One of my favorite ways to make a gift more special is to attach a handmade gift tag with a beautiful ribbon or cord. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a unique gift tag using the calligraphy skill of offhand flourishing. Of course you can use a regular mono-line pen if you are not a calligrapher, and this will still be a beautiful tag.
Supplies Needed for Making a Gift Tag
I am going to list the supplies you need here, and some of them will contain links on Amazon where you can purchase them directly.
- Scissors or paper cutter
- Hole Punch
- White pencil if using dark colored paper
- Hi-Polymer Eraser or Black Eraser
- Ornament Drills Worksheet, Printed
- Calligraphy Guidelines Worksheet, Printed
- Oblique Nib Holder
- Hunt 101 Nib or other nib of preference
- Ink (I used PearlEx Autumn Gold for the example.)
- Water and cloth for cleaning nib
Instructions for Creating a Handmade Gift Tag
- Cut your cardstock in a rectangle with angled edges and punch a hole. I cut mine 2.5″ x 5″, as this was the size of the leftovers from making a 5″ x 7″ fold-over card from a 12″ square piece of cardstock. With the left over strip from that I cut 4 even-sized pieces to arrive at this gift tag size. I then used a pencil to mark 1/2″ from each corner at the top and sides of the tag to give an even angled cut.
- Using your white pencil, mark the center line vertically down your gift tag for placement of the ornament. On this size gift tag, the center is 1.25″ from the edge. (If you are using light-colored paper, you can use a regular pencil.)
- Cut out an ornament from your drill sheet, place it on your gift tag, and trace around the edge. Be sure to leave enough room at the bottom if you want to add a greeting or signature. *Important*–After you trace the ornament, erase the center line from the middle of the ornament so you do not have to erase between your calligraphic lines later. I learned this the hard way.
- Line your gift tag up on your calligraphy guidelines in a way that will give you room to write your greeting or signature that is vertically centered.
- Using a ruler, lightly draw the guidelines with a white pencil. Don’t forget the diagonals if you want to be precise.
- Turn your gift tag sideways with the top of the ornament to your left, and draw the calligraphic ornament with the ink of your choice. I think it is important to note that the small parts of the ornament are done with hand movements, but when you move to the ball part of the ornament, it requires whole arm movements. I actually use a combination of whole arm movements for the large strokes, and small hand movements for the turns. This requires a bit of practice to master.
- Turn your gift tag back to a normal writing position and write the word of your choice on the guidelines you drew.
- Allow to dry, then erase your pencil lines.
- Cut a ribbon of your choice and run through the hole and tie to your package.
- Post a photo of your gift tag on Instagram and mention @kallialitheia and hashtag #kalliartdrills.
Helpful tip: Place a sheet of paper under your gift tag so your hand can glide smoothly as you flourish and not have too much friction with your work surface.
Secret Time-Saving Tip
If you practice your ornament drills on vellum or on Canson Tracing paper rather than on opaque paper, you can then actually cut out your practice drills in the shape of gift tags and layer a larger colored cardstock tag underneath for a gorgeous effect. This keeps you from needing to cut out the ornament, trace the ornament, or erase any lines. I’m all about saving time when I can!
Get Creative With Your Gift Tags
I encourage you to try different shapes for your gift tag embellishments. You can free-hand any shape and practice flourishing with your pointed pen, brush pen, or felt tip pen. There are so many possibilities! Your recipient will love receiving this special touch from you, and you will have improved your smooth-muscle control in the process.
Ornament Drills Worksheet
The ornament drills worksheet I used in this tutorial is free for you to download. Just click the free worksheets link below and subscribe to my newsletter. You will receive instructions right away for how to access the free worksheets page, and there you can download all of the drills worksheets and guidelines that are currently available. In addition, you will find out any time a new worksheet is posted!
Beginner Copperplate Calligraphy Worksheets
If you are new to calligraphy or otherwise want to practice with Copperplate calligraphy worksheets, you will love my complete set of Copperplate Worksheets that are available in my Etsy shop. Hop over there to check out what’s available!