The following hand lettering products were very kindly gifted to me by Manuscript Pen Company. All thoughts and opinions are my own. To learn more, please read the full Disclosure Policy.
As I have recently taken up hand lettering and calligraphy, it was always my intention to make something for Neal this Valentine’s Day. I’m a sucker for a homemade gift at any time of year, but especially on Valentine’s Day. I love making them and I love receiving them. The hopeless romantic in me just can’t help it.
Then when Small Man Media sent me some products from Manuscript Pen Company, it was confirmed. Time to work some hand lettering magic!
I received a Manuscript calligraphy set for Christmas, and bought two of their handwriting pens at the beginning of January. So, when a bunch of their hand lettering and calligraphy goodies turned up, I was thrilled. Plus, I’d been eyeing several of them up in a couple of shops shortly after Christmas but Neal – ever the voice of reason – told me I didn’t need more any time soon. Guess I got the last laugh!
The items I received were: 2 Callicreative White Markers, Callicreative Switch Tip Deluxe Hand Lettering Set, Beginner’s Calligraphy Fountain Pen Set, 10 Callicreative Duotips and 6 Callicreative Metallic Markers.
Before I started any projects, I wanted to have a little play around with my treats first. This usually helps to inspire some ideas about how I can use them, and try out the colours.
The first item I decided to test was the Beginner’s Calligraphy Fountain Pen Set. As I already have something similar and I was excited to try the other products, I didn’t use this for very long. Though, I must admit, writing with a fountain pen is so satisfying!
It includes the pen, 3 nibs and 2 ink refills. There are clear instructions provided on how to set up your pen for use, too. As well as that, there is a leaflet about Manuscript’s nib service. Manuscript will exchange the nibs their pens to suit left-handed users (where possible). I think this is a lovely service to offer, especially as I’m left-handed myself! They also allow you to order more nibs if you need them.
Next, I was very keen to test the Callicreative Switch Tip Deluxe Hand Lettering Set. This includes another fountain pen with 3 ink refills. Then there was another pen with interchangeable tips – 1 fine-liner tip, 2 brush tips and 2 italic markers.
As I didn’t want to use any ink unnecessarily, I skipped the fountain pen. However, I did notice the grip and found that very comfortable in my hand. Hand lettering projects sometimes take me hours (especially as I’m still very new!) so features like that make a big difference to comfort.
Now, the switch tip pen is something I absolutely love the idea of! I have so many different pens for my hand lettering, so having one instrument where I can switch them around is just a genius idea. Though the colours in this set are limited, it is possible to buy refills. This is a great way to get started, which is obviously the intention.
This comes with step-by-step instructions for switching tips, which was a relief. It’s a wonderfully easy and straightforward process! The refills each come with small lids so they won’t dry out when they’re not in use.
Next, I couldn’t resist the lure of the gorgeous, bright colours of the Callicreative Duotips any longer! I did some swatch tests in my bullet journal. Both the italic tips and fine-liner tips produced lovely, vibrant colours. Each end has a symbol to show when it’s the italic or fine-liner, which comes in very useful! I have a set of markers from another company which doesn’t have this and I’m forever taking the lid off at the wrong end.
This is definitely a product that doesn’t need to be exclusive to calligraphy and hand lettering. If you’re an avid bullet journal user, they’d be perfect for that as well! Even if you regularly colour in as a way to relax, you’d get plenty of use from them.
It seemed logical to try the Callicreative Metallic Markers next. Again, I loved the colours, but didn’t feel like doodling in my bullet journal would do them justice. I’ll need to pick up some more coloured card and play with these properly, as I think they’ll produce some beautiful pieces!
Obviously, I didn’t test the white markers at this point, as it wouldn’t have shown up. Instead, I paused for a cup of tea and started thinking of some things I wanted to create.
Project One – Valentine’s Day Card
I decided I wanted to make a Valentine’s Day card and a couple of “love tokens” (which I’ve now hidden around the flat for Neal to discover.) I believe these are straightforward and would be easy to replicate.
To make the card, I folded a piece of plain white A4 card in half. I then remembered I had some red card in a drawer so I rummaged around, dug it out and stuck it on the front. This meant I could then use the white markers to write my message.
I decided to go for a simple “Happy Valentine’s Day”, combining a script font and a block font for contrast. The white markers were smooth and enjoyable to use, but I did have to go over it a few times to get it to stand out on the red card. From experience, I know this is a common issue when it comes to white pens, so it didn’t put me off at all.
I contemplated using a fine-liner to add some extra detailing, but I was scared I’d ruin it. If I was making another one, though, I’d try adding little hearts on “Valentine’s”.
Project Two – Valentine’s Day Tokens
I used a guillotine to cut some card into smaller rectangles. There was four but one of them went very wrong, so I ended up with 3.
To create the first one, I used the switch tip pen. I wrote “you are my” with the fine-liner and “favourite” with the brush tip. I’m not very experienced with brush pens. They are something I need A LOT more practice with. That said, I did find the brush tip to be a nice, controllable size. Some brush tips are large which makes brush lettering quite difficult.
The second one turned out to be my favourite. I used the fountain pen from the beginner’s set to write the black text. Then the gold metallic marker for the rest. I finished it with a heart, using the red duo tip.
I think the gold marker looks absolutely gorgeous! It stands out and shimmers much more than I expected.
The third one was created using the duo tips, and was just a simple “I love you.” I used the fine-liner end of the black pen to write “I” and “you” then the italic marker end of the red pen to write “love”. Sadly, I messed up the spacing so it’s a little squished, but never mind!
If you’re single, you could make affirmation cards instead. Write little pick-me-ups on the cards to give you a boost!
Project Three – Couple Sign
Though I’d only doodled out designs for two projects, I was having so much fun that I decided to make a third.
I quickly sketched a design of our names on paper.
Once I was happy with that, I went over it with fine-liner. Again, I used the duo tip, because it was already handy!
I added colour using the italic ends of the duotips. Of course, I decided I was going my name in yellow and let’s just have a second to appreciate this BEAUTIFUL colour:
The italic tip meant I could do thick strokes for the bulk of the colouring. Then the thinner edges of the tip were handy for colouring near the edges. I still managed to go over the lines, though.
I coloured Neal’s name in blue, added some red hearts and finished it with some swirls with the silver metallic marker. The end result was really pretty!
From previous experiences and this one, I can say Manuscript have some fantastic products available. If you’re looking to try hand lettering/calligraphy – either for a simple homemade gift or a long term hobby – they’re a great place to start. Many thanks to them for sending me these items to try. I can’t wait to use them more in the future!