Friday, September 14, 2012

Hogwarts Acceptance Letter

Being the teasey little hooker I am I left you hanging with this image on the tremendous finale of my cake saga.

While I can't bake or assemble cakes with a whole lot of freaking finesse, apparently, I can do other things.  I am a good painter and I am a geek when it comes to typography and text art.

For realz, I am working on getting an Etsy shop up so I can claim to be a productive member of society at times.  *nods earnestly*

Anyhoo, being that Meatball is turning eleven, is a total geek, and appreciates many of the same things that I appreciate I had this little mental convo with me the other day ...

Self One: Duuuuude, when Harry Potter turned 11 he got buried in Hogwarts acceptance letters via owl.

Self Two: Oooo, you are right, as always!

Self One: Aw, you're so sweet.

Self Two: So you think we should make one for the Meatball?

Self One: He'd love that! How hard could it be?

Self Two: Bitch, please, didn't you promise to never say that phrase again?  Remember the freaking cake?!

Yes, I speak to myself like that.  Its scary in this head, but sometimes very affirming.

Anyway, other than needing to promise Self Two that there would be no live owls or any feathers involved at all -- Self Two has a near OCD panic disorder type response to birds -- I got inspired.

Inspiration requires research.  Witnessing the mad skills of others can be freaking depressing, or just awesome.  When I searched Pintercrack and google for homemade Hogwarts letters I cam across total pieces of junk and then I saw this at *link removed per owner's request* ...

*Picture also removed per the owner's request*

And it took my geeky breath away.  Seriously, I was like needing a hit from my inhaler after seeing it.  There are options on Etsy where you can purchase, as there should be for something so purdy, but I wanted to try to make one of my own.   I lowered my standards and expectations a bit from some of the ones I found online, but gawked frequently at the images on the blog.  I also continued searching for other works of art, inspiration, and fonts.

I realized that the movie's acceptance letter (which is what I was trying to use for visual inspiration for font, etc) actually is not the same as the book's.  Like at all!  I had to put the movie on to see for myself ...

It looks a bit like Dumbledore's handwriting from the book and there are all sorts of extra words and stuff in there.  Being a hardcore book fan, I had to stick with the text from the book.  For the record, there is no reason to type all of it out.  Lots of places online have that text already there for you.  Yes, I typed it all out before I realized this.

But I do like the movie's envelope interpretation and that is how I have pictured it in my head all these years, so I wanted to mimic that.

After I typed it all I played with the fonts.  No one online told me what fonts they used, and I will give you a run down because it drove me bonkers trying to find the right ones.  They are not perfect, but I was happy enough with the result.  Fonts I used included:

Baskersville Old Face
Aqualine Two
Blackladder ITC
Californian FB
Old English Text MT
Pea Thinksilver
Footlight MT Light

I used combos of small caps and italics to mix it up a bit too.  If you have specific questions feel free to ask.  All of the fonts were either on my computer already or downloaded for free, so google if you don't have one but want it.  You can snatch Dumbledore's handwriting font (Aqualine Two) here for free, and ermigawd I think I will be using that like everywhere now.

To sign the letter I saved a picture of Minerva McGonagall's signature found on the internet and inserted it into my Word document.  I made it really really light, then went over it in green fine point Sharpie.

End result, I can forge Professor McGonagall's siggy pretty well that way!

This is the header for the letter that I created:

And this is the footer that is on both the letter and the supply list.

Here is a slightly crummy picture of Meatball reading it once he got it.  I cut the paper to about 5.5 inches so it would fit in the envelope I made.

Because the use of scavenger hunts is a bit of a family tradition here, I included a letter from Dumbledore that explained the rules to the hunt.  I will include that in another post since this is quite long as is.

I wanted to make my own envelope because I think sticking in a standard one would have been a crime.  I used the one found here on HP101 Book Collecting as a template.  I also followed his suggestions on the You Tube video to make my folds nice and my glue not be everywhere.

Folding with a table's edge

Keep a piece of paper under the section to keep from sealing your envelope entirely.

To address it I wound up typing it up in word and surrounding it with one of the call outs that looks like a scroll.  I did this because I could not get my text on the envelope paper straight.  Once I printed it I added some shading by hand to make it look a little less computery.

When I tried to cover up the info that would tell you my child's name or where we lived I wound up only having one line left visible.  So, I made a mock one without the special shading, to show you how I piecemeal-ed the fonts together.  I just took a picture on my computer screen, so its not too pretty, but you get the idea ...

At Hello Paper Moon I found an awesome school crest I used at the top of my letter and an absolutely brilliant idea to close the envelope up.  The idea of me getting anything to its melting point seems highly foolish, so when I saw that I could make something that looked a bit like a wax seal but was not requiring me pouring hot wax anywhere, I was all over it.  She used an image of the seal, printed it on an address label and cut it out.  (Side Note: I totally say the phrase "cut it out" with Dave Coulier's voice)

Bam, sealed envelope with minimal danger and a whole lot of ease!

By the time I was done typing, font selecting, cutting, folding, and gluing I was feeling psyched but pretty worn out.  Its a lot of work, all things considered.  But I needed to have a cool delivery ... cue the evil owls from the Hogwarts cake post.

If you recall, when you went to Bakingdom's site she had this gorgeous set up with the cake and there were these paper owls.  The links are on her site too, and I thought "hey, that will be perfect!  I can print a Hedwig for him!"

What I did not take into consideration is that I apparently suck rocks at folding things into cutesy animal shapes.  If I could have nailed that bastard together, I would have.  Ultimately, it took nearly as long as the freakin' letter did, but the end result was cute.

I used fishing line and hemp to tie it all together and hang it from the ceiling.  I discovered that the reason people drink when they fish is because fishing line is an absolute pain in the ass to work with and I wanted a beer when I was done with it too.

The picture doesn't do it justice, it was cute and worth swearing at paper owls all afternoon.

End result, Hedwig delivered the letter, and Meatball was over the moon.  So much so that he excitedly told me he can't wait for next year's letter/Year Two Supply List and scavenger hunt.

Wait, what?!

*Original post edited per the request of the owner of linked images and artwork.  Sorry if things seem disjointed as a result*


  1. After reading that, I felt tired. But so happy for you because I know that just made his day! I'd start working on next year's letter now. :)

    1. It really did make his day. I knew he'd like it, but I didn't realize how much. I told him he'd better hold on to Hedwig for the next 6 years because I am NOT making any more owls.

  2. Hello, can you please take off the link and the picture to my store. I am no longer making these letters.

    The Paper Drawer

    1. Sorry to hear that, I removed the content associated with your store and product.

  3. I love the owl and the way you hung it outside his door. I bet he will always remember his 11th birthday!

    1. Thanks! I certainly hope so, memories are such an important thing to create for kiddos! :)

  4. above "Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore" how did you get that decorative thing there?

    1. Sorry it took me so long to reply!

      Those are just characters in one of the wingdings fonts (I think Windings 2), real easy. Not sure what letters they are but there are so many neat characters to play with in there.

  5. I love the footer!! How did you made it? Specially those big letters at the beginning of: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

    1. The font for the capital letters H, S, and the Ws was called Rage.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. It wasn't green when I found it, it is the first image I get when I search "Hogwarts Crest" but it is black and white. I altered the color so it matched.

  7. Can I ask what you've added at the bottom of each page - i think its the footer underneath Howarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry?
    Thanks x

    1. It reads "Office of the Headmaster" then under that is the house names, and under that is the Hogwarts Latin motto: "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus" (Never tickle a sleeping dragon)

  8. What do you use as a word document? Microsoft word Google docs?