DIY CALLIGRAPHY KIT
You are interested in calligraphy, but where do you start? Today I am sharing with you the 6 calligraphy supplies that go in traditional calligraphy kit. While some beginner kits are easily accessible at most craft stores, I HIGHLY recommend you create your own! Reason? Pre-made kits typically use low quality supplies and can lead to frustration right off the bat. The last thing you want to do is feel defeated before you even start, right? It will take a bit of extra work, but it will definitely pay off in the long run!
1) BLUE PUMPKIN NIB
Also known as the Brause 361 nib, this is BY FAR my favorite nib. No, not because it has a cool name, but because it truly is the best. I am telling you about this nib to start with because I did not start with it. I purchased a variety of nibs when I started calligraphy and it took a lot of trial-and-error to figure out this was the nib for me.
When beginning, most people are heavier handed until they can figure out how to control the pressure needed for pointed pen calligraphy to make thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes. The Blue Pumpkin is a strong nib that won't bend as easily and cause an ink explosion as as many of the "beginner" nibs that come in the pre-made kits. I purchase mine on Amazon (linked below).
2) NIKKO G NIB
The Nikko G nib is a close second of my favorite nibs. Like the Blue Pumpkin, it is a sturdy nib that withstands someone with a heavier hand. This nib gives the calligraphy a more refined, delicate look. I get mine on Amazon (linked below).
3) STRAIGHT PEN HOLDER
There are two types of nib holders: oblique and straight. I recommend starting with a straight holder because it most resembles a standard pen or pencil. Most pen holders have a universal end, meaning that the metal tines at the end of the pin can be bent to hold a variety of nib sizes.
I use two different holders: Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder in White and the Generals Cork Grip Pen Holder. Both holders have a cushioned grip that allows you to write comfortably for longer periods of time. I got mine on Amazon (linked below).
4) BLACK INDIA INK
There are hundreds of brands and types of ink out there. But my favorite is the Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay Black India Ink. It is a thicker ink, which is great for learning consistency in pressures and it bleeds a lot less frequently. There are tons of colors and it is easily available at most craft stores or on Amazon (linked below).
A few notes : The jars that most ink comes in can be tricky to use with a dip pen because of the narrow opening. I recommend putting the ink in a small separate container with a wide mouth and screw-top lid. I get these at my local craft store and then label each jar with it’s contents for organized storage. The Bombay India ink also requires a heavier paper for practicing or final pieces. For paper types, keep reading!
5) Paper: 32lb Laserjet paper
When it comes to practicing dip pen calligraphy, traditional printer paper won’t work. The ink will easily bleed and the nib will pick up the thin fibers of the paper. I prefer the 32lb laserjet paper for practicing and keeping the tips of brush pens or nibs from getting worn down. It is a thicker, heavier type of paper with a smooth finish, which is perfect for warm up strokes, perfecting layouts, or even just practicing for fun! It is available at most office stores as well as on Amazon (linked below).
6) BRISTOL VELLUM PAPER
For final projects and custom work, I absolutely love using the vellum Bristol pad of paper. It is a heavyweight, thick paper with an silky smooth finish — perfect for pen and ink or markers with no shadowing or bleeding. I have used this paper for personalized cards, calligraphy prints, gift tags, escort cards, and more. It is available at most craft stores as well as on Amazon (linked below).
There you have it — my top 6 products to include in your DIY calligraphy kit. I encourage you to try these supplies out for yourself! These are just my suggestions and know they are not mandatory to be a successful calligrapher. Remember, in order to be good at anything, you must practice and continue to learn as you go. I always use the phrase “practice makes progress” to encourage others along the way! If you have questions about the supplies listed above or even about other products you have tried, I’d love to engage with you in the comment below!