• “Joy” Elegant Gold Christmas Card Tutorial

    Today’s fabulous Christmas card tutorial combines black cardstock and gold watercolor to produce an eye-catching “JOY” motif. Get ready to hone your hand-lettering skills!

    "Joy" Elegant Gold Christmas Card Tutorial

    Just this morning, I read a blog post that insists matte black is the “new red and green”. I’m not sure whether that’s true or not, but you can’t deny that matte black and shiny gold have a festive, magical look! In this Christmas card tutorial, we’ll harness that color combination with a simple vine motif.

    1. Prepare Your Cardstock

    First, cut a piece of black cardstock to 10″ x 7″ (254 mm x 178 mm) then fold it in half. Note that almost any black cardstock will work! As long as it has a smooth surface, it’s perfect for this Christmas card tutorial.

    Black Cardstock Card
    You can use a bone folder to achieve a crisp edge.

    Next, use a white pencil and a ruler to draw two horizontal guidelines 1.25″ (~3 cm) from the top and bottom of the card. Then, draw a vertical guideline in the center of the card.

    If you enjoy working on dark-colored papers, a white pencil is a must!

    2. Make a Draft of Your Christmas Card

    Now, do your best to draw a slightly narrow circle in the middle of the card. Then, draw an oval inside that circle to make an “O”.

    Making a Christmas card
    Don’t worry if your “O” isn’t perfect! You won’t be able to tell at the end of the project — I promise.

    Once you’ve drawn the “O”, draw two rectangles about 0.5″ (13 mm) from the right and left edges of the card. Both of these rectangles should be 1.5″ (38 mm) wide.

    Making a Draft

    At this point, you can use the rectangle that you just drew to make a “J”. The biggest strokes of the “J” should be about 0.5″ (13 mm) wide.

    Writing a "J" on the Christmas Card
    If all this handlettering feels intimidating, don’t fret! You can practice making these types of Roman letters with this worksheet.

    Finish up by drawing a “Y” on right side. Most of the “Y” will be inside your vertical (rectangle) guidelines, but the serifs at the top should extend beyond the guidelines. Once you’ve drawn the “JOY” draft, moisten a pan of Arabic Gold watercolor with a bit of water.

    "Joy" Elegant Gold Christmas Card Tutorial Draft
    “Serif” refers to the little flares at the ends of letters.

    3. Add Gold

    Now, use a size 2-ish paintbrush to mix the water into your gold watercolor pan. Then, load the gold onto your favorite nib per the Creating Gold Calligraphy: How to Use the Finetec Palette tutorial. Use the gold to start drawing little flourishes, shapely leaves, and dots within your letter outlines.

    Adding Gold to the Christmas Card
    I chose to use a Brause EF66 nib and an oblique pen for this tutorial. Any pen and nib combination will work, though!

    Continue to draw leaves, vines, and dots until your “J” outline is full. Pay special attention to filling in the serifs; doing so will make the end result look more professional.

    "Joy" Elegant Gold Christmas Card Tutorial
    You’re working in a small space here, so remember to apply minimal pressure to your nib to keep strokes nice and delicate. If you feel a little iffy about flourishing, see this article.

    Once you’re finished with the “J”, use the same motif to fill in the “O”.

    "Joy" Elegant Gold Christmas Card Tutorial

    Then, move on to the “Y”.

    Filling in the "Y" of the "Joy" Card

    4. Erase and Enjoy

    After you’ve finished the “Y”, give the gold watercolor a couple of minutes to completely dry. It won’t need very long! You’ll know it’s dry if you angle the card to catch the light and you don’t see any wet spots. Once you’re satisfied that everything is dry, erase your pencil guidelines, preferably with a black eraser.

    "Joy" Elegant Gold Christmas Card Tutorial
    A black eraser works best to erase guidelines on dark-colored papers because it doesn’t leave any residue. That said, my toddler has hidden all my black erasers, so I used a regular eraser on this project and it turned out just fine!

    I hope that you enjoyed this simple Christmas card tutorial. I love its quiet elegance, and I suspect that it will look beautiful as part of your recipients’ holiday displays! I have added this tutorial to the All of TPK’s Christmas Calligraphy Tutorials + Printables list. If you’re looking for additional holiday card/project, be sure to check that out!

    Happy holidays and have a wonderful weekend!


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