Last year I got contacted, via Instagram, by a lovely bride-to-be called Kate, to ask whether I would be able to hand-letter some envelopes for her wedding invitations; of course I said ‘yes’. Fast forward several weeks and Kate asked me if I would take on some more bespoke work for her special day and I jumped at the chance to do something a little bit different to the norm.
I wanted to showcase the pieces I worked on here so that you guys see that sometimes you can get some unique details for your wedding day or event, using really accessible, and affordable items! If you are creative and enjoy lettering then you can definitely give these things a go to keep your budget down, but if you would like to chat to me about a quote for something unique for your special day just get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or click right here!
W O O D E N P A L L E T | O R D E R O F T H E D A Y
It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a splintery old pallet! Don’t be put off by working with something like an old pallet or piece of wood because, given a little bit of work it can come up really nice…
The first thing I did was to give the pallet a good old brush down, using an old dust pan brush, to get rid of any dirt, dust and general ‘stuff’ you find on a pallet! I then sanded it down using three different grades of sand paper;I did this by hand as I didn’t have an electric sander, but it honestly didn’t take too long, you just have to be willing to give it some good old fashioned elbow grease! You will be surprised at at the difference it makes, especially when you use a few different grades of sand paper, the splinters melted away and the pallet was left super smooth.
The next step was to prime it and paint it white, which took a good three to four coats as the wood kind of drinks up the paint initially, but I think it looked great afterwards!
The most challenging part is getting the lettering central on something that is naturally very uneven to start with! I found that the easiest thing to do was to cut a length of scrap paper to fit (roughly) to one of the panels and then, having folded it in half to ensure the lettering was central, I sketched out the wording to give myself an idea of the ‘fit’ of each word. I then used masking tape to hang the mock up above the panel I was going to write on and then copied what I had sketched out.
That all sounds mighty complicated now that I type it out, but it really wasn’t at all! It made sense and also meant that I wasn’t trying to guess my way through the process and have to paint more white over mistakes. I then went over my pencil lettering with the navy blue acrylic paint that you see in the pictures!
I think the pallet came out really lovely and makes a beautifully rustic center piece for guests to see as they come into the reception. What do you think?
P E B B L E S | G U E S T P L A C E N A M E S
These little place names are such a cute little take-home / keep-sake for your guests and are something you could do at home if you had some time and some patience to get the lettering right (they are awkward to letter but worth the perseverance!).
Make sure you wash them in soapy water and rinse them off before starting any lettering or the paint is likely to flake away. If possible use a soft white pencil to sketch the name and the a white acrylic as a base if you are using a colour. With Kate’s pebbles we chose to do a mixture of white and navy. The white ones took about four to five coats to stand out and to make sure the navy ‘popped’ I gave each pebble two coasts of white first and a following two or three of navy. If you go straight in with the darker colour you will find that it is very dull and hard to see, so take the time and effort to put the white coat/s on first!
After painting the names and allowing plenty of drying time I popped on a matte varnish to both sides of the pebble and allowed several more hours of drying time. If you are making these for yourself I would recommend that you wrap each pebble in a small piece of tissue paper when moving them about so that you make 100% sure that they don’t chip, or all your hard work will have been wasted!
H A N D - P A I N T E D T A B L E P L A N
A hand-lettered table plan is a scary project; it allows for zero mistakes, literally none! If you are going to take this on yourself then your best friend is a pencil and eraser! Start by buying a thick piece of card, some mount board and some strong glue. Get the card stuck on the mount board first and cut to size (if it isn’t already the same), I recommend leaving some heavy books all over the board to ensure it is evenly stuck down, but make sure you protect the surface with a cloth first of course!
Your next job is the hardest part: measuring the plan. Get a ruler and your maths head on and get your guidelines drawn; allow for some ‘impact’ text, such as the bride and grooms names being larger and decide on the layout and where any additional illustrations or details may need to go. Find the centre point and work out from there, don’t forget to allow for space between things! Then get writing in pencil first before going over the top in your chosen paint or ink, erasing the pencil lines after several hours to avoid the risk of smudging (tip: choose a good quality, soft rubber to make sure that it doesn’t drag and tear the board).
I also painted these little boats, which Kate and her husband had cut for them by a friend of theirs, to look like the ferry that he works on! I felt like a little Christmas Elf in a workshop as I painted these! I gave them a few coats of white paint, before adding the colours and finally the table names and a couple of coats of matte varnish. I think these ended up looking really cute don’t you?
There you have it guys, if you fancy having a go at some lettering or jazzing up a pallet for your big day then I hope my tips help you out! If you would like to work with me then just get in touch and let’s chat; I can quote you for anything you are thinking of once we have worked out some details.
Here is what Kate had to say about working with me:
‘I initially asked Lucy simply to address the envelopes for our wedding invitations, after seeing her work on Instagram. Her lettering was so beautiful - we had lots of lovely comments about the envelopes - that I decided to go the whole hog and asked her to hand letter all our table name decorations, table plan, order of the day pallet and place settings. Her amazing calligraphy really unified the whole room and provided our 'theme' if you like. Guests noticed that it was the same lettering as they had on their initial invites and were suitably impressed! The pebbles we chose in lieu of traditional place name cards looked stunning after Lucy washed, varnished, painted and re-varnished them. The table plan and pallet were equally striking. Her piece de resistance was some wooden ferries which she painstakingly painted - with numerous coats - to look exactly like the ferry my husband and I met on. I cannot recommend Lucy's services highly enough. She was lovely, efficient and professional and her prices were incredibly reasonable, considering the amount of labour intensive work we gave her - sanding a pallet, then giving it three coats of white paint before she could even begin her beautiful calligraphy. Thank you Lucy, thank you, thank you, thank you!’
For more words about working with me from lovely clients check out my ‘what people say’ tab!