How to Get Gel Pens to Start to Write

Written by m.l. browne
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Gel pens come in a wide variety of brilliant, rich colours, which make them particularly attractive for use in craft projects and illustration work. The ink is highly viscous and opaque, the pigments suspended in a water-based gel. The pigments include pastels and metallic, opalescent, and glittering colours. The gel ink is particularly useful when you are working with dark papers or slick surfaces. However, improper storage, cold, or prolonged exposure of the pen tip to air will cause the pen to clog. Simple techniques are available for getting your gel pen to start writing again.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Cup of hot water
  • Paper towel
  • Candle
  • Lighter or matches
  • Paper scratch pad

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Instructions

    Use Hot Water to Cure Clogging

  1. 1

    Uncap the clogged pen and dip the pen point into the hot water for at least one minute, swirling the water gently with the pen. This will loosen dried or thickened ink from the pen's point ball.

  2. 2

    Remove the pen from the water, and using only slight pressure, make several slow strokes with the pen point onto a paper towel. When the gel ink starts to feed through the point, stop.

  3. 3

    Use normal pressure to draw several lines and circles on scratch paper. The ink should flow evenly and freely. If it does not, repeat the steps for immersion in hot water and clearing the clog on the paper towel until the ink flows properly.

    Use a Candle to Cure Clogging

  1. 1

    Light a candle and place it in a holder.

  2. 2

    Hold the uncapped pen in one hand and direct the pen point slowly through the flame, three or four times. This will heat any dried ink clogging the pen's point ball and make it easier to dissolve.

  3. 3

    Use slight pressure to make several slow strokes with the warmed pen point onto a paper towel. When the gel ink starts to feed through the point, stop.

  4. 4

    Use normal pressure to draw several lines and circles on scratch paper. The ink should flow evenly and freely. If it does not, repeat the steps for directing the pen point through the flame and clearing the clog on the paper towel until the ink flows properly.

Tips and warnings

  • Always cap gel pens when not in use. The small rubber ball in the cap is designed to prevent the gel ink from drying out and clogging.
  • Store gel pens at normal room temperature. Excessive cold or heat will affect the gel ink and may clog your pen.
  • Gel pens should be stored in a horizontal position. This prevents separation and settling of the suspended pigments in the gel medium, which can affect the pen's performance.

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