Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Make "quill pens" out of straws (and dye paper with coffee and tea)

When we visited Williamsburg a couple of weeks ago (click here or here to see photos), hubby and I purchased a quill pen to try out.  After writing with it for a bit, we were inspired to make our own crapty "quills pens" out of straws and use food coloring as ink.

To make our straw "quill" pens, we sampled several different types of straws:  a bubble tea straw, a normal straw, and a stirrer.  We cut the tips at an angle to mimic the quill pen.

I also used coffee and tea to age some watercolor paper.  To do this, I let the paper sit in cooled black tea (or coffee) for a couple of minutes.

Then, we set the paper out to dry on some pieces of paper towel.

Here are the results of our paper dying.  Left- Original paper,  Middle- Tea dyed,   Right- Coffee dyed
As you can see, coffee made our paper quite brown.

And how did our  homemade "quills" work out?  Check them out below.  I first used all four writing instruments to write in print and then to write in cursive.

Top line- Written with a real quill
Second line- Written with bubble tea straw
Third line- Written with normal straw
Fourth line- Written with a stirrer  (Eek!  Please excuse my scary monster handwriting.  It was really hard to get the ink to flow out.)

 Happy crapting!    


  1. What a fun idea! (I like your monster handwriting!) I can see Ellie wanting to try this.

    1. :) cool. it's pretty fun... but get ready for some food coloring dyed fingers. (i'm so glad we live in the modern age where pens write nicely and neatly all the time. yeesh.)

  2. Thanks for posting this i knew it was possible, but needed a bit of encouragement to try it.

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