Techniques for DIY calligraphy range from simply thickening certain lines in ordinary cursive writing to printing out calligraphy fonts and tracing them onto envelopes or stationery. While we're no experts – our attempts at calligraphy look like it was done by a troop of drunken monkeys – we've found some pros and talented amateurs who can tell you how it's done.
Lindsey Bugbee offers one of the simplest techniques for DIY calligraphy. She simply uses a Pilot G2 gel pen to write as neatly as she can in cursive, then thickens all the downstroke lines and fills them in to give them that calligraphy/fountain pen appearance.
She calls it the, "Fake It 'Til You Make It" method and, based on the samples on her website, seems to work.
Jones Design Company offers a more detailed example of how to fake calligraphy using the same method. Jones recommends starting with pencil, then using a Pilot Precise extra fine to draw each letter. Once the letters are done, you can use the Precise to add thickness to all the downstrokes in the letter.
Another simple tip is to find a calligraphy font online and print it in light gray on your stationery, then use your own pen to darken it. That way, the calligraphy will look hand-printed, even if it isn't, althought it may end up looking too perfect.
(Calligraphy fonts aren't hard to find. In fact, there are a number of font sites, as well as calligraphy cheat sheets available for printing or tracing.)
If you want to get really detailed about it, and don't mind spending some money, Intimate Weddings offers perhaps the most sophisticated way to produce professional looking DIY calligraphy. It involves buying a tracing table and a calligraphy set to copy a font printed from the Internet.
By the time you are finished, you've almost done real calligraphy, but without the nerve-racking experience of trying to do it freehand.
Or, if all else fails, you could always just hire a pro.