be a good idea to test out your transfer paper on a bit of the good paper. Draw a line or two through the transfer paper, and then check to see if the line can be easily erased later on the good paper when your calligraphy/art is finished.

Lay your good paper on a smooth surface, then cover with the transfer/graphite paper. Then carefully position your rough draft over the transfer paper.

To make sure the papers don’t move on you in the process, it’s a good idea to connect them in some way. If the edges are all even, and they won’t get in your way, you could use paper clips.

But my favorite is to use strips of post-it tape on both the transfer paper and the rough draft. I usually only put that at the top or along one side – but with enough strips to make sure it will hold well. That way you can lift the bottom or the other side edge now and again to make sure the design is transferring as needed, and that you haven’t missed something. If the paper is slippery or perhaps rather large, then I’ll sometimes add a strip or two on the bottom or opposite side just to make sure nothing moves. It’s easy enough to peel those strips back to check on things.

Then use a sharp pencil or ballpoint pen to transfer the design. Take care not to press too hard or you run the risk of creating slight grooves in the good paper and that could cause some problems.

I’ve used this method frequently when I’ve needed to do calligraphy on picture matting or other thick papers that wouldn’t work on a light table.


Scoring & Folding

There are times when your calligraphy projects need to have folds made in them – ie, cards, boxes, envelopes, etc. That’s when scoring & folding come in handy.

One of the best ways to make a fold is to score the paper first. It gives a nice clean fold and you don’t have to worry about the fold going crooked on you.

There are a couple of tools that come in very handy for this.

My favorite by far is a knitting needle. I get the ones that you can knit with from both ends. I buy them for cheap by the handful at garage sales and thrift stores.

Look for ones that have a nice smooth tip so that it will glide well on the paper, but not too thin or too rounded a tip.

(The knitting needle also comes in very handy when you need just a tiny dab of glue in a hard to reach spot. Or when you’re trying to get at thick glue in the bottom of a glue bottle.)

Another tool that can be used is a bone folder. If you get one with a pointed tip, that can also be used for scoring. And of course it is also used to create nice sharp folds in your paper.

When you go to score your paper, mark your scoring line and then use a ruler to run your scoring tool along the line.

Or, if you’re lucky and have a paper cutter like I have with slight indentations on the measuring lines, just lay your paper on that and run the scoring tool carefully down the line.