How to create a Faux Calligraphy / Fake Hand lettering effect [In Depth Guide]

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Since a few months, I decided to give calligraphy a go again. Last year I started with calligraphy, but I got too overwhelmed by all the techniques I had to implement to become as good as all those other calligraphers on Instagram.

I started with hand lettering again, and I immediately noticed how peaceful and fun it is to do. I mean come on, only you can sign the coolest Christmas cards if you know how to master calligraphy.

But a lot of people seem to have a lot of trouble when it comes to calligraphy. Here are a few things people struggle with:

  1. Not knowing the right techniques
  2. Not knowing which materials to buy
  3. Not having enough money to buy your calligraphy pens

I’ve been there, believe me. First I also couldn’t afford those Tombow Dual Brush pens everyone has. Until I saw a great deal on Amazon about the Tombow Dual Brush Pens Bright pack. I immediately hit the add to cart button when I saw that offer.

But if you don’t feel like investing in brush pens like I did, I got a solution for you that will help you to master your hand lettering: Faux Calligraphy.

What is Faux Calligraphy?

Faux calligraphy means that you can create a fake hand lettering effect even if you don’t have the materials. I use Faux Calligraphy a lot for my Bullet Journal headings since I don’t have a small brush pen, so I have to create my calligraphy effect with fine liners only.

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So if you want to learn how to write in calligraphy, but you don’t have the materials, then this tutorial is perfect for you.

For this tutorial, I use my Staedtler fine liners. I use these because they are easy to work with, and they are also water proof.

First I am going to start with the 0.8mm to create the base, and then I am going to use the 0.2mm to create the faux calligraphy effect.

Side note: It doesn’t matter how you hold your pen. If you watch the video, you will see that I don’t hold my pen as I should hold it because I have always held my pen in the wrong way, hehe.

We are going to start with the regular alphabet. If you want to know how I write the alphabet, I recommend you to watch the video. Or you can also download the free worksheet right away so you can follow along immediately.

The trick with Faux Calligraphy is to make the upstrokes thicker than the downstrokes. For a more detailed explanation: Watch the video.

In the free worksheet, I also added arrows that represent the up- and down strokes.

If you are not satisfied with your downstrokes, you can always come back to make the down strokes thicker. But keep in mind to only thicken the downstrokes and not the upstrokes.

Phew! This is how you can create a Faux Calligraphy effect with fine liners only. If you are interested in receiving more content related to calligraphy, make sure to follow me on Bloglovin

And don’t forget to download your Faux Calligraphy worksheet. This worksheet will help you to master your Faux Calligraphy skills. And if you love it, make sure to tag me on Instagram 🙂

And please share this post on Pinterest. And while you are on Pinterest, why not follow my profile. I have tons of calligraphy related pins 😉

Lots of love,


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Chelsea van Egmond is a creative girl boss who is specialized in shooting professional photos (With both an iPhone and DSLR), hand-lettering and Bullet Journaling. She also runs a blog called Join the Creative Side where she teaches bloggers and entrepreneurs how they can improve their photography and graphic design skills even if they don’t have any experience or a big budget. Her #1 mission: To help you build your visual story/brand.