One of the most practical, prevalent and beautiful art forms in the world, calligraphy has been used for thousands of years to express thoughts, ideas and emotions. Although today, much calligraphic art is done on a computer, there is nothing more satisfying than creating written works of art by hand. And until the mid- to late Nineteenth Century, most of this writing was done with a quill pen. To get started learning this craft, follow the steps in this tutorial to make your own quill pen and ink.
Step 1: What You'll Need
-A small stoppered jar or vial to store the ink
-4 bags of black tea
-Very sharp, small knife
-Long, thin, strong piece of wire
-Glass jar or soup can
-Hot ashes or sand
*Selecting a good feather is vital. The best kind of feather is 10-12" long, and a primary flight feather from a goose (these can be found easily during molting season in early to mid- summer around any body of fresh water) or a turkey tail feather purchased from a craft store
Step 2: The Ink - Cleaning the Nails
Pour 1/4 cup of dish soap into the bowl with 2 cups of water. Soak the nails in the soapy water for half an hour
Step 3: The Ink - Mixing Nails & Vinegar
Drain soapy water. Dry the bowl and nails, replacing the clean nails in the bowl. Pour enough white vinegar over the nails to cover them, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to soak for two days.
Step 4: The Ink - Bringing It All Together
Boil the bags of black tea in a cup of water for ten minutes. Allow the water to cool. Mix equal parts of tea and the nail-vinegar liquid (with nails removed) into the vial. The exact amount will vary; use enough to fill your jar or vial to 3/4 full. Mix in glue until the ink is thick enough to write with.
The ink will turn black when it dries on paper.