When 99% of people think “Halloween”, they think costumes and candy. Admittedly, neither of those are bad things, but Halloween can also mean artistic opportunity! Halloween is spooky and full of inspiration material (ghosts, black cats, witches, spiders, etc.), which is why I love sending DIY Halloween stationery to commemorate the holiday. Am I jumping the gun? Eh, maybe … but yesterday when I went to the grocery store, I saw all sorts of Halloween things, so I thought I’d jump on the spooky bandwagon, too.
1. Verbose Skull Card Tutorial
This little guy, while creepy, has undeniable charm. The skull is comprised of small calligraphed words taken from spooky or Halloween literature that come together to make a picture. To begin, use a bright window or light box and a pencil to trace a skull outline onto an A7 white card. (You can download a skull outline here.)
Next, identify a piece of literature or text that you would like to use to make your skull. I chose Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Pick out a particularly Halloween-like paragraph, and start writing it along the top of the skull as pictured below.
Work your way around the skull until you have created a full outline.
Continue writing your words on the eyes. It’s okay if your words start to get a little disorganized or difficult to read; the point is for people to be able to identify a word here and there, not read the story cohesively.
Once the eyes are finished, move on to the nose. The top of the nose is narrow, so you’ll probably have to use a few hyphens!
After the nose is finished, write along the top of the upper teeth. Try to make your words go up and down with the top teeth guidelines!
The bottom teeth are a little easier since there’s less up-and-down!
For the individual teeth, I always switch to a smaller nib (a crow quill, actually) to make life easier, but you can certainly continue using the same pen. I find it’s easiest to write in the vertical teeth lines first …
… Then cross them with words representing the horizontal teeth lines.
Once you’re at this point, wait a few minutes for your ink to dry. (I used walnut ink, so my drying time was very short!) When the ink is completely dry, go over the pencil guidelines with an eraser.
Write in some nice calligraphy under the skull (I used Kaitlin Style), and you’re finished!
To complete the Halloween stationery package, you might consider adding a calligraphed envelope that is as unique as the skull. I used Kaitlin style calligraphy, orange gouache, and a chocolate envelope to give my card the perfect vessel in which to reach its destination!
I have only shown you one way to work with this skull concept; please feel free to work with it however you want to and add your own artistic touches! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen this version of the skull card yesterday:
To create it, I used Noodler’s black ink. Well, turns out that when you try and erase Noodler’s, it smudges like crazy on certain surfaces no matter how long you wait! At first I was devastated, and then I realized the effect was kind of cool. When I spattered orange watercolor over it, I loved the effect even more! Moral of story: this skull concept looks great no matter what you do to it, so go ahead and be creative!
2. Haunting Quote with Illustrated Frame
This concept is great for cards, but it can also be used as artwork to frame and make part of your Halloween display (put it by the candy bowl!). To create it, start by cutting a black piece of card stock to the size of your choice; mine is 5″x7″. Next, use a soapstone pencil to free-hand draw an oval.
You don’t have to follow the illustrated border steps exactly; I’m just going to show you what I did, and if you like it, you can use it on your own project. If not, you can always do your own thing using Halloween/spooky subjects like black cats, bats, cauldrons, etc.
First, I used Winsor & Newton white calligraphy ink to draw a spider whose bottom two legs end in flourishes.
Next, I added to the existing flourishes, drew two bats on either side of the spider, and made rudimentary spiders hanging from a thread.
I finished up the border with more flourishes and a cracked tombstone.
Once you’ve drawn a border, you’ll want to complement it with a calligraphed quote. I think the quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (“By the pricking of my thumbs …”) is delightfully chilling, so that’s what I chose to write. (Shakepeare has a plethora of quotes like this, by the way; you can find them by clicking here.)
Once you’ve finished calligraphing your quote, erase — preferably using a black eraser — and you’re finished! I used the “Long” Kaitlin Variation calligraphy style, but you can use whichever style best suits your quote. For example, Amy Style would bring some lightness to a somber quote, and Janet Style would add elegance.
3. Witch-ed Awesome Printable Envelope
I originally posted this envelope featuring a witch with her cauldron on the TPK blog back in 2013. Recently, I revisited the post and realized she needed a little bit of TLC. So, I cleaned up the illustration, and she’s all refurbished and ready to go! To get started making this fun piece of Halloween stationery, you first need to print out the envelope template. You can obtain it — for free, of course — by clicking here. As you can see, I printed out the template on orange card stock, but of course the paper you print on is your choice.
Next, cut out the envelope template on the faint guidelines.
Once your template is cut out, fold in all the flaps. I like to use a ruler to ensure straight folds!
It’s not a bad idea to go over your folds with a bone folder; this ensures that your folds are nice and crisp.
Once you have made all the folds, glue the two flaps on the side to the bottom flap. I like to trace around my side flaps in pencil so I know exactly where to glue.
You can either glue the top flap shut with regular glue, or use DIY moisten-to-seal envelope glue. Once you write the recipient’s address on the envelope, you’re finished! I used Janet Style calligraphy with some shadows here, but any other calligraphy style or hand-lettering would look just as good!
Remember, you don’t have to print this template out on orange card stock. I’ve had great luck on all relatively light colors of paper stock; my personal favorite is kraft paper. You can also just print her out on regular white paper and color her in; this is a fun thing to do by yourself or with your kids!
I hope that you enjoyed today’s post, and that at least one of these tutorials serves you well for Halloween! If you have any questions/suggestions/general musings, feel free to leave a comment; I’m always glad to hear from you!
Thanks very much for reading, and enjoy the rest of your week. 🙂