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How to fix dried out gel pens

Updated July 20, 2017

If you have been scrapbooking for any length of time, then you have encountered the dreaded dried-out gel pen. It's temping to throw the pen out, but sometimes gel pens can be fixed. Gel pen ink is thicker than traditional ballpoint pen ink, so scrapbook experts recommend pens to be stored with the cap on and tip down to prevent the pens from drying out or forming air bubbles. You can revive a dried out gel pen with tools found around the house.

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  1. Inspect the tip of the pen with a magnifying glass and use a damp cloth to clean the tip. Sometimes ink can dry up in the ball of the pen.

  2. Test the pen by pressing the tip of the pen onto a scratch piece of paper. Roll the tip of the pen around in circles over the paper.

  3. Hold the tip of the pen over a steaming tea kettle for a few minutes. The steam will help loosen the dried ink from the ball of the pen.

  4. Test the pen on some scratch paper.

  5. Run the tip of the gel pen under some warm water and continue testing the pen on scratch paper.

  6. Pry open the top of the pen with small pliers. Pull the ink tube out of the protective pen casing and blow air into the small tube of ink. Add a small amount of water into the tube to revive the dried ink and blow a few more times.

  7. Test the gel pen on scratch paper.

  8. Tip

    While blowing into the ink tube, point the pen over a sink or scratch paper. The ink can sometimes leak out of the gel pen during this process. When testing your pen on scratch paper, try different types of paper.


    It's tempting to bang the tip of the gel pen against the paper, but this can sometimes damage the ball of the pen tip and destroy the pen.

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Things You'll Need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Damp cloth
  • Scratch paper
  • Kettle
  • Warm water
  • Small pliers

About the Author

Tina Smith began writing in 2009. She has published a short story in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms" and contributed an article to "True North Parenting" magazine. Smith graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Master of Arts in school psychology and counseling.

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