Mixing PearlEx for Dip Pen Calligraphy

Jan 31, 2023

Jacquard PearlEx powdered pigments are fabulous for dip pen calligraphy but there are a few things you need to know in order to use them correctly with a dip pen. 

Jacquard PearlEx powdered pigment: You can purchase PearlEx pigments online from Paper & Ink Arts, Amazon, or from your local art supply stores. It comes in soooo many beautiful metallic and iridescent colors. In the video, I'm using Knox Gold.
Jacquard powdered Gum Arabic: This is the binder that will hold the pigment particles together and hold the pigment to the paper. Without a binder, the powdered pigment will rub off the paper when the ink dries. The process of the ink drying is the act of water evaporating... If all you have in your mixture is water and powdered pigment, after the water evaporates, you are left with only powder that will quite literally rub/blow off the paper.
Water: I use tap water but live in a city with treated water and my kitchen sink has a filter. If your water has high mineral content or you are on untreated well water, you may want to use bottled water. High mineral content in your water can alter the color of your ink (i.e. iron is very orange/pink) and if you are on unprocessed/unfiltered water, your ink may grow mold. You can scoop the mold off your ink and salvage the jar. If you are having trouble with your ink growing a scummy mold layer even after using bottled water, add a couple of drops of clove oil. This will help preserve your ink and also smells divine.
INKMETHIS Magnetic Stirrer (optional)

Two heaping spoons of PearlEx powdered pigment with one more level spoon of Gum Arabic (you can use any spoon size depending on the quantity of ink desired). My preference is almost a 2:1 ratio of pigment to gum Arabic. I use quite a lot of Gum Arabic compared to many people because I like that it keeps the ink raised on the paper for a nice tactile experience. You can use as little as a 4:1 ratio.
Add water until achieving a liquid about the consistency of whole milk and test with the same nib and paper you plan to use for your project.

Ink is pooling off the nib:
Your mixture is too thin. Add more pigment and gum Arabic. If you don't have more to add, leave your ink uncapped over night to allow water to evaporate (this timing will depend on the humidity of your home/climate).
The ink won't flow off the nib: Your mixture is too thick. Add more water.
The pigment rubs off the paper after ink is completely dry: The pigment doesn't have enough binder holding it to the paper. Add more Gum Arabic.





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!

Grab 'em now!