Calligraphy, Copperplate, Craft blog, how to, Uncategorized, Writing

Starting Calligraphy – My hints and tips (part 2)


I’d like to share more of my Calligraphy hits and tips with you, as a follow on to my last post Starting Calligraphy – My hints and tips (part 1) and so as you may have guessed this is part 2 😊

In my previous post I wrote about learning the basis with a cartridge calligraphy pen.

Once you feel comfortable with this and feel you’d like to progress further the next step would be a pointed/dip pen.

I say this is the next step because it can be quite an investment to move onto a dip pen, but it is definitely worth the leap.

LONG POST WARNING:  This is another long post so I’d get a beverage, hijack the sofa and settle in for a read 😊

1) So many pens to choose from

In my 7 months of teaching myself calligraphy (I am by no means an expert here! 😂) I have come across 4 different types of pointed pen.

I use 3 of them and so have used a picture from the internet for the 4th kind;

  • Glass pen


My husband bought me this pen as a gift a few years ago. I’m one now learning how to write with it properly

  • Straight pen holder with nibs


I’ve come across 2 different kinds of straight pen holder. The first (on the right) has metal clasps in the top which hold the nib in place.

The second (on the left) has a circle cut out of the top, which you push the nib into.

  • Oblique pen holder with nibs
Image from

I have not used an oblique pen holder before so I can’t reference it in this post, but I imagine the principles to be the same.

I think finding the right pen holder style for you is very important, you need to feel comfortable writing with it.

I’ve found the pen holders to be quite widely available in most craft shops, some are sold individually and some with a set of nibs.

As with buying the cartridge pen I think it is always good to get a set with nibs, so that you can practice various styles.

2) Different nibs

There are so many different brands, styles, sizes of nibs.

I have to say this part of calligraphy is still a learning curve for me, and every new nib (or box of nibs) I buy gives a different effect.

I have a couple of different favourite nibs, depending on the type of project I am doing.

I have found nibs sold in small packs of 3 or 4, up to boxes or 5-10.

I write a lot of Copperplate script (or rather, try to 😀) and so I find the Brause no. 361 nib (The blue one, second on the sheet of Happy Crafting’s) the most comfortable to write with.

I think this is a personal choice though, and so when you invest in your nibs try them all out, some may surprise you (like that very thin Leondart one on the bottom of the second image, I’ll be using this more often after taking this picture!!)

Keep them as clean as you can to keep them as long as possible. Clean with water after writing a few letters so that the ink doesn’t dry out and stick. I also clean mine with baby wipes but thats just me. 🙂

3) Grab a potato!

No, seriously, go grab a potato.

Nibs are manufactured with a coating on ( I assume to stop them rusting??) but this makes them quite slippy and the ink slide off.

When you buy new nibs press the tips into a potato and leave them for around 15 minutes. You don’t have to immerse the whole nib, just to the shoulder.

The starch removes the coating and helps the ink to stay on your nib. Don’t forget to wash them and throw away the potato 😂

4) Dipping ink

This is my favourite part of using a pointed pen, but also the hardest thing to master after learning to write the various different strokes of the letters.

As with the guide books, pen holders, nibs and papers there are so many to choose from.

These are 3 examples of calligraphy inks. There are various/other brands available

These are just 3 I have at home, I have to say I am not linked to any brand and will not receive any commission etc for the above picture.

Inks are also widely available at craft stores. I would recommend using a pigmented waterproof ink as I find it lasts longer and flows well on paper. But it is really down to personal preference and the type of project you are working on.

5) Practice, Practice and again….more practice

I would recommend starting calligraphy with a cartridge calligraphy pen, as I wrote about in My hints and tips (part 1) post.

Assuming that you have started using a pointed pen as progression from this then the basic strokes and letter shapes are the same.

Using a dip pen brings a different set of challenges, especially around Ink and the infamous ‘How much ink to put on the nib’

I have yet to master this! I will take my own advice and keep practicing!


I hope this post has been helpful, maybe inspired you to try a dip pen, or even start calligraphy.

Thank you for sticking with this post, it’s a long one I know, but I hope you have enjoyed it.

Happy crafting!



9 thoughts on “Starting Calligraphy – My hints and tips (part 2)”

  1. This would be a reason to start calligraphy, working towards a nib with which to dip in the ink, it’s such a timeless writing craft xx Thank you for sharing, loved reading these.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on mariebxmastree and commented:

    Following on from last weeks reblog of part 1 of my my calligraphy hints and tips, I thought I would follow up with part 2 this week.
    I hope you find it useful, let me know what you think


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