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How to fix felt tip pens

Updated February 21, 2017

Felt tip pens are used for craft and design projects by adults and children alike. Though felt tip pens produce more brilliant colours than crayons or coloured pencils, the felt tips and inside ink rods do have their share of problems. Drying ink and split or uneven felt tip surfaces are repairable conditions that can be fixed, at least temporarily until you can purchase or borrow fresh felt tip pens. Because most felt tip pens are manufactured using the same construction concept, most felt tip pens are easily fixed.

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  1. Use tweezers to grasp the end cap on the end of the felt tip pen and pull it from the pen casing. Often felt tip pen end caps are a different colour than the pen casing, making it easier to identify. If the cap is stubborn, wiggle the cap back and forth with the tweezers until you are able to pull it from the casing.

  2. Fill a glass with water.

  3. Remove the felt rod from the inside of the pen with tweezers. The felt rod contains the coloured ink. Place the felt rod into the glass filled with water for approximately 30 seconds to one minute.

  4. Remove the felt rod with the tweezers and place it on a paper towel. Dry the outside of the ink rod and reinsert the rod into the pen casing. Replace the felt rod with the tweezers into the pen casing. Replace the end cap onto the end of the pen casing.

  5. Dip the felt tip of the pen into the water in the glass for approximately 30 seconds. Test the pen on scrap paper to work out excess water and to get the dried ink flowing again.

  6. Cut across the felt tip of the pen with scissors to create a new, sharper surface. Nail trimming scissors work best for smaller felt tips. Over time, felt tips become fuzzy and uneven with stray fibres that can blur and mar your work when you are using them.

  7. Trim any stray fibres from the felt tip with scissors. Pay close attention to the sides of the felt tip. If your felt tip has split and is in two or more layers, proceed to the next step.

  8. Use tweezers to pull out the smaller split section(s) of the felt tip. Trim the remaining piece of felt tip with scissors to remove fuzzy fibres. Removing the split layers of the felt tip will create a narrower felt tip, but will allow you to continue working without the ill effects of a double or divided line caused by the split felt tip.

  9. Warning

    Use caution when fixing permanent ink felt tip pens as the ink, even diluted with water, can cause permanent stains to clothing and household towels.

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Things You'll Need

  • Glass
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Paper towels
  • Scrap paper

About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.

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