How to Fill a Fountain Pen: A Complete Guide

Purchasing a fountain pen means you are going back to the classic style of writing or trying to experience how incredibly it works. The types of these pens are many and each of their filling systems is quite different. This article will give you the idea of how to fill a fountain pen and hopefully you do not have to go elsewhere after going through it.

The refilling system depends on the types of pens. It might have a cartridge or drawing ink straight into the barrel like the pneumatic system. You can go for a plunger or a pump to fill the barrel. How to refill a fountain pen is a top ask by its users and this thorough discussion will help you out.

How to Fill a Fountain Pen: Step by Step Guide

There are several types of filling systems for your favorite fountain pens. Let’s consider reading one by one.

1) Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge – Refilling System

The refilling system in the cartridge is easy and simple. You just have to go through a few procedures to complete the filling system. First, you have to find out that your pen has a proprietary ink cartridge or not. If not then using the bottled ink is mandatory.

You need to gather the following tools to complete the refilling:

a. An ink cartridge. You can get a new one if you want otherwise the old one will also work well.

b. Fountain pen inks are available everywhere. You can take any of your choices.

c. A dull needle attached ink syringe.

How to refill a fountain pen
Image via Flickr

Steps on How to Refill a Fountain Pen

• Cleaning the Used Cartridge: For smooth refilling, you have to clean the used cartridge. If there is dry ink inside, then it will make blockage while filling. The fresher cartridge will make the job easy for you. Our suggestion is to flush it properly right after using it so that you can get a clean and fresh one for the next filling.

The wise option is to use hot water to clean it. Apply the syringe to pour water inside the cartridge. Remember that, you have to do the flushing slowly. By applying too much force or water may distort the whole process. The flushing must continue until the inside is properly clean.

• Pull off the Cap: Cap protects as well as covers the nib and grip section of the pen. The grip is the part that you hold while the ink comes from the nib. For ink refilling, you have to take the cap off from the pen.

• Open the Barrel by Screwing: The barrel covers the inside body and sizes almost half of a fountain pen. For older pens, the barrel might not need to be opened. They have different processes for refilling but common modern pens have the barrel removal option.

You can detach the barrel by screwing it anti-clockwise. The built-in piston and button system are the most advanced type of fountain pen. For these types, there is no barrel cover. There might be a blind cap over the button or screw-nob that helps to detach.

• Refilling: Now open the ink bottle and put the syringe inside it. Draw the ink in and prepare for a refill. Hold the cartridge with the open end on top and slowly fill it up with the syringe ink. The cartridge must be in the upright position and be careful that you must not overfill it.

If you are using an old cartridge then its seal must be broken and there is a maximum possibility of ink leak due to overfill. When the filling is done, it should be placed back in the pen immediately. There is no way to keep away the cartridge for a long time as the ink can get dry or cause a leak.


If anyone wants to know how to refill a fountain pen with ink or how to fill ink in a Parker fountain pen, then you can suggest this procedure as it is the most convenient among all.

2) Refilling a Squeeze Converter or Piston

As we all know that different fountain pens have different processes for refilling, though the basic is the same for all. Refilling a squeeze converter is not too difficult and we are going to show the necessary steps.

• Cartridge Removing: You have to get off the cartridge if any is present in there. The converter we are talking about is going to replace the cartridge.

• Place the Converter: Now you have to hold the converter straight and drift it inside the grip area of your fountain pen. In case your pen has small-sized lugs on the side, then you have to use the open slots to line it up.

It is a must that the vent hole needed to be below the ink and for that, the nib should be doused up to the grip portion.

• Squeezing the Converter: Assume that you are using a squeeze converter. So, you have to wait for the ink bubbles before stopping squeezing. When you see the ink bubbles, get rid of the converter slowly allowing it to suction to complete the process.

Keep it in mind that you have to continue the squeezing and releasing until the bubbles appear.

• Twisting the Converter: You have to move up or down an internal plunger if you are using a piston converter. For this, the end of the pen needed to be twisted. The opposite end also needs to go through the same procedure. There should not be any air pocket that may cause you problems while refilling.

• Finishing Touch: As you doused the nib in the ink bottle, there might be ink strain left. So, use a towel or paper for a quick clean-up. At last, place the barrel back to the pen.

The whole process might seem complicated to you but you will get used to it after a couple of attempts.

3) Eyedropper Fountain Pen

Eyedropper fountain pens have become popular nowadays. The advantage of it is that it can hold more ink than any other process. The steps of refilling with an eyedropper pen are below.

• Cleaning the Barrel: At first, you have to clean the barrel. By doing this you will be sure that there is no unwanted particle left in it. If you are refilling, then a proper cleanup is necessary so that there is no ink strain from the previous use. Rinsing in warm water and then applying cotton is the best way to follow.

• Leak Protection: If you use silicone grease on the threads, then there is almost zero chance of leaking ink. All you have to do is just take a little silicon and use it on the thread area. Screwing and unscrewing a few times will give you the guarantee of no leak at all.

• Using the Eyedropper: Now, it comes to the part of the eyedropper. Fill the barrel with the eyedropper slowly and make it sure that you are not overfilling it. Now screw them back halfway to seal the pen so that the ink can reach the nib properly.

Make an upside-down position and screw it tightly. A few drops of ink might come out because of the sudden pressure that comes from the barrel. But it will remain to a few drops only.

Now your pen is ready to use. But do not forget to clean the nib with a towel or paper after every refilling. Otherwise, strains may sit anywhere.

4) Refilling Process for Other Types of Fountain Pens

Above we have discussed the filing systems of the most popular types of fountain pens. Some other types are not that much used but may seem helpful to you if you have any.

• Vacuum Filler Pen: If your fountain pen has a vacuum filler system, then inside the barrel you will find the plunger. You can move it upwards and downwards by removing the knob. By pulling the plunger up, a vacuum will be created. It will break as soon as the plunger reaches the wider part of the pen and the barrel will be filled with ink.

• Button Pen Refilling: The button filling system is the most common among the pens that use ink sacks. For filling it, remove the blind cap and press the button. Then place the nib in the ink and allow the sack to refill by releasing the button. Within 10 seconds, the whole barrel will be filled up.

For internal breath tubes, you have to do the mentioned process twice for proper fill.

• Lever Pen Filling: Refilling ink is almost the same for buttons and lever pens. For the lever pen, the ink sack needed to be compressed and it can be done by lifting the lever. Now place the nib in ink and close the lever. Like a button pen, not more than 10 minutes needed to refill.

Good Practice: After using a fountain pen or after refilling it, keep it in the fountain pen case.


An ordinary pen is not expensive and is very much easily obtainable. As the fountain pen has the refilling fact, it might seem boring to you but having it describes how classy you are. Filling systems are not the same for all types, so, before buying one, you have to make sure that how convenient it is for you.

The processes on how to fill a fountain pen we have discussed here are all in all. When you read, it may seem tactical but the basics are simple and easy. Go through our instructions and it will be easier for you when filling your fountain pen. So, follow one that is easy and suitable for you and let us know your experience with your fountain pen refilling.