Help me write beautiful letters.
January 26, 2013 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Rather than rely on our usual email correspondence, I would like to write some letters by hand to someone very important to me who lives very far away.

I'm looking for serious, beautiful, tactile, paper and envelopes, a special pen and possibly also similar packaging for small gifts. The sort of materials to make letters and packages the recipient could keep for a long time. Bonus points for any books or guides to handwriting or letter writing (it's been so long since I hand wrote anything!). UK suppliers preferred and money not really an issue. Thanks in advance.
posted by Callicvol to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
My uncle writes great letters. He often includes notes on postcards he's picked up from his travels, and articles he clips out of the paper that he thinks might interest me. Things like that makes me feel like he really thinks about me during his day. He doesn't usually use the same paper twice.
posted by chaiminda at 8:53 AM on January 26, 2013

I enjoy all the paper products from UK retailer Paperchase, and stationary is currently 10% off.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:57 AM on January 26, 2013

Best answer: Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy is an excellent introductory guide to what it says on the tin. I got it last year and am now halfway-decent at it.

I'm using actual quills with walnut ink, and they're a real joy to work with. You're more painting than writing as such. The amount of pressure you exert with ballpoint pens is entirely too much. But with some practice, you can make some truly beautiful pieces. You can use normal or parchment paper equally well.

But if you really want to go all out, spring for parchment. Not parchment paper, parchment, i.e., cured, prepared animal hides. Like these guys make. I've already made my wife one piece--a framed version of my wedding vow--and I'm halfway through a second. You can buy really big pieces suitable for framing, or you can get packs of cut parchment in a variety of sizes approximating anything from a postcard to portfolio size.

In terms of "keep for a long time," we're now talking centuries. The Book of Kells is made of essentially the same materials, and it dates to the late eighth- or early ninth-century. Granted, it's now pretty delicate, but if you want to make a written object that's going to last a lifetime, you don't want to engrave it in something more permanent, and you're willing to spend a little money on the project, this is the way to go.
posted by valkyryn at 9:18 AM on January 26, 2013

Best answer: The book Put Your Heart on Paper might be what you're looking for.
posted by Lexica at 10:22 AM on January 26, 2013

An italic nib instantly makes my normal handwriting look nice. Start with a 1.1mm or 1.5mm one. I have a cheap Manuscript ones with EF or F nibs. You can also go try to learn italic.
posted by pimli at 12:28 AM on February 5, 2013

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