Can I Use Printer Ink for Fountain Pen?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More.

Are you trying to figure out if you can use printer ink for your fountain pen? I specialize in this field, and I’m here to help.

There are various types of printers with multiple types of inks. The main ones are laser printers and inkjet printers. We are considering liquid ink used by inkjet printers for fountain pen because laser printers use powder toner.

Liquid printing inks come in two main categories. One is dye-based, and the other is pigment based. So, the question arises, can I use printer ink for fountain pen?

The answer to the query is yes and no. Yes, you can use dye-based ink for a fountain pen. But pigment-based ink for fountain pens is a big no-no.

If you have couple more minutes, let me explain why.

Can I Use Printer Ink for Fountain Pen?

Fountain pens are designed to use gravity for sliding ink from internal storage. Next, the capillary action takes place to have a regular discharge on the paper. So, the ink has to flow through the fine nozzle of the fountain pen. The ink storage controls the ink flow to the nib. The feed is designed to suck the ink from storage.

The feed controls the ink flow as well as the airflow. It is responsible for maintaining a steady and coherent flow. As soon as the ink reaches the feed, the capillary action flows it to the nib.

So, the printer ink has to contain certain qualities to pass through the nib. Otherwise, the throughput will be inconsistent, making the pen unusable. Dye-based printing inks perform better than other inks.

This ink is soluble in water. It quickly goes through the tip of the pen. The regular paper absorbs it quickly, and the ink dries fast. So, there is little chance of smudging. Ink flow continues to be persistent. The fountain pen will work just as the regular one.

However, different ink brands may differ in density. Therefore it may not always fit the best for your pen. But there’s nothing to worry about it. We have a solution to this issue as well.

Add additives to adjust the ink density if the ink flow is irregular. If the ink feels too thick, you need to add tiny drops of dish soap. This will make the ink thinner.

But if the ink flow is too much, the ink is too thin. You need to add a small quantity of shampoo or honey or corn syrup. Try to add one drop at a time and check it out on paper. This way, you don’t accidentally make it too thin or thick.

Is Fountain Pen Ink and Printer Ink the Same?

Fountain pen ink is designed for writing purposes. It is made up of dyes dispersed in varnish. It lays out smoothly on the paper. Paper absorbs it quickly. The ink dries out at a glance. If left open in the air, it takes three to seven days to dry out, depending on other factors. But some companies advertise it to last up to 1 year.

On the other hand, printing inks are pigmented or dye-based to suit their specific needs. As anticipated, they also have different properties. They differ in viscosity, density, dryness, and more.

Printing inks may take longer than fountain inks to dry. They have more viscosity and density. They can last as long as two years before drying if stored correctly. So, fountain pen ink and printer ink are different.

What Are the Qualities of Printer Inks?

Printer inks are of numerous types. Different operations of printers require different types of inks. The most common one that uses liquid ink is inkjet printers. Liquid ink is usually of two kinds. One is dye-based, and the other is pigment-based. Dye-based ink is more glossy and matte. It spreads nicely on the paper.

This ink is ideal for office papers as it projects the colors as dynamic, neat, and clean on documents. It is also cost-effective.

But there are some downsides too. It does not work well with bright lights. It may penetrate the paper. In addition, contaminated and wet environments can damage print quality.

But the pigmented ink does not damage the paper. It stays on the top surface of the paper. It provides stronger wet resistance and UV resistance. It lasts longer than dye-based ink.

It also offers a broader range of colors. However, it is more expensive than the other. Therefore it is mainly used for printing high-resolution photos and prints.

What Are the Qualities of Fountain Pen Inks?

Fountain pen ink properties are different than printer ink. The main distinction is that it is made of natural dyes mixed with resin and other solvents. This formula allows for a stable flow of ink; a must for fountain pens.

In general, Fountain pen ink has the following qualities.

  • Fast drying: Water-based inks are the fastest to dry. Depending on the manufacturer, it usually takes 3 to 10 seconds to dry.
  • No penetration: It does not penetrate the regular writing paper.
  • No feathering: The ink stays right where it is put. This is why it gives a clean, crisp look on paper.
  • Shading: When the writing has two different shades of color, it’s called shading. This ink shades to an extent.
  • Smooth ink flow: It is the property fountain pen ink is well-known for.
  • Lack of water resistance: Most fountain pen inks are not water resistant. They struggle under wet conditions.

However, it also has:

  • Fade resistance
  • Freeze resistance
  • Bleach resistance

Since a fountain pen is used for regular or academic purposes, these qualities are required to have for fountain pen inks.

What Can Happen if You Use Printer Ink for Fountain Pen?

If you use dye-based printer ink, you should be doing just fine. Some inks dry almost immediately. Therefore, it would be worth trying different printing inks. It could be the best cheap alternative for your pen.

It will work just as your fountain pen ink. In case of overflow or less ink flow, you can add necessary additives at a cheaper cost. The suggested additives that I have personally tried and recommended are mentioned above.

However, think about using something other than pigmented ink for your pen. That’s a waste of money. Because the thick pigments are prone to clog the feed, and the ink will not pass to the tip of the pen. Then dispersants wouldn’t help either.

For this reason, I recommend using dye-based color printer inks if you need color. You may need to compromise quality somewhat. But you can at least get on with your job.

Final Thoughts

You can use dye-based printer ink for your favorite fountain pen. You will get a clean handwriting experience without shading or feathering. However, the ink lacks adequate water resistance. So, you will have to avoid damp scenarios due to the possibility of staining.

But not every fountain pen ink will suit the same. There may be too much ink for some and, for others, too little. In such cases, additives are helpful. Avoid pigmented printer ink at all costs. This could clog the pen. Fixing the clogged pen would be an unwanted struggle.

Leave a Comment