I had teacher that used to tell me “you need good tools to make good work”. This is also true for Arabic calligraphy tools.

Arabic calligraphy tools have been refined over centuries of tradition, know-how, determination and perfection.

There is a direct link between the quality of your piece of work and your Arabic calligraphy tools.

By extension, your knowledge of the tools you use should be constantly improving.

As I continue to learn about Arabic calligraphy in general, my knowledge on the tools I use must also grow.

The main tools in Arabic calligraphy are:

  • Pens
  • Inks
  • Paper
  • Knives

Other tools are also used. However they are not absolutely required. As learn more about them, I will expand the section.

I don’t profess to know everything about Arabic calligraphy tools, but as I learn I will make it available here for others to learn from it as well.


The first, and most important tool in Arabic calligraphy is your pen.

Different Arabic calligraphy pens have different qualities, and as such provide different results on the calligraphic pieces made.

Sometimes, special pens are used based on the function of required on the pen.

The most common pen in Arabic calligraphy is the bamboo pen.

This is because of it is cheap and readily available and it can deliver superb results.

Nevertheless, there are many other pens, such as reed pens (Kamish and Handem) and Javanese thorngrass pens.

They achieve different aesthetic results or serve different functions.

But each have their place in the art of Arabic calligraphy.

You can learn more as I learn more about different Arabic calligraphy pens and write more about them.


Traditionally Arabic calligraphy ink is black, made of soot, water and dissolved gum arabic.

The soot used to be collected from the lamps of mosques, thereby adding a spirituality into the calligraphic pieces.

However, other coloured inks have been, and can be used to create beautiful pieces of calligraphy.

These include traditional colours like red, blue and green, but also colours like gold and silver.

Although I haven’t started yet, I am looking forward to making my own inks.

As I explore making my own inks, you can read more about it, and learn to make your own Arabic calligraphy inks.


You need a tool with which to apply the calligraphy (pen), something to be applied (ink), and finally something to be applied on.

As such, paper in Arabic calligraphy is the last of the most important tools as if fulfils that last category.

The history of paper, is complicated and convoluted.

In all honesty, it has even eluded me in its complexity.

Nevertheless, I will learn about it, and as I do I will make the information accessible through the posts I publish about the papers used in Arabic calligraphy.


There are many other Arabic calligraphy tools that have an ancillary importance.

Most important amongst them is probably the knives you use.

The server to make and re-sharpen the pens you use.

But also to perfect and correct your pieces of calligraphy.

I have several knives, each serving a different purpose.

As time progresses, I’ll expose the knives in Arabic calligraphy that I use and clarify their functions.