In the last TPK blog post, you were introduced to three kinds of earthy-hued calligraphy inks. Today, you’re going to meet the glitzy cousins of those inks! The sparkling inks detailed in this post are perfect for when you want to make something glamorous and unique, something that makes observers do a double-take. You’ll learn the nuances behind various metallic calligraphy mediums, and you can use the information presented today and in the next TPK blog post to decide which sparkling ink (or inks) are right for you!
Finetec Golds and Pearl Colors Palettes
Finetec is my favorite supply when it comes to writing sparkling calligraphy. Believe it or not, Finetec calligraphy “inks” are actually watercolors! The watercolors are made with mica, which is a natural shimmering mineral. When you put a Finetec-loaded pen to paper, you will be amazed at how beautiful the effect is; for example, check out the sumptuous color in the Kaitlin Style menu pictured below!
Of course, as a beginner, I puzzled over how one could use hardened little circles of finely-ground glitter, essentially, to create liquid beauty on a page. The answer lies in adding water and mixing: you can learn exactly how to use the palette in this blog post, which includes a helpful tutorial video.
I love both of the Finetec palettes (the Pearl Colors and the Golds) because of their extraordinary opacity and the fact that you as the calligrapher can easily control the viscosity of the ink based on how much water you mix in. However, there are some downsides. First of all, if you’re new to using Finetec, there’s a little bit of a learning curve; you have to figure out the “sweet spot” as far as viscosity goes for you. Secondly, you have to brush Finetec on to the back of your nib. That’s fine if you’re making one card or envelope, but if you’re making a lot of envelopes (e.g. for a wedding), the process will be very time-consuming! Finally, Finetec is a little on the pricey side — the palette will run you around $25 plus shipping. That’s a hefty chunk to pay for calligraphy ink, but it’s worth noting that the palette will last you for several years.
If you live in the US, you can find the Finetec palettes here at TPK. For other countries, see the Where to Purchase Calligraphy Supplies page.
Lumiere by Jacquard
Like the Finetec palette, Jacquard’s Lumiere paint is infused with mica to give it a lot of vibrant sparkle. Lumiere paint is a good multi-purpose supply to keep around; Jacquard boasts of its ability to adhere to any surface including canvas, leather, wood, and, of course, paper. If you are going to use Lumiere as a calligraphy ink, diluting it is an absolute must! When you get a new bottle of Lumiere, you’ll want to transfer about two tablespoons of the paint into a separate container …
Then, add about 1.5 teaspoons of water. The ratio of paint to water should be approximately 4:1 to ensure opaque coverage when creating calligraphy.
Next, shake the container vigorously to mix the water and paint together.
Once the water and paint have mixed, you can dip your nib directly in the mixture and use it as a calligraphy ink, as shown in the lace envelope art photo below! If you’re having trouble getting the ink to flow, you can always add a little bit more water. If you add too much water (you’ll know it’s too much because the ink will no longer be opaque), that’s no biggie; just let the ink sit out without the lid for a couple of hours to allow some water to evaporate out.
One of my favorite things about Lumiere paint, particularly the colored varieties like Halo Pink Gold, is the fact that the creations you make with it look very different depending on which angle you’re viewing them from. For example, if you look at the Janet Style envelope below straight-on, the color is indeed a reddish gold.
However, if you angle the envelope toward a light source, it suddenly bursts with golden brilliance! It doesn’t even look like the same envelope!
I like Lumiere ink because it comes in a variety of different colors, and once you add water, it’s convenient to use. I have noticed, however, that its coverage isn’t quite as good as Finetec because you do need to add a significant amount of water to make it calligraphy-friendly. It’s acrylic paint, so it also gunks up your nib relatively quickly, which facilitates the need to wipe off the nib quite often. All in all, though, its brilliant, interactive tones and convenience are worth it!
You can purchase Lumiere ink at Paper and Ink Arts in the US. For other countries, see the Where to Purchase Calligraphy Supplies page.
If you have any questions about the two types of “ink” detailed in today’s post — or tips on where to find them in your country — please feel free to comment. I’m glad to offer input, and I am always looking for suppliers to recommend to readers across the globe. Thanks so much for reading TPK, and we’ll reconvene in my next blog post with more information on making glamorous, glittering calligraphy!