Watercolor calligraphy placecards? Of course.

When my friend Michelle started planning a celebration for her law school dinner, she wanted a big crowd for dinner with zero chaos. She had seen the invitations I made for Sammi and Tony’s engagement party, and asked if I could lend a crafty hand for her dinner.

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We decided on a watercolory aesthetic in shades of blue and teal – playing off of the venerable D.C. restaurant Oyamel’s bright, playful decor.

Inspired by a DIY from Paper & Stitch, I dip-dyed sturdy cardstock squares in a custom blend of watercolor inks (Cobalt Turquoise and Cerulean Blue) from Blick Art Supplies. 

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I wanted the cards to have a faint ombre look, so I mixed two bowls – one of just Cerulean, and one with a 2:1 ratio of Turquoise and Cerulean. I kept the mixes fairly concentrated, and used wide bowls so I’d have an easy(ish) time dipping the paper. I’d recommend testing on scrap paper as you go to ensure that you are getting the right hue and intensity. Also remember that colors dry a little brighter than when they’re wet!

First, I dipped the card two thirds of the way (or maybe three quarters for some!) in the lighter Cerulean bowl. Dip, dip, and dry the edges, then on to the brighter mixed bowl, where I dipped maybe up to halfway of what was already dyed. I played around with angles here – have fun with it!

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Make sure to tap the edges on paper towels before laying them out to dry. After tapping the edges and removing any water bubbles, I laid the cards out on rows of paper towels. Once finished, I covered them with paper towels and a few heavy books, per Paper & Stitch’s recommendation. This is an essential step to making sure the wet cards dry flat and neat! NOTE — if your paper towels have patterns….. you will see those in the finished product. I’d recommend using unpatterned paper towels or even cheesecloth if this will be an issue for you!

I let the cards dry a full day before adding calligraphy. I used a wide nib that gives a playful thick-and-thin stroke, and got to it!

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