Picturing the perfect Thanksgiving table is easy - just think of the food! My family's table will be covered with dishes like my sister's famous mashed potatoes, maple butternut squash, my mom's stuffing (out of this world!) and of course, a glistening turkey with all the fixings. It will also have tons of calligraphy on it - in many forms - because there are so many fun and crafty DIY ways to incorporate calligraphy into the tablescape. The surrounding place settings and decorations can dress up the table, too. I'm hopeful that you find one of the five options below pertinent to your role as host or guest at dinner. Some of the options are great for hosts (such as placecards or a menu) but others serve as great gifts and expressions of gratitude. So I decided to narrow down my top 5 favorite tabletop decorations, which can easily incorporate calligraphy to make your place settings and table more customized and tailored to your guests.
Calligraphy on Pumpkins
Writing on a pumpkin is a lot harder than it looks, but if you take your time and use the right tools, a calligraphy pumpkin can be a great gift or decoration. First, I'd recommend giving your pumpkin a good scrub down. Find a bristly brush and clean it off. If you're looking to keep your pumpkin (especially outside) for a longer term, perhaps prep your pumpkin by coating it with a sealant. Another fun way to prep your pumpkin is to give it a coat of paint (any color will do!). However, I decided to leave my pumpkin au naturale orange ;)
On pretty much any pumpkin I'd recommend white ink. On this dark orange pumpkin, I used a white paint pen - white adds strong contrast and looks great. If you have a white pumpkin, you can use pretty much any color, even metallics (how cute would gold or copper look?). There are endless things to write on a pumpkin. During this time of gratitude, perhaps you could also write down things you're thankful for - you might need a lot of pumpkins for that one. Or, if you're hosting this year's feast, maybe a few little pumpkins could be labeled for your dishes and sides. I think the best use for this, however, is for gifts or decoration. A little message like this, above, would be a great way to show your thanks to any friend, colleague, or family member.
Recommended Tools: A clean pumpkin with smooth surface, Art Deco Pen in White
rustic river rocks as place cards
Not only is this an adorable idea for a place card, but it's so cost-effective! I got a bundle of about 10 rocks for about $6 at my local craft store. Smooth river rocks work best for calligraphy or paint pens. I opted for black rocks and a metallic ink for high contrast - like these black/grey river rocks and copper ink. Place the rocks on top of a napkin or plate to use as a natural-looking place card.
Materials: River rocks from Michaels, PenTouch Copper Pen (Fine Tip)
Note: Be sure to opt for river rocks because the edges are smoothed down and ideal for lettering :)
Menu on Tin slab
If you're serving dinner in courses, creating a menu or a list of the courses may be a fun way make your guests feel extra special. It also creates anticipation for the meal ahead! This menu, on a tin sheet, is pre-cut at has a cute twine hook that can be hung.
Recommended materials: tin slab from Michael's, metallic, black or white ink
Place cards on Leaves
Calligraphy leaves are one of my personal favorites - there isn't anything more autumn than a beautiful colored leaf. If carefully done, you could transform leaves from your backyard into place cards or beautiful tabletop decorations. If you're up for an inexpensive and easy DIY challenge, this is it! Go outside, grab a few leaves, and get your ink ready!
The trick is to find leaves that are dry, but not brittle. Finding freshly fallen leaves can be difficult, depending on your area and climate. When you're inking the leaves, another difficulty is writing hard enough to get your ink to drip, but light enough to avoid piercing the leaf. Once complete, let dry overnight. Try to use the leaves as soon as possible, because they will get increasingly brittle after a few days. Don't expect to keep them too long, either - because they will crinkle up within a few days!
Use these for rustic place cards on your dinner table or words from a poem or quote. I think this is the most beautiful and cost effective flair of autumn calligraphy, and it is quite unexpected too.
Recommended Tools: Brause EF66 nib (used here) or Brause Rose Nib, BleedProof White Ink