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The Art of Christmas Calligraphy

Christmas Calligraphy

by Athena Cauley-Yu

Author- Athena Cauley-Yu

In the age of digital, the handwritten word is a highly precious thing, and the tradition of sending Christmas cards is one of the few that remains where time is taken to carefully pen the words to your loved ones. With that in mind, why not make your messages extra special this year by ornately scribing them in a calligraphy style.

There’s few basic tools needed to create such an elegant effect but the style and positioning tips of classic calligraphy can even be put into practice with a normal biro or gel ink pen.

We caught up with Athena from Meticulous Ink – a calligraphy and printing service based in Bath – to get her beginner’s guide to the ornate art of Copperplate calligraphy…

Meticulous Ink

– Nib
– Ink
– Paper
– Guidelines (for practicing)

All available from Meticulous Ink

We recommend starting with using calligraphy guide paper. This is lined paper with additional, evenly spaced dotted lines running diagonally across to help you place each letter.

Paper, Nib and Ink
Ink to Paper

1. Each time you start a calligraphy session, construct your nib and pen, shake the ink and prepare your paper.

2. Dunk your nib in the ink so that the hollow in the centre is coated – this is what holds the ink.

3. Place your nib in the correct position as guided above.

4. For thin-strokes (up and sideways) apply as little pressure as possible on the nib and smoothly guide the pen in the correct direction.

5. For the thick strokes (down) apply more pressure so that the nib opens up to release more ink onto the page.

6. Begin with practicing these strokes then move onto building letters words and finally, your Christmas message!

Merry Christmas

If using a biro, try and recreate the flow you would get if using an ink pen and add creative accents to your letters to make them more ornate.

Nibs and Ink


Calligraphy is an ancient visual art of lettering that originates from Roman times and Latin script.

The ink the experts at Meticulous Ink use is based on a medieval Iron Gal Ink recipe that is thin and refined. As you write with it, it reacts to air and light and gets darker over time with a lovely matte finish.

There are different types of nib you can get which suit different kinds of writing style. The best one to start out with is a flexi-nib for the classic thick and thin style whereas a rounded nib works best for more gothic fonts.

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For more information and for all your letter-writing needs, visit Meticulous Ink on Walcot Street, Bath or visit their website here:

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