No Tricks, Just Treats: FREE Halloween Downloads!

It's the most wonderful time of the year... HALLOWEEN! If you've followed Manayunk Calligraphy for a while, you already know this is my favorite holiday. I mean, come on. Costumes, candy, spooky things, PUMPKIN BEER - what's not to love?! 

My husband loves the holiday, too, and one of our favorite parts is the night of Trick or Treat. We live in a neighborhood in Indianapolis called Irvington, and it is Halloween central. No, seriously - it's home to one of the longest-running Halloween festivals in the country! There are costume and home decorating contests, a masquerade ball, ghost tours, a major street festival, and the local witch coven (yes, we have one of those!) hosts tons of events for families. If I'm being honest, the neighborhood's affinity for Halloween was one of the major reasons we moved here. Yes... we love the holiday THAT much!

As you can imagine, our neighborhood takes Trick or Treat REAL serious. Last year, we had to run to get more candy... TWICE. Since it's always been just the two of us, we stay home to hand out the candy (and watch a marathon of Simpsons Tree House of Horrors episodes). But if you can't be home and want to keep your house from getting tricked, you better leave candy out for the little ghouls and goblins! You can upgrade your display - and ensure the first batch of kids don't clean out your candy cache - with these free downloadable signs! Just download, print on a regular printer, pop in a frame or tack to your door with some patterned Washi tape.

Hope you enjoy these freebies. And we want to see how you style your display! Be sure to snap a pic, share on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy. Have a happy Halloween - may your day be filled with WAY more treats than tricks! 

October 2017 Lettering Challenges

Hey hey everyone! We've taken a little bit of a break here at The Inky blog, but now we're BACK and ready to share calligraphy goodness with you all. We've got oodles of fun things planned, so be sure to follow along.

First up, let's talk Instagram. You're on it, right? RIGHT?! Okay, if you aren't, go do that right now. I'll wait. (Makes sandwich. Drinks coffee. Binge watches Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 1.) Done? Great! Now make sure you're following @MNYKcalligraphy. Again, I'll wait. (Eats sandwich. More coffee. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 2.)

Okay, so Instagram is great for calligraphy-lovers for lots of reasons - one of which being monthly lettering challenges. Here's how they work. At the beginning of the month, calligraphy folks will share a list of phrases - one for each day of the month. Every day, you are invited to script up this phrase and share with the hashtag they provide. It's SUPER fun, and even if you don't want to do your own scripting, I recommend following the hashtags to see what other letterers are up to. 

Here are a few of my favorites for October 2017.

#letteritoctober Hosted by Jenny Highsmith, @jennyhighsmith

#letteritoctober

Hosted by Jenny Highsmith, @jennyhighsmith

#HPlettering Hosted by @amandakammarada and @calligraphynerd

#HPlettering

Hosted by @amandakammarada and @calligraphynerd

#letteritbetterhalloween Hosted by @megannicolelettering, @letteritbetter, @gogetter_letter and @mattiedesigns

Be sure to follow along and let us know if you have any other lettering challenges we should look out for!

As Seen on LIVE with Kelly: Free Wicked Cut File Download

Looking for a non-cheesy way to wicked up your Halloween? I've got just the ticket! 

This hand-scripted "wicked" design is available for FREE download as an SVG file that can be used on your Cricut, Silhouette or other cutting machine. There are tons of different ways to use this design, but my FAVORITE was featured this morning on LIVE with Kelly. The incomparable Monica Mangin from East Coast Creative has been sharing super fun Halloween hacks all week long, and today she showed Kelly how to make your front door super spooky for trick-or-treaters. Using the download, print in window cling or vinyl and give your door a creepy, crawly upgrade.

Download your FREE SVG cut file here. Please note - this is for personal use only. Please do not distribute.

Enjoy! And be sure to share your creations on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy - can't WAIT to see what you do!

DIY Calligraphy Pumpkin + Free Templates

If you know me, you know Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. Costumes, candy, pumpkin errything, spooky stories and movies - what's not to love?

My favorite way to decorate for this holiday is pumpkins for two main reasons. One, they are so versatile and add seasonality to your porch without being tacky (read: inflatable graveyards). And two, THEY FEED ME. Roasted pumpkin seeds, anyone?

I generally paint my pumpkins, but this year, I decided to try my hand at carving. You know those pumpkin carving pros that can make beautiful sculptures out of gourds? Yeeeeah, that's not me. Truth be told, I'm not crazy about knives - that's why I generally opt to paint them. But with these templates, it's so easy even I can turn these orange veggies into eye candy.

Here's what you need:

  • A pumpkin. Obviously.
  • Template. I have two free templates for download at the end of the blog post. For these, the white areas inside the circle are the areas to be cut out. You'll see what I mean! For my pumpkin, I chose the Trick or Treat design.
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Graphite pencil
  • Knife
  • Carving tools (optional)

First things first - cut off the top of your pumpkin and scoop out those guts. DEFINITELY save the seeds. Once you have the template printed out, it's time to transfer it to the pumpkin. There's lots of ways to do this, but the simplest way is my favorite. Cover the back of the template in graphite. For this, a dull pencil works best - much easier to cover a wide space! Make sure that there is graphite behind all elements of the design you want to trace. Then cut out the design and tape onto your pumpkin.

After it's all taped down, it's time to trace! Using a sharp pencil or a ballpoint pen, trace along the black lines using a LOT of pressure. The pressure will push the graphite on the back of the template onto the pumpkin. That gives you the perfect line to cut.

Now it's time to cut! Okay, so you have a couple options here. The first is a traditional carving. For this, you will leave the words untouched and carve out around them. You don't need anything special to do this - just the little carvers that come in the kits! Because there are lots of small spaces, you want your knife to be little and flexible.

The other option is to carve away the skin of the pumpkin instead of cutting the entire way through. These look really lovely in the day time AND at night - a little tealight inside will make the areas of thin skin glow. This is what I did. There are lots of ways to do this. I started out with a Dremel that's made just for pumpkin carving (remember how I said I love Halloween but don't love knives? Thus, the crazy pumpkin carving tool). I really can't recommend this enough. It's GREAT for really fine detail, and it's on Amazon for less than $20. 

If the pumpkin is only going to be visible during the day, you don't need to worry about how deep you carve out the areas around the letters - the difference in color and texture will pretty clear. But if you want to put a candle in that bad boy at night, you need to really thin out those areas so the light can shine through. I use little carving tools (but a linoleum cutter will work just as well) to cut the areas deeper.

And that's it! Here's the final product.

Not bad, right? You can download this template and another below. Be sure to post your final product on Instagram and tag @MNYKcalligraphy so I can see your beautiful work!

Trick or Treat Template

Boo Template

And this isn't the only sweet pumpkin action we'll have on the blog this week! Up next: making a pumpkin keg. HELL YES. A big shout out and hugs to my Wedding Consultant Amber who came by to supervise my carving and take pics. She is a DIY queen and specializes in working with couples who want handmade elements for their big days.  Check her out!

Bachelorette Desiree Siegfried's Nursery Reveal - Featuring a Calligraphy Wall!

SUPER excited to finally share details about my trip to Seattle! A few weeks ago, I was contacted by HGTV designer extraordinaire Monica Mangin from East Coast Creative - she was designing a nursery for former Bachelorette Desiree and Chris Siegfried and wanted to include a calligraphy accent wall. Obviously, I jumped at the chance. Here's the result!

For more photos and details about the nursery makeover, check out this fab article in US Weekly, the below slideshow and Monica's write up on East Coast Creative

Instagram: October Letter Challenges

One of the super cool things about our community is that we're always coming up with ways to inspire one another. One of my favorite things is Instagram challenges. If you've never participated in these, here's how it works. The challenge will give you a phrase or theme for every day of a certain time period. You script or letter something, post on Instagram with the hashtag and follow along with people all over the world! Even if you can't participate, the hashtags are ALWAYS worth a follow. Here are a few Instagram challenges happening this October.

#LetterItOctober

This challenge is hosted by the incomparable Jenny Highsmith - if you don't follow her on Instagram, do it NOW. You won't be disappointed! You can find the list of prompts here.

#Inktober

While this one isn't specific to lettering, it is all about ink and creativity - and calligraphy has both those things in spades. This challenge is hosted by Jake Parker and has become an annual tradition for lots of artists. You can find the list of prompts here.

#letterwithelle

This challenge is hosted by Elle Letters, and is made up primarily of fall words and phrases - the results are sure to be beautiful! Find the list of prompts here.

Know of any other challenges? Let us know in the comments below!