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The Inky Box Mini Pen Subscription Box Review – September 2018

Anna Reilly
ByAnna ReillySep 19, 2018 | 9 comments

inky box package

The Inky Box
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The Inky Box is an art pen subscription box that was suggested by Virginia, one of our readers! Lettering and calligraphy fans, take note—this subscription sends you tools to create all kinds of unique lettering work each month. They also share tutorial content for the month's products on their social channels!

inky box unboxing and review

There are two subscription levels to choose from—The Inky Box (lettering tools, supplies, and hand-lettered greeting cards for $39.95 per month) and The Inky Box Mini (2-4 of the lettering tools that were featured in the larger box for $14.99 per month).

This is a review of The Inky Box Mini subscription, which costs $14.99 per month.

MSA CONDITIONS (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

inky box all items

About The Inky Box Mini

The Subscription Box: The Inky Box Mini

The Cost: $14.99 per month

The Products: 2-4 lettering/calligraphy tools

Good to Know: They also offer a larger box (The Inky Box) that includes much more product for $39.95 per month. New to lettering? Follow @TheInkyBox on Instagram or subscribe to The Inky Box's channel on YouTube for tutorials, tips, and more!

Ships to: US and worldwide. International shipping is $19.99.

The Inky Box Mini Lettering & Calligraphy Subscription Review

inky box card

inky box product list

The info card for the box lists out the products I can expect as well as some helpful tips to get me started. I love that they offer practice sheets so that I can work on my penmanship!

inky box blue pen

inky box blue pen with cap

inky box felt tip pen

inky box blue felt tip pen on paper

Pentel Brush Tip Sign Pen in Sky Blue - Retail Value $2.99

I love writing with this pen! For someone who's relatively inexperienced with lettering, this pen is a nice introduction. The brush shape gives an elegant quality to each stroke, but it's not so brushy that I feel like I need to exert a ton of extra caution or skill in using it.

inky box calligraphy set

inky box pen package

inky box calligraphy kit

Manuscript Modern Calligraphy Set - Retail Value $13.99, Listed Value $11.95 (currently out of stock online)

The info card lists this kit as $11.95, but I actually found it for about $2.00 more on the Michael's site shop. This kit is the perfect thing to get me started with old-school calligraphy with ink and nibs, etc. I've used ink with brushes to do illustrations, but it's a slightly new experience working with metal nibs. It's sort of fascinating watching the ink suck up into these metallic nibs. I like that you get three different shapes to play with.

inky box instructions

There's a small sheet of instructions in the kit. I have to practice my cursive...

inky box ink on paper

I'm a little clumsy so far. I found that the ink bleeds a bit, leading to slightly Halloweeny-looking letters. I think that's more of a problem with the (super simple) paper I'm using rather than the ink itself. That said, if you've got any hot tips, let me know! (Is there a type of paper you most prefer to work with when you're using ink like this?)

the inky box practice sheets

the inky box calligraphy practice

the inky box sheets fauxligraphy

Practice Sheets - Listed Value $3.00

Part of the value of the box, as listed on the info card, comes from these practice sheets, which are available to download and print off of The Inky Box's website.

The Verdict: Remember that I'm looking at this box as a beginner, but that being said, I really enjoyed it. There was just enough inside that I felt inspired to pick up one of the pens and practice, but not so much that I felt overwhelmed or like I had so much stuff that I couldn't possibly get use out of, being an amateur. Had I used the retail value listed for the calligraphy kit, the total retail value of the tangible items in the box would be $14.94. The mini box guarantees a retail value of at least $15.00, and $14.94 is close enough to that goal to satisfy me! That said, I always feel weird about considering digital "items" part of the retail value of the box. That's not to say I don't appreciate the time and effort that went into making them! I just feel like they're so easily accessible (you need to have the link, but you don't have to be a subscriber) that it's hard to consider them being $3.00. To be clear, I DO think they're an awesome part of this box and something that sets this subscription apart from others (which don't give a lot of tutorials/instructional content). I just wouldn't naturally consider thinking of them as going towards the total retail value of the box. What do you think?

To Wrap Up:

Can I still get this box if I sign up today?: No. New subscribers will receive their box the first week of the following month, according to The Inky Box's FAQ page.

Value Breakdown: The box cost $17.48 (cost + $2.49 shipping to Pennsylvania), but I estimate a total retail value of $16.98 not counting the digital practice sheets (or $19.98 with the practice sheets). If you DO include the practice sheets, the subscription box value does exceed its cost, meaning you pay slightly less for each item vs. the retail values I found. Proportionally, that's:

  • Sign pen - $2.62
  • Calligraphy kit - $12.24
  • Practice sheets - $2.62

Check out all of our the Artisan Subscription Box Directory!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What do you think of The Inky Box Mini?


Starting at $40.00
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Every month, receive full-size supplies that cater specifically to hand lettering, as well as prints and coupons from your favorite lettering artists! Each box is carefully curated by Sarah @theinkyhand to include only items that work for hand lettering!
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Anna Reilly
Anna Reilly
Anna loves collecting little treasures, be they pop-culture finds, handmade mementos, or new potions to put in her makeup bag. Beauty boxes got her interested in the subscription world, but now she's swooning for all things kawaii!

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Nice review & this box looks like fun. I learned Calligraphy 30 yrs ago & it’s been a great outlet for my artistic inclinations. I have a helpful tip, that I share w/Beginners. Hold the pen so the nib is at an angle. People are tempted to position the nib like this: —- and try to write, but it won’t flow smoothly that way. Always keep your nib at abt 2pm & 7pm or a dash. Then you will be able to create the fat & thin lines that are indicative with fountain pen lettering. I used to draw a bowling scorecard triangle at the top of my practice pages & then use the slant to line align my pen. It comes naturally after a little practice. Hope you enjoy lettering as much as I have.

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I am so glad you reviewed this box. I have been getting the mini for the past couple of months and love it.

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I work for a fountain pen company, and you need to have quality paper so you don’t get bleedthrough, ghosting, and feathering of ink. My recommendations are Rhodia or Tomoe River paper for calligraphy. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Thank you, that is very helpful. 🙂

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Thank you for reviewing this box, as I am considering giving it as a gift but wasn’t sure about it yet.

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I’ve subscribed to the full sized box for almost a year now and each month I LOVE the items that I receive! They send really high quality pens, markers, drawing pencils, colored pencils, brushes, etc. I can honestly say that I’ve never been disappointed with any of the Inky boxes that I’ve received! I’m glad to see the MSA is reviewing this box, as I’ve personally found it to fabulous!!

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I have been interested in subscribing to this and was wondering what would be in the “mini” box. Happy to see it being reviewed. Thank You!

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Anna Reilly

Happy to review it, Katie 🙂 It’s definitely a cool way to get acquainted with the art of lettering!

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Jessica Hapak

oooh, I really love this! I dont like digital items either, but I would love to learn how to do this. I hope to keep seeing reviews, and I may sign up! I love writing in cursive as it is, but I would love to learn “fauxligraphy”

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