What Pen Should I Use When Signing My Ketubah?
One of the most common questions we get asked is, "What pen should I use to sign my ketubah?"
Our suggestion depends on whether your ketubah is created on paper (such as Verona or Hahnemule) or if it is a canvas-or-wood ketubah. Read below for each.
Signing a Heavyweight Giclée Paper and Hahnemule Décor Giclée Print?
Mazel Tov! You've taken your Paper Ketubah perfectly out of the box, and you see the beautiful texture and traditional feel of the paper. No ordinary pen will do!
We recommend the standard for fine-art prints: an archival pigment ink pen. You should be able to find one in your local framing store, or online! We often the type of pen that we recommend is the Sharpie Grip Pen - Medium Points. For Heavyweight Verona and Hahnemule Art Giclée papers, this is a magical pen that combines everything you would want in a Ketubah-signing pen. This pen will make sure your signatures stands out no matter what Ketubah design you choose. You can buy this pen on Amazon.com here. (Or if you can't find this pen, look for any "Permanent Market" -- with a tip no thinner than 0.7mm. The best you could do is go to an artistic store and try them out!) However, there's a better option that's also affordable... Dum-de-dum...
If you want to go all out, and want the luxurious best-of-the-best pen, but that's still affordable -- the best one on the market for use on a ketubah, we'd definitely recommend Sharpie's Stainless Permanent Marker. This pen is more expensive than our standard recommendations above, but worth every penny. You can buy it here on Amazon.com.
Like most things in life, nothing is perfect and the drawback to this particular pen is that the ink is very wet, so the drying time is going to be a little longer, and you will have to be extra careful when signing.
Signing a canvas, wood, or metal ketubah?
For Canvas, Wood, and Metal Ketubot we recommend the Sharpie Oil Based Paint pen -- fine point. Oil paint has been around for centuries, and the reason why it is so popular, is because it lasts forever -almost-. These pens are super fast drying, they come in a ton of colors, and grabs onto the Canvas and never lets go.
You can buy this perfect pen for canvas, wood and metal here via Amazon.com.
You can also use any oil-based pen, that is fine point, and you'll be fine. If you want to go for a medium point pen, that is also do-able although not our artist's preferred recommendation.
*Pro Ketubah Tip*: All recommendations have a similar drawback, they are not ready to use right out of the box. Make sure you follow the instructions on the side of the pen that explains how to mix the paint and get it to flow into the tip, and like a new car, these pens need to be broken in, we suggest using the pens to write a love letter to your fiance, that should give the pen a good work out and make sure it is ready for the signing. And the day of the signing, bring some scrap paper so everyone can practice their signatures.
Some pen-related tips
After you received the Ketubah of your dreams and picked out the perfect pen, the very last element to this beautiful tradition is shining, of course! Here are a few quick tips to think about when approaching the signing of your Ketubah:
Have the signing pen and a spare sheet of paper available, to test the pen and practice signatures, this is particularly important if you have not practiced your Hebrew signatures in a while and are feeling excited, and to get a feel for how fast you can write, most of these pens are not normal so people need to get comfortable with them..
Advise the Ketubah Party that there will be wet ink! Avoiding ugly smudges can be prevented! Give the heads up to all signers to be very careful, and mindful of previous signatures, take your time between each one, and if you are having your rabbi fill the text in for you, do this ahead of time so there is no rushing around, that is a recipe for disaster.
Give ample drying time for the signatures, on all print mediums for all pens. Humidity, lighting and temperature can all affect drying time -- don't risk touching the print too soon!
Happy signing! We can't wait to see a picture :)