fill a fountain pen with ink

How to Fill a Fountain Pen with Ink: Fountain Pen Basics

Ready to learn how to fill a fountain pen with ink? Whether you are a recent convert to fountain pens or a fountain pen addict that is ready to try a different inking method, you’ll find this Pen Chalet How To video featuring a number of different methods right up your alley! Watch as frequent guest reviewer (aka @pen_gangsta ) walks you through different methods of filling your fountain pen with ink. Or if you prefer written instructions, find the common filling types listed below with step by step instructions on how to fill a fountain pen with ink depending on the filling system you’re using.

How to Fill a Pen Using an Ink Cartridge:

monteverde mvp pocket foutnain pen how to fill a fountain pen with ink
The Monteverde MVP fountain pen is a great Cartridge ONLY pocket pen.
  1. Make sure you are using the right size ink cartridge. Many fountain pens take an international standard ink cartridge, but some (like the Kaweco in the example in the video above) require a specific brand/size of ink cartridge.
  2. Identify where the opening of the ink cartridge is/where the ink will flow out.
  3. Remove the cap, and unscrew the barrel of the fountain pen and set it aside.
  4. Insert ink cartridge (opening first) into the section of your pen.
  5. Before you insert the ink cartridge, you may be able to see a small protruding piece of the pen’s feed. When you insert the ink cartridge, you’ll need to apply a small amount of pressure because that small protruding piece of the pen’s feed punctures the “opening” of the ink cartridge to access the ink.
  6. Push the cartridge into the section firmly until you feel the pen puncture the cartridge. Sometimes you’ll have to push harder than you think.
  7. Once the cartridge is inserted, reattach the pen’s barrel.
  8. Then give your fountain pen a minute so the ink has time to work its way down through the feed to the nib. (It helps to point the nib down so gravity can assist the ink).

Note: Most fountain pens that take an ink cartridge are also compatible with an ink converter, and are usually referred to as cartridge converter fountain pens.

Examples of Ink Cartridge Fountain Pens: Platinum Prefounte fountain pen, Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen, or the Monteverde MVP fountain pen.

How to Fill an Eyedropper Fountain Pen:

fill a fountain pen with ink
The Opus 88 Jazz fountain pen (featured here in Solid colors) is a great example of an eyedropper fountain pen.
  1. Clean the barrel of the pen to get rid of any residue left from the manufacturing process or, if this isn’t the first time the pen has been filled, to remove any remaining old ink. Simply rinse the barrel with clean, warm water and use a cotton swab to dry out the barrel.
  2. Grease the threads of the pen with a small amount of silicone grease to keep the pen from leaking (you can apply silicone grease to the threads with your finger).
  3. Once applied, screw the section into the barrel and couple times to evenly distribute the silicone grease and create a protective barrier for the ink. This keeps the ink from leaking by way of the pen’s threads.
  4. Once this is done, remove the section from the barrel, and get out your eyedropper or syringe.
  5. Use the eyedropper or syringe to fill the barrel of the pen directly with ink. Do not fill the barrel past the threads. Overfilling will cause an ink mess when you attempt to screw the section into the barrel.
  6. Screw the pen’s section halfway back into the barrel of the pen (just enough to seal it, but not completely in), and turn the pen upside down.
  7. Then screw the pen together the rest of the way – this properly primes the nib and feed and creates the right pressure inside the barrel.
  8. Clean the nib if necessary with a soft cloth (we recommend the Dee Charles Designs Pen Wipe Wallet).

Examples of Eyedropper Fountain Pens: Stipula Passaporto Superleggera Fountain Pen, Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator Fountain Pen, Namiki Emperor Fountain Pen, or the Conklin All American Special Edition Demo fountain pen.

How to Fill a Fountain Pen Using a Mini Converter:

fill a fountain pen with ink
The Kaweco Special Edition AL Sport fountain pen is a great pocket pen that uses a mini ink converter.
  1. Remove the cap and unscrew the pen’s barrel and get your mini ink converter ready.
  2. Insert the mini converter into the pen’s section firmly. (For example, the Kaweco Sport fountain pens take the Kaweco mini converter. This popular pocket pen is too small to accommodate the standard size ink converter).
  3. Dip the entire nib and feed into the ink.
  4. Hold the section of the pen firmly to keep the nib and feed submerged in the ink, and pull the knurled end of the converter with your other hand to pull ink up into the mini ink converter.
  5. Use a soft, clean cloth (or a fountain pen safe cleaning wipe like the Dee Charles Pen Wipe Wallet) to clean the nib of excess ink if necessary.

Popular Fountain Pens that Use a Mini Converter: Kaweco AL Sport Special Edition Fountain Pen, or the Kaweco Brass Sport Fountain Pen.

How to Fill a Fountain Pen Using a Standard Converter:

how to fill a fountain pen with ink
The Tibaldi Perfecta fountain pens are a great example of fountain pens that use an ink converter.
  1. Remove the cap and unscrew the pen’s barrel.
  2. Insert the ink converter into the pen’s section firmly if it’s a push-in ink converter. If the ink converter has threads, screw it in fully. Whether you use a threaded or push-in ink converter depends on the pen being used.
  3. Flush the air from the ink converter (the method of doing this will depend on the type of ink converter your pen requires. For a piston style converter, move the piston to the front toward the nib by twisting or pushing the piston in. For a squeeze converter, compress the bladder and hold.
  4. Open your ink, and submerge the entire nib and feed (the breather hold on the nib needs to be completely covered in ink).
  5. Keep your nib submerged and either pull, twist or stop squeezing your converter (depending on the type of ink converter your pen uses).
  6. Remove the pen from the ink and point the nib up. If you have a piston style ink converter, you should twist the piston counter clockwise slowly to force out any air bubbles, but go slowly and be careful, you don’t want to force out the ink, too.
  7. If, after forcing out the air, you want to completely fill your ink converter, you can repeat the process, but you can also continue forward as is.
  8. Put your pen back together and you’re all set. Remember – it may take a minute for your ink to travel through the feed system to the nib.

Popular Fountain Pens that Use an Ink Converter: Montegrappa Harry Potter Fountain Pen, Tibaldi Perfecta Fountain Pen, Platinum 3776 fountain pen, Noodlers Ahab fountain pens, or Sailor 1911 fountain pens.

How to Fill a Fountain Pen Using a Crescent Filler:

fill a fountain pen with ink
Check out the different Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler fountain pens that are currently available. Some of them are Limited Editions like this Rainbow crescent filler.
  1. Wondering how to fill a fountain pen with ink when the pen in your hand is a crescent filler? No problem. It’s actually very easy.
  2. To fill a crescent filler fountain pen, turn the C-shaped hard rubber lock ring so the opening is under the crescent.
  3. Press the crescent to flatten the ink sac.
  4. Place your nib in your ink (make sure the breather hole is submerged).
  5. Release the crescent and count to 10 to allow the ink sac the necessary time to inflate.

Examples of a Crescent Filler Fountain Pen: Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Filler Series Fountain Pen, Conklin Mark Twain Crescent Fountain Pens, or the Limited Edition Conklin Crescent Fillers.

How to Fill a Piston Filling Fountain Pen:

fill a fountain pen with ink
Learn how to fill fountain pens using common filling systems in today’s basic fountain pen how to feature. // Featured pen: Aurora 888 Terra fountain pen (piston filler pen).
  1. To fill your fountain pen with ink using a piston filling mechanism, start by turning the piston knob at the back of the pen to move the filling mechanism forward.
  2. Dip the nib in ink making sure that the breather hole is submerged.
  3. Draw the ink up into the pen by twisting the piston knob in the opposite direction to move the piston away from the nib. This creates a vacuum and ink is pulled through the nib into the pen. Go slowly and be consistent when filling your piston filler fountain pen so you can keep air from getting into the chamber.
  4. Remove the nib from the ink, and hold it over the open bottle. Allow 5 drops of ink to drop back into the ink bottle.
  5. Turn the nib upright, and slowly turn the piston knob to release any remaining air from the fountain pen.
  6. If the pen is not completely filled, you can repeat the process. However, you do not have to completely fill the pen.

Examples of Piston Filling Fountain Pens: Pineider Limited Edition Queen Mary Fountain Pen, Visconti Opera Demo Carousel Fountain Pen, TWSBI ECO Fountain Pen, Narwhal Original Fountain Pen, or Pineider Alchemist Fountain Pens.

We hope that helped you figure out how to fill a fountain pen with ink! That should cover the majority of fountain pen filling systems out there. Watch for more helpful fountain pen How To’s coming your way soon! Now get out of here and go fill your fountain pen with ink! And, as always, look for your favorite pens and inks at

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David G Anderson
2 years ago

Ditch the musak!