Openinkstand Art & Calligraphy

My 2014 Christmas Cards


Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I like Halloween because we get to dress up, but honestly I don’t care much for the gory horror zombie stuff. I like Valentines for the chocolates and love-dovey, but I don’t care much for the cloying commercialization of romance. I like Thanksgiving because it’s an excuse to eat till we burst, but I don’t like the whole let’s be thankful one day and then go mad for shopping the next day, ruins my digestion.


Over 80 people on my list this year. It was actually more but I ran out of time. This pic only shows about half of the pile.

The funny thing is, I don’t even celebrate Christmas, really. I am from a Buddhist Chinese family and we don’t celebrate it and do not exchange gifts or whatever. I was never brought up to believe in Santa (though my kind parents did bring me to childrens’ Christmas parties, but it’s no fun when you know it’s just a regular guy in a beard and hat, what does he care what I want for Christmas?).

Despite that, I always loved┬áChristmas, in a purely secular way. I love the glitter, the music, the red and gold and white (my favorite colors!), the gaudy decorations (the gaudier the better!), the electric lights, the gift wraps and of course, the Christmas trees. I love big bright shiny colorful things and what’s even shinier and bigger and colorful than a Christmas tree?

So this year I decided to go all out for my Christmas cards. You’ve seen a sneak peek of it from my previous post, but here I will show you some of my favorite designs.

This one for Cecilia is the one that I went all out on. I worked on the envelope in batches over several weeks, some batches get crazy treatment, some get a simpler treatment.. it all just depends on what I feel like that weekend. This one had the works, gold shading, white and glitter dots, snowflake stickers and even little gem stickers.


Here is another one I am pretty proud of, and yeah, I was totally prepared for half of these envelopes to return to me undelivered, especially the international addresses. But to be honest, I rather go all out and have it come back than to half-ass something for the sake of being safe. And I am happy to say, none of these envelopes have returned yet! It’s a Christmas miracle!


Of course, not all of these have to be full of madness. Here is an example where I tried to keep it a little more low key, by allowing more space for the address to breathe. Still pretty with the same effect as before, but you know how it is, once you start swirling and adding glitter, it’s hard to stop…

Notice how this one has two stamps, too. It was an oversized and padded card, and technically I only needed to put 70 cents, but I thought two matching first class stamps look much more elegant. Not always though, in the background you can see I used a vintage Santa Claus stamp.. I’ve been saving those up all year.


Here is a close up. I used one really battered Brause Rose for this project, and it was a complete pain to use. It would skip, not start, splatter, do all those things that Brause Roses are fond of doing, but ugh, I put up with it because it can make these incredible lines and shades. That is another reason why I had to trim my original list from over 100 to 80+… because every envelope is a fresh battle with a Brause Rose. After a point I had to throw my hands up and give up.


Here’s a simpler design. I got different cards and some are smaller than the others, and this is one of the smaller ones. And because of the size, I couldn’t really do all the dots and stickers and things, or else it will look too cluttered and crazy. So for the small envelopes, I kept it ‘simple’, haha, with only swirls and glitter dots. Still pretty nice though I think.


Here is another simpler version, with the gold as a shading instead of filling the space. More readable I think, but lacks the first impression oomph (and heart attack for the postman).


On the back of the envelope, I used a gold washi tape to seal it. On some envelopes I even used my wax seal over the washi tape just to gild the lily a little bit more, but after a few dozen or so I gave up.


In fact I did try using the washi tape to embellish the envelope, like this one. It does add a certain something, but I think it distracts from the calligraphy, so I stopped. It would look nicer if the tape is not as wide, but I would be crazy if I thought of trimming the tape.


Well, that’s all of it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this, and I have to admit I had so much fun making these cards and sending them out. I honestly wish I could make more, but they are pretty expensive (I had to buy envelopes special because the envelopes that come with cards usually suck) and not to mention time consuming. Still, Christmas is once a year and it was a good time┬áto make something extra special.

But wait there’s more! Here is a video of me demonstrating how I make one of these envelopes from scratch:

Merry Christmas!


2 Responses to “My 2014 Christmas Cards”

  1. Karina

    Found my way here through the flourish forum… what a delightful little video to watch! It makes me want to practice my calligraphy….. and do my nails lol!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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