Experiments With Fountain Pen Ink

Back in 2009 we were like mad scientists with our fountain pen ink – instead of buying a bottle of ink in each color we were mixing ink colors to create our own custom color shades. It was creative and a lot of fun, with some so-so results and some fantastic inky discoveries! Have you ever given ink mixing a try?

The four very basic ink colors you need to create a rainbow of other colors are cyan, magenta, yellow and black (or CMYK) which are also the basic ink colors used in printing. To get the equivalent of CMYK in fountain pen ink you need:

J. Herbin Ink
Cyan = J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche
Magenta = J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen
Yellow = J. Herbin Bouton D’or
Black = J. Herbin Perle Noire

Noodler’s Ink
Cyan = Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise
Magenta = Noodler’s Shah’s Rose
Yellow = Noodler’s Yellow
Black = Noodler’s Black

Platinum Mixable Ink
Cyan = Platinum Aqua Blue
Magenta = Platinum Cyclamen Pink
Yellow = Platinum Sunny Yellow
Black = Platinum Smoke Black

This was the inspiration behind creating our own Noodler’s Ink Starter Kit in 2009, which is still available at Writer’s Bloc. This kit contains about 1/2 oz each of the 4 basic Noodler’s Ink mixing colors in glass eyedropper bottles that are useful for measuring ink drops in your experiments. If you need somewhere to store your ink color creations, we’ve got several solutions for you: capped test tubes, eyedropper bottles, small plastic bottles and a blunt tip needle bottle (for filling empty ink cartridges).

Ink Mixing Color Chart

Ink Mixing Color Chart

Read more about ink mixing and check out some of our favorite custom ink colors:

Ocean Jade Ink

Ocean Jade Ink

Other reasons we were experimenting with fountain pen ink back in 2009 were to see if this would improve ink flow in some dry-writing pens and also to find the most saturated, blackest black fountain pen inks.

Green LAMY Safari with a Calligraphy Nib

Green LAMY Safari with a Calligraphy Nib

Another experiment that proved to be popular in 2009 was swapping the regular nibs on LAMY Safari fountain pens with LAMY calligraphy nibs. It’s a great way to try out some calligraphy without having to buy a whole new fountain pen. Have you tried this yourself? We used to swap the nibs for you in our shop. Now, you can buy an extra LAMY calligraphy nib at a discounted price at the same time as you purchase a LAMY Safari fountain pen. Or, if you’ve already got a LAMY Safari, you can buy the nibs separately. We’ve got easy instructions so that you can change the nib yourself.

Changing the Nib on a LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

Changing the Nib on a LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

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Platinum Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit

Platinum Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit is the ideal solution for mixing inks safely and easily to create a multitude of colors with a minimal number of ink bottles. This series of ink created by Platinum removes all fear of unexpected, messy pen-clogging reactions that can occasionally result from  mixing different types of fountain pen ink together. These inks are specially formulated to be mixed together and to encourage personal expression through your own custom ink colors.

The kit includes 60ml bottles of nine different colors of ink: Sunny Yellow, Leaf Green, Earth Brown, Flame Red, Cyclamen Pink, Silky Purple, Aurora Blue, Aqua Blue and Smoke Black. It also includes a handy mixing kit containing one 50ml bottle of dilution liquid, one empty 50ml bottle for saving your custom ink and two 3ml dropper syringes.

There are simple instructions included on how to begin to create your custom ink colors.

This kit also comes with a color chart showing how a mixture of equal parts of two different colors of ink can create a new color. (I believe there are 36 different colors displayed here in addition to the 9 basic colors, but I could be wrong.) Adding the dilution liquid can lighten the color. Of course, you’re not limited to a 1:1 ratio while mixing – feel free to experiment with whatever ratio you want!

If an entire kit with 9 bottles and ink mixing accessories is too much to buy all at once, or if you’d like to try out just one color first, you can buy the individual bottles and the mixing accessories separately. You can also mix all sorts of custom ink colors by getting the four very basic ink colors of cyan, magenta, yellow and black – or as translated into Platinum Ink colors: Aqua Blue, Cyclamen Pink, Sunny Yellow and Smoke Black.

What interesting colors have you created with Platinum’s Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit? Please share your colors and mixing ratios here!


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Terre de Feu Brown Ink Mixing Part 2

My previous experiment mixing J. Herbin Terre de Feu brown fountain pen ink was done with 5 parts Terre de Feu and 1 part another ink. Part 2 of my mixing experiment was created with 1 part Terre de Feu and 1 part another ink, definitely producing more varied and interesting results. I may not want to write with all of these colors but I think they would look great as part of a painting, sketch or other artwork.

One part J. Herbin Terre de Feu plus one part Noodler’s Black equals a very dark brown-black.

Terre de Feu and Noodler’s Shah’s Rose make a delicious looking raspberry wine color. Something that would go well with this weekend’s BBQ.

A burnt caramel color with lots of shading is produced with Terre de Feu and Noodler’s Yellow. I would put it in the ochre category.

Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise and Terre de Feu creates an inky grey-blue color that reminds me of something I would see in nature – a whale, a bird, a night sky.

J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage plus Terre de Feu makes a dark mossy pond-slime green. I can visualize this color in a pine forest, murky pond or on a rock on the beach.

Terre de Feu mixed with J. Herbin Violette Pensee produces a dark grape-y purple color. I might call it a dark purple-burgundy.

Lastly, Terre de Feu and J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink together make brick red.

Do you have any favorite ink mixing recipes you’d like to share?


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Shades of Chocolate: Terre de Feu Ink Mixing

I’ve been wanting to mix brown ink to create different shades of chocolate and finally found some time to give it a try. I chose J. Herbin Terre De Feu because it seemed like a good medium brown color to get started with, but J. Herbin Lie de Thé or Café des Îles probably would have been good choices too-colors for future ink mixing for sure. This ink has a red tone it, so the name Terre de Feu or Land of Fire seems very fitting. For this experiment I used a ratio of five parts J. Herbin’s Terre De Feu ink and one part of another ink.

Terre de Feu plus Noodler’s Black ink produced a nice dark chocolate brown color with reddish undertones.

Terre de Feu and Noodler’s Shah’s Rose created a dark maroon color that I’d put in the “red wine” category as opposed to the chocolate category.

Adding Noodler’s Yellow to Terre de Feu made the best milk chocolate color in this bunch.

Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise and Terre de Feu made a brown-black that at first glance just looks black to me. It’s amazing how adding one part turquoise blue ink can create such a dark color. If I’m in the mood to write in brown-black ink in the future I’ll have to keep this one in mind.

Terre de Feu and J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage (green) also created a nice chocolate brown that has a bit more of a yellow undertone in it than the Terre de Feu plus black.

J. Herbin Violette Pensée and Terre de Feu mixed together made a dark maroon color that I would also categorize as “red wine”.

Terre de Feu and J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink (red) produced what I would call a burnt umber or red-brown color.

Interestingly, the character of Terre de Feu ink was such that it did not want to stay in the grooves of my glass pen and made the writing samples a bit difficult except for the combination with the 1670 Anniversary ink. No harmful explosions occurred as a result of mixing these particular colors of Noodler’s and J. Herbin fountain pen inks. Stay tuned for part two of this experiment using different ratios of ink colors.

What is your favorite brown fountain pen ink?


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Ink Mixing With J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink is a limited edition red ink created to honor the 340th anniversary of the J. Herbin ink brand. Since it is only available for a short time, I thought I’d better start my experiments with this ink right away!

For this ink mixing experiment I used 5 parts of some common J. Herbin ink colors with only 1 part J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink. Here are some the the results:

Bleu Pervenche plus 1670 Anniversary ink creates a dark purple-grey color. It looks rather like a purple-black when writing with it.

Rose Cyclamen with 1670 Anniversary ink makes a color that I would call “fruit punch”. It makes me want to reach for a tall glass filled with ice and something delicious!

Bouton D’or and 1670 Anniversary ink created an amazing scarlet or vermilion color that I really love. It is a bright orange-red color even when you are writing with it.

Perle Noire with a touch of 1670 Anniversary ink makes a conservative espresso brown, or a black-brown color.

The next mix that I did is a little more complicated. I used green ink mixed from 5 parts Bouton D’or and 1 part Bleu Pervenche. This green turns out to be quite similar to J. Herbin’s Vert Pré. When you use 5 parts of this green and one part 1670 Anniversary you get a rich milk chocolate color with some very nice shading!

Finally, Violette Pensée and 1670 Anniversary ink makes a plum color that really reminds me of Cabernet Sauvignon wine. If you are a fan of red wine I think you’re really going to love this ink color! Hmmm…. I seem to be sensing a food theme for the ink color descriptions today. I think it’s almost dinner time as I write this post.

My favorites of this experiment are the scarlet, milk chocolate and wine colors. How about you? Do you think you might try mixing any of these or other colors yourself while the 1670 Anniversary ink is still available?

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Shades of Red – Ink Mixing With J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink

I’m really not quite sure what I expected with this ink mixing experiment, but then that’s what experiments are for, aren’t they? The 1670 Anniversary red ink is one of J. Herbin’s most saturated ink colors, so adding just a touch of another ink color made almost no difference in some mixes, but other mixes offered a more dramatic change. I’m not sure how much you’ll notice in this scan, but anyway here it goes. I used 5 parts 1670 Anniversary red ink and one part of another color of J. Herbin ink.


1670 Anniversary ink mixed with Bleu Pervenche made a red-black looking ink with a purplish undertone.

I didn’t notice much of a change to the 1670 Anniversary color when I added Rose Cyclamen to it, however, I can see a tinge of magenta when there is shading.

Bouton D’or also did not change the color of the 1670 Anniversary ink much. If anything, it may have warmed up the color an eensy bit.

1670 Anniversary plus Perle Noire creates a conservative black-red color with noticeable red in the shading.

1670 Anniversary with bright green (created from 5 parts Bouton’Dor and 1 part Bleu Pervenche – similar to Vert Pré) makes dark red.

Adding Violette Pensée to 1670 Anniversary ink also creates dark red, but this dark red is more of a maroon color. This was my favorite new color from the experiment.

What are your favorite red fountain pen ink colors?

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J. Herbin Gris Nuage Ink Mixing Test

I had some fun the other night experimenting with mixing J. Herbin Gris Nuage grey ink with other colors of J. Herbin fountain pen inks. For this test I used the ratio of five parts Gris Nuage and one part the other color of ink. I used a Clairefontaine Basics notebook for the paper, which held up quite well despite being heavily doused with ink.

Gris Nuage plus 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite ink turned out to be a toned-down version of red, not as bright as the 1670 ink on its own. Not a dramatic change, but who would want to change this great red color anyway?

When Bleu Pervenche was added to Gris Nuage the result was a turquoise-grey color. Nice shading in this combination.

The big surprise was Bouton D’or turned Gris Nuage into a great army green color with lots of shading. This was my favorite result and I filled up my Pelikano Junior with this color immediately!

Gris Nuage plus Violette Pensee resulted in a dark purple-grey color as expected.

My second favorite result was the Gris Nuage and Rose Cyclamen combination. This turned out to be a satisfying purple color with pink undertones.

Anyone else have a favorite ink mixing combination using J. Herbin Gris Nuage ink?

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Lime Green Fountain Pen Ink Recipe

One of my favorite custom-mixed fountain pen ink colors is lime green. It’s a happy, energizing color that makes me think of the first buds of spring. I like using 5 parts Noodler’s Yellow Ink with 1 part Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise to create the lime green fountain pen ink shown in this picture. It’s a nice bright green, yet it is dark enough to use on a regular basis in my fountain pens. This sketch is made in an Exacompta silver edged sketchbook which contains some of my favorite paper for use with a fountain pen. I used my Pelikan Pelikano fountain pen with a left-handed nib as well as a fountain pen from Japan with a very fine nib. For my extra fine point fountain pens I like to use a tiny little bit extra Navajo Turquoise in the mix.

A similar lime green ink color can be made using the same proportions of ink and J. Herbin Bouton D’or and J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche. If you prefer using cartridges or you don’t like ink mixing, J. Herbin Vert Pré is a light lime green color available in both standard universal cartridges and bottles. I find that Vert Pré ink looks best when used with a medium or broad nib.

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J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink Mixing

J Herbin 4 basic ink mixing colors

After we wrote about mixing a few basic Noodler’s Ink colors to create a rainbow of other colors, one of our helpful readers mentioned that the same thing can be done with J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink.

The equivalent of Noodler’s Navajoe Turquoise, Shah’s Rose, Yellow and Black (CMYK) in the J. Herbin line of inks would be:

Cyan = Bleu Pervenche
Magenta = Rose Cyclamen
Yellow = Bouton D’or
Black = Perle Noire

Thanks, Will, for pointing this out! Here at Writer’s Bloc we decided it would be a good idea to have all of these J. Herbin La Perle des Encres Fountain Pen Ink colors available so we ordered Bouton D’or and Bleu Pervenche to add to our bottled ink collection. Now we’re equipped for those of you who would like to give ink mixing a try with J. Herbin’s popular and enduring fountain pen inks.

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Ink Mixing Color Chart

From Ink Mixing (click on the picture to enlarge it)

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!

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