How to Write with Shimmering Ink

Have you ever wondered how to write with shimmering ink? If you've been in the fountain pen world for awhile, chances are you've come across shimmering inks. These inks have a lot of sparkle, but also can have a reputation for being a bit higher maintenance. 

Some fountain pen users are hesitant to use this type of ink because they are afraid of damaging their fountain pens. Additionally, there is a lot of misinformation and supposition floating around out there about these inks and their affect on nibs and feeds. But, we've got good news for you! Since all of this ink is created for fountain pens, it will not damage your pens. You'll need to take a bit more care when cleaning them however. We'll go into more detail about that below. We want to do a little myth busting, as well as let you in on the secrets to getting the most mileage out of your shimmering fountain pen ink.

Tips:

  1. Filling your fountain pen

    More so than with other inks, there is a particular technique for filling your fountain pen with shimmering inks. The sparkle additives will settle, so you need to gently shake the bottle of ink before filling it. Make sure to shake it slowly so that no air bubbles form because this can cause flow issues! Once you've gently shaken the bottle, you'll want to quickly fill your pen before the particles settle once again.

    Brown shimmering fountain pen ink in a bottle

  2. Writing Techniques

    Just like in the bottle, the glitter particles will settle in your fountain pen. Between writing sessions, or even while writing, make sure to keep the ink agitated. You can do this a number of ways including rolling the pen in your hand while writing. This can be back and forth or rolling it in between your palms. If your pen sits for a long time, gently move the pen from end to end to let the sparkles distribute through the ink before writing.

    Shimmering ink in a demonstrator fountain pen

  3. Keep it clean

    More so than with other ink, you need to make sure you clean your fountain pen thoroughly when using shimmering inks. The extra particles can be stubborn about leaving, and can cause clogging issues if proper precautions aren't taken. However, with a bit of elbow grease and maybe some Goulet Pen Flush, you should be fine! Keep in mind to make sure to thoroughly clean your pen in between uses, even more so then normal. Use a toothbrush to clean the feed- shimmer particles can stick to this section. Also, don't forget to use Goulet Pen Flush if you need to break down the ink and shimmer making it easier to clean.

    Bottle of Goulet Pen Flush in front of a flower pot

  4. Pick the right fountain pen

    Pair your sparkling ink with a fountain pen that will really show off that extra flair! Juicy, wet writers are going to work best so a lot of writers will stick with flex nibs or broad or italic nibs for great results. That being said, smaller nib sizes can work, just make sure they have a generous flow. Part of the fun of trying shimmering inks, and fountain pens in general, is the experimentation. Try out different pen (nib), ink, and paper combinations and find out what works best for you!

    Multi-tonal ink on paper- gold to purple

  5. Paper Matters

    Ink resistant paper is going to work best with shimmering inks. The more ink resistant, the more sparkle you'll see! Here are some examples of fantastic paper for your shimmering inks:
    - Goulet Notebooks with Tomoé River Paper
    - Clairefontaine Triomphe
    - Rhodia

    Some paper that isn't going to show the sparkle as much includes:
    - Inkjet paper
    - Moleskine
    - Composition notebooks
    - Recycled paper
    Hand written words in shimmering ink on white paper

Additional Resources:

Pen Cleaning and Maintenance

The 8 Most FABULOUS Shimmer Inks