• How to Write Gold Calligraphy With Finetec Watercolors

    If you’ve ever wondered how to create gorgeous gold calligraphy, you’ll appreciate this article! ✨ In it, I’ll show you how to prepare metallic watercolors for dip pen use with a written explanation and a short tutorial video.

    How to Write Gold Calligraphy With Finetec Watercolors

    For years, I scoured art supply stores for the perfect gold calligraphy ink. I needed something opaque, rich, and durable, but all the liquid inks I tried were partially transparent (or they had mica particles that sunk to the bottom of the jar and coagulated). As it turns out, the ink I was seeking wasn’t 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.

    Six Calligraphy Envelopes, Two Hours

    What are Finetec Watercolors?

    Finetec GmbH Coliro (not to be confused with Finetec, which is a different company — read more here in section #6) 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. My favorite is a custom palette we sell here on TPK because it offers a practical range of colors.

    The TPK Finetec Palette
    The TPK Finetec Palette provides a bouquet of fabulous metallic tones that are suitable for a wide range of projects. There’s something cool about ever color in it — and don’t underestimate that shimmery black!

    While you might associate watercolors with painting, many calligraphers use Finetec as a gold calligraphy ink. Finetec makes a wonderful ink because you can control the opacity, mix colors, and easily transport it. If your calligraphy session is abruptly interrupted, there’s no need to screw a lid on anything. Water simply evaporates out of the watercolor pan, and that’s that.

    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 about 0.75 mL of water. (A blunt art syringe is especially useful for this step.) Let the water sit on the watercolor for about 30 seconds, then use a small paintbrush, size two or so, to mix the water into the paint. As soon as you achieve the viscosity of heavy cream, you’re ready to write!

    Using Finetec Arabic Gold Watercolor

    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 this article.


    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.

    Writing Gold Calligraphy
    You can use any nib to write with Finetec watercolor! In this photo, I’m using a Brause EF66. If you’re a beginner, try starting with a Nikko G.

    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.

    Envelope with Gold Lettering | The Postman's Knock
    The erasable guidelines for this George Style Lettering + Janet Style calligraphy envelope were created using a white mechanical pencil.

    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.

    Making Fabulous Calligraphy Flourishes (Includes Free Worksheet)
    You can learn how to make abundant flourishes like these in this tutorial.

    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.

    Adding Gold to the Lily Drawing
    Finetec watercolors can make your artwork (literally) shine! This tutorial will teach you how to create a lightly gilded lily illustration.

    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 gold magic!

    You can also browse through the photos below to see some of the projects that you can use Finetec watercolors to create:

    1. Art Deco Birthday Card
    Art Deco Birthday Card Tutorial | The Postman's Knock
    Learn how to make this roaring 20’s inspired card here.
    2. Flourished Cornucopia Envelope Art
    Flourished Calligraphy Cornucopia Tutorial
    White and gold ink look amazing on this calligraphy cornucopia envelope. Learn how to make it in this tutorial.
    3. Illuminated Letter
    The Cheater's Illuminated Letter Tutorial
    In this project, you use gold watercolor as a paint, not an ink. The result is an initial that literally shines! Learn how to make it (with the help of a free printable) here.
    4. Twist-Out Heart Card
    Stunning Valentine's Day Twist-Out Heart Card Tutorial
    Gold accents add the perfect luxurious finishing touch to this heart-themed card. Find a tutorial here.
    5. Calligraphy Family Tree
    Broad leaves with delicate gold and black lines lend elegance and interest to this family tree. You can learn how to make it in this tutorial.

    There are many, many more tutorials on this Blog that rely on metallic watercolor to give them pop and personality. Click the button below to peruse and find the tutorial(s) that get you excited to create!

    Where to Find Finetec

    I stock the TPK Finetec Palette and single Arabic Gold watercolor pans in the TPK Supplies Shop. 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).

    Finetec Gold Watercolors | The Postman's Knock
    If a full metallic palette doesn’t fit into your budget, consider getting a single pan of Arabic gold. I use mine all the time.

    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!