Dip Pen, Nib Storage and Organizer

Hey everybody – YEAH – Spring gave us a little teaser this weekend here in Boise, Idaho and boy did it feel GREAT!

I took it as a personal reward for completing a project I’ve been working on – a nib organizer.


Over the last few years, I’ve been slowly getting into calligraphy, you know, the little sharp metal points you stick in the end of what looks a bit like a wizard’s wand and then dip the point into a jar of ink?

I can’t say I’ve become very good at it but I will say I love the sound of the nib scratching across the paper, and somehow with just using a dip pen my writing looks prettier (it really does).

There’s hundreds of different colors of ink like Jade, Horizon Blue, Australian Roses and Apache Sunset, just to name a few.  Some of these inks shimmer like crushed diamonds are added and some are even scented!  It’s a whole new world that tickles my artistic senses and I find myself using my dip pens more and more for simple every day writing.  They’re just fun.

But if I thought there was lots of ink – OMG, there are SO many different nibs out there.  I’ve already begun quite a collection, but those little guys are hard to keep track of, sort out a particular one from the pile and arrange into some semblance of order.

Here’s my fix:  a common cardboard upcycle!


This is a free standing nib organizer.  This is the front.  I covered it in a resized copy of a late 1800’s penmanship book, appropriate, don’t you think.  Of course, I had to give it some extra patina, too.  That’s a genuine Antique Mother of Pearl button that’s part of the closure mechanism.


This is what the back looks like.  The string comes from the back, up and over to wrap around the button to hold the ‘book’ closed.


Both covers and the five pages are made of cardboard.  The corrugation within regular cardboard is the perfect fit to slip a nib into, as you can see.

And it doesn’t have to be very big to be able to sort quite a few nibs out – this one can hold about 40 nibs + or – depending on the width of the nibs.


When you open it up and lay the covers out flat on the table, the pages can remain upright to display your nibs.  And it’s really easy to insert or remove the nibs as the pages can fan out from each other allowing for easy access.

Oh, and I added some reprints of an 1887 stationer’s catalog that shows nibs available in the day and their corresponding prices.  Check it out:  One Gross of Principality No 1s for  $1.13.  I’ll take 20 boxes please!  And two of everything else in the store – do you take Visa?


I left the back of each page blank so a person could write in the info of each nib corresponding to the one placed in the slot above.


This is a side view of how it looks closed.  All neat and tidy.

This little unit could really clean up that messy and frustrating pile of nibs and/or slippery little baggies.  But not only does this help at home – this would also make a handy travel organizer for club meetings, conventions and trips further afield.

This item is now listed in my Etsy shop Old Raven.  Just click on the link below to go straight to the listing in my shop.


And don’t forget to check out my “Calligraphy & Pen Items” section for other interesting goodies.


I just love it when I can take an otherwise discarded item and upcycle it into something useful.  This was a fun and rewarding project – I really like getting all my nibs in row!


This was the scene outside my studio window while I worked – Spring cleaning for the birds in preparation for babies!  This show never gets old for me, even though the chatter can be a little distracting.  I’m sure it’s very much along the lines of “no, take that stick out, put that bit of fluff there, wait, I think I like it over there better.” And lots of “yes, dears”.  And the circle of life goes on …

Thanks for joining me today – Kriss

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