How to Refill a Fountain Pen Cartridge
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How to Refill a Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge Using a Syringe

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Fountain pens are a favorite among writing enthusiasts for their smooth writing experience, classic look, and range of ink, nib, and design types. Depending on your fountain pen, you may need to replace the ink using either a cartridge or a converter. While many refill their pen using a converter, others opt for cartridges for ease and functionality. 

Still, ink cartridges can be expensive, especially if you write often. Instead of purchasing new ink cartridges every time the old ones run out, a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly solution is to refill them yourself. Refilling your ink cartridges with a syringe is an easy process that anyone can do at home with the right tools and instructions. 

In this article, we will guide you through the steps of how to refill a fountain pen ink cartridge using a syringe so you can save money and reduce waste.

How to Refill a Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge

Materials Needed To Refill a Cartridge

So, let’s get right into refilling a cartridge. Luckily, it’s a straightforward process that only needs a few items to complete. To get started, you need the following: 

  1. An empty cartridge
  2. A syringe
  3. Bottle Fountain Pen Ink
  4. Water
  5. Paper towels

While you’ll most likely have the cartridge (I’m assuming you already have your pen) and have access to water and cleaning supplies like towels, you’ll probably have to buy a syringe and new fountain pen ink. 

Syringes are relatively inexpensive on amazon and usually come in packs of 5 or 10. They’re reusable and can be used for various tasks with fountain pens or other crafting or household tasks. So if you’re worried about buying something you won’t use more than once, I think you’ll find plenty to do with them. 

How To Refill An Ink Cartridge

Syringes are relatively inexpensive on amazon and usually come in packs of 5 or 10. They’re reusable and can be used for various tasks with fountain pens or other crafting or household tasks. So if you’re worried about buying something you won’t use more than once, I think you’ll find plenty to do with them. 

As for fountain pen ink, choosing the least expensive ink you can find might be tempting simply because you don’t want to spend a lot on something new. Now, if you are on a strict budget, I won’t convince you to spend money you don’t have. But if you have a little wiggle room, I recommend getting a more quality bottled ink that is a little more money. You’ll have a significantly better writing experience with more quality ink.

This might even be the difference between liking and loving fountain pens. When I first bought the LAMY ink, I was tempted to go with a less expensive option. But I’m so glad I purchased the LAMY bottle. It’s quick-drying, super smooth, and has a rich black color. If you’re looking for other options, check out our post on the best fountain pen inks for more help.

How to Refill a Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge

How to Refill a Fountain Pen Cartridge

Step 1: Preparation 

To make this a smooth process, preparing your work area and assembling all of your tools is a good idea. If this is your first time using fountain pen ink, it may be a good idea to place some newspaper or an old cloth under your ink bottle. Drips happen, and it’s best to be prepared to avoid stains.

How to Refill a Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge

Step 2: Clean the Cartridge

Clean out any old ink by flushing the cartridge with water using a syringe. It might be tricky to get all ink out because of the size and functionality of the cartridge opening. Continue flushing with clean water until no traces of ink are left. This ensures a smooth writing experience, no clogs, and no adverse reactions from mixed inks

Make sure both the syringe and cartridge are completely dry before moving on.

How to Refill a Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge

Step 3:Fill the Syringe with Ink.

With the syringe needle attached, dip it in the ink bottle to fill. Most ink cartridges hold about 1 milliliter of ink so there’s no need to fill up the entire syringe. Once you’ve filled the syringe to 1 ml, remove the needle from the ink and pull the plunger back slightly to prevent leakage. 

How to Refill a Fountain Pen Cartridge

Step 4: Fill the Cartridge

Insert the needle into the cartridge and slowly fill with ink. Don’t go too fast, as this might cause the ink to squirt out. Fill it to just below the cup line on the cartridge to avoid leaks. Continue to keep the cartridge vertical to prevent spills.

How to Refill a Fountain Pen Cartridge

Step 5: Install the Cartridge

Keeping the cartridge upright, insert the cartridge into the fountain pen grip section. I’m assuming you know how to install a cartridge since you already have an empty one, but in case you don’t, or you need a refresher, check out our guide.

Or, save the cartridge for later use. If you plan to save the cartridge, it’s essential you store them properly. You can do this by taping the end shut or using a hot glue gun to seal the opening. For more help, see our guide on how to store open cartridges.

Clean Fountain Pen Syringe

Step 6: Clean the Syringe.

Empty any ink remaining in the syringe either back into the bottle or into another container if you don’t want to contaminate the ink bottle. Then clean the syringe with water as soon as possible to avoid clogging the needle with ink. Let dry on a paper towel.

Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance   

To ensure you keep your fountain pen and cartridges working smoothly, you need to do regular maintenance on both. Here are a few ways to ensure a long life for your fountain pen and accessories. 

What to do if your fountain pen won't write
  1. Clean regularly. 

Cleaning your fountain pen regularly ensures no ink is left to dry or clog in any mechanisms. And as you’ll most likely be using various types of inks, cleaning helps keep different ink types from combining and reacting negatively, which can also cause clogs or even erosion of the fountain pen parts. For help, see our guide to cleaning a fountain pen.

How to Store a fountain pen
  1. Store your pen correctly.

The best way to store your fountain pen is vertical with the nib down. This keeps the nib saturated with ink and keeps the ink from drying out. If you can’t store it vertically, you can horizontally. The only time you would want to store your pen nib up is if you are traveling or want to ensure there are no leaks, like if you are about to swap out filling mechanisms. 

What to do if your fountain pen doesn't write
  1. Remove ink when traveling by plane. 

Speaking of travel, if you are taking your fountain pen on a plane, removing the cartridge or converter (or drain ink from internal filling mechanisms) might be a good idea to avoid leaks. To be fair, most modern fountain pens do well with the change in pressure that comes from flying, but, in my opinion, it’s not worth the risk. There’s nothing worse than finding ink leaking all over your bag, possibly ruining electronics, stationery, the bag, or your clothes.

Why Refill a Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge?

After all that, you may wonder why you shouldn’t just buy a converter instead of wasting your time with this. And by all means, if you are set on buying a converter, I won’t stop you. However, there are a few reasons why you might decide to refill your cartridge instead of opting for another filling method.

  1. Converters can be expensive.
  2. Cartridges hold almost twice as much ink as a similar-sized converter.
  3. Some pens aren’t compatible with converters.
  4. You want to use an ink that doesn’t come in cartridges.
  5. It seems wasteful to throw away plastic cartridges.

Refilling a fountain pen cartridge with a syringe is an easy and cost-effective way to extend the life of your writing instrument. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can avoid purchasing expensive cartridges or pens altogether. With practice, you will become more comfortable with the process and may even find it preferable to traditional cartridge replacement methods. 

Whether you are new to fountain pens or looking for ways to reduce waste and save money, refilling your cartridges with a syringe is worth considering. If you have any questions about how to refill a fountain pen ink cartridge let us know in the comments below.

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