How to refill a fountain pen ink cartridge

There’s nothing more satisfying than writing with a fountain pen. A rewarding experience, putting pen to paper and seeing your words flourish is only enhanced with this unique writing instrument.

Fountain pens require an extra level of consideration to ordinary pens. Luxury fountain pens can last generations, so learning how to care for yours properly is paramount.

In this blog, we’ll outline how to refill a fountain pen ink cartridge – crucial if you want to improve your pen’s sustainability or save money on buying new cartridges.

Why should you refill fountain pen ink cartridges?

When the ink in their fountain pen runs out, many people opt for buying completely new ink cartridges.

However, these create unnecessary waste and are often more expensive than bottled inks. You’ll also be limited to a smaller range of colours than bottled inks.

Most fountain pen ink cartridges are made out of plastic that can’t be recycled, which means you’re throwing a small amount into landfills each time you replace your ink.

Thankfully, fountain pens are one of the most eco-friendly writing instruments on the market. Their refillable nature means that, when used correctly, they can last years or even a lifetime. When you refill your fountain pen ink cartridges, you’re making the most use of a sustainable pen that is kinder to the planet.

How to refill the ink of a cartridge pen

Pen ink Cartridge. Close up of the nib of a fountain pen ink cartridges. Inks as background.

When the ink in your cartridge pen is running low, don’t throw it away. Grab a converter or syringe and refill it instead. Refilling the ink cartridge of your fountain pen is an affordable way to mix up your inks and reduce plastic waste. Most converters and syringes are budget-friendly too, while bottled ink are also easier on the wallet.

How to use a fountain pen converter

Using a converter is the most common way to refill ink cartridges. They use bottled inks and are entirely reusable, meaning you’ll save money over the lifespan of using your fountain pen.

Most big-name pen companies sell converters specifically designed to fit their fountain pens. Some brands’ converters – such as Faber-Castell – fit many pen makes. Be sure to read the product description and converter specifications to see if it works with your fountain pen.

Converters function like a piston, pushing or screwing into position. Following a few simple steps, they are incredibly easy to use:

  1. Place the nib of the fountain pen into the ink bottle
  2. Draw the piston back fully, then empty the ink chamber
  3. Repeat filling operation until the converter is full – be sure not to overfill your converter
  4. Let 2/3 drops of ink back into the bottle to create a small air space

How to refill an ink cartridge with a syringe

While converters are recommended, if you find yourself without one and need a quick fountain pen refill, you can use a syringe instead.

  1. Before refilling, ensure there isn’t any ink left in the empty cartridge.
  2. If there are traces of ink, use the syringe to pump water into the cartridge.
  3. To avoid diluting the new ink, use the syringe to remove the water. Then disassemble the cartridge and use a cotton swab to remove any water droplets.
  4. Load the syringe with ink – most cartridges hold around 1 millimetre of ink.
  5. Insert the needle into the cartridge and slowly fill it, taking care not to go too fast and overfill.
  6. Pop the cartridge back into your fountain pen and enjoy!

Best fountain pen ink

Bottle of ink with fountain pen and spilled ink.

One of the major advantages of refilling ink cartridges instead of purchasing new ones is the opportunity to write with a variety of different coloured inks.

Bottled inks come in many more colours and hues than individual cartridges. Enhance your calligraphy with eye-catching tones, creating a more exciting writing experience.

Fountain pen ink bottles themselves also function as stylish collector’s items. Visconti has a patented bottle shape that is unique in design and practical, the shape ensuring every last drop of ink can be used.

Perfect for greetings cards or jazzing up notebooks, the Shimmertatic ink range from Diamine results from several years of research and development. Each ink contains gold or silver metallic particles to complement the ink colour, adding a satisfying shimmer to your handwriting.

Bottled ink also makes a great gift for the pen lover in your life. Avid readers will enjoy the Harry Potter ink by Montegrappa. Choose from Ravenclaw Blue, Thestral Black, Slytherin Green, Knights Bus Purple, Gryffindor Red, or Hufflepuff Yellow – or opt for the whole set instead.


Whatever your writing needs, The Pen Company is on hand to supply you with the best fountain pens, inks, and accessories. Choose from well-known brands and coveted manufacturers for an enjoyable writing experience.

Mariah enjoys typing articles for our blog on her laptop but she'd much rather be writing them by hand with a luxury fountain pen!

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