How to Make a Dip Pen

How to Make a Dip Pen. The dip pen was the precursor of the fountain pen. Jane Austen used one, as did Tolkien. You can make your own dip very inexpensively, and use it to pen your special correspondence.

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Twig Dip Pen

Choose a twig from which you can make a dip pen. The twig can have some character by being crooked, with knobs, or interesting twists, or it can be perfectly straight. No one design is right are wrong. As it's your pen, make something that is pleasing to you and feels good in your hand when you hold it.

Cut the twig to the length of your choice.

Measure up one inch at one end, and make an angled cut that at the tip is 2/3 of the full diameter. If there is any bark on the twig, you'll want to strip it from this end.

Angle either side of the tip so that the tip becomes chisel-like. This will form the point of your twig dip pen.

Make a slit in the middle center of the tip that is ½ inch long.

Finish the dip pen with varnish, so that it becomes waterproof. By doing this, you're preventing the pen from absorbing the ink when you write with it.

Quill Dip Pen

Choose a quill that you would like to make into a dip pen. It can be a plain white quill, or as elaborately patterned as you would like.

Use a pen knife to make an angled cut at the tip of the quill. You can, if you like, shape the point of the quill more so that it's like a chisel. You can even round the bottom of the tip slightly.

Split the tip of your quill dip pen down the middle, so that it resembles the conventional fountain pen.

Keep the point of your quill dip pen by sharpening it with your pen knife.

Bulrush Dip Pen

Pick a likely bulrush from which to make a dip pen. A dead one would work best, rather than one that's green.

Strip away the outer layers of the bulrush until you reach the firm middle.

Cut the bulrush to about eight inches in length. Save the rest of the bulrush in case you make a mistake and need to start over, or if you wish to make more bulrush dip pens.

Soak one of the ends that will become the bulrush dip pen's point for at least 15 minutes. If you skip this step, the bulrush will splinter when you attempt to cut it into a point.

Make an angled cut at the end. You may have to do this with several cuts rather than just one or two. Unlike the two previous dip pens, the nib of this pen will be square.

Bevel the sides of the point or nib, while still retaining the squareness of the nib.

Square the point of nib as you make a bulrush dip pen by cutting it as exactly as you can with a sharp knife or pen knife. Split the nib with a knife. Be careful as you do this so that you split only the nib or the point and not the entire of the bulrush dip pen.

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