Introduction to Mixing Fountain Pen Ink

Using an Ink Mixing Kit

One of the most enjoyable things about using a fountain pen is being able to mix your own custom ink colors! If you are a new fountain pen user, or haven’t tried this for yourself yet, we would like to share some things we’ve learned about ink mixing.

One myth is that you must match the brand of fountain pen you are using to the brand of ink that you purchase. This may have been true with some vintage fountain pens and vintage inks, but with modern fountain pens feel free to experiment with any modern ink specially formulated for use in fountain pens. If you want to be cautious, you may try using your less expensive pens to begin your experiments. Although we haven’t had this problem, we have heard that intensely colored inks may stain a fountain pen.

Another myth about ink mixing is that you must only mix inks if they are the same brand. However, we have found that many different brands of ink will work just fine when mixed together. For example, many Noodler’s Inks, LAMY, Pelikan and J. Herbin Inks can be mixed together to create new colors without any problems. There are always exceptions though, so when trying a new ink combination we would recommend making a small amount first and waiting a little while to see if there are any reactions. Using an ink mixing kit is helpful since these are designed for making small test batches of ink and the clear vials help you to see if any globs or precipitate form after mixing inks together.

If a batch of ink gums up your fountain pen, or you want to start out fresh with your new ink color, you can wash the pen and the converter out thoroughly with room temperature water. Have fun experimenting to see what inks work best for you!

In a future post we will mention some ink combinations that you might want to avoid. In the meantime, we would love it if you would share your favorite fountain pen ink recipe with us!

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When Should You Refill Your Eyedropper Pen?

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Here’s a handy tip from Noodler’s Ink about when to refill your eyedropper pens:

Eyedropper pens "should be refilled when 2/3rds empty as more than 2/3 air in the chamber can cause expansion/excess flow from the heat of your hand."

We also found it helpful when refilling our eyedropper pens to leave the ink level in the barrel about 1/4" lower than where the end of the main part of the pen will be when it is screwed together. This will help you to avoid some of the mess when refilling.

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