For years, I searched for the perfect gold calligraphy ink. I needed something opaque, rich, and durable, but all the liquid inks I tried were partially transparent (or had mica particles that sunk to the bottom of the jar and stayed there). As it turns out, the ink I was seeking didn’t turn out to be an ink at all! Once I discovered Finetec watercolors, there was no going back. In this article, I’ll teach you how to use metallic watercolors to create stunning gold calligraphy.
What are Finetec Watercolors?
Finetec GmbH is a family-owned German company that makes opaque metallic watercolors. These lightfast watercolors are handmade from mica pigments and gum arabic. The watercolors have mica in them, which makes them very shimmery. The company sells a few different palettes, so you can choose which one fits you based on personal preference. Personally, I like two specific palettes. First, the Golds palette, which has an elegant mix of five gold tones plus a silver.
The Pearl Colors palette is the most popular Finetec palette. People love it because of the variety of metallic colors like green, blue, and red. (As a side note, Finetec couldn’t produce enough of this palette last Christmas … that’s how in-demand it is! I had to wait until mid-January for my wholesale shipment.)
While you might associate watercolors with painting, many calligraphers use Finetec as a gold ink! Finetec makes a wonderful ink because you can control the opacity, mix colors, and easily transport it.
How to Use the Finetec Palette
To transform the Finetec palette into a shimmery gold calligraphy ink, you need to moisten the pan(s) of your choice with a bit of water. (I usually use 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon.) Let the water sit on the watercolor for about 30 seconds, then use a small paintbrush (size 2-ish) to mix it in. As soon as you achieve the viscosity of heavy cream, you’re ready to write! To see these instructions in action, watch the short video below:
Of course, brushing watercolor on the back of your nib can be time-consuming if you have a very large project. That’s the downside! For recommendations on metallic inks that you can dip your nib into, see Calligraphy Ink Recommendations: Sparkling Delights – Part I and Part II.
If you’re not familiar with using the Finetec watercolors for making gold calligraphy, you might encounter ink flow issues. To ensure a smooth writing experience, it’s important to be vigilant about two things. First, make sure there’s enough water mixed into your watercolor! If the mixture is too thick, it won’t flow off the nib.
Second, clean off your nib often with water and a non-fibrous cloth while using Finetec. Shoot for cleaning the nib every two minutes. The mica particles in the watercolor tend to cling to the nib, which can gunk things up and affect ink flow!
Gold Calligraphy Project Tips
If you’re making a calligraphy project on dark paper, a white mechanical pencil will come in very handy! You can use the pencil to draw guidelines, then create your gold calligraphy. Finetec dries very quickly, so after 5-ish minutes, you can safely erase your guidelines!
You can create stunning pieces by combining gold calligraphy with any other color of calligraphy. The place card below, for example, features a combination of Arabic gold watercolor and Bleed Proof White ink.
Finally, don’t forget that you can switch it up and use Finetec as a traditional watercolor! I used a small paintbrush and Finetec gold to enhance this pretty lily drawing.
Gold Calligraphy/Finetec Watercolor Inspiration
I prepared the video below to show you what it’s like to use gold watercolor to create a pretty calligraphy medallion. The video does a good job of capturing that signature Finetec magic!
You can also browse through the photos below to see some of the projects that I’ve used Finetec watercolors to create. (Click on the arrow in the righthand part of the photo to get started.) If you have a question about a specific piece shown in this gallery, ask in the comments! Most of these photos come from tutorials that are here on the TPK site.
Where to Find Finetec
When I started selling Finetec in the TPK Supplies Shop a little over a year ago, I chose to stock my three favorites: individual Arabic Gold pans, the Golds palette, and the Pearl Colors palette! If you’re outside of the US, consider purchasing your Finetec from a local merchant. You can click here to find a list of places that you might find these shimmering watercolor gems (among many other calligraphy supplies).
If you have any questions about making gold calligraphy or writing with metallic watercolors, you are more than welcome to ask in the comments! I’ll be glad to help when I have a moment. In the meantime, I hope that you learned something from this post. I know that you’ll be creating stunning gold calligraphy in no time!