Chinese New Year Couplet Calligraphy Without Brush

It's been more than 30 years since I last practised my Chinese calligraphy, as well as last owned a Chinese brush or ink! But Lunar New Year is just around the corner and I really want to put up a spring couplet (春联) on the door, just to get into the mood. I've even written a few sets of my own couplets - not from the usual ones that had been published for many years which everyone else is using 😁

There are or course, professional calligraphers at shopping malls to write these on the spot for any paying customers; but as usual, I'm cheap 😜😂! And I still hold on to the idea that - if I can do it myself, I shall try not to pay someone else to do it. So I thought I'd try - with or without the calligraphy tools.

I began with the sourcing of the "Four Treasures of Chinese Study" (文房四宝) around town, in all stationers and book stores I can get to by public transport (yes, I don't own a car), but to no avail. Well that's a lie - I did find the brush and the ink (ready to use ones so obviously I won't need the ink slab) but not the right paper, and it is rather late to order the paper online either.


I then decided to - cheat. No, not getting someone else to do it, or even printing it from the computer; that would've been too easy!

I probably did the hardest ever way to get around it:

I bought a piece of slightly textured, shimmery red gift wrapper (finally found it at Metrojaya - thank you for such beautiful stock!), measured the length and divide it by 7 (7 characters for each side of the couplet), which is about 11cm.

Next is to draw a circle of 11cm diameter on some used (previously printed on) A4 paper, and start 'drawing' each character in my own calligraphy style. When it's done, I turned them into stencils by cutting out the characters with a craft knife:


I then cut two long strips off the red gift wrapper length way (keeping the remaining, I might need it later - whenever), and arrange the stencils onto the strips, each secured by some Faber-Castell Tack-it. This allows me to trace the characters onto the red paper neatly with a fine nib permanent black art pen, then finish off with a thicker nib art pen.


And voila, my brush-less Chinese calligraphy spring couplet is done and ready for the Lunar New Year.

Cost: RM3.90 for the gift wrapper, everything else - ready stock in the house 😁

Wishing you all a very warm and cheerful new year; as my couplet says:
"Evergreen in four seasons,
Full house of peace and joy"

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