D.I.Y. Highlighter Recharging

Here’s a list of what you’ll need to recharge your dried-up highlighters:

  • One dried-up felt-tip highlighter with a felt ink reservoir (not the liquid ink tank kind)
  • One bottle of highlighter ink (such as Noodler’s or Pelikan M205)
  • One shot glass

Add a small amount of highlighter ink to the shot glass. Put the felt tip of the highlighter into the ink in the glass. Wait for at least an hour or more. If the ink in the glass runs dry, add more ink until the highlighter stops absorbing ink. Finished! A simple way to get more life out of your highlighters.

A few notes:

This method is not spill-proof like the Tombow Coat rechargers or Staedtler refill stations, so be careful! Make sure your cat does not tip the glass over.

Your highlighter will take on the characteristics of the new ink. This could be good or bad, depending on if you have any special highlighting needs such as quick drying, inkjet safe, non-bleed through, etc. There is a small chance of some kind of negative interaction between your highlighter and the new ink.

This method works great if the felt tip on your highlighter is still in good condition. After awhile the felt tip wears down and gets mushy and shapeless.

This method of refilling a highlighter works with highlighters that store ink in a cylindrical piece of absorbent material. It does not work with highlighters that have a liquid ink storage tank.

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Clairefontaine DCP Digital Color Printing Paper and Fountain Pens

Clairefontaine DCP Digital Color Printing Paper is made especially for printing or copying documents containing color images and makes it possible to obtain great color prints without using expensive glossy photo paper. How does it work when it is paired with fountain pens?

We have been using this paper a lot recently for making some fountain pen ink samples and wanted to share the results. In general, this paper works great with fountain pens, and as is typical of Clairefontaine paper, has little to no feathering, bleed through or show through of fountain pen ink. It would be great for use in a personal book binding project if you want to end up with a book that is fountain pen friendly.

This paper probably has a special coating on it that makes it especially good for color printing. When we used a cotton swab to put a heavy application of ink on the paper, every once in awhile this coating produced some interesting results with a few very specific kinds/colors of ink. At times there were a few tiny spots that seemed to repel the fountain pen ink slightly, resulting in some random small spots where the ink appeared to be a lighter color. Other times, the wide swab of ink on the page would not stay evenly distributed, with ink pooling up in some areas. In the past we experienced similar results with other high quality laser/ink jet printer paper and fountain pen ink. While these things did not happen very often, this paper may not be the best choice if you are planning to use a watercolor or ink wash on the paper. When we wrote with fountain pens we did not notice these problems at all.

Here are some writing samples showing both the front and back of the page:

Clairefontaine DCP Digital Color Printing Paper is available in the USA in packages of 100 sheets of A4 size white, 100g (27lb), acid-free, archival quality paper. Have you used this paper for any writing or book binding projects? What is your experience using it with fountain pens?

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If Fountain Pens Were Cars

Have you ever thought about comparing your favorite fountain pen to a car? If so, what kind of car would it be?

For the Enthusiast, driving a car is less about the purpose of getting from point A to point B, and all about the experience of driving. Driving is pure joy: the beauty of the machine itself, the G force on the curves, the wind in your hair, the braking power, the sound of the engine. The driving experience is a package deal that must involve all five senses. This type of driver may own a BMW M3 or Porsche 911.

How about a fountain pen Enthusiast? The Enthusiast owns a fountain pen not just for the purpose of putting marks on paper, but rather to experience the pure joy of writing. The beauty of the pen, the feel of the nib against paper, the sounds the interaction between nib and paper produce, the variation of line width, the beautiful colors and shading of ink, these are all part of this experience. This is what is known as “pen touch” in some Asian lands. Often, Asian and Italian made fountain pens are created with the full “pen touch” experience in mind. The Enthusiast may own a Platinum Maki-e or an Aurora Optima Auroloide fountain pen, both of which, in addition to being fine writing tools, are works of art. Their flagship pen models, the Platinum President and the Aurora Ipsilon Deluxe, both have similar qualities.

The next type of driver we can think of is all about function. Getting from point A to point B is the most important thing with zero concern over looks and features. Once this driver gets to their destination there is little to no recollection of how they got there, they just arrived. I’m afraid to mention what type of car this person might drive in case it might be yours, so I’ll just leave it up to your own imagination.

I have a feeling that a pen owner that is only concerned about function would not own a fountain pen in the first place. A ball point pen from the local discount store would probably be sufficient. However, there are inexpensive fountain pens that function reliably enough that you don’t have to think much about maintaining them or wonder whether or not they will start when you pick them up to write. The Platinum Preppy fountain pen comes to mind as one of the most reliable, inexpensive pens that I own. It’s easy to refill with cartridges too.

Then there is the comfort driver that likes to feel as if they are floating on air as they pass by the sights and scenery. This type of driver is not interested much in sensory perception as they drive, rather priority is placed on comfort. Thinking of driving in comfort both the Buick Regal and Lincoln Continental are cars that come to mind. Often these cars are loaded with features to provide the most comfortable ride possible.

Writers that place priority on comfort often own fountain pens. When writing with a fountain pen less pressure on the paper is required to write thus reducing writing fatigue. Some fountain pens also have ergonomic grips to make writing easier. Gold nibs are often preferred by those seeking comfort since gold nibs tend to have a softer quality than steel nibs. German made fountain pens, such as those made by LAMY and Pelikan, are well known for their comfortable, soft touch. A comfort writer may own an elegant writing instrument such as a Pelikan Souveran M800 Blue o’ Blue or a sophisticated LAMY 2000 fountain pen with its buttery soft platinum coated 14K gold nib. Comfort can be found in inexpensive pens too such as the LAMY Safari or Pelikano Junior which are used daily by many writers.

So how about you? What kind of fountain pen do you “drive”?

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Bob’s Your Uncle Do-Doodle Planner Journal Review

Bob’s Your Uncle is a Boston-based company run by a graphic designer and a former-shoes designer. Their creativity combined with a dash of humor and practicality creates products that are fun and functional.

The Do-Doodle Planner Journal has an undated format which means that you can begin using it at any time during any year and not lose any of its functionality. It can be neglected for a time and then you can pick up and begin planning right where you left off. It has 52 weekly planning pages on the left and a dot grid page for notes and doodles on the right. The planning pages include Monday through Sunday with an additional “Someday” column for writing future goals and plans. Each day of the week has space for writing the actual date, plus 12 time slots broken down into a.m., p.m. and evening. The weekdays and someday are printed in different colors to help you distinguish each day as well as for a bit of fun.

The semi-flexible hard cover is sturdy and made from laminated board with narrow multi-color stripes inside and outside. There is no title, but the back cover has a small Bob’s Your Uncle circular logo and some company information. It has a double wire spiral binding to help eliminate snags. The paper size is 7” x 9 1/2”, if you add in the spiral then the size of the planner is approximately 7 1/2” x 9 1/2”.

The heavy weight paper inside the Do-Doodle Planner is ivory color, with the days of the week printed in various colors and the dot grid pages are printed with subtle olive green dots. My favorite thing about the dot grid pages is that the grid pattern is approximately 1/4” x 1/4”. This is much more comfortable for my handwriting than the usual 5mm x 5mm grid pattern found in most dot grid notebooks. Bob’s Your Uncle also makes the Pretty Vacant Notebook, a dot grid notebook with a 5mm x 5mm pale olive green dot grid pattern.

How does this paper hold up to fountain pen ink? Pretty well I’m happy to report! Feathering is almost non-existent, see through is minimal, and there was only a little bit of bleed through. I could use both sides of the page. Not perfection, but overall it performs very well.

What do you think of undated planners? Have you had the opportunity to use Bob’s Your Uncle notebooks, planners or notepads?

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