Homemade quill pen

During the early days of the pandemic, we would often bike over to Stow Lake and check on the wildlife. The Canada Geese were molting, so we grabbed some feathers. I wondered if I could figure out how to make a quill pen and ink.

I later found artist Carly Drew’s excellent guide to making your own quill pen, but at the time I watched this YouTube video:

It seemed simple enough, so I got out my Xacto knife and gave it a shot.

Ink was a bit trickier. Watercolor paint writes really well, but is a little hard to use.

Nia writing with a quill pen Playing with quill pen

I found a guide to making ink, and tried my hand at making beet ink. It looks very cool, a light purple color, but faded quickly.

Quill pen with beet ink writing sample Writing with my daughter

Later, I got some real India ink, which was fun to write with. I also tried making a quill pen with a pelican feather, but it was too wide to be useful.

Try it yourself. It’s fun, and if you’re old enough to know how to write cursive, writing with a quill pen helps you understand what the point of that is.