I love me a mystery box! They give you something to look forward to and get excited about. You never know what you going to get, you may love it – you may hate it – or you may already own some of it. But you will always get a chance to try something different and new, that’s what makes it fun.
Write Gear launched their first one this month, last month for this month – and I couldn’t wait to open it up! For those of you who may have ordered theirs and not received it yet – STOP, STOP READING NOW. If you still waiting for your box, this is basically a post of SPOILERS.
And fair warning, this is a looooong post, with lots of pictures.
Ohhh look at the pretty…
And even more prrreeeettttyyyy…K i’ll stop now.
Look at the sparkly – this is Diamine Golden Sands
The box comes wrapped in heavy duty brown paper, with a hand written note from the founders. Once you open the box the first thing you see is a “Mystery Box User Guide”. I promptly put this aside so that I could get into the contents of the box, not a very good idea if you new to the eyedropper conversion process. You may stare at the eyedropper and silicon grease and wonder what in the world – and refer straight back to the handy user manual. 🙂
Mystery Box Unwrapped
Everything in the box comes wrapped in colourful tissue paper, and underneath the tissue paper everything comes wrapped in the addictive stress reliever also known as bubble wrap.
The box contents out of the box.
Out the box.
Followed by the box contents out of its protective bubbles.
Box Contents – One sample vial is missing from this image. ;(
In summary in no particular order, the box contains the following:
a) 1 x A5 Paper Pad
b) 1 x A6 Paper Pad
c) 1 x A6 Notebook
d) 5 x Diamine Shimmer Ink Sample Vials
e) 1 x Dip Pen Holder
f) 6 x Dip Nibs
g) 1 X 80ml Bottle Of Diamine Ink
h) 1 x Platinum Preppy F Nib
i) 1 x Platinum Preppy M Nib
j) 2 x O Rings
k) 1 x Tub Silicone Grease
l) 1 x Box Of Carbon Platinum Cartridges
m) 1 x Eyedropper
n) 10 X 300gsm Swatch Cards
o) 10 X Earbuds
The shimmer ink samples provided are simply mesmerizing! My two favourites are hands down Night Sky, which is basically the silver version on J.Herbin Stormy Sea and Blue Lightning. This one is also a silver shimmer with a base very similar to Lamy Turquoise. Then there is Purple Pazzazz, this one has a dark purple base with gold shimmer while Brandy Dazzle is a red brown with gold shimmer. Lastly there is Golden Sands, I would say this is defiantly the one with the most sparkle – and could easily be mistaken for a gel pen. They really excelled at making this one captivating and the name is perfect, but it is a yellow gold and even though I love the colour, i’d have a hard time finding any practical use for it unless I had a specific project in mind. But hey, if I could buy them all this would take third place.
Now for those who feel that shimmer should not belong in an ink[who hurt you? :p], there is also a full bottle of Diamine Sapphire Blue, a cartridge of ink in both preppy pens and a box of carbon black cartridges to keep you satisfied.
These swabs where done using the Swatch cards provided, which I cut into smaller pieces using my cuttlebug and a cutting die. I would assume this paper is either a mixed media 300gsm paper or a watercolour 300gsm paper available in most art shops. If you interested in the specific brand i’m sure you could contact write gear directly and they’d be happy to tell you. Swabs in order of appearance, from left to right are: Purple Pazzazz, Brandy Dazzle, Golden Sands, Blue Lightning, Sapphire Blue and Night Sky.
Now for the DIY portion of the box. Converting the classic preppy into the iconic eyedropper, dum, dum, dum. The process is very simple actually.
Preppy Conversion Kit
1)Pick the preppy you would like to modify, remove the cartridge – you wont be needing it.
2)Slip the O ring onto the treads of the top half of the pen(nib side).
3)Rub silicone grease on both the inner and outer thread sections.
4)Take the eyedropper and your favorite bottle of ink and simply fill the barrel up three fourths of the way.
5)DO NOT FILL MORE ABOVE THE THREAD LINE.
6)Screw the two halves together and viola!
Now please note that this is a very summarized version of the process without the relevant burp warnings – all this was provided in much more detail with the user manual that come with the box. If you would like to find out even more you can check this video out: Preppy Eyedropper Conversion
The box also comes with three different types of paper. I am in love love love with the small A6 pad. The paper is extremely thin and lightweight – as in thinner then normal printer paper, I would even say a hair thinner then tracing paper. You can even see the pattern on the table through the paper in the image below. But wow can it handle ink, and I mean a seriously large amount of ink. It will buckle with the excessive amount of ink, but not a drop of bleed through. I have a feeling this may be something similar to yuzo paper, but there is no way to be sure as this paper has been discontinued, and is not branded in any way. So if you missed this box you missed out – sorry.
Fire and ice balance out nice.
The larger A5 pad is also interesting, it has a very smooth tactile feel to it and my EF TWSBI gives even less feedback then normal. It pretty much glides over this paper. I do get bleed through when using lots of ink, but it doesn’t ruin the page underneath. This paper is perfect for customized type stationary and personal correspondence. This is called Munken Paper.
Personal Stationary DIY
With stamped image.
Note on Munken
The A6 Hahnemuehle notebook. I’m a fan of these types of notebooks in general – great pocket size, slim, flexible and thread sewn spines. This paper is thicker, and slightly textured. Almost like a hot pressed mixed media pad. Great for doodling.
And then there was the calligraphy dip pen. It’s a pretty generic dip pen that can be found in most art shops. This particular one comes with six different nibs. The pointy one is a flex nib normally used for copperplate style calligraphy while the other five are normally used for roundhand and gothic style script. If you find that you would like to get more proficient with this pen, I recommend getting a speedball nib as it already has a built in reservoir. When I first started out with these I also found the following websites extremely helpful and informative. calligraphypen and iampeth
Lastly there are vouchers! These discount vouchers only apply to the people who have purchased the mystery box, and valid until the new one is released. This box came with two vouchers, one for 20% off a shimmer ink and one for 20% off a clear Kaweco.
Write Gear says that they plan for this to be a quarterly box, which personally, I am glad for as it retails for R500-00. While you defiantly get your moneys worth, spending R500 on something you may, or may not like, or perhaps even already own, every month would be a bit much for me. Additionally making it quarterly also gives you enough time to play around with everything properly, and just when it start to lose its novelty – bam, new box. But again that’s just my opinion.
For a first mystery box I think Write Gear knocked it out of the park, all while managing to keep a good balance of novelty and practicality, and also between things available on their website, and things not in the country as of yet.
All in all can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for the next one.
PS: You need to sign up for their newsletter to be notified when the next box becomes available. They also run some awesome undercover deals from time to time which you will only hear about if you read the newsletter. You can sign up here: Newsletter