How to fill a manuscript calligraphy pen

Updated March 23, 2017

The Manuscript Pen Company, which is based in Highley, Shropshire, England, specialises in calligraphy pens and accessories. Manuscript calligraphy pens can be purchased in “fountain” or “dip” form. Each type of pen has a different procedure that the user must follow in order to fill the instrument with ink.

Unscrew your fountain pen. Remove the ink cartridge from the centre. Set the pen casing to the side. Lay a paper towel or napkin down on the surface that you will be working on to protect the surface from ink spills that may occur during the filling process.

Gently shake your ink bottle before opening to redistribute any pigments that may have settled to the bottom of the bottle. Remove the lip from your ink bottle. Insert the tip of the syringe into the ink bottle. Slowly pull on the handle of the syringe to begin siphoning the ink into the chamber of the syringe. Continue pulling on the syringe handle until the chamber contains a few cubic centimetres of ink. Do not fill the entire chamber with ink. If you need additional ink to fill your cartridge, you can repeat this step as many times as needed.

Remove the end of your syringe from the ink bottle and quickly insert it into the open end of your ink cartridge to avoid ink from dripping onto the surface you are working on. Slowly press the end of the syringe to dispense the ink into the cartridge. Once the cartridge is filled, remove the end of the syringe and wipe it off with a paper towel or napkin. Insert your cartridge into the pen casing with the open end of the cartridge facing the tip of the pen. Screw the pen cartridge back together.

Gently shake your bottle of ink to ensure that the pigments are evenly disbursed. Prepare your work area by laying a paper towel down on the surface you will be working on to prevent ink spills.

Open your ink bottle and set the container lid to the side. Insert the tip of your ink dropper into the ink bottle. Squeeze and release the end of the dropper to draw the ink into the chamber of the dropper.

Remove the dropper from the ink bottle. Continue squeezing the end of the dropper. Use a paper towel or napkin to remove excess ink from the outside of the dropper. Pick up the pen with your free hand. Roll the pen between your fingers until the tip or “nib” is turned sideways. In other words, the side of the tip should be facing upward and the broad flat surface should be turned to the side. Move the dropper to the slit in the side of the nib. Carefully insert one drop of ink into the nib. Discard the excess ink from the dropper into the ink bottle.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen ink cartridge (fountain pens)
  • 18 gauge blunt tip syringe (fountain pens)
  • Ink
  • Eye dropper (dip pens)
  • Paper towel or napkin
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About the Author

Krystal Wascher has been writing online content since 2008. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Thiel College and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law. She was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 2009.