As someone who teaches calligraphy, I’m constantly thinking about uses for it. I ask myself, “Why is calligraphy a practical skill, and what dip pen projects can a person incorporate into their everyday life”? While some people might enjoy monetizing their passion for the dip pen, the vast majority of writers can and should use their skills for making their own lives — and the lives of people around them — better! For today’s article, I’ve come up with seven (mostly) altruistic uses for calligraphy.
1. Send More Love Letters
“More Love Letters” is an organization that connects encouragement to those who need it! Every month, the website puts out letter requests. These letter requests tell you a little bit about the person you’re writing to and what they’re going through. You write kind words, put them in a lovely envelope, and send.
Every once in a while, More Love Letters will post about letter reactions. Recipients are always super grateful for their letters, and the letters have helped to lift several people out of funks! If you ever find yourself with some spare time, making a More Love Letters bundle is a worthy cause to participate in.
2. Make Fantastic Gift Presentations
If you have the time, you can make your own wrapping paper! Just grab some kraft paper and some white paint (or a brush pen), à la this blog post. If you don’t have time to customize the wrapping paper — and many of us don’t — you can always just use commercial wrapping paper, then rely on your calligraphy to make an incredible gift tag.
A polished gift presentation is an excellent way to show someone that you care about them. A thoughtful and bespoke wrapping job says that not only did you invest energy in choosing a gift, but you also decided to up the anticipation factor by making the gift beautiful!
3. Brighten a Random Person’s Day
I’m sure that every once in a while, you find yourself in a situation where you have to send something not-so-fun to an entity. Maybe it’s your water bill, a rent check, or just a form. No matter what it is, the people who work on the other end are used to receiving plain envelopes. Punctuate their day by using calligraphy to make an envelope that’s something special!
If you’re afraid that using calligraphy will lower the odds of delivery, just follow these three tips. First, make sure the zip code is *crystal clear* so the postal machine can easily read it! Second, if you’re US-based, write your return address in the upper left corner. Finally, try your best to keep the calligraphy neat and legible. For more information on sending envelopes that reach their destination, check out this post.
4. Use Calligraphy to Make Your Own Life Happier
As I wrote in A (Happy) Case for Learning Calligraphy, taking on a new challenge — dip pen in hand — can help you to feel happy and fulfilled. As people, we love learning new things and meeting goals. The nice thing about calligraphy is it always presents a challenge! No matter what, you have to figure out how to form letters legibly on a particular surface within certain space parameters. When you successfully achieve that, it’s an amazing feeling!
As you write, remember that you’re learning calligraphy to give yourself joy. You don’t need to aspire to be a master penman or churn out perfect work! As long as you take pleasure in the process, that’s absolutely what counts.
5. Make Ordinary Things Extraordinary
Everything from to-do lists to recipes can benefit from beautiful calligraphy! Next time someone asks you to write out a recipe for them or you have a list to make, use your calligraphy skills to get the job done. You’ll gain some great practice, plus you’ll generate something that’s pleasing to the eye!
6. Make Art for Your Home
Words are powerful, and displaying words that mean something to you can help to boost your home’s hygge factor! There are three main calligraphy art tutorials on the TPK website: Calligraphy Artwork Tutorial: Woman’s Silhouette, Calligraphy Ampersand Art Tutorial, and How to Make Calligraphy Quote Art. Working through any three of these tutorials can result in a piece that makes you happy to give as a gift or put up in your own home!
As an example, the artwork above this paragraph is on display in my bathroom. I love it because of its pleasing form and the words used to make that form! The words come from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which takes me back to the Shakespeare course I took when I was in college. I absolutely loved that class and its quirky instructor!
7. Give the Ultimate Wedding Gift
Wedding calligraphers and invitation designers are expensive — and for good reason! It takes a lot of work and coordination to come up with a professional wedding suite. That’s why, for my exceptionally close friends, I offer to calligraph wedding envelopes and/or design invitations as a wedding gift. They pay for the materials, and I take care of the rest!
Think that your skill level isn’t up to this task? You really might surprise yourself! There are a few tutorials on the TPK site that can help you to make something impressive, including:
- DIY Fabric Invitations Tutorial
- The Ultimate DIY Wedding Invitations Roadmap
- How to Create an Illustrated Watercolor Map
If you are a TPK blog reader, I’m sure that you already have an interest in honing your calligraphy skills (no need for further convincing). Still, though, I think that it’s important to stop every once in a while and reflect on *why* we create calligraphy! In this age of computer-generated text, calligraphy is more relevant than ever and the perfect way to help something stand out.
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your week!