Beach Calligraphy: Calligraphy with a Rake

Last Updated on November 6, 2023

Hello! Glad you could make it! This post is dedicated to a little passion project video called “Beach Calligraphy” I made in 2017. It’s purpose is to entertain and try to inspire people who are learning calligraphy to keep practicing and to showcase how dynamic the skill of calligraphy is.

How to do Beach Calligraphy:

Beach Calligraphy!

1. Learn Blackletter Calligraphy

There are many ways to begin learning the style of calligraphy showcased in this video. You can check out my post on learning blackletter calligraphy here for a good introduction. I also have a series of videos on how to learn blackletter calligraphy with just pencil (or two).

2. Buy an adjustable rake

Pretty straightforward, but the ability to adjust your rake’s width really helps change the size of your letters. This can help your calligraphy greatly but it depends on the open and smooth sand area you have available. You can get one at most hardware stores or on Amazon here.

3. Go to a beach that has a tide

This is actually super key. The sand has to be wet or has been wet recently and flat for the rake to have the effect in the video. If you try to do this on dry sand, it DOES NOT WORK. The lettering is pretty much unreadable because the sand doesn’t hold it’s shape. So your best bet is the ocean and wait for the tide to go out. At the beginning of the day (aka sunrise) there shouldn’t be too many people out, so you will have space to write and not bother anybody.

4. Write your letters

a) Follow the rules of blackletter calligraphy. (Maintain your angle with your pen… I mean rake)
b) Keep it brief. It’s more tiring than you’d think and your letters are bigger than you think.
c) Take it slow. Remember that if you mess up you have to start over in a different location as you cant unscratch sand.
d) Keep in mind others. The beach is for everyone, try to find an unpopulated area or at least not busy to do your lettering.
e) Have fun! Experiment letters and textures that you couldn’t do with pen. Ask random people if they would like something written. (they might just ask you haha)

5. Stand back or go to a higher location and look at your creation

While I was doing this I was asked quite a few times “what does it say?” To me I thought it was obvious, but I realized that if you are standing right next to it sometimes its harder to see the bigger picture. If you stand back or get to higher ground the letters will become very obvious (if it is legible to begin with).

6. Bring your drone (OPTIONAL)

Really not required, but it is a pretty cool sight to see your enormous letters from the sky. Drones are quite pricey but pretty cool if you are traveling with it. Be aware of the rules of flying drones, there are many places you can’t legally fly them. Check the rules in your area before you fly.


That’s it! Everything you need to know about beach calligraphy!

Let me know in the comments if there is anything that wasn’t clear.

Is there another medium that I should cover? Let me know down below, I read all comments (as I have to approve them).

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