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DIY Archives - Plurabelle Studio | Calligraphy & Graphic Design

My New Book: Modern Calligraphy




In Books + Reads, Calligraphy, DIY, Press, Promotion, Shopping, Wedding

Many of you have already discovered that I’m coming out with a how-to guide to modern, script calligraphy. I’ve posted teasers for it here and there, and it’s made appearances in a few places around the blogosphere, but here is the official announcement! It’s been 2 years in the making, since the day I signed on with my amazing literary agent until today, a month before it hits the shelves. (I’ve had to keep my lips sealed about it until this month!) Advance copies are out to magazines, bloggers and retailers, boxes of it are being flown to stores around the country, and here I sit, brimming with emotions ranging from immense gratitude to all who had a hand in this endeavor, to nail-biting nervousness about how the world will react to my labor of love. (And that doesn’t even touch on how I felt when I got to hold a printed copy in my hands for the first time.)


What you’ll find within the 192 pages of Modern Calligraphy:


  • Complete beginner instructions from buying supplies to holding the pen to learning to write
  • Special instructions for lefties
  • 14 pages of lettering specimens in modern script styles
  • Guidance on how to create your own unique calligraphy style
  • Intermediate techniques like how to write with paint and digitize your lettering
  • 20 unique DIY projects for stationery, weddings, and home
  • Over 260 full-color photographs and illustrations

Don’t take it from me. Here’s what others are already saying:


“Molly’s book will not disappoint if you are a lettering enthusiast and have questions that you feel still need answering (for the modern calligrapher there is a huge need for a resource like this). At nearly 200 pages she has covered everything from getting started, utilizing different mediums (such as watercolor) to create stunning effects, to an extensive DIY section. Molly also divulges many of her resources (that alone should be well worth the price invested). As a novice to modern calligraphy I am always on the hunt for specimens to reference so I can build on them and hopefully one day create my own distinct style(s). Molly generously has created 14 pages of gorgeous specimens, multiple variations on each letter and in turn unlimited inspiration to try this yourself.  I am thrilled that this book exists and it will be my go-to referral for anyone that contacts me and asks, ‘help!, where do I start?’”  — Miss Tristan B. of Bestotted Brand*

*Among the recent features of Modern Calligraphy have been two write-ups by Miss Tristan B. on Besotted Blog. One is a review of my book and the other an interview with me where I share how I got started, my favorite supplies, and where I seek inspiration.

“I’m fortunate in that I work for a book distribution company specializing in art & craft titles so I receive advance sample copies of new books. I fell in love with Molly’s book a few weeks ago. Molly’s book reimported me to follow my love of calligraphy. I have since invested in pen nibs, ink and paper (which I’ve always swooned over!) and I’m practicing everyday. I also draw and paint so I am inspired to incorporate all of these skills to create stationery products and wedding invitations.”  — Kathy Glynn


Pre-Order Modern Calligraphy

If you want Modern Calligraphy on your doorstep on the very day of its release, September 24th, you can pre-order it from these online retailers:   |   barnes & noble   |   indiebound


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Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2012




In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Press, Wedding

On 24, Jun 2012 | 5 Comments | In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Press, Wedding |

On 24, Jun 2012 | 5 Comments | In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Press, Wedding | By Molly

{ Photography by Bryan Gardener for Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer issue, © 2012 }

The new Martha Stewart Weddings Summer issue is on newsstands now, and Plurabelle Calligraphy was comissioned to design an alphabet of flourished capitals and numerals for this magazine’s nifty issue-within-an-issue, Design-It-Yourself Style (pages 257, 260–261, 263). The alphabet is applied to 3 D.I.Y. projects, each of which has downloadable templates through so you can try them out yourself. Above are photos of all three, and below are links to the instructions and templates for each. Enjoy!

Mini Barrels of Matches Favors: InstructionsEyelet TemplateChevron TemplateFaux Bois Template, and Watercolor Template

Monogram Table Numbers: Instructions and Template

Favor Tags: Instructions and Template

{ Photography by Bryan Gardener for Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer issue, © 2012 }

{ Calligraphy in the above templates by Plurabelle Calligraphy  |  Chevron pattern by Noelle Fitzgerald O’Reilly  |  Watercolor pattern by Antiquaria  |  Eyelet pattern based on design by Erica Hernandez  |  Faux bois pattern uncredited in magazine }

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Christmas Dinner Place Cards



One Comment

In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Paper Art

On 08, Feb 2012 | One Comment | In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Paper Art |

On 08, Feb 2012 | One Comment | In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Paper Art | By Molly

{ Calligraphy + Photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy

I just realized that I never posted these photos of the Christmas dinner place cards that I made in December. (I have a bad habit of saving blog posts as drafts and then forgetting about them!) It’s a variation on the watercolor place card technique I came up with last summer, for which I created my D.I.Y. video. For this project I was channeling holly as my inspiration, so I used opaque gouache instead of translucent watercolor.

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d.i.y. chalkboard menu



No Comments

In Calligraphy, Chalkboard, Craft, DIY

On 12, Nov 2011 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Chalkboard, Craft, DIY |

On 12, Nov 2011 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Chalkboard, Craft, DIY | By Molly

{Calligraphy + Photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

For the past four days I’ve been sick with a terrible cold but this evening I felt better, and all I wanted was some craft time. While I was sick in bed, I spent a lot of time browsing cooking blogs for Thanksgiving dinner recipes, so I thought what better craft than a Thanksgiving dinner menu? For awhile I’ve been wanting to experiment with making homemade chalkboard paint, especially in colors other than black, so this was the prime opportunity. I mixed up some green acrylic paint, water, tile grout and a little acrylic matte medium and voilà – chalkboard paint with just the right amount of grit to look like a vintage school board. Of course, I didn’t really think ahead about what I’d paint it onto, but after some digging I found our old chess board (sorry to my boyfriend!), the back of which made for an excellent canvas. I’m not even sure yet what my final menu will be, but that’s the great thing about chalk boards – all of it can easily change!

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chalkboard menus & banana pudding




In Calligraphy, Chalkboard, DIY, Wedding

On 07, Oct 2011 | 2 Comments | In Calligraphy, Chalkboard, DIY, Wedding |

On 07, Oct 2011 | 2 Comments | In Calligraphy, Chalkboard, DIY, Wedding | By Molly

 {Calligraphy + photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy, 2011 }

This was another project that made me hungry as I worked. Pan-seared turbot fish, lasagna cupcakes, triple berry tarts, southern banana pudding…my hand was shaking by the end of it. The guests of this wedding were certainly treated to a feast.

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diy: watercolor & calligraphy place cards




In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Videos

On 24, Aug 2011 | 13 Comments | In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Videos |

On 24, Aug 2011 | 13 Comments | In Calligraphy, Craft, DIY, Videos | By Molly

{ project creation, execution and calligraphy by molly suber thorpe of plurabelle calligraphy;
filmed and edited by lilian day / }

I recently spent two weeks back home in Maine where, away from my Los Angeles studio, over many a bowl of fresh blueberries, I had the time to test out a number of the craft projects I’ve been dreaming up. My favorite one is this set of watercolor-patterned place cards finished off with calligraphy. I experimented with lots of colors and techniques and I found that making them was incredibly relaxing. In fact, I enjoyed making them so much that I wanted to share, so my sister and I whipped up this little video tutorial.


•  Heavy watercolor paper
•  Xacto blade, straight edge and cutting mat
•  Artist tape (1″ wide is ideal)
•  Large paint brush (or foam brush) for brushing on water
•  Small paint brush for watercoloring
•  Assorted watercolors of your choice
•  Acrylic paint in an accent color for splattering
•  Paper towels
•  Table salt
•  Calligraphy pen
•  Ink (or watercolor or gouache) of your choice for the calligraphy
•  Bone folder


1.  Cut up heavy watercolor paper into 3.5 x 6″ cards.

2.  Paste 1″ of artist tape across the full length of the cards starting 1″ from the bottom. Use at least two layers and press it down firmly so that no watercolor will be able to seep underneath it. There should be 1″ of paper exposed below the tape and 4″ exposed above it.

3.  Using the large paint brush, brush both the front and back of each card with water then pat dry with a paper towel. (This prevents the paper from stretching and warping unevenly.)

4.  With the smaller paint brush, paint the cards with an abstract watercolor design in the colors of your choice. I used four different shades — two pinks, peach and goldenrod.

5.  Blot off excess watercolor with a folded paper towel then fill in especially empty spots with more watercolor.

6.  Sprinkle the cards with a pinch of table salt. This creates a unique pattern by unevenly absorbing spots of wet color.

7.  Fill the small paintbrush with the acrylic paint and splatter it randomly over the card. Choose a color that will really stand out from the background colors you chose. I used gold to add some sparkle.

8.  Lay flat to dry.

9.  Once dry, brush off the salt and carefully peel off the tape. If the cards aren’t flat (which can happen in humid weather), press them between a stack of books overnight.

10.  Write the guests’ names on each card. I am a calligrapher so naturally this is my favorite part. If you’re nervous about messing up, just practice each name on scrap paper a few times until you’re comfortable. If you do not use a calligraphy pen and ink, then be sure to use a high-quality felt-tip pen and test it on a scrap of watercolor paper to make sure it doesn’t bleed.

11.  Fold each card in half and crease firmly with a bone folder.

Et voilà! Finished!

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