Calligraphy Supplies



I’ve learned a lot since writing this post back in 2010. I’ve also made some changes to my personal supply list, too.

If you’re interested in learning calligraphy, consider taking my online class! We provide you with a kit with all the materials you need to get started PLUS personal coaching. What I’ve found in the 6+ years I’ve been doing calligraphy is that the going gets rough when you first start out. It helps to have a BFF in calligraphy. Learn more about my online class here.

A few of you have asked what supplies I have for calligraphy. It’s taken me a while to put this together (don’t ask me why), but finally I present to you my little stash of calligraphy goodies:

Isn’t this fun!? I have a little bitty calligraphy set, but my stash of inks and pen nibs are constantly multiplying. It’s always a treat to buy new inks & nibs.

Here are my inks. I started out with buying Higgins inks and quickly realized that they are runny, low-quality and super frustrating to work with. The Black Magic kind on the far right is OK, but I’ll stick to my Dr. Ph. Martin’s from now on. My aunt suggested Pelikan; I have yet to try it but I’ll let you know when I do.

Here are my pen nibs. It’s important to label them & keep them in a safe environment; safe from Penelopes & Christophers. My favorite pen nib is the third from the right. I can draw super thin & juicy thick lines all day long with that one nib. We’re BFFs. The other nibs in the box are getting jealous. I like to buy my pen nibs at Reuel’s Art & Frame because they sell pen nibs individually, rather than in packs. I hate having to buy pen nibs in packs. It also helps that Reuel’s is just around the corner from my house. I love having an art supply store so close!

UPDATE: My favorite nibs have now changed. I love the far right two nibs the best now. You’ll want to look forĀ Hunt’s mapping nib #103 (it does really dramatic thicks & thins) andĀ Hunt’s #104 (it’s a super fine nib, perfect for small projects & fine detailing). The #103 is a flexible nib, so if you’re heavy-handed I wouldn’t suggest it. The #104 is a much stiffer nib, so if you’re inclined to put you’re entire body weight into your pen, this is a good one to snatch up.

Here’s my other BFF; ink cleaner. I’ve learned by experience that if you don’t clean your nibs, your lines will become unpredictable and clumsy. Although, maybe that’s the new style in calligraphy. I dunno. This cleaner is pretty old. I got it from my grandpa’s sweet wife, just after they got married. She gave me a ton of her late husband’s drafting supplies. I’m pretty sure this solution is just a mixture of glycerine & dish soap. Not entirely sure, though.

Additionally, If you’re looking for books to help you on your quest to learn Copperplate Calligraphy, you’ll DEFINITELY want to buy these books: Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy and Calligraphy in the Copperplate Style

If you’d like a printer-friendly copy of my supplies (with additional supply information), please click the download button below.


This PDF is free for personal use and should not be distributed without my consent. If you would like to use this PDF for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

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  1. Amy Lou says:

    Thanks for the list. I’ve wanted to learn calligraphy. It would probably help me with my day to day sloppy writing as well. :)

    • Elizabeth Roberts says:

      Learning calligraphy is like an art, one you learn the basic you could end up creating your own popular font.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Awesome! I wonder if I could start doing calligraphy. Do you know if you can use fountain pen nibs or if they work differently? My husband ( ) makes amazing pens that I could “borrow” some nibs from! Thanks for the info!

  3. Melissa says:


    Fountain pens like the ones your husband sells work very differently. It looks like the pens your husband sells have a fixed width, so the width of the ink doesn’t change as you apply pressure or tilt the pen.

    Pen nibs cost about $1-2 and nib holders cost around $2-20, so it’s not a very big investment. That’s what I love!

  4. Margo says:

    I love your label on the pen nibs! I take it all the would-be borrowers of your beautiful supplies can read, hence the warning! You must make such lovely designs with these tools.

  5. What fun! I’d love to learn sometime!

  6. Katie says:

    I thought Pen Nibs was a nickname for Penelope, which would be cut if you didn’t have such a strong connection to your real ‘pen nibs’ :)

  7. Katie says:

    which would be *cute*

    • Kathy says:

      It is so funny that I would come across a pin that would lead me to your blog. I use many brush/markers in my art and journaling.I started doing some lettering/calligraphy. I pulled out my dip pen with changeable nibs which I’ve had since junior high, not middle school. Lol. That being said you know they’re at least 30+ years old. I have Bombay ink to use as well as Script. The problem lies with me. I’ve forgotten how to use my dip pen well. Loading ink and putting it to paper starts as a flood of ink that I can dip in to in order to reink. Any tutorials to help me use this dip pen set again? I love the way calligraphy looks with a dip pen. Thanks Melissa for making this cool again. Your work is beautiful.

  8. I know this post is old, but I so appreciate you sharing it with me! Great resource!

  9. Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for this awesome information! If you ever get around to offering an online class, I would DEFINITELY be interested in taking it! In the meantime, I was wondering what brand and size your “third nib from the right” is. Sounds wonderful :) Thanks!

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