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Best calligraphy sets and kits for beginners and up

Calligraphy pen sets featured

Walking into the world of calligraphy and hand lettering can be a bit of a bewildering experience at first. There are several forms of letter art and calligraphy, each with its unique collection of supplies and techniques. For a new lettering artist, it can be challenging to decide where to begin.

That’s where calligraphy sets come in.

A good calligraphy kit takes the guesswork out of getting started with the craft. It provides you with a base set of supplies to start building your skills right away.

But they’re not just for beginners!

For example, an advanced fountain pen user may want to try out an assortment of dip pen nibs. Likewise, someone looking to add some color to their palette can save money by purchasing a value pack of brush tip pens rather than buying them individually.

Read also: Best calligraphy classes online

With that in mind, I put together this list of the best calligraphy sets on the market, as well as an extensive guide to what to look for. If you just want a quality kit to get started, you can’t go wrong with any of the quick picks listed below.

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

Best calligraphy sets: Quick picks

Speedball collector's box calligraphy set

Speedball Collector’s Wood Box Calligraphy Set 

  • Versatile dip pen kit with 8 pen nibs
  • Includes wooden storage box for safe keeping
  • Perfect for beginners or gifts

Manuscript masterclass fountain pen calligraphy set

Manuscript Masterclass Calligraphy Set

  • Fountain pen starter kit with 12 assorted ink cartridges
  • Avoid the mess of dip-style pens
  • Very affordable

Sakura Koi coloring brush pen set

Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pen Set

  • 12, 24, or 48 colored brush pens
  • Great for art and unique lettering
  • Not suitable for classic calligraphy

Pilot varsity fountain pen set

Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens

  • Disposable fountain pen calligraphy set
  • Perfect for kids and beginners
  • Very affordable

Best calligraphy sets

Ready to get started? Here are my picks for the 6 best calligraphy sets you can buy!

Speedball Collector’s Wood Box Calligraphy Set 

Speedball collector's box calligraphy set

Includes:

  • 3 pen holders (classic, oblique, and crow quill)
  • 8 pen nibs (4 broad-edge, 4 pointed)
  • 3 inks (black, red, and blue)
  • 1 nib cleaner
  • 1 Speedball textbook
  • 1 wooden storage box

This beautiful Speedball calligraphy set includes almost everything a beginner needs to start creating classical or modern dip pen calligraphy. Broad edge and pointed nibs allow you to choose between more formal calligraphy styles and modern hand lettering. 

Broad edge pen nibs achieve stroke contrast by holding the pen at an angle, while flexible nibs do this by spreading the tines and allowing the ink to flow between them. Including multiple versions of both types offers artistic flexibility and the opportunity to experiment.

While most beginners typically start learning with a classic straight pen holder, many right-handed calligraphers quickly come to prefer an oblique pen, which makes it more comfortable to write at a slant. Crow quill nibs are tiny and not very flexible, making them perfect for small letters and illustrations.  

The wide variety of supplies in this kit will allow experimentation and practice of many artistic styles. The only thing missing in this kit is paper. This kit is an excellent choice for beginners not sure where their calligraphy journey will take them or a more advanced artist looking to expand upon their existing repertoire of skills.

If you don’t need such a complete calligraphy set, Speedball also sells another kit with just four pens that runs quite a bit cheaper.

Manuscript Masterclass Calligraphy Set

Manuscript masterclass fountain pen calligraphy set

Includes:

  • 2 Duodec fountain pens
  • 4 nibs (1.1 mm to 2.8 mm)
  • 12 assorted ink cartridges

  • A3 practice pad
  • 3 ruled guideline sheets
  • Instruction Manual

The Manuscript Masterclass Set is an excellent starter kit for the calligraphy beginner more inclined toward fountain pens rather than dip pens. It includes everything you need to start using a fountain pen for calligraphy or everyday writing. There’s even an instruction manual with letter-by-letter guidance on calligraphy letter formation for complete newbies.

The pens are of average quality, but the ink cartridges are long-lasting. Having various colors to choose from can make new calligraphers more excited about the craft, and this set includes a whopping 12 ink cartridges.

Fountain pen calligraphy is also quicker to set up for than dip pen calligraphy, meaning you’ll be more likely to practice. Simply grab a pen, insert a cartridge, and you’re good to go. 

The included practice pad is a nice bonus. Many beginners find themselves discouraged by calligraphy because they start out using the wrong paper, making the craft more complicated than it has to be. Using the practice pad will save a new calligrapher a lot of heartache and frustration in the beginning.

Fountain pens can be easier to get started with and less messy than dip pens. This calligraphy kit is excellent for anyone who wants to learn basic calligraphy techniques without worrying about dip pens’ fuss.

Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pen Set

Sakura Koi coloring brush pen set

Includes:

  • 12, 24, or 48 brush pens (depending on the set)
  • Transparent, blendable ink
  • Blender brushes are sold separately

The Sakura Koi brush pen set is ideal for hand lettering as well as other illustrative arts. Each pen is filled with transparent dye-based ink that allows easy blending and building to increase contrast and color saturation. This set of brush pens is as valuable for illustrators as it is to calligraphers.

Brush pens do not offer the same kind of precision that you can get from a dip or fountain pen. For example, brush pens are notoriously picky when it comes to fine upstrokes.

As such, this calligraphy set is best for creative hand lettering as opposed to classical calligraphy. Attempting fine detail work with a broad brush pen is sure to result in frustration, especially for new calligraphers.

However, the broad scope of colors and blendable transparency allows for more vibrant and colorful letter art than even the most varied fountain pen set. If you’re more interested in bouncy, bright hand lettering than formal calligraphy, you can’t go wrong with this collection.

The Sakura Koi brush pen set is also a great addition to any established hand lettering artist’s supply collection. Adding color and whimsy to the more formal classical and modern calligraphy styles is a great way to expand a your existing skills.

It’s sold in several different calligraphy sets, but the set of 12 assorted colors is enough to try your hand at brush pen calligraphy before jumping to a larger set.

Staedtler Calligraphy Pen Set

Staedtler calligraphy pen set

Includes:

  • 5 nibs
  • 4 fountain pen bodies
  • 20 ink cartridges

  • 1 metal pump for bottled ink use
  • Instruction book
  • Pre-printed practice pad

This Staedtler fountain pen calligraphy set is an excellent gift for the beginning calligrapher and the established fountain pen user. It includes three beautiful marbleized barrels that are sure to draw attention. The 20 ink cartridges include black, blue, brown, pink, green, orange, and yellow ink to allow for a wide range of creative artistry.

Some sets can be fussy when it comes to installing cartridges and changing pieces. These cartridges are less messy than other brands we’ve used, and the capped bodies are perfect for everyday use. As a bonus, the included practice pad has pre-printed slant lines, making it usable out of the box, even for a brand new calligrapher. 

A set like the Staedtler calligraphy pen set is also an excellent entry point into the world of high-end fountain pens. While this set is inexpensive (and truth be told, middling quality), it includes a metal pump that converts the pen for bottled ink use.

This is a common feature in more expensive fountain pens, and this versatility can inspire a novice user to leap into a deeper fountain pen obsession.

(You’ve ben warned.)

The storage case included with this set is charming in a retro way. It’s like a padded lunchbox for all your Staedtler fountain pen supplies. This is a nice touch, as it helps avoid the disappointment of a bent nib or lost supplies.

Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens

Pilot varsity fountain pen set

Includes:

  • 7 fountain pens
  • Storage pouch

Any parent or art teacher knows that a child’s interest in a craft can vanish in an instant. No one wants to experience the frustration of investing a large sum into a calligraphy set that will sit barely used in a closet for years. For a budding young calligrapher, this Pilot disposable fountain pen set is a perfect solution.

This inexpensive set of disposable fountain pens comes in 7 colors to keep young artists practicing playfully. They are preloaded with ink and intended to be tossed in the trash once they’re empty.

If your child uses them enough to run them out of ink, then you know it’s worth it to invest in a more permanent collection!

Apart from kids, this is an excellent option for adults wanting to dip their toes into the world of calligraphy, but not certain how far they’re going to want to go with it or whether they’ll even enjoy it.

No matter who it’s for, this calligraphy set is inexpensive enough that you can use it on the go without worrying about the possibility of losing it. You can also buy the pens individually if you’re not into colored inks or want to save even more money.

Manuscript Callicreative Hand Lettering Set

Manuscript Callicreative hand lettering set

Includes:

  • 1 fountain pen
  • 4 ink cartridges

  • 4 italic markers
  • 4 double-ended markers

The last calligraphy set I’d like to highlight is this Hand Lettering Set from Manuscript sub-brand Callicreative. It’s simple and perfect for the young artist or new calligrapher.

With various basic tools in multiple colors, this calligraphy kit will provide plenty of practice with instantly beautiful results. The four italic markers have broad-edged tips for creating beautiful stroke contrast in black, white, silver, and gold, straight out of the package.

Four double-ended markers feature fine and chisel tips for detail work and colorful lettering. Finally, the fountain pen with black, blue, red, and pink ink perfectly introduces fountain pen calligraphy.

The Callicreative Hand Lettering kit is a great way to introduce artists of other styles to the craft of lettering art. Scrapbookers, papercrafters, and more may find themselves drawn into the wide world of hand lettering and calligraphy. This set is also a good fit for younger artists who are just beginning to explore letter arts and may not yet feel comfortable with a fountain or dip pen.

The uncap-and-go usability makes this set an ideal gift for a loved one or yourself, whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced calligrapher. There’s something to offer artists of all ages and levels in this calligraphy set.

How to choose the best calligraphy set for you

Calligraphy Fountain pen nib

Finding the right calligraphy set for you is a matter of determining what your needs are. Knowing what type of calligraphy you’ll be doing, your skill level and the kind of art you want to create will help you decide what kit best suits your needs.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a calligraphy set.

Pen types

Choosing the correct calligraphy pen set begins with deciding what type of pen you want to work with. There are kits available for dip pens, fountain pens, and brush pens, depending on your artistic style and preferences.

Dip pens

A dip pen is a calligraphy pen that you regularly have to load with ink, usually by dipping. Many dip pen nibs feature a small ink reservoir that delivers a steady stream of ink to the tip of the nib. When this reservoir runs out, the pen must be dipped or loaded again.

As a broad category, dip pens also typically include any other pen that has to be repeatedly dipped, such as feather quills and glass pens.

Fountain pens

Fountain pens are calligraphy pens that include a built-in ink cartridge that feeds through to the nib. Using a fountain pen eliminates the mess of dipping a pen into ink, making this form of calligraphy more accessible to some.

However, most fountain pen nibs are less flexible than traditional calligraphy nibs, meaning you’ll get a minor stroke variation compared to a dip pen. It’s a small tradeoff for the convenience.

Brush pens

Unlike dip or fountain pens, which have nibs, brush pens employ a brush tip to achieve stroke contrast. The result is a wonderfully informal style of hand lettering that can be playful and whimsical. 

While brush pens are generally too thick for small, delicate lettering, they’re great for more significant projects. Brush pens are one of the best calligraphy pens for beginners because they’re easy to get started with — all you need is a pen and some paper!

Trusted brands

Many pen and art supply brands produce calligraphy pens. Many brands are best known for a particular pen style, though some produce calligraphy pens as part of a broader line of art supplies.

Here are some of the most trustworthy brands you’ll encounter when shopping for a calligraphy set.

Speedball

Speedball has been a trusted pen manufacturer for nearly 150 years. They produce a wide variety of pens and sets for dip pens, fountain pens, and brush tip pens.

Manuscript

Manuscript Brands is the parent company of a wide variety of pen and papercraft supplies. Companies under the Manuscript umbrella include CalliCreative, Monteverde, Visconti, and William Penn.

Pilot

Pilot is a well-known household brand name, offering gel, felt tips, and rollerball pens alongside BIC and other manufacturers. However, Pilot also produces high-end fountain pens and inks.

Staedtler

Staedtler’s art products include a line of double-ended calligraphy markers. These colorful sets give you the option of narrow or broad tips for hand lettering and calligraphy.

Sakura

Sakura is best known for its famous Gelly Roll brand of extensively colorful gel pens. The brand also produces calligraphy markers and brush tip pens under the Pigma Calligrapher and Pigma Professional Brush lines.

Additional Materials

While the pens themselves are the key element in all calligraphy sets, many kits come with some selection of additional calligraphy supplies.

To do any calligraphy or hand lettering art, you’ll also need quality paper and ink (for fountain and dip pens). You’ll also want a solution to store all your supplies safely and cleanly. Many calligraphy kits will include some combination of pens and these additional materials, but few include all.

Thankfully, it’s easy to find calligraphy supplies online from retailers like Dick Blick and Jackson’s. Local specialty art stores are another great place to look.


That’s all for the best calligraphy sets you can buy! Hopefully you’re now equipped with the knowledge you need to get started.

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