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How to Make Calligraphy Silhouette Holiday Cards - Lyssy Creates

Can you believe it’s less than a month to Christmas? And with the season upon us, of course, I’ve some festive tutorials for you. I’ve been working on designing Christmas cards for my pen pals, and apart from watercolour wreaths, I also wanted to try something new: festive silhouette cards!

You know, where you fill a shape with lettering. Curious? Let’s get started then!

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and purchase something, I make a small commission — but you still pay the same amount! I only put affiliate links on items I use and love.)

Things you’ll need:

festive silhouette cards

1. Create your festive shape template

I am very bad at drawing, so trying to freehand my lettering into a shape? No way! We’re taking the long way. Grab some regular paper and sketch out a festive object. Christmas trees, ornaments, Santa Claus… You want something that’s pretty much a uniquely shaped blob.

Once you’ve got that, go over it with black marker. This is your base template.

If you’d rather not draw, there are a couple of options. You could create them digitally (I’d use Illustrator) then print them out, or simply Google for silhouette images* — which is what I did.

* I’d advise not using this option if you’re creating things for sale, just to play it safe (:

festive silhouette cards

2. Draft your lettering

You’ve a few options here, but here’s my latest favourite I learnt from the amazing Amanda Arneill — tracing paper!

I taped my silhouette to my table, then put tracing paper over it and that’s it! I could draft and move things around. If you don’t have tracing paper, a light pad works great too.

Alternatively, you could have an outline as a template instead of solid black like mine, make multiple copies, and draft on those.

What to letter?

That still leaves us with the problem of what to letter. This Christmas, I wanted to create two designs — one Christian and another more ‘fun’ — so I picked my silhouettes to match.

For me, I went with lyrics from Frosty the Snowman in a the snowman silhouette, and O Holy Night in the candle silhouette. But there are plenty of festive phrases you can use! Here are some other ideas:

  • Christmas carol lyrics* e.g. Jingle Bells, Let It Snow
  • Bible verses* e.g. John 3:16 (honestly, it’s the only one I remember)
  • ‘Classic’ holiday wishes e.g. Happy Holidays, Blessed Christmas

*Again, if you’re making to sell, please use lyrics and versions of the Bible that are already in the public domain! My cards are for personal use, otherwise I won’t be using Frosty!

Working with empty spaces

I used two different styles for my cards. The first is the bouncy, loopy modern brush calligraphy. Here, you let the letters bounce so it fills up the space. And don’t forget to flourish! Flourishes are the best for filling up irregular spaces and can make your work look really fancy 😉

I’m not the best at flourishes, but Jess (@jeshypark) kindly agreed to let me share her video on flourishes with you all. Just hit play up top!

The second style I used is a variation of the lettering gift wrap tutorial I did earlier this month! I created guidelines on my tracing paper, then lettered regularly. Don’t worry about going over the template’s edges here! You just have to avoid copying anything that’s outside the silhouette in the next step!

Pst! I used pointed pen here, but you can totally use a fine Fude like the Tombow Fude Hard Tip or Kuretake Zig Cocoiro Letter Pen!

festive silhouette cards

3. Copy it on cardstock

Which brings me to creating your final copy! When you have a draft copy you really like, tape it down on your lightbox. Tape your cardstock over, and letter it!

It won’t necessarily be perfect, or even a perfect replica of your imperfect work — that’s the nature of handmade! But you’ll have one fabulous lettering silhouette card for the holiday season!

festive silhouette cards

What will your festive lettering silhouette card be of?

I personally like the snowman best, but let me know your favourite in the comments!