It is common for calligraphers to experience ink that bleeds or feathers, particularly when writing on paper that you didn’t purchase yourself {i.e. envelopes that are shipped/dropped off for client orders}.

There are a few different factors that contribute to ink bleeding – here are just a few:

  1. Low quality paper
  2. Paper affected by moisture/humidity
  3. Thin ink

Any or all of the above factors can result in feathered ink as seen in the image at the top of this post.

Unfortunately for paper affected by moisture, there isn’t much you can do expect try to be sure that you prevent paper from being exposed to these elements. For the other two, you can thicken your ink using an ink thickener, like the one we offer with our calligraphy inks found here. The steps for thickening your ink are:

  1. Pour some of your ink into a different jar {like these!}; you never want to pour thickener into your original jar of ink {the one shown below were we at the bottom of the ink available in the jar so I was fine with thickening all of it}
  2. Mix a few drops of thickener into the ink.
  3. Test the new ink – if the ink is still bleeding, add more thickener. If it’s too thick, it won’t come off your nib and you should mix more ink back in.
  4. After a few trial and error rounds, you should be good to go!

You want to always be sure to test a small amount of ink with the thickener to be sure that they mix well together. If the thickener and ink are not compatible the ink can become congealed and unusable.

Our ink thickener is compatible with the inks sold in our ink sets, but there are other ink thickeners available such as gum arabic found here.

Ultimately quality supplies, including paper & ink, will make for a much less stressful calligraphy experience! We offer our signature practice pads in our shop here, all made with quality paper for calligraphy practice.

Photos courtesy of Red October Photography