• Triangle Fold Holiday Card Tutorial by Phyllis Macaluso

    I’m thrilled to feature calligrapher and artist Phyllis Macaluso here on the TPK blog for another creative card tutorial! Today, Phyllis will walk us through how to make a unique fold-out holiday card that opens to reveal intricate pointed pen work.

    Boughs of Holly Holiday Card Tutorial by Phyllis Macaluso

    Today’s tutorial combines calligraphy, folds, and ribbon to make an interactive and festive holiday card. Its creator, Phyllis Macaluso, explains: “I got lost in the creative process with this project because it is one of my favorite ones to do. The possibilities are endless! This concept comes from my love of Japanese chiyo papers and the many different folds I learned in that chapter of my life.” Today, Phyllis will show us how to make this perfect folded triangle that opens up to reveal a beautiful burst of festive calligraphy!

    1. Make the Inside of Your Holiday Card

    To make this creative folded holiday card, you’ll start with a piece of text weight white paper. Cut the paper to 8.5″ x 8.5″ (216 mm x 216 mm), then draw pencil lines 2″ inward from each edge of the paper to make a square.

    Phyllis used white linen paper to make this project. 32# laserjet would work, too!

    Next, make pencil guidelines for your greeting. Phyllis decided to make her guidelines in a cross configuration, but you can customize the guidelines’ positioning to suit your own style!

    Use the pencil guidelines that you just drew to make calligraphy and little boughs of holly. (For a guide to drawing holly, see Phyllis’s Boughs of Holly Holiday Card Handout.) Phyllis advises that an easy ‘recipe’ for a balanced composition — like boughs of holly — is to remember the simple rule of “Large, Medium, Small”. For example, most clusters of holly should feature a large leaf, a medium leaf, and a couple of small leaves and berries. A variety of sizes adds contrast and interest to your work!

    Phyllis used red gouache and gold ink for this step.

    In the remaining spaces in between the elements you just drew, use your pointed pen to draw pine boughs in the remaining negative space. Metallic watercolors and a dip pen work beautifully for this! Try to use two contrasting shades of green (one light, one dark) to create short, fine line strokes in a variety of lengths. These strokes imitate pine needles.

    Refer to the Boughs of Holly Holiday Card Handout for helpful visual instructions over how to draw pine branches. If you don’t have green metallic watercolor, try using green gouache. You can mix in some white to make a light green tone!

    2. Fold the Inside Card

    When all the lettering and embellishing for the inside of the card is done, you are ready to fold your triangle card. Begin by folding the paper in half the long way, “hot dog” style. Press the crease with a bone folder. Then fold the paper in half again to form the shape of a small square. Again, press the crease with a bone folder. Repeat this step by folding the paper from corner to corner so you have eight folds. Use scissors to cut along one of the corner folds, stopping at the center.

    Your card should look like a square shape with a series of folded triangles separated in one corner by a cut.

    Finally, fold the creased triangles into accordion folds until all triangles are neatly nested into one pyramid shape. The inside of your card is now complete.

    3. Make the Outside of Your Holiday Card

    To make front and back covers for your card, trace and cut out two triangles of cardstock, one for the front and one for the back of the card, in the same or contrasting colors. (You can find the templates to trace around in the Boughs of Holly Holiday Card Handout.) Embellish the triangles with flourishing. Then, with your folded card open and the lettered/embellished side face up, position the card so the cut side is closest to you. Run and adhere one long piece of ribbon across the mid-upper side of the two triangles you just cut.

    The ribbon will run across the cut, and this will help hold the folds together.

    Now, apply glue to one side of your prepared covers, and place the covers onto the ribboned triangles. With loose ribbon exiting out of both left and right sides of the card, refold the card again, back into its pyramid shape, and bring the two ribbons together,  tying them into a bow.

    When your recipient opens the ribbon, s/he will first see something like this …

    And then the card will unfold into this beautiful surprise:

    4. Enjoy and Make More!

    Phyllis’ fold out holiday cards are simple to make, so I encourage you to create a few! They’re fabulous for sending off to friends to use as artistic holiday tree ornaments.

    Note that if you want to skip making a front and back cover, you can. Just follow steps one and two to make something like this out of cardstock:

    Boughs of Holly Holiday Card Tutorial by Phyllis Macaluso
    This card is 8.5″ x 8.5″ (216 mm x 216 mm).

    Then, fold the card up and create calligraphy on the folded sections that now serve as the front and back covers.

    Boughs of Holly Tutorial (Closed)

    I hope that you enjoyed this simple but lovely tutorial! You can click here to see Phyllis’ other TPK tutorials. Don’t forget to download the Boughs of Holly Holiday Card Handout if you plan to try out this concept! You’ll find it to be super helpful with its templates, drawing guides, and ideas for making the project even more festive. Note that this card concept will make an appearance in Issue 9 of Calligraphy Crush Magazine, so we are enjoying the treat of a sneak preview on the TPK blog today.

    Phyllis had a lot of fun coming up with different color schemes and motifs for this folded holiday card concept!

    As always, thanks so much to Phyllis for sharing her creativity and ideas. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to her on Instagram for clarification (@fpmmac), or you can comment on this post and I’ll do my best to answer! Happy holidays, and enjoy your weekend!


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