JetPens Blog

June 24, 2011 - Posted by Elizabeth to Fountain Pens

We have an updated version of this article. To read it, please click here.

Though ink cartridges are a convenient and easy way to refill your fountain pen, using a converter opens the door to a whole new world of color. There are hundreds of bottled ink colors that are not available in cartridges. This tutorial shows you how to refill your fountain pen using a fountain pen converter.

What you need: A fountain pen, converter and a bottle of ink.
(For our example, we used a Lamy Fountain Pen - Safari Model - Fine Nib - Aquamarine Blue Body, Lamy Fountain Pen Z 24 Converter and the J. Herbin Scented Fountain Pen Ink - 30 ml Bottle - Violet Purple.)

A fountain pen converter is essentially a suction tool that allows you to fill your fountain pen with ink. It has the same size opening as an ink cartridge and plugs into your fountain pen nib. There are different size fountain pen converters available that usually are only compatible for their corresponding fountain pen brands or models, so be sure to pick one that fits your pen. This LAMY piston-style converter has a knob on the top. Just turn the knob counterclockwise to force air out of the converter, and turn it clockwise to suck in ink.

How To: First, disassemble your fountain pen. You can install the converter in the same manner as a new ink cartridge, by pressing the open end into the inner nib area.

Push out all the air of the piston converter by turning it counterclockwise.

Submerge the nib and a portion of the section of the fountain pen into the bottle of ink and SLOWLY turn the converter clockwise to suction up ink.

Next, you will want to hold the pen with the nib facing upwards and SLOWLY turn the converter knob counterclockwise to force air out of the converter. By doing so you will force air bubbles out of the converter and maximize the amount of ink drawn into the fountain pen. (It is a good idea to use a tissue for this step and cover the nib, to catch any ink drops.)

Submerge the entire nib area and a portion of the fountain pen into the ink bottle once more, and SLOWLY turn the converter clockwise again to fill it with more ink.

This time around, you should not see much empty air space, if any at all.

Reassemble your fountain pen with the converter inside. Briefly and gently wrap the nib and pen section with an unscented tissue or soft paper towel to wipe off residual ink. Also, wipe off any ink creeping from the nib.

Now you're all set to go! You should be able to write until the ink is depleted and then refill your fountain pen again.

A few tips for this project:

- If you are worried about getting ink on your hands, you might want to use some rubber or latex gloves during this process. (If you look closely at the photo above, you will see a little purple stain on my index finger. Oops!)

- We advise to do this over a non-porous, easy to clean surface. It may also be a good idea to put down some scratch paper to catch any ink spills and prevent your surface from staining.

- Always clean your fountain pen and converter thoroughly before using a different bottled ink. Not only do you want to avoid contaminating any of the bottled inks you have, but a thorough cleaning will help keep the ink writing in the proper color when you switch inks.
June 23, 2011 - Posted by Elizabeth to Pen Pics

Here's a post showing our favorite customer images selected for the month of June, from our Facebook and Flickr!

Picture 1 from Norm: Absolutely beautiful handwriting with a Uni-ball Signo Bit gel ink pen!
Picture 2 from Joseph: These lovely feathers were actually hand-made with a Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Box Set - 24 Color Palette and an Akashiya Sai Pigment Ink Outline Brush Pen.
Picture 3 from Bernard: This great photo displays his well-loved Zebra Sharbo X multi pens among other things.
Picture 4 from Ana: Such detailed and precise notes, all done with a Uni-ball Jetstream 4&1 4 Color 0.7 mm Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5 mm Pencil!
Picture 5 from Jessica: This amazing display of photo-realism was drawn with drafting pencils and leads from JetPens. What a great tribute to Timothy Olyphant!

Thanks for sharing your work with us!

You too can be a JetPics Favorite, just join our Facebook and/or Flickr groups and upload a photo of your work. Make sure to let us know which JetPens products you used, and bonus points for featuring our mascots, logo or name!

I'm a sucker for well designed packaging. Let's face it, sometimes we can be drawn to a certain product not because of the actual contents, but rather the packaging those contents are found in. That being said, I particularly love some of the bottled inks we carry here at JetPens, solely because of the bottle design. Among those favorites is the Pelikan Edelstein Fountain Pen Ink Collection. These inks come in beautiful chunky glass bottles, and have a color selection inspired by the gem stones they were named after. We tested all seven colors in the following order (from top to bottom of our test page): Ruby Red Mandarin Orange Jade Green Aventurin Green Topaz Blue Sapphire Blue Onyx Black Once our test swabs were dry we submitted them to a water brush test, an alcohol-based Copic Sketch Marker and a gel ink pen. We did all tests on the same page of a Rhodia DotPad Notepad - Black Cover - 5.75" X 8.25" - 80 Sheets - 5 mm Dot Grid, and allowed 10 seconds of drying time before starting. Unfortunately, these inks do not hold up to water and are in no way water-proof or water-resistant. Surprisingly though, the dried ink did not budge when drawn over with our Copic Sketch Marker - Yellow Green. There was no smudging whatsoever and no traces of ink on the felt tip of the marker! The gel pen did not seem to have any effect on the dried ink either. Here is the final test sheet: To sum it up, the Pelikan Edelstein Fountain Pen Ink Collection is not waterproof or water resistant, but does not smudge or bleed when alcohol-based markers or gel ink pens are used over the dried ink. It is also great to know that the ink colors are just as beautiful as the bottles they are presented in!

Congratulations to random winner #9! Connie who commented:

You have won one bottle of Lamy T52 Fountain Pen Ink + Ink Blotter Tape - 50 ml Bottle - Blue. Please comment here by next week June 24th, 2011, and then email with your mailing address to claim your prize.

For everyone else, stay tuned, we'll have another giveaway next week!