Posted in Ta-Da! Tuesdays

Ta-Da! Tuesday: **Updated with quill pen how-to & pics**If there’s a quill, there’s a way!

Crafting Projects I Want To Do

47) Nibs on canvas

So I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m desperately in love with Tim Holtz products.  One could buy me any product from his line and it would make my entire week, maybe even entire month.  They’re fabulously antique with a modern twist.  I would say they’re very steampunky, but I haven’t quite grasped the true definition of that word yet.  Anyhow, being a writer, when I stumbled upon these pen nibs, I had to have them:

Pen Nibs: Tim Holtz idea-ology.  (Each nib actually has a word engraved on it, but you can’t quite see it here.  You’ll see it in some pics below.  Sooo awesome!)

I played around with ideas for crafts to make with these, then finally decided I wanted to make a canvas art with them.  I wanted the canvas to look like parchment with quill pen writing on it, with quill pens glued on.  Here’s the final product:

What it says (the engraved words that can’t be seen in this pic are stand-ins for something written and are symbolized by the square brackets):
“A writer…

makes a [journal]

out of

[thoughts] and


out of


about life.”

(I made up the quote myself, using the words engraved on the nibs as inspiration.  Feel free to use it, but please please please credit me with the saying, okay?  Thanks!)

And here’s the how-to!!


Tim Holtz pen nibs (pictured at the top),

Left to Right, Top to Bottom:  Canvas: artist stretched canvas, 9×12 archival quality. Paintbrush: (have no idea, but it’s 1 1/2 inches.  you can probably use any old thick brush you have lying around).   Black feathers: Creatology Feathers Plumes.  Black paint: craft smart acrylic paint in black.  Beige paint: Apple Barrel acrylic paint in #20558 Territorial Beige.

Not pictured above:  glue gun: Surebonder DT-200 Dual Temp. Glue Gun, water, paper towels.


1) Dip paintbrush in water and liberally wet down the canvas:

There is no rhyme or reason at all as to how I brushed the water on.  I just wanted to create a surface wet enough that it would give the paint a faded watercolor effect.

2)  Crumple up a paper towel (a piece of newspaper or sponge also works too; I just used what was lying around) and dip it in the beige paint.  Gently dab dots onto the canvas:

In retrospect, I think I should’ve gotten a lighter beige because I found myself really trying to rub the color in to thin it and make it lighter.  Having a lighter color to begin with would’ve eliminated all the rubbing and thinning, but I still loved the way it turned out!

3)  Use the paintbrush to spread out the dark dots of color. Continue to dot/dab the canvas, rubbing in the color in a circular motion, until the background reaches the color of parchment:

4) Take one feather and push it into the back of the pen nib (the back has a little bracket that holds the feather perfectly):
so that it looks like this from the front:

(Here you can see the word “memoirs” engraved on the nib.  I love it!!!)

5) To make the writing on the canvas look more authentic, go ahead and take one of the nibs that you didn’t attach to a feather and dip it into the black paint.  If you have the funds, you can certainly use real calligraphy/fountain pen ink!  By the way, I’m insanely jealous of you if you do have the ink.  😉 Or, if you want to be super-artistic and cool, dip it into the paint/ink first then attach it to the feather so they look like “used” quill pens.  Then write your saying (mine or one of your own choosing) onto the canvas*:

*Make sure to leave room for the quill pens!!

6)  Lay out the quill pens onto the canvas until it looks the way you want it (or, if you were smart, you could’ve laid everything out first and THEN written the saying, but whatever):

7) Using the glue gun, carefully attach the feathers in place:

8) Let fully dry, then place your new beautiful piece of artwork anywhere you wish!  😀

46) Quill pens**

I used the leftover nibs to make some actual, writing quill pens with big, colorful feathers.  I will be sure to update this blog tomorrow with pictures and steps, but for now, sleep is calling me.

Goodnight to all, and wishing you sweetly artistic dreams!

**Update 5/3/2012:
And here’s the how-to for the quill pens.  Once again, I’ll start out with the final product:

Confession time:  I haven’t actually made all four pens that I originally wanted to make yet, but it’s definitely coming.  That’s because I had an idea for what I wanted, and neither of these finished pens quite fit that vision, so I’m going to do some tweaking and then do another update.  I’m not unhappy with these results, it’s just that when I have something super-specific in mind, I stop at nothing to get it.  I think I’m a bit OCD that way.  😉

Anyhow, there is the turquoise ribbon quill pen (first two pictures above, but I didn’t really want to have to use the ribbon to attach the nib) and a purple quill pen (with no nib at the end, which is what bothers me).  I’ll list both ways that I’ve done it here.


Tim Holtz pen nibs (see picture at very top of this blog).  Colored feathers:  Creatology.  Ink cartridge/refill/insert(You can use pretty much any kind from the inside of any pen, or buy refills from any office supply store.  To me, the skinnier, the better, so you can slide it into the pen nib.  As you’ll see, that didn’t quite work for me because it wasn’t quite skinny enough to fit through, which is what I’m going to work on tweaking).  Ribbons: I have no idea where this is from…I got them in a scrapbooking package as a Christmas present.  Again, the skinnier ones work better, but this is really your choice as to the size, color, and material.  These are organdy ribbons.


1) Choose which color feathers you want to use.  Take apart pen to get ink, or grab refill package.  🙂

2) For ribbon quill pen:  Insert tip of feather into back of pen nib.  Strategically place ink refill behind feather and nib so it’s hidden.  Using the ribbon, wind ribbon around feather and refill to bind the two together.  Wind tightly, making sure it’s secure, then tie the ends in a tight knot, then into a decorative bow.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any pics of me winding the ribbon around, but I’ll be happy to provide that step in more detail and pics if you ask nicely in the comments section.  🙂

3) For feather quill pen without nib:  I noticed that some feathers have a hole at the bottom, so I just inserted the ink refill into the feather tip.  It stayed in well without need for reinforcement, so that’s all there is to it!  😀


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