National Handwriting Day: free calligraphy guide

14 January 2021
Learn how to write calligraphy with our easy to follow calligraphy alphabet and handy guide on what calligraphy tools you'll need to get started!

Whether you're wanting to learn something new for #NationalHandwritingDay (23 January) or brush up on your skills for beautiful journalling and scrapbooking, now is the perfect time to learn how to write calligraphy with our calligraphy guide and easy calligraphy alphabet! We'll take you through what calligraphy tools you'll need and how to create modern calligraphy letters.

Download the full calligraphy guide as featured in our Making Cards Christmas Papercraft special in 2017...

Download calligraphy guide

What calligraphy tools do I need?

Content continues after advertisements


Calligraphy nib

The most important part of modern calligraphy, each letter is created with a flexible nib pen which affects what your work will look like. Nibs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes but can be split into two main types – broad nibs and pointed nibs. Each metal nib has a slit down the centre to help the ink flow like that of fountain-pen nibs. When pressure is applied the nib splits into two, known as ‘tines’, opening up resulting in thick downstrokes. Upstrokes are made with less pressure and so are thinner.

A nib holder

Calligraphy nib holder

Of course, you need something to put the nib into! The nib holders also come in a variety of styles including straight and oblique but a basic plastic straight holder is the easiest to work with for a beginner. This applies to both left and right-handed people. The oblique holder was originally developed for right-handed calligraphers to achieve a better right slant, something that would come naturally to a left-handed person.

Top tip! Practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if you don’t get the hang of it straight away – it can take time to learn calligraphy. 


Calligraphy ink

A popular ink is Sumi ink by Kuretake. Originally used for Japanese Manga drawing, it’s the perfect ink for modern calligraphy – perfectly opaque, free flowing liquid onyx with a matte waterproof finish when dry.

Never miss a tutorial or new project again by subscribing to the digital or print issues of Making Cards & Papercraft magazine!


Calligraphy paper

What paper you use is crucial. A smooth cartridge paper of at least 120gsm or thicker is ideal. Avoid thin paper, such as office printer paper which will cause your ink to bleed, or heavily textured or handmade papers – the fibres can snag in your nib, causing unwanted problems such as drips and splatters.

Top tip! If you’re feeling creative, why not finish off your piece with a fancy flourish?! This is a popular finishing touch for many calligraphers.

Calligraphy alphabet

Now it’s time to put those calligraphy tools to the test by following our calligraphy alphabet guide. Follow the directions on the guide to create the perfect calligraphy symbols and letters in either upper or lower case. 

Calligraphy alphabet
Ready to put those calligraphy letters together? Use these common festive phrases to practise your calligraphy!

Festive calligraphy phrases

Now you've learnt how to write calligraphy, why not include it in your next card making project? Head over to our handy greeting cards list for inspiration!

Content continues after advertisement