Yearly Archives: 2021

Mini birthday banner

How to Create A DIY Mini Birthday Banner

By: Erin McDonough

Any good party needs a banner and it doesn’t have to take up a whole wall! I love making a mini banner to elevate any party table décor. You also don’t need any fancy tools or a cutting machine to make it super cute and easy. Follow along in this tutorial!

Mini birthday banner supplies

Materials Needed:

Cutting cardstock

Step 1: Cut Your Cardstock

To begin this project, first use your 2-inch punch tool (or scissors) to cut the cardstock paper into uniform circles for each letter that will be used in the banner. I wanted mine to say “Happy Birthday,” so I punched out 13 punches for the 13 letters we will be creating.

Lettering on cardstock

Step 2: Add Lettering to Each Circle

Next, it’s time to add a letter to each of your circular pieces of cardstock. I wanted this mini banner to be bold and colorful to match my rainbow party theme so I used Mildliner Brush Pens and Zensations Technical Drawing Pens for this project. The Mildliner Brush Pens come in a variety of soft, beautiful colors so there’s plenty of options.

Adding to details to calligraphy

Step 3: Outline the Lettering

To make your lettering stand out, use the Zensations Technical Drawing Pen (in any size) to outline each letter. I also added a little drop shadow to make it POP!

Feel free to use a variety of colors, especially if you choose to replicate the rainbow theme that I’m using for this project.

Step 4: String Together the Letters

Next, punch single holes in each of the letters so you can string them together.

Step 5: Assemble the Banner

Next, take the twine or ribbon and string it through the holes you created with the hole punch in each of the letters, assembling the banner in the correct order. You can use glue dots to keep your letters in place if you are so inclined.

Step 6: Hang the Banner

Finally, it’s time to enjoy your work! Hang up the banner or drape it on a table to add some flair for your next birthday party.

For more party-planning inspiration, check out 4 DIY Napkin Tags Perfect for Spring.

Bullet journal spread

How to Doodle Your Summer Favorites in Your Bullet Journal

Hi everyone! It’s Dayna from @daynadoodles and today I’m going to show you how to doodle your favorite summer activities in your bullet journal.

Bullet journaling supplies

Supplies Needed:

Bullet journal sketch

Step 1: Sketch Your Summer Doodles

Start by sketching your summer favorites in doodle form with the STEEL M-301 Mechanical Pen. I use this pencil for everything because I love how light the lead is and I don’t have to fret over erasing pencil lines. Plus, it’s smudge free! My summer favorite doodles included activities like camping, star gazing, bike riding, and more.

Bullet journal sketch

Step 2: Outline with A Fine-tipped Marker

Next, use the Zensations Technical Drawing Pen in 0.1mm to write over the title and doodles. These fine-point marker pens are perfect for writing, sketching, or outlining in various sizes. I always outline in 0.1mm because I like the look of thin wispy lines, but I always have the option to go bolder with these drawing pens with the other point sizes.

Bullet journaling

Once you are done outlining, erase the pencil lines with the eraser from the STEEL M-301 Mechanical Pen. Don’t worry about smudging the ink or the pencil lines because the ink is smudge-free!

Colored sketch in a bullet journal

Step 3: Add Color to Your Doodles

Now it’s time for the fun part—coloring in your doodles! I used several different materials for this, but I started coloring with Mildliner Highlighters (one of my essential bullet journal tools).I like to switch between the dual-tip ends because the fine tip is perfect for coloring in the tiny spaces whereas the highlighter tip is perfect for broad strokes. I also used Mildliner Brush Pens to gradually shade in the doodles.

Colored sketch in bullet journal

Next, I colored in the stars with the Zensations Metallic Brush Penin Gold for a fun shimmer look. I also used the Funwari Brush Penin Gray on the camping tent after shading it in with the Gray Mildliner Highlighter. I like the contrast between the light gray from the Mildliner Highlighters and the dark gray from the Funwari Brush Pen.

Bullet journaling

I like to experiment when creating so I used the Zensations Technical Colored Pencils as a base shade for the lemonade. It gives a cool blended look when coloring over it in the Mildliner Highlighters and Mildliner Brush Pens.

Doodles in a bullet journal

Step 4: Add the Final Touches

With the Sarasa Clip Gel Retractable Pen in Dark Green, I added a finishing touch to the turtle to bring a pop of color and different texture to it. I love using these gel pens as a final touch to my drawings. They are so fun and come in so many different colors from light to dark!

Summer-themed bullet journal

Finally, I added some finishing touches to the drawings with the Zensations Technical Pen in 0.1mm.

Summer favorites in a bullet journal

Then I decided to add a shadow to the title! I used the Gray Mildliner Brush Pento give it a cool effect while keeping it minimal so as not to take away from the drawings.

Bullet journal

And there you have it! A super easy and fun bullet journal spread to create for the summer. I hope this brings some inspiration and creativity to your own bullet journal spreads. For more bullet journaling inspiration, check out How to Create a Bullet Journal Key/Legend.


Mother's Day card

Simple DIY Mother’s Day Card

By: Sue Nguyen of @letteringwithsuzy

Hi Friends! Mother’s Day is right around the corner. What better way to show your appreciation for your mom than a handmade Mother’s Day card? Here is a fun and easy Mother’s Day card to show off your lettering and floral abilities. No need to worry if you have never drawn florals before. In this tutorial, I’ll give you some pointers and let you do the rest.  Let’s get started!

White stock paper and an assortment of Zebra Pen Brush Pens and markers

Materials Needed

Mother's Day card sketch

Step 1: Sketch the Lettering for the Card

Start off with the card base; you can create your own with cardstock or buy premade blank cards. I used white cardstock cut and folded to 5 x 7. Next, sketched out, “Happy Mother’s Day” on the card. I used my favorite Z-Grip Plus Mechanical Pencil to lightly sketch the quote. With the sketching and inking of this card, I love that the Z-Grip Plus Mechanical Pencil has a handy twistable eraser. I like using the slim eraser to remove any pencil lines after inking.

Once the sketch is finished and the placement of the quote is centered, we are ready to ink. Use the Zensations Brush Pen to letter the quote.

Brush pen flowers

Step 2: Add Floral Designs

For the florals, I used the Mildliner Brush Pens. This brush pen allows you to control the width of the stroke. My tip for drawing rose petals is to mimic the shape of eyebrows. Start with a thin stroke, add pressure to the brush for the arch, and then release the pressure.

Brush Pen flowers

For this card, I drew 2 sets of roses on diagonal sides of the quote. I recommend starting with the center rose for each set. Using the Mildliner Brush Pen, draw a small “c” and “u” shape for the center of the rose, then start drawing around the center using the eyebrow method until you reach the size of rose you like. Then, use another Mildliner Brush Pen color to create the roses on the left and right.

Flower designs

To draw the leaves, draw a thin stem, then press the brush on a slant, pulling slightly and releasing to create the leaf shape. Go back to the main stem and draw a leaf on the opposite side. You can add a few leaves around each the roses.

Tip: To make the roses look like they are bundled together, make the center of the rose a little closer to the main red rose. This way, the side roses will look tucked under the center rose. I recommend practicing your florals on a separate piece of paper before creating your card.

Mother's Day card

Step 3: Add Embellishments

Since the card has extra white space on opposite corners of the florals, I added small hearts with the Metallic Brush Pen in Pink. I also used the Metallic Brush Pen in Gold to create a drop shadow on the lettering. To do this, draw a parallel line to all the downstroke areas of the lettering and the loops. Feel free to move the placement of the roses anywhere you like on the card or add more leaves and florals.

Inside page of Mother's Day card

Step 4: Write A Message Inside the card

Now it’s time to craft a heartfelt message inside the card. First, I used the Mildliner Brush Pens to create more florals inside the card. Then I used the Metallic Brush Pen to letter an eye-catching message. I also used the Metallic Brush Pens to add more embellishments around the card. You can write a message on the left side as well.  

Mother's Day card

How easy was that? It doesn’t take much to create a heartwarming gift from the heart. For more homemade card inspiration, check out How to Create a DIY Father’s Day Card.

Paper flower bouquet

Easy Paper Flower Bouquet for Mother’s Day

By: Christine Asciutto of @twinkleplansherday

Mother’s Day is approaching and making Mom feel special has never been easier. Today I’ll be sharing how to create an easy paper flower bouquet using Mildliner Highlighters and some everyday household products.

Materials Needed:

  • 5 White coffee filters
  • Paper plates
  • Mildliner Highlighters
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Paper straws
  • Floral or washi tape
  • Scissors
Color dying a coffee filter

Step 1: Use Mildliner Highlighters to “Dye” Your Coffee Filters

The first step is to add a splash of color to your white coffee filters. To begin, select a Mildliner Highlighter color you want for your paper flower and use it to add strokes to the edges of your coffee filter.

Next, use your spray bottle to add a small amount of water to your coffee filter while it rests on the paper plate. The paper plate will help keep your work area mess-free and help keep your filter flat. Let the ink diffuse evenly throughout the coffee filter and let dry. Repeat this step four more times to ensure your paper is thoroughly saturated with color.

Folded and dyed coffee filter

Step 2: Fold the Dyed Coffee Filter

Once your coffee filter is thoroughly saturated and dry, fold each filter in half. Then fold it in half once more until it resembles an ice cream cone shape, like shown above.

Folded coffee filter with cut outs

Step 3: Cut Triangle Shapes

Using scissors, snip a tiny section of the bottom of the “cone.” This will create a center hole in the flower design once it is unfolded. Once cut, turn the cone upside down and make four 1-inch cuts along the bottom. Next, cut triangle shapes along the edge, as shown in the example above. 

Repeat steps 1 through 3 four more times until you have 5 total pieces.

Paper flower

Step 5: Assemble the Pieces into a Flower

Now that you have all your flower petals created, it is time to assemble your flower together. Start by unfolding each filter to reveal a flower shape.

Then, insert the paper straw into the center hole of the first filter and wrap the filter along the top, securing with floral or washi tape. Repeat with the remaining filters to add more volume with each layer.

Paper flower bouquet

Step 6: Create Multiple Paper Flowers for a Bouquet

Repeat steps 1 through 5 to create more paper flowers ranging in a variety of colors. Once create, these flowers can be arranged in a bouquet or used as a gift topper.

For more spring-inspired craft projects, check out 4 DIY Napkin Tags Perfect for Spring.

Homemade Mother's Day card

How to Create A Colorful Floral Mother’s Day Card

By: Christine Asciutto of @twinkleplansherday

Handmade cards are always cherished by Mom. Here is an easy card using just a handful of products including Mildliner Brush Pens and cardstock.

Materials Needed:

Step 1: Prep the Cardstock and Hand Letter the Card Greeting

Start by folding your cardstock in half lengthwise to create the base of the card. Next, hand letter the card greeting, “Home is Where Mom is” on the front of the card with one of the colors of the Mildliner Brush Pens. In the example above, I used the Gray color, but feel free to mix up the colors as I did in the examples below.

Handlettering a handmade card

Step 2: Add Details to the Calligraphy

To make the calligraphy pop, use the Zensations Calligraphy Pen to add accents to the words. To add even more interest, add dark lines to the left side of each stroke with the Mildliner Brush Pen for a shadow effect. 

Brush Pen dot design technique

Step 3: Create Floral and Teardrop Designs

It is time to bring out your creativity! Add a colorful touch by slowly incorporating various flower designs and teardrop shapes along the borders of the card using as many colors of the Mildliner Brush Pens as you’d like. To make the teardrop shapes along the corners, simply lay the Mildliner Brush Pen on its side, as shown in the photo above.

Handmade floral Mother's Day card

Step 5: Add the Finishing Touches

Continue using dots, lines, and swirls to create florals and greenery to the border edges of the card. To finish the card off, don’t forget to add a personal message inside of the card. Mom will not throw this card away!

For more spring-inspired craft projects, check out 4 DIY Napkin Tags Perfect for Spring.

Sarasa Grand and STEEL F-402 Ballpoint Retractable Pen next to notebook on a desk

5 Ways to Relieve Stress After Work

Whether you work from home or in an office setting, many of us often take our jobs home with us without realizing it. Job stress can seep in during times we’re supposed to be relaxing, and instead of making the most of our non-work lives, we’re combating anxiety about the next workday. Read on for a few simple tips to leave job stress at work and embrace mindfulness once you sign off for the day.

1. Tie Up Loose Ends Before You Leave Work

One of the best ways you can leave job stress at work is to prepare yourself before you leave. To cut down on after-hours troubleshooting, prepare a to-do list that highlights the priority tasks you want to accomplish the next day. This practice will not only organize your workload, but it can help you to leave feeling that things are taken care of. Bonus: You will start the next day knowing exactly what you want to tackle first. To jot down this to-do list, use a reliable pen like the STEEL G-402 Gel Retractable Pen. It has rapid dry ink (RDI) technology, so you won’t need to worry about smears or smudging—even if you’re left-handed.

2. Take a Walk or Go for a Run

Stepping outside for some fresh air is a great way to change your scenery and start the transition from work to home life for the night. Brisk walking, and other cardiovascular exercise like running, has been shown to boost endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression. Any activity that boosts your heart rate and causes you to get a bit sweaty will help relieve some of your stress, so you’re better prepared to tackle tomorrow.

3. Start a Journaling Practice

Journaling is a highly effective tool for stress relief and can take several forms, so you can rest assured there is a type of journaling that will best fit your needs. A gratitude journal can help you focus on what you are grateful for and create a more positive mood in the moment. You can also use journaling as an emotional release by identifying triggers of stress and then exploring more positive reframing. Whichever way you prefer to journal, make sure to use a dependable pen that won’t interrupt your thought process. Choose Different with the stylish Sarasa Grand Gel Retractable Pen. It features a weighted brass barrel in 6 fashionable colors and fast drying gel ink for the ultimate writing experience.

4. Embrace Stress

This may sound contradictory, but new research has shown that embracing stress can help you become less affected by it. In a viral Ted Talk, Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal discusses how stress can make us stronger, smarter and happier—if we learn how to open our minds to it. The initial research showed that viewing stress as a helpful part of life, rather than as harmful, is associated with better health, emotional wellbeing and productivity at work—even during periods of high stress. This approach can be used to build resiliency over a longer period of time.

5. Cook Something Delicious

Nutritious and delicious food can improve your mood while fueling your body and mind. When we get overwhelmed, we tend to reach for a quick and unhealthy snack that can make us feel slow and tired. Keeping your hands busy while cooking a meal is a great way to help relax and allow yourself to put the stressors in the back of your mind.

No matter how stressful work can be, remember to prioritize yourself and create a daily practice of activities that enforce a better work-life balance. These tips and tricks, when used over the long term, can help you relax and set yourself up for success both professionally and personally.

Easter banner

How to Make A Festive Easter Banner

By: Hazel Ung of @hazels.pineapple.patch

Hello Spring! It’s that time of year, when the frost starts to melt, and the flowers begin to bloom. It’s also that time of year when we celebrate Easter. With family and friends gathering for this occasion, it’s always a fun idea to create festive décor to add to the celebration. Today I’ll be showing you how to create this festive Easter banner using a few simple materials.



Materials & Tools:


Step 1: Make your banner

You can buy a paper/cardstock banner (already shaped), or you can make your own using white cardstock. If you love to craft, having white cardstock handy is a must for simple projects like this one. You can create a banner-shaped stencil and then use it to create as many cutouts as you need. Once you have cut out all your pieces, you can punch the hole at the top corners.
Banner crafts


Step 2: Let’s get creative with your banner

I started off by lettering the individual banner pieces with each letter to spell E A S T E R. I used the Sarasa Fineliner in Black to create a block letter and then outlined it with a pastel colored Mildliner Highlighter. The Zensations Brush Pen would also work great for outlining your letters if you prefer a bolder outline. I alternated 3 different colors to keep it bright and festive.

Here’s a tip: You can use an alphabet stencil if you need help with creating your block letters.

Easter banner materials

Since it’s Easter, I chose a theme of “Eggs.” The pattern was simple yet cute and festive. Whatever you decide, you get to create it! I used the Sarasa Fineliners & Mildliner Highlighters to add a colorful pattern to my banner.


Easter banner hung on a door

Step 3: Assemble your banner

Now you can put your banner together. Get your twine or ribbon and weave it through the holes that you punched out at the top of your cutouts. Looking at your cutout, weave the end of your twine or rope from the front left hole, pull through and weave it back into the right hole pulling from the back to the front. Repeat this with each cut out.


Easter banner

Step 4: Add embellishments

Once you’ve weaved your twine through, you can add embellishments to your banner. I attached ribbon tassels in between each letter. It gave the banner some dimension and tassels are perfect for any celebration.

Banners look amazing on a mantle or even an entry way. Whatever you decide, it will make your occasion a little more personal and create a memorable experience. For more spring-themed crafts, check out How to Draw a Baby Chick in 7 Easy Steps.

Bullet journal key

How to Create A Bullet Journal Key/Legend

Hey there! I’m Andrea from @wildeyesbujo on Instagram and I’m an artist ambassador for Zebra Pen. Today I’m going to show you how to create a key page for a bullet journal using my go-to Zebra Pen products. This key/legend is simply a handy reference guide that helps remind you what colors, letters, or symbols you use in your bullet journal to signify various tasks.

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