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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What is the Best Waterproof Fountain Pen Ink?

What is the best waterproof fountain pen ink? I would have to answer this by saying it depends on what you are planning on using it for, the type of paper you are using and on your own personal preferences. Also, depending on your expectations, you may feel that there are no fountain pen inks that are truly waterproof. Let me explain.

While there are different forms of waterproof ink on the market, not all inks are suitable for use in a fountain pen. Some types of ink can harm or clog your fountain pen, so unless the ink is specifically formulated for fountain pens we cannot recommend using it. Fountain pen ink is water based, and therefore water soluble, and is either dye or pigment ink.

Noodler's "Bulletproof" Black Fountain Pen Ink

Noodler’s “Bulletproof” Black Fountain Pen Ink

Noodler’s Ink has created many colors and types of dye based ink that are what they call “bulletproof.” Here is how Noodler’s currently defines “bulletproof”:

“Bulletproof” refers to any Noodler’s Ink that resists all the known tools of a forger, UV light, UV light wands, bleaches, alcohols, solvents, petrochemicals, oven cleaners, carpet cleaners, carpet stain lifters, and of course…they are also waterproof once permitted to dry upon cellulose paper. Some inks are more bulletproof than others – generally in descending order (most bulletproof with the most testing – to less bulletproof): blacks, blues, yellows, invisible (“blue ghost” and “White Whale”), greens, browns, purples, reds….all are equally bulletproof with one exception: the resistance to strong industrial bleaches to the point where the paper structure itself decomposes. Reds are prone to more fading when exposed to strong bleaches (sometimes fading to a yellow) than the other colors.

Noodler’s has also gone a step further and created the Warden’s series of inks which in addition to being “bulletproof” also resist several new technologies that could potentially be used by forgers.

In what way are these “bulletproof” inks waterproof? When the ink has a chance to react with the cellulose in paper, it forms a bond with the cellulose and cannot be washed out of the paper. “Bulletproof” ink that does not bond with cellulose CAN be washed off.

Noodler’s bulletproof inks are a good choice if you want to address an envelope and make sure the address doesn’t get washed off by the rain. They are also good for writing checks or for writing other documents where resisting crime/fraud is important. If you want to make sure your precious notes or journal do not get obliterated due to a coffee spill, bulletproof ink is also a good choice. Some of the ink may run or wash off of the page or even fade in color when exposed to water, but the ink that has bonded with the cellulose will remain. You can expect differing results with this ink depending on what type of paper and pen you use.

Platinum Carbon Ink - Black

Platinum Carbon Ink – Black

If you want to use black fountain pen ink along with watercolor paints for artwork, your best choice would be a water-resistant black pigment ink meant for fountain pens such as Platinum Carbon Black. This ink contains ultra-fine pigment powder that makes the ink very water-resistant, fade-resistant and heat-resistant after it dries. It is possible that this ink could clog a fountain pen, so careful fountain pen maintenance is required when using this ink. Depending on the situation, a small of this ink may wash off with water, so it is not perfectly waterproof. Again, you can expect differing results depending on what type of paper and pen you use. Platinum pigment inks are also available in red, brown and blue colors.

Of course there are other types of water-resistant fountain pen ink available, with varying degrees of resistance to water. We’d love to hear which one is your favorite, why you like it and what you like to use it for!

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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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