• Nico Ng’s Hand-Lettered Christmas Card Tutorial

    You can make your holiday greeting cards extra eye-catching with this hand-lettered Christmas card tutorial! Today, Nico Ng makes an encore appearance to walk us through how to create impressive cards to send to family and friends. (Be sure to check out the free printables in Step 2!)

    Nico Ng's Hand Lettered Christmas Card Tutorial
    Nico prepared several free lettering layout templates for today’s hand-lettered Christmas card tutorial! Don’t skip downloading those.

    Without further ado, I’ll hand over the reins to Nico: It’s that time of year again! We’re so excited to put up our Christmas trees and decorate them with all the ornaments we’ve collected over the years, which inspired me to write this tutorial. Today, we’re going to create a 5″ x 7″ hand-lettered Christmas card with a festive theme.

    Nico Ng's Hand Lettered Christmas Card Tutorial

    Here are the materials you’ll need to make a hand-lettered Christmas card like this one:

    1. Use the Composition Ruler to Draw a Circle.

    Since our theme is Christmas, we will create our lettering in the shape of an ornament. First, open up your card. Then, center the Composition Ruler on the right side (front side) of the card. Use a mechanical pencil to make dots in the markers at the top and the bottom of the ruler to set up the paper for sketching the layouts.

    You can read my previous tutorial for instructions detailing how to set up your paper for drawing layout guides with a Composition Ruler.

    Next, mark the center by measuring 3.5 inches from the top. We’ll use the dot as a reference for drawing our circle.

    Making the Layout of a Christmas Card

    Now, using the second to the largest circular template, draw the upper part of the circle and then rotate the ruler to complete the circle.

    Making a Circle with a Composition Ruler

    Once you complete this step, the card will look like this:

    Making a Circle on a Christmas Card

    2. Pick a Quote and Sketch Layout Guides

    I have prepared six quotes with layout guides you can use for your hand-lettered Christmas card project. You can download them here. In this tutorial, I’m using the quote “Sending You Love This Christmas”, but you should feel free to pick the quote that most resonates with you!

    You can download these (free) sketch layout guides here.

    Use the Composition Ruler to easily draw your layout guides in the circle. Be sure to align the Composition Ruler to the center guide when drawing the shapes.

    Making a Lettering Layout for a Christmas Card
    You can refer to this tutorial for in-depth information on how to draw layout guides accurately.

    And we are finished with our layout guides!

    Nico Ng's Hand_Lettered Christmas Card Layout

    3. Draw the Banners

    Placing your words in a banner is a beautiful way to design your lettering. So, let me show you how to draw a nice banner to highlight your words:

    How to Draw a Banner

    Let’s make the middle word into a banner. Draw the right banner at the back first.

    How to Draw a Banner

    Then, draw the left/back banner.

    Drawing a Banner

    Connect the front and back banners by drawing smooth waves.

    Drawing a Banner

    Then, sketch the full banner, curving the corners to look smooth and flowy.

    Drawing a Banner

    4. Sketch Your Greeting

    Now, we’re going to add words to our hand-lettered Christmas card layout. You can start by drawing letter skeletons first so that it’s easier to space the letters properly inside the layout shapes.

    Making a Lettering Layout on a Christmas Card
    Tip: add a top & bottom margin to your banner to help you draw the words inside more neatly.

    Then start adding weights to the letters. I’m using the edge guide of my 5mm Letter Ruler to draw the weights of the letters consistently.

    Using the Lettering Guide
    TPK will stock these letter rulers next year! For now, you can find them here.

    Here’s a look at the word “love” in uniform thickness on our banner.

    Planning a Lettering Layout

    Next, add weights to all of the other letters. You can use the Letter Ruler’s edge guide again to draw the weights of the other letters consistently.

    Making a Lettering Layout

    5. Fill in the Negative Space in Your Hand-Lettered Greeting Card

    Before we start inking and coloring, let’s add embellishments to fill in the negative space around the lettering. You can add simple Christmas decorations to your lettering such as leaves, snow, and snowflakes. Here are some simple guides on how you might draw the decorations:


    How to Draw Leaves
    Tip: imagine a reference point at the center, and draw your leaves pointing outward from the center.


    How to Draw Snowflakes

    Now, use your pencil to sketch in the decorations filling the entire circle to form the shape of an ornament. Then, draw the ornamental cap.

    Finished Pencil Draft of Christmas Card

    6. Add Color to Your Hand-Lettered Christmas Card

    Colors are a great way to give your lettering the holiday vibe! I’ve prepared three color palettes to help you on your project:

    Color Palettes for Christmas Card

    For this tutorial, I’ve chosen to use the first color palette. To start, ink just the outlines first. (Don’t color in the entire letter before erasing. By doing that, you avoid fading when you erase the pencil guides.)

    Let’s alternate the colors of the words. Use red for the words “sending”, and “Christmas” plus the banner.

    Adding Color to the Christmas Card

    Next, color the words “you” and “this” in blue and the decorations in light blue.

    Making a Christmas Card

    Let the ink dry first to avoid smudging the ink, then erase all your pencil guides.

    Pencil Guidelines Erased on Christmas Card

    Next, color everything.

    Coloring in a Christmas Card
    Tip: place a piece of paper under your hand when coloring over your lettering to avoid smudging the ink.

    … And voilà!

    Nico Ng's Hand Lettered Christmas Card Tutorial


    I hope that you enjoyed today’s Christmas greeting card tutorial, and that it inspires you to create personalized greeting cards for your loved ones this holiday season! Don’t forget to download the freebies here for more quotes and layout guides for your Christmas card designs.

    My recommendation? Plan ahead and create a list of people that you want to send these cards to this Christmas. Then, create all of the design layouts this weekend. You can experiment with different colors and lettering styles to add more variety. Feel free to share your finished design by tagging me on Instagram @nicong.co, or write your questions or feedback in the comments below!

    Have a wonderful holiday season!

    – Nico Ng

    P.S. If you’re struggling to draw your letters nicely and correctly, check out my new “The Consistent Lettering Course” to learn and practice drawing the alphabet correctly and consistently.