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Document as gift -- logistics.
February 17, 2014 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Turning a document into a "keepsake."

I would like to give a document as a gift to a family member. A sort of pledge that I am writing. But I don't want to just print out some Microsoft Word and stick it in an envelope -- I want to create a gift document that can be kept if desired for years. Would I hire a calligrapher? Or use a computer program? What kind of paper and ink or other treatment? Should I use Etsy? And -- how to present? I was thinking maybe a scroll (in a box?) but maybe that's cheesy. It's personal so framing is not appropriate. Suggestions welcome. Know that I have bad handwriting and am not artistic.
posted by ClaudiaCenter to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
How long is the document? I've seen beautiful embroidered and cross stitched poems.

I'd also look at the various ways that people have created/presented jewish ketubahs.
posted by sparklemotion at 11:50 AM on February 17


Encase it in resin?
posted by jquinby at 12:02 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


I just searched for "wedding vows" on etsy and found folks doing lovely custom copies-I think that's be a great way to go.
posted by purenitrous at 12:05 PM on February 17


What about printing the document on t-shirt transfer paper and make them a t-shirt with the document text on it? (DON'T do this if it is super legal and has personal information, obviously)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:05 PM on February 17


It's personal so framing is not appropriate.

Because of that, I think having someone else make the document itself look good makes the document less personal.

Buy some nice paper (go to a stationary store and browse samples), use a nice (non-ballpoint) pen, and write as well as you can. Because you're not likely to be able to buy a single sheet of paper, you can even practice writing the pledge a few times, to see how the spacing works on the page and to loosen up your hand and whatnot. You can even practice a few times over the course of a week.

Nice paper an also come with nice framing or other edge detailing, or you can look for such framing images online. Or you could turn to craftier people than you to edge your page after you write your pledge, either through Etsy or maybe a local "Artist wanted" board at the local schools and colleges (it looks like you live in/near a big, artistic city, so you could actually pick someone local and see their work first-hand).

I like the idea to roll it up and put it in a box, especially as it is something not to be framed. Here again you could turn to the local artistic community, or go to local arts and crafts shops, local galleries, or browse online, as long as the internal dimensions are big enough for your rolled up pledge. Because you're focusing on the message, you could get a plain-looking box with nice interior details, but don't focus too much on the container, or the edging of the paper for that matter. I keep coming back to the importance of your message, and that it comes from you.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:19 PM on February 17


Thank you so much for these ideas, they are so so helpful. Will keep checking back.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:41 PM on February 17


You could type it up, lay it out in a way that looks attractive, print that on an appropriately-sized sheet of any old paper, and trace or write over it by hand, to solve spacing/layout issues. I have atrocious handwriting, and use of space is always an issue for me, and so I've used this method in the past. Works pretty well. Take your time, be careful, and don't be afraid to waste some paper getting it right.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:04 PM on February 17


It seems like there are two choices:

1) Is the most important aspect for it to be done in your own hand? Will it be more meaningful with slight imperfections and less artistry? It's possible to complete the document and be happy with the results. This will require some practice, trial and error, and possibly doing some tracing as Mister Moofoo mentions. The overall effect will be very personal and heartfelt, even if it doesn't look professional.

2) Is the most important aspect for it to look beautiful and polished? Will it be more meaningful if it looks very nicely presented, with some artistry and overall nice aesthetic feeling? This will also take less time and be less frustrating on your end. The overall effect will be beautiful and the message will still be heartfelt since it is personally dedicated with personal meaning.

There are calligraphy folks on Etsy who would be more than glad to do a custom listing for you. Contact them with the number of words in your document and discuss paper and prices.

WestSheridan calligraphy.

Designs by Robyn Love
does calligraphy. Here is an 8x11 poem in calligraphy for $65, with a choice of paper and colors.

Hand lettered poems poems or sayings by iamletterlady

Custom Calligraphy Song Lyrics Poem or Vows by RachelCarl

Hand Lettered Wedding Vows Custom Lettering by heartcommajenna

Custom Wedding Vows Handwritten in Calligraphy by sbcalligraphy

Quaker Wedding Certificate with Hand Calligraphy and by QuillMuse

-----------------------
Presentation ideas:
- rolled up like a scroll in a box or vintage scroll holder
- presented on a flat card, in an archival box, which could later be framed if the recipient chose to do so
- On a mat around a photograph or drawing
- Accordion folded book (this person might do a custom version and here's another option!)

Best of luck - this sounds like a lovely gift and promise!
posted by barnone at 1:32 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Get some good cotton stationery, e.g. Crane ecruwhite kid finish is nice, and either write it with a nice ink pen (with India ink if you want to really do it right), or use a non-correcting typewriter if you don't like your handwriting, and then put it in a matching envelope.

That should be "archival" in the sense that it will last pretty much forever, and makes it a unique object, but also doesn't put it on display in the same way that framing would.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:36 PM on February 17


Check out etsy or fiverr to find someone who will take your text and turn it into something beautiful. They will also be able to give you options on how to display/store it.

Good luck. This is a nice idea.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:25 PM on February 17


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