Today’s holiday card tutorial was inspired by something I came across in a thrift store book called Make It With Paper. At nearly 30 years old, the book is a bit dated, but I found some great ideas in it! One of them is “twist outs”: paper that’s cut to twist a certain way to give a project dimension.
I decided to run with the concept to make an extra festive variation of a twist out tree! In this holiday card tutorial, you’ll find plenty of contrast, some sparkle, and calligraphy flourishes. I believe that these additions to the original idea make the card irresistible to look at (for real; I don’t plan on parting with the card I made)! Below, you’ll find the steps for making your own tasteful twist out tree card.
1. Gather Your Supplies
This holiday card tutorial doesn’t require a ton of supplies; just a few basics! The numbers correspond with the descriptions below the photo.
- 5″ x 7″ blank black card (I DIY’d mine from a piece of 100# cardstock from Michaels)
- Arabic Gold watercolor pan
- Bleed Proof White Ink
- Your favorite calligraphy pen (I used this pen) + your favorite calligraphy nib (I used a Brause EF66)
- Small-ish paintbrush (I used size 0)
- X-Acto knife
- White mechanical pencil
2. Make a Draft
Grab your white mechanical pencil and a ruler (if you have one available). Draw a vertical line down the center of the card. Then, draw two horizontal lines: one 1/2″ (13 mm) from the top of the card, and one 1/2″ (13 mm) from the bottom of the card. Then, draw two little marks: one 1/4″ (6 mm) beneath the top horizontal guideline, and one 1/4″ (6 mm) above the bottom horizontal guideline.
Now, start at where the top horizontal and the vertical guideline meet to draw half of the outline of a pine tree. The trunk on this half of the tree should stop where the bottom little mark is!
Next, draw the second half of the tree. The trunk for this half of the tree will extend all the way to the bottom horizontal guideline, but the top will only go up to the little mark below the top horizontal guideline.
Finish up by drawing lines toward the middle of the tree where the tree outline recesses on the outside. These lines should connect with each other across the tree.
3. Add White Ink
Grab your white ink and prep it with water (as per the Seven Tips for Writing White Calligraphy post). Then, use your calligraphy pen to fill in the top section of the tree with flourishes that look like a series of connected cursive “S”s.
The secret to making clean, effortless-looking “S” flourishes? Pick up your pen often! You’ll need to reload with ink a lot if you choose to use a tiny nib like the EF66.
Once you finish the branches, pause for just a second to take a break and admire your handiwork.
Now, rotate the card horizontally in order to fill in the trunk with “S” flourishes.
4. Draw Gold Stars
Now, moisten your pan of Arabic gold. Then, use your paintbrush to load ink on your dip pen in order to draw several five-point stars. These stars should surround the tree!
Make sure you vary the sizes of your stars, which will give the illusion that some are close and some are farther away.
Do not — I repeat, do not — cut along the lines that I’ve highlighted in red below. Otherwise, your tree will fall out of the card!
6. Erase + Twist
Take a small eraser (black, if you have it) and use a light touch to get rid of your white pencil guidelines. Then, carefully twist the left side of the tree behind the card and the right side of the tree toward you!
I love this holiday card tutorial for a few reasons. First, it’s got a neutral and cozy winter theme that can be displayed beyond December! The white flourishes on the tree are reminiscent of snow, and the stars represent a crisp and clear winter night. Second, I love the dimension! The motif is lovely, but add that twist, and people can’t help but take a second look.
I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned my hesitation to send this card off at the beginning of this post. I’ve got it sitting on the buffet in my living room right now, and it catches my eye every time I walk in! There’s clearly only one solution: create a few more. 😉 I hope that you enjoy this card and the process behind making it as much as I do! It’s a fun project with stellar results, and the perfect way to spend a few spare moments as we speed forward toward Christmas.
If you have any questions about this tutorial, please feel free to ask in the comments! I’m glad to help you out. Otherwise, have a great weekend, and thanks so much for reading TPK!