8 Retro Accessories That Will Rock Your Desk

In this digital age, fashionably nostalgic stationery is still highly treasured by writers all around the world. Here are eight of our top modern choices that reconnect us with days of the past.

J. Herbin Wax & Seal Kit

A personalized wax seal is a great way to make any invitation, thank you card or old-fashioned snail mail stand out in the crowd. Wax seals can be used to embellish wine bottles, for scrapbooking, to seal packaging, to add the finishing touch to a wrapped gift and much more. J. Herbin’s Supple Sealing Wax resists cracking or chipping when applied to envelopes being sent through the US mail.

J. Herbin Glass Pens

J. Herbin Glass Pens

J. Herbin Glass Dipping Pens

J. Herbin’s hand-blown glass pens are beautiful and elegant works of art made in the style of glass pens popular in 17th century Venice. The glass nib on this dipping pen has small spiral grooves that hold enough ink to write several lines without the need to re-dip. They can be used along with fountain pen ink or other specialty inks made for dipping pens.

Brause Calligraphy Dipping Pen Gift Set

Brause Calligraphy Dipping Pen Gift Set

Brause Calligraphy Dipping Pen Gift Set

For over 150 years Brause has been making steel calligraphy nibs of excellent precision and durability. This gift set includes a small bottle of ink and 6 different nib types for both script and calligraphy.

J. Herbin Calligraphy Ink

J. Herbin Calligraphy Ink

J. Herbin Dipping Pen Calligraphy Ink

J. Herbin Calligraphy Ink is specially formulated with natural resins allowing the ink to adhere to a metal nib, yet flow smoothly and consistently. For use with dipping pens, steel nibs, glass or quill pens, calames and brushes. It pairs well with the J. Herbin Glass Pens and Brause Calligraphy Dipping Pens.

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin’s 1670 Anniversary Fountain Pen Ink comes in a cool retro cube-shaped bottle that is sealed with wax and decorated with a “1670” wax seal. J. Herbin created its “Anniversaire 1670” inks in honor of the 340th anniversary of the J. Herbin ink brand. Napoleon, Victor Hugo and Louis XVI all used J. Herbin inks!

Delta Vintage Fountain Pen - Ruby Red

Delta Vintage Fountain Pen – Ruby Red

Delta Vintage Fountain Pen – Ruby Red

This Delta Vintage Fountain Pen is made from a mother of pearl acrylic resin that beautifully catches the light. Like fountain pens of the past, it is carefully hand-crafted and made with attention to detail to produce a quality writing instrument that can be treasured for generations. Also available in Lava Stone Black, Deep Ocean Blue and White.

J. Herbin Wooden Rocker Style Ink Blotter

J. Herbin Wooden Rocker Style Ink Blotter

J. Herbin Traditional Wooden Rocker Style Ink Blotter

The Traditional Rocker Style Wooden Ink Blotter from J. Herbin is easy to hold and a clean way to avoid smearing excess wet fountain pen ink. It can be refilled with Rocker Ink Blotter Paper Refills, or purchase larger sheets of Blotter Paper to tuck inside the cover of your journal or notebook.

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablet

In addition to all of your great nostalgic writing gear you’re going to want some high quality paper to enjoy it with. Classic Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery Tablets fit the bill with brilliant white 90g, acid free, ultra-smooth paper. Fountain pens write like a dream on this paper! Matching envelopes are also available.

What are your favorite “vintage” writing tools?

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Experiments With Fountain Pen Ink

Back in 2009 we were like mad scientists with our fountain pen ink – instead of buying a bottle of ink in each color we were mixing ink colors to create our own custom color shades. It was creative and a lot of fun, with some so-so results and some fantastic inky discoveries! Have you ever given ink mixing a try?

The four very basic ink colors you need to create a rainbow of other colors are cyan, magenta, yellow and black (or CMYK) which are also the basic ink colors used in printing. To get the equivalent of CMYK in fountain pen ink you need:

J. Herbin Ink
Cyan = J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche
Magenta = J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen
Yellow = J. Herbin Bouton D’or
Black = J. Herbin Perle Noire

Noodler’s Ink
Cyan = Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise
Magenta = Noodler’s Shah’s Rose
Yellow = Noodler’s Yellow
Black = Noodler’s Black

Platinum Mixable Ink
Cyan = Platinum Aqua Blue
Magenta = Platinum Cyclamen Pink
Yellow = Platinum Sunny Yellow
Black = Platinum Smoke Black

This was the inspiration behind creating our own Noodler’s Ink Starter Kit in 2009, which is still available at Writer’s Bloc. This kit contains about 1/2 oz each of the 4 basic Noodler’s Ink mixing colors in glass eyedropper bottles that are useful for measuring ink drops in your experiments. If you need somewhere to store your ink color creations, we’ve got several solutions for you: capped test tubes, eyedropper bottles, small plastic bottles and a blunt tip needle bottle (for filling empty ink cartridges).

Ink Mixing Color Chart

Ink Mixing Color Chart

Read more about ink mixing and check out some of our favorite custom ink colors:

Ocean Jade Ink

Ocean Jade Ink

Other reasons we were experimenting with fountain pen ink back in 2009 were to see if this would improve ink flow in some dry-writing pens and also to find the most saturated, blackest black fountain pen inks.

Green LAMY Safari with a Calligraphy Nib

Green LAMY Safari with a Calligraphy Nib

Another experiment that proved to be popular in 2009 was swapping the regular nibs on LAMY Safari fountain pens with LAMY calligraphy nibs. It’s a great way to try out some calligraphy without having to buy a whole new fountain pen. Have you tried this yourself? We used to swap the nibs for you in our shop. Now, you can buy an extra LAMY calligraphy nib at a discounted price at the same time as you purchase a LAMY Safari fountain pen. Or, if you’ve already got a LAMY Safari, you can buy the nibs separately. We’ve got easy instructions so that you can change the nib yourself.

Changing the Nib on a LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

Changing the Nib on a LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

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Awesome Grad Gifts for 2014

It’s time for all of the toil and hard work to finally pay off for the new group of 2014 graduates! If you’d like to wish them success in their future endeavors by giving them a graduation gift what should you give? We thought about a few of the student personalities we know and came up with some suggestions for you:

The 18 Going On 30

Rhodia Leatherette Pad Holder with Notepad, LAMY Safari Fountain Pen, Aston Leather Single Pen Case.

Got a future business tycoon on your hands? Let him/her look the part while they wait for their age to catch up! We love the all-black theme of this gift, but these items come in brighter colors as well.

The College Bound

The 5 Book, Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen.

Take some stress off your freshmen and help them get organized. The first year of college can be overwhelming and this book can be a helpful guide to setting life goals and making a long term plan. The classy, yet affordable, Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen is the perfect tool for writing down thoughts and goals.

The Socialite

Bob’s Your Uncle 8 Days a Week Planner, Preppy Fountain Pen Set, Ple Ple Pen Wrap.

For the social butterfly, summer is the busiest time of the year! Your Grad will never have a dull moment this summer and will be able to plan their brunch dates, movie nights, and beach trips down to the hour. Color code activities with a set of Preppy pens and carry them in a fun and convenient Ple Ple pen wrap.

The Artist

Brause Calligraphy Gift Set and a Clairefontaine Calligraphy Art Pad.

Give your student a classic and hip way of expressing their creativity! Introducing your student to calligraphy can give them a skill that will stand the test of time.

The World Traveler

Rhodia Webnotepad, LAMY Pico Pen.

For the organized nomad, these pocket sized items are easy to travel with and great for note taking, list making, and sketching. A great place to jot down how to say “where is the restroom” in multiple languages for reference when in a pinch!

The Indecisive

Gift Certificate – For the impossible to shop for…and everyone loves a gift card!

What gift will you buy to congratulate the Grad in your life?

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Student Calligraphy and Fountain Pens

We were recently contacted by a schoolteacher who wanted to introduce her students to the “lost art” of calligraphy and writing with a fountain pen. She was looking for supplies that were both affordable and capable of withstanding the wear and tear of her students. Fortunately, Writer’s Bloc carries a wide selection of calligraphy supplies and fountain pens that are tailored to the needs of students. Our hope is that introducing students to calligraphy and fountain pens will bring about a newfound appreciation for writing. Here are some ideas for teachers and students who want to try their hand at calligraphy and using fountain pens.

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pens

The Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen is a good choice for a first fountain pen. This fountain pen is of good quality for its price and is a great way to supply the classroom with affordable quality fountain pens. Students will be able to choose from an array of colors and find one that suits them best.

Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen

The Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen is great for our aspiring little writers since this pen is specially designed for children. The Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen is available in four different colors and is also available with a left-handed nib for all the left-handed writers.

LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

For older students, the LAMY Safari is a popular choice. This fountain pen is a favorite daily writer of both teachers and students around the world. The LAMY Safari fountain pen comes in several colors and different nib sizes including 1.1mm, 1.5mm and 1.9mm calligraphy nibs.

Pelikan Script Calligraphy Pens

For those new to calligraphy the Pelikan Script Calligraphy Pen is a nice starter pen. UPDATE: The Pelikan Script has been discontinued.

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens

For students wishing to learn calligraphy, some other affordable calligraphy fountain pens choices are:
Pilot Plumix Calligraphy Fountain Pen in Blue, Black or Purple
Pilot Parallel Pen with a 1.5mm Nib, 2.4mm Nib, 3.8mm Nib, 6.0mm Nib, or a Set of All Four Pens

Introduction to Calligraphy Lettering Cards

The Introduction to Calligraphy Lettering Cards from Brause are a useful guide for practicing Calligraphy. Introduce your students to nine different lettering styles and let them teach each other!

French Rule Paper

Many teachers and students in the USA are unfamiliar with the French ruled paper commonly used by students in France and other countries. This paper is an excellent tool for anyone who wants to learn cursive writing, to improve their handwriting or to practice calligraphy. For more information about French rule paper you may wish read one of our previous blog posts: What is French Ruled Paper?

Do you love writing as much as we do? What tools do you personally find useful to help students and others to develop the art of calligraphy and handwriting?

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Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen Gradation Function

We love the Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen and its ability to produce gradated lettering! For those of you unfamiliar with this function we are providing a simple explanation along with some samples.

We found this definition of "gradated" on thefreedictionary.com: "(Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) to change or cause to change imperceptibly, as from one colour, tone, or degree to another." In other words, as you are writing with the Pilot Parallel Pen you can make your lettering gradually change from one color to another.

To do this, you will need 2 Parallel Pens filled with different ink colors. Suppose you are writing with a Parallel Pen filled with violet ink and you would like to create lettering that slowly changes in color from green back to violet again. Hold your Parallel pen filled with violet ink so that the nib is pointing up. Hold another Parallel pen filled with green ink so that the nib is pointing down. Touch the nib of the green pen to the nib of the violet pen and hold the nibs together for several seconds. Some of the green ink will have transferred to the nib of the pen with the violet ink. 

When you resume writing with your Parallel pen filled with violet ink, you will find that the lettering begins as a green color and as you continue to write your letters will gradually become violet again. This technique produces beautiful gradated lettering that can add an extra special touch to your calligraphy creations. Have fun and email us your results! We’d love to see your designs and feature some of them on our blog.

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pens are available with 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8mm and 6.0mm nibs and at Writer’s Bloc you can also get them in a set of four. If you’re planning to give the gradated lettering a try, there is a convenient box of 12 ink cartridges in assorted colors. (Just a note: Pilot recommends using only Pilot Mixable Color IC-P3 ink cartridges with this pen.)

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Calligraphy Pens

Calligraphy is an art form that almost anyone can enjoy. If you’ve said "I don’t have a artistic bone in my body", you may be surprised that with the right pen in hand, you could have a hidden artistic flare you never knew you had. Recently here at Writer’s Bloc I was able to "play" with some great Calligraphy Pens.  
 
The Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen 3.8mm has a wide nib that makes crisp, large letters. This pen, as well as the 6.0mm nib Parallel Pen, work well for projects that call for large lettering. Great for personalizing blank cards or to make signs that need to be easy to read. For smaller lettering, the Parallel Pen is also available in 2.4mm and 1.5mm nib sizes. This pen has a special gradation function which allows you to change your writing gradually from one color to another color.

The Pelikan Script Calligraphy Pen with the 1.5mm nib was my favorite because the nib size made what I thought was the just right stroke width for calligraphy writing in my personal letters and cards. The angle and nib are given to making clean calligraphy letters. A must have for the calligraphy writers among us. You can get the Pelikan Script Calligraphy Pen with 1.0mm and 2.0mm nibs as well.
 
The LAMY Joy Calligraphy Pen with the 1.1mm nib makes a finer line that is very appealing to those of us who write a little smaller. A great Pen!! It glides smoothly across the paper, almost making writing effortless. The LAMY Joy Calligraphy Pen makes beautiful writing fun. This pen also comes in 1.5mm and 1.9mm nib sizes.
 
All three of these Calligraphy Pens are well made fountain pens. They feel great in the hand and flow smoothly and evenly. They truly make for unique and stylish lettering that gives individuality to any writing endeavor.  
 
Discover the artist in you and have fun doing it!!
 
 
Lorraine at Writer’s Bloc

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Calligraphy Pens

Calligraphy is an art form that almost anyone can enjoy. If you’ve said "I don’t have a artistic bone in my body", you may be surprised, that with the right pen in hand, you could have a hidden artistic flare you never knew you had. Recently here at Writer’s Bloc I was able to "play" with some great Calligraphy Pens.  
 
The Pilot Parallel Pen 3.8mm has a wide nib that makes wide, large letters. This pen, as well as the 6.0mm nib Parallel Pen, would work well with projects that call for large lettering. Great for personalizing blank cards or to make signs that need to be easy to read. For smaller lettering, the Parallel Pen also comes in 1.5mm and 2.4mm nib sizes. This pen has an interesting gradation function that allows you to gradually change your writing from one color to another color.

The Pelikan Script Calligraphy Pen with a 1.5mm nib was my favorite because the nib size made what I thought was the just right stroke width for calligraphy writing in my personal letters and cards.  The angle and nib is given to making clean calligraphy letters.  A must have for the calligraphy writers among us. It is available with 1.0mm and 2.0mm nibs as well.
 
The Lamy Joy Calligraphy Pen with a 1.1mm nib makes a fine line that is very appealing to those of us who write a little smaller. A great Pen!! It glides smoothly across the paper, almost making writing effortless. This pen makes beautiful writing fun. You can also get this pen with a 1.5mm or 1.9mm nib.
 
All three of these Calligraphy Pens are well made fountain pens. They feel great in the hand and flow smoothly and evenly. They truly make for unique and stylish lettering that gives individuality to any writing endeavor.  
 
Discover the artist in you and have fun doing it!!
 
 
Lorraine at Writer’s Bloc

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