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I love art deco everything — dishes, decor, invitations, patterns — you name it! Being an art student and a recurrent reader of The Great Gatsby, I’ve been in love with the Roaring 20’s for quite some time. There’s just something alluring about the gold decor, lavish parties, and flamboyant jazz of the Gatsby era that I felt the need to encapsulate in a project.

Leo says, “You can do this!” Cheers to that, Leo.

In this post, I am going to show you how to make a birthday card using a geometric, art deco style. (It’s my youngest sister’s 13th birthday this week — officially a teenager … God help us all — so the timing is perfect.) Of course, the first thing you need to do is get inspired. I’m talking organizing a Gatsby watch party, hosting a jazz concert, dressing like a flapper for a week, sipping on mint juleps kind of inspired. Or … you could just look up photos on Google. Once you have compiled your photos of Robert Redford as the original Jay Gatsby, you’ll want to gather the (other) appropriate supplies. 

1. The Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need for this tutorial. Feel free to make substitutions if necessary!:

Don’t forget any other personal essentials you might need! For this project, I made sure there was a puppy nearby, a podcast cued up, and a hot cup of tea on hand. 

Yuki the pup keeping me company while I work.

The tutorial I am sharing may look complicated, but once we really break it down to the simple elements, it will be smooth sailin’!

2. Layin’ Down the Law (Lines)

When you’re making a card like this, it’s best to start by creating a draft! I used a white pencil to do this because the white marks are easy to see (and erase)! If you don’t have a white pencil, feel free to use a graphite pencil instead. First, identify the four corners of the card, then use a small mark to label the one inch distance to either side of each corner of the card.

The first step of this tutorial is mark the 1-inch distance, horizontally and vertically, from each corner of the card.

Then, use your ruler and a pencil to draw lines across the card to connect the marks you just made. Next, repeat the previous step, but label the marks 1 1/2 inches to either side of the corners. Then draw connecting lines. 

These new marks will be 1.5 inches from each corner, or 0.5 inches from the lines that you just drew!

Your next batch of marks will be exactly the same as the last, but from the corners, you will measure 3/4 inches. Again, once you have all 8 marks on the card, connect those lines, folks!

Now you should have a card with 12 different lines on it appearing to have some rhyme or reason to them (a pattern of sorts, if you will). Congratulations—you’ve completed the hardest part of this tutorial!

3. The Finetec

I used Finetec Inca Gold for this tutorial. Inca Gold is perfect for this project because it’s a yellow-brassy gold that fits the style and rich gold of the art deco period!

You can find Lindsey’s tutorial over using Finetec paints for writing here. It’s a must-read if you don’t know how to use the Finetec palette with a dip pen!

To prep your Finetec, you’ll want to take a bit of water from your art mug and drip it directly onto the pigment that you’ve chosen. This is easiest achieved with a spoon or a blunt syringe. 

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If you want to enjoy a few minutes of zen, there is nothing like painting a watercolor wreath! The action of combining colors and shapes into a flowy border is relaxing and satisfying, the perfect way to hone your watercolor skills. In today’s tutorial, I’m going to walk you through how to make a floral watercolor thank you card using watercolors and hand-lettering!

This watercolor thank you card has whimsical, playful appeal! 1. Make a Blank Circular Watercolor Card

Follow step one in the Circular DIY Christmas Card Tutorial to make a 5.5″ x 5.5″ (140 mm x 140 mm) blank watercolor card.

Step one of the Circular DIY Christmas Card Tutorial will walk you through exactly how to make this blank card! 2. Use Lasso Lettering to Write “Thank You”

If you like a whimsical look, you can use Lasso Lettering to write the greeting (in this case, “thank you”) on your blank watercolor card. Of course, any other hand-lettering or calligraphy style will work, too!

I like to make a pencil draft of my lettering first. Doing so doesn’t require a lot of extra time because this is such a short phrase!

If you choose to make a pencil draft of your lettering first, you can trace over it with watercolor or ink.

If you want to trace over your lettering draft with watercolor and a dip pen, check out the watercolor calligraphy tutorial!

Once you finish writing, erase any pencil guidelines along the edge of the card and wait a couple of minutes for your ink or watercolor to dry.

3. Paint Red Flowers

You’ll start your floral border by creating red flowers. Choose your favorite eye-catching red tone, and use a size 1 brush to draw three connected petals like the ones shown below:

Next, paint five thin, wavy lines under the three petals you just made. These new lines also represent petals; we’re just seeing these petals from a different perspective that makes them look smaller than the first petals you drew!

Now, paint three new flowers. These flowers won’t be as large as the first one, and they are fairly straightforward to make: just pretend you’re drawing a bird’s footprint! Fill in the space between the “toes” with a little stroke of paint.

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I love how embellished sugar skulls have seeped over from Día de los Muertos into Halloween decor and costumes. It’s hard not to admire a colorful sugar skull design! With that in mind, I wanted this year’s set of Halloween printables to call back to the sugar skull tradition. The subject of the illustration featured in the printables is a cat — an animal long associated with Halloween — and a sugar skull-inspired design!

This “sugar skull” kitty — shown here as a work in progress — was created using a Nikko G nib, sumi ink, and a significant amount of patience!

I used this illustration to make three different Halloween printables for you, which you can find by clicking here. In this blog post, I’ll show you how to use these printables to punctuate your Halloween with some artistic personality!

1. Candy Packet Halloween Printables

If you’re handing out candy this year, consider providing candy packets to trick-or-treaters! Candy packets help you to control the portions that you provide, and they offer an element of surprise — who knows what treats are inside?

These candy packets lend an element of elegance to the trick-or-treating experience. Their assembled size is approximately 4″ x 5″, or 102 mm x 127 mm.

To make them, print out the Halloween candy packet printable from the Printable “Sugar Skull” Halloween Cat Illustrations packet. Feel free to print the design out on any paper that you want to; from regular printer paper to cardstock, anything will work! Once you print out the design, cut it out along the guidelines.

Once you cut out the design along the gray guidelines, your candy packet will look like this.

Next, fold the two side flaps backward and glue them to each other. Fold the bottom flap backward as well and glue it to the side flaps.

Glue the side flaps in first, then glue the bottom flap to the side flaps.

Fold the top flap in order to make a crease, then restore the flap to its original position. Stuff the packet with candy, and secure it shut with a piece of washi tape (or — better yet — a wax seal!).

It’s important to establish a crease in the top flap before you put the candy into the packet! By doing so, you’ll ensure that the flap folds down easily even if the packet is stuffed.

And voilà! All of a sudden, you’re the most artistic and creative neighbor on the block.

Assembly of these candy packets can get tedious if you’re by yourself and you plan on making a lot of them, so try to enlist help from family or friends!

2. Happy Halloween Sugar Skull Cat Card

If you like to send Halloween greetings through the mail, give this sugar skull cat card a try! It’s easy, unique, and elegant.

Say goodbye to over-the-top cutesy Halloween cards: this little guy is artistic and original. 

First, print out the 3″x7″ sugar skull cat illustration (find it here) onto a piece of cardstock. Then, fold the left side of the paper backward such that the crease is about 1/4″ (~6 mm) from the cat’s tail.

The back of your paper should look like this:

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