• How to Write Calligraphy on Agate

    Feeling adventurous? Today’s the day that you learn how to take your pointed pen away from paper and try writing calligraphy on agate. (Spoiler alert: you’ll do great — I’m walking you through every single step in both a video and a written tutorial.)

    White calligraphy on an agate slice

    If you’re looking for a unique place card or label card concept (or a fun new material to draw doodles on), try agate. Writing calligraphy on agate combines the rustic charm of natural stone with the elegance of hand-lettering, creating eye-catching pieces perfect for events or home decor. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through how to choose the right agate slices, how to prepare them, and how to decorate them with durable ink strokes.

    Writing Calligraphy on Agate: The Video Tutorial

    For those who have ~7 minutes to spare, I created a video tutorial to teach you how to write on agate. To check out the supplies list needed for this project, see the written tutorial below the video.

    Writing Calligraphy on Agate: The Written Tutorial

    1. Gather Your Supplies and Clean the Agate

    To begin, you’ll need to gather these four basic supplies:

    Then, select a smooth slice of agate. Note that agate with cracks in it or an irregular surface won’t work –otherwise, your nib will catch. Once you’ve chosen your agate, use your cleaner to get rid of any debris or residue.

    Cleaning a slice of agate with a Clorox wipe
    I used a disinfectant wipe to quickly clean my agate. Just about any cleaning agent will work (or you can use good ol’ soap and water).

    2. Write

    Now, incorporate water into your white ink until it’s the consistency of heavy cream. Then, dip your nib into the ink and begin writing your calligraphy. You’ll find that the agate is slightly smoother than paper, with just enough tooth to facilitate a nice ink flow.

    Using a pointed pen to write white calligraphy on an agate slice
    I generally write calligraphy on agate without using guidelines. If, however, you agate is transparent enough, you can tuck a guidelines sheet behind it as shown in my tutorial video.

    Continue writing, rotating the agate as needed. Whatever you do, be sure to only touch the perimeter of the agate. If you touch any of the areas where you plan to write, the ink will bead up because of the oils on your hand.

    White calligraphy on an agate slice

    That’s really it. At this point, you just wait for the ink to dry, then you can use your calligraphed agate for whatever you want! Just make sure not to scratch the ink or expose it to any moisture. (If you want the calligraphy to last for a long time, you can always spray it with a fixative, though that will compromise the rock’s brilliant sheen.)

    3. Reuse!

    One of the coolest things about writing calligraphy on agate is that you can do it over and over again. Just use a textured cloth and cleaner to wipe the calligraphy off, then you can write on the agate again whenever you’re ready.

    Cleaning a calligraphed slice of agate with a wipe
    Any cleaner paired with a toothy cloth or paper towel will wipe the ink right off of the agate.

    Tips and Tricks

    First, it’s important to use a fairly thick, paint-like ink. Bleed Proof White is an excellent choice, and metallic watercolors work nicely, too. (You can learn how to write with them in this tutorial.) I imagine gouache would be effective as well. Try to stay away from watery inks like walnut and iron gall, which won’t adhere to the agate’s surface.

    Gold watercolor used to write calligraphy on an agate slice
    I used Arabic gold watercolor to write “Pia” on this agate slice.

    Second, try to use a fairly blunt nib. If it’s too sharp, like a Nikko G, the stroke contrast will be iffy. I’ve found that the “goldilocks nib” for this project is a Brause Rose. Yes, the Rose is an intermediate nib. But, then again, writing on agate is an intermediate endeavor!

    White calligraphy on agate slices created with a pointed pen

    Finally, remember that writing on agate allows for ample experimentation. If the calligraphy on your agate doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped, just wipe the stone clean and try again.

    I hope that today’s tutorial inspires you to try out this unconventional project! Keep this idea in your back pocket for events or unique home decor. I must warn you, though, once you write on one slice of agate, you’ll be hooked. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😉 Thanks so much for reading, and happy creating!