For those of you new to color theory, figuring out how much of which colors to mix together to create the custom fountain pen ink color you want can be daunting! We figure most of you fellow fountain pen users already are creative people, but if you feel you need a bit of help with ink mixing, we’ve created a basic color chart as a guide.
This chart displays the recipe, or ratios of which ink colors to use to create other custom ink colors. For example, mixing one part magenta (Noodler’s Shah’s Rose) and one part yellow makes orange.
You might think that one part magenta and one part cyan would make purple, but instead it makes a violet-blue. To create purple ink you need only one part cyan (Noodler’s Navajoe Turquoise) and five parts magenta (Noodler’s Shah’s Rose).
In general, it is best to start with the lightest color of ink and slowly mix in the darker colors until you get the results that you want. For example, a small amount of Noodler’s The Whiteness of the Whale ink can be transformed into pink or light blue with just a few drops of Shah’s Rose or Navajoe Turquoise.
Our color chart abbreviates the color names as follows:
C = Cyan, or Noodler’s Navajoe Turquoise
M = Magenta, or Noodler’s Shah’s Rose
Y = Yellow, Noodler’s Yellow
K = Black, Noodler’s Black
The 2nd horizontal row of this chart that creates colors with Noodler’s The Whiteness of the Whale uses 5 parts white and one part of the original color in the top row.
The 3rd horizontal row of colors made with black uses 5 parts of the original color in the first row and one part black.
This chart only has a few examples of colors that can be created from four basic colors of Noodler’s Ink. We encourage you readers to share your favorite ink mixing results!
Most of you with color ink jet printers have noticed that the printer’s ink cartridges come in cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) which are the basic ink colors used in printing. Using these colors your printer can produce a beautiful photograph with shades of all different colors.
By mixing these same colors of fountain pen ink, many different shades of ink can also be created. For people like me, who love to use a different color of ink every time they refill their fountain pen, it is great to have these basic colors on hand to make custom ink colors. Ink mixing is also a good way to create special colors that you may not be able to buy off the shelf.
The equivalent of cyan, magenta, yellow and black in the Noodler’s Ink collection are Navajo Turquoise, Shah’s Rose, Yellow and Black. If you like light and bright colors of ink like pink, light lime green or light blue, you might want to add Noodler’s The Whiteness of the Whale ink to your collection. This ink is specially made for ink mixing and making these types of colors.
Using all Noodler’s inks for your ink mixing is an easy way to safely mix ink and minimize the chance of any gunky reactions. We recommend making a test batch of ink before adding it to your fountain pen, and an ink mixing kit or small dropper bottles are convenient ways to do this.
If you’re new to fountain pen ink mixing and want to give it a try, Writer’s Bloc has put together a nice starter kit for creating custom ink colors. This kit includes approximately 1/2 oz each of four basic Noodler’s Ink colors – Navajo Turquoise, Shah’s Rose, Yellow and Black. In the future, we’ll be posting an ink mixing color chart to help you get started on your adventure. Happy ink mixing and please send some of your ink mixing recipes our way!
For more information on CMYK and RGB color models, how they’re different and what their advantages and disadvantages are, take a look at this handy cheat sheet infographic from firstsiteguide.com.
It is impossible to predict what will happen with every combination when you mix fountain pen ink to create custom colors. Once Alan mixed Noodler’s Year of the Golden Pig and Noodler’s Georgia Peach to try and get a golden-yellow highlighting ink and it created a gel! This result certainly would have messed up the ink flow in any pen! To save you from some unexpected results, there are a few fountain pen ink mixing combinations that you may want to avoid.
When mixing blue-black fountain pen inks it is good to be cautious since some blue-black inks, especially older formulas, contain iron which makes the ink acidic and corrosive to fountain pens. Mixing some blue-black inks can also cause clogging.
Mixing inks can change or neutralize any special properties that they may have. For example, Noodler’s “bulletproof” inks (waterfast, fade resistant) when mixed with conventional inks loose their special “bulletproof” properties. Noodler’s Polar Blue or Polar Black inks may lose some of their freeze-resistance when mixed with regular inks, however, we do not live in a cold enough location to test this out. Does anyone have experience with this?
The formula of Noodler’s Baystate Inks is styled after vintage inks and has a different pH than all other Noodler’s Inks. This ink was not made to be mixed with any other ink except for other Baystate colors! In addition, the Baystate inks each have slightly different properties. Baystate Blue is waterproof, but Baystate Concord Grape is only partially water-resistant and Baystate Cape Cod Cranberry is not waterproof at all. These inks are a favorite of some writers because they have a very high color intensity and look dramatic on certain paper grades, so it is nice to know what their limitations are.
Do you have any fountain pen ink mixing nightmares or warnings that you wish to share with us?