How to: Prepping your new Calligraphy Nib

So, you just bought your first nib holder/pointed pen. Maybe you're just starting at calligraphy but you just can't get the ink to flow. There's a very simple explanation for this problem and there are several ways to fix it! Keep reading and I'll explain. Calligraphy nibs are treated with an oil by their manufacturers to keep them from rusting in storage. The amount and type of oil seems to vary. In order for the nib to work properly and for the ink to flow smoothly, this oil needs to be removed. There are a few ways to do this easily and with things you probably already have around your house!

Use a potato. Yep, just a plain old potato. You don’t need to cook it. Just poke your new nib(s) into it and let the raw potato work its magic. Leave your nib(s) in the potato for about 15 minutes. After you remove them, rinse them in plain water and dry them carefully and they are ready for use. This method is convenient if you went wild and bought a bunch of nibs and you want to get them all ready at once. It will look like a little potato-porcupine!

An old toothbrush and some toothpaste. Any old toothpaste will do. All you need to do is squeeze a little toothpaste onto the brush and gently scrub both the front and back of the nib for about 30 seconds. Again, give your nib a rinse and dry it off and it’s ready to go! 

A flame. This method is controversial as it may make the nib brittle if the metal is heated for too long. You don’t need to heat the nib for long, I usually use a lighter and hold the nib (with tweezers) in the flame while turning it back and forth for about 3-4 seconds. Let the nib cool down, give it a rinse in water, dry it and you’re ready to go.There are a number of other methods including spitting on the nib and wiping it a few times, or just dipping it in ink and wiping it off a few times. Whatever method you use will eventually get all of that oil off and your ink will be flowing smoothly in no time.Remember to periodically dip your nib in water and wipe it off to prevent ink from drying and accumulating on it, which will stop it from flowing smoothly.

Happy writing!