Quickly Add Perfect Calligraphy Guide Lines to Any Paper

Oct 26, 2022

 Set up and supplies needed for adding perfectly straight parallel guidelines to any paper:
- INKMETHIS Layout Liner
- Calligraphy quality paper (my favorite for finished pieces is Arches 140lb hot press watercolor paper*)
- Drafting table or a ruler/straightedge secured to your desk (I have this slant board* on my desk which also helps my neck and shoulders)
- Mechanical Pencil (I like this particular Pentel*)

Watch the video for a full demonstration on using the Layout Liner.

If I had to pick one word to describe polished looking calligraphy, it would have to be “consistent.” To keep our lettering consistent, guidelines are a must.

However, adding evenly spaced and perfectly parallel lines to paper with a pencil and ruler relies on great precision. Even the slight width of the pencil lead can shift the lines enough that the spacing is no longer consistent and parallel. As you work your way up the page, a tiny bit off turns into a tiny bit more and before you know it, you have to erase and start over!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “confidently” lined a paper only to finish, sit up taller from my desk (yes, I slouch!), and realize that some lines were not even at all! Arrrrrgh!

Whenever I get frustrated with doing something, my natural response is to stop until I come up with a better solution. This may be a brief intermission or it may be weeks/months of mulling thoughts over in the back of my head. I’m a processor. Silent brain churning in the background... often times at 3am much to my husband's annoyance.

Combining different tools and ideas I own or have seen along the years, I came up with the idea of holes in a ruler that you would then slide along a straight edge, moving your pencil up one hole at a time. This idea is much like the function of the classic Ames Lettering Guide*. However, the Ames is really best when only a few lines need to be drawn. I wanted lots of holes for making lots of lines without the need to readjust my base. I wanted a tool that would work on everything from small envelopes to large pieces for framing. 

After various ideas and garage cut prototypes, the design was honed and perfected to the current state of the INKMETHIS Layout Liner.  

PS: Yes! The Layout Liner works on dark paper! Just add white sewing lead to your mechanical pencil. And, for smaller sheets of paper, I jut use a large binder clip as shown here:


* As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.


Hop over to, our online calligraphy school, for all sorts of great resources! You'll find everything from printable guide sheets to digital backgrounds and more!

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