How-to Guide: Flat Printing and Calligraphy on Handmade Deckle Edge Paper

There is nothing quite like handmade paper! It can take your stationery design to the next level. I really love using Indian Cotton Paper Co. as one of my paper sources. Their product is ideal for printing, letter press, gold foil, watercolor, and calligraphy. Today I want to outline suggestions for flat printing and calligraphy on handmade deckle edge paper. 

Paper by  Indian Cotton Paper Co.  | ribbon, wax stamps, & seals by  Artisaire  | calligraphy, stationery design, and photography by  Claire Falco Creative

Paper by Indian Cotton Paper Co. | ribbon, wax stamps, & seals by Artisaire | calligraphy, stationery design, and photography by Claire Falco Creative

CALLIGRAPHY + PRINTING TIPS

1. Ink flow is simple to navigate: if your ink is flowing too fast causing your to re-dip too frequently or bleeding around the edges add gum arabic. If your ink isn’t flowing fast enough (skipping, or not releasing from the tines) add distilled water incrementally. I like using a pipette. I buy mine in bulk.

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The inscription on the left is  Daniel Smith Walnut Ink  mixed with gum arabic. The right is straight out of the container.

The inscription on the left is Daniel Smith Walnut Ink mixed with gum arabic. The right is straight out of the container.

2. If your nib is catching, splattering, picking up fibers from the paper lower the angle of your wrist and apply less pressure. You can also use an older or duller nib that isn’t as prone to catch. I really like the Nikko G and Hiro Leonardt 41 nibs.

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My go-to nibs are:

Nikko G

Hiro Leonardt 41

Brause 66 EF

Brause Steno

Leonardt Extra Fine

Hunt 101

3. To keep calligraphy consistent I recommend using a light board to display a template under your handmade paper. 

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If you are calligraphing on dark paper you can use an inexpensive laser level and a clipboard to hold your paper it in place (just make sure the clipboard clip doesn’t leave an impression).

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4. My current favorite ink options are Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleed Proof White, walnut ink (great for an old world feel), black Sumi Ink (add some water), Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent Copper Plate Gold, for small projects metallic watercolor painted onto nib. 

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You can also mix custom gouache ink (mix colors in separate container with water and gum arabic. You can add any watercolor to white gouache to make a new gouache color).

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5. Aways order extra paper for calibrating printer and making sure you are perfectly aligned.

Table by  Bloomingbelles , macaron baked by Emy Ray Bakes, foliage by  Mylo Fleur , wax seal and ribbon by  Artisaire , paper by  Indian Cotton Paper Co. , Photography and stationery design by  Claire Falco Creative

Table by Bloomingbelles, macaron baked by Emy Ray Bakes, foliage by Mylo Fleur, wax seal and ribbon by Artisaire, paper by Indian Cotton Paper Co., Photography and stationery design by Claire Falco Creative

6. Handmade paper can go through most home printers.  For my handmade paper project I use the HP Envy 5530 laser jet and have had great success. You can also find a reputable print shop that understands the nuanced nature of wedding stationery.

Paper by  Indian Cotton Paper Co. , wax stamp by  Artisaire , stationery design and photography by  Claire Falco Creative

Paper by Indian Cotton Paper Co., wax stamp by Artisaire, stationery design and photography by Claire Falco Creative

7. If your printer leaves stray marks or you make a mistake while calligraphing let the ink dry completely then gently scrape away the offending spot with an Exacto knife. You can also use a mono sand eraser with a light touch. Carefully smooth down the paper with a bone folder to restore the texture as best you can. You can’t even tell what happened!

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Artist bio

Claire Falco Creative is a photography and stationery business based in Evans, Georgia. Claire’s stationery design work is feminine, floral-driven, and full of calligraphed, hand-painted, and luxury details.