• Creating White Calligraphy

    Whether you are a calligrapher who is curious about writing with white ink, a bride who is planning on DIY’ing her wedding envelopes, or a business owner wanting to create unique marketing materials, learning how to create white calligraphy will be an asset! Read through my tips and tricks to master the art of opaque…

    White Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock

    We woke up to Boulder being blanketed in white, and it’s still snowing. Considering all the opaque white of the outside world, today is a wonderful day to discuss how to create opaque white calligraphy. Let me invite you into this warm little apartment, where we’re wearing flannel jammies with wool sweaters, enjoying chamomile tea, and eating sweet and salty Bin-Bin rice crackers {say what? — no, but really, they’re delicious}.

    Boulder, CO Winter Wonderland | The Postman's Knock

    Now that you’re all settled in, let’s get started! If you’re reading this post, creating white calligraphy may be a mystery to you. It sure was to me! I used to browse Etsy and notice gorgeous wedding envelopes covered in strokes of vibrant white calligraphy. The calligraphy was bright white and opaque — I couldn’t figure out how they did it. I scoured the internet high and low for advice on creating these opaque miracles; but no one seems to have blogged about it {until now}.

    I took a chance and purchased Winsor & Newton white calligraphy ink from MisterArt.com.

    White Calligraphy Ink | The Postman's Knock

    If you are interested in creating white calligraphy, this Winsor & Newton white calligraphy ink is the stuff you want. I would advise you to buy more than one, not only to justify the shipping cost {$7.50, ouch}, but also because you’ll need one bottle to keep refilling the other bottle. The reason I keep one bottle for refilling and another for keeping filled to the brim is you need to make sure that this ink is stored in an air-tight container or else it congeals like you wouldn’t believe. I haven’t found better air-tight containers than the little glass containers that are original to the ink, thus my “empty one bottle to refill the other” technique.

    White Calligraphy Ink | The Postman's Knock

    Creating white calligraphy is simple if you already know how to write with India ink. If you’re starting from zero, don’t worry — just check out my other tutorials on creating calligraphy before reading on:

    All you need to create white calligraphy is your Winsor & Newton ink and an oblique or straight calligraphy pen. You’ll also need a strong nib that isn’t too fussy about thick ink; note that white calligraphy ink is considerably more viscous than India ink.

    Pen Nibs for White Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock

    The nibs that I have experienced the most success with are: Hunt Imperial 101, Hunt Ex-Fine 512, and the Hunt Extra Fine 22 {see the nibs on the right in the photo}. These nibs are thin, but strong enough to smoothly write with white ink. The nib to the far left in the photo is a Hunt Mapping Round Pointed 103 nib. I use this nib quite often in creating delicate black calligraphy on wedding envelopes, but I recommend only using it with white ink in special circumstances. The ink needs to be very watery for anything to flow out of this nib, and even then the ink won’t keep its flow for long. Consequently, the special circumstances I speak of are instances in which you need to create very small, fine white calligraphy. For example, I just used this nib with white ink in order to create delicate return addresses on the back of wedding envelopes.

    White Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock

    Now that we’ve covered the nibs, here are a few other tips related to creating white calligraphy:

    • After the ink sits out for about an hour, it will start to get thicker. Because of this, your new motto is “Dilute, dilute, dilute”. Don’t be afraid to put in as much as 1/8 tsp of water at a time to make the ink more manageable. I shake a few drops of my dipping water into the container of white ink, tightly close the lid, and shake up the ink. Et voilà, ink that is manageable to write with again.
    • I have tried water-based white calligraphy inks {as opposed to acrylic-based inks, like Winsor & Newton}, and found that they are not opaque. That’s why I say Winsor & Newton is the way to go.
    • White ink can be used to write on any dark or dark-ish color of paper. Use it to create correspondence that stands out!
    • As a business owner, I love using white ink to write “Thank You” on the kraft paper-wrapped packages that I send out to clients. It’s a very nice, unique touch.

    If you have any questions about using white ink in your calligraphy endeavors, please do not hesitate to comment! Quite a few of you have sent me emails over the past couple of months with questions about using white ink, and I I hope I have covered everything here. If not, ask away! Someone else probably has the same question that you do.

    Whether you’re snowed in like we are, or you live in the southern hemisphere and are about to head to the beach, I hope your weekend is wonderful and you find some time to create something that makes the world a little prettier. Thanks again for reading, and see you Wednesday!

    XO, Lindsey