In a recent office supply review, I showed you how to create your own refillable long lasting highlighter, which was fun…or at least I thought it was. Today we have something similar, with this ink mixing kit and Noodler’s basic mixing colors from Shop Writers Bloc. Standard disclaimer with any of the cool office supplies I review, in this case there was no discount or special consideration given by Shop Writers Bloc for my review today. I will say though that this is my 3rd order from them and they always ship quickly, and you can tell that they put care into the way they package and prepare your items to be shipped. It was all individually wrapped to protect things like the glass bottles.
With the ink mixing kit, and the Noodler’s basic mixing colors, you can get off to a good start with your experimentation of new ink colors for your fountain pen. The ink mixing kit at the time of purchase was $11.50, and it comes with 10 capped test tubes that have a 12 ml capacity, a graduated pipette to measure with, and one larger capacity pipette for transferring the final product. All of this comes nicely contained in a clear plastic storage box with small sections in the bottom to allow the test tubes to stand properly. The Noodler’s ink basic mixing colors set is made up of four 1/2 ounce glass eyedropper bottles of Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise, Noodler’s Shah’s Rose, Noodler’s Yellow, and Noodler’s Black. The kit of 4 inks comes in a soft plastic flip top box for $18.50. These colors represent the cyan, magenta, yellow, and black that you see in most of your regular ink jet printers because when mixed, they have the ability to recreate millions of different colors.
With these two starter kits, you can really start to have fun experimenting with all kinds of different ink colors for your fountain pens, but be aware that there are some combinations of inks that can be harmful to the insides of your pen, or might not preform as originally specified by the manufacture. One example is that if you mix any of the Noodler’s Bulletproof Inks with other ink, you may partially or completely lose the bulletproof qualities that make them so popular. I didnt want to make this post about the thousands (or millions) of different ink mixing possibilities and dos and donts because that could easily make up a dozen posts on its own, so I will instead focus a little more on the usability of these two ink mixing kits.
Just for some visual proof to show that I did actually do some mixing of inks, I thought Id share the results of my first batches above. Using the kit to mix the inks was fairly simple. The graduated pipette made it easy to grab and measure out pretty precise portions of ink from both the eyedropper bottles, and also some of my other bottles of fountain pen ink that I already had on hand. My only issue with the graduated pipette was the requirement to constantly flush out one color of ink before grabbing the next…but I know I can be pretty impatient, especially when I have a new toy to play with. 🙂 I definitely prefer using the pipette over the eyedropper because I feel like Im able to get a more precise measure, and I dont have to worry about the possibility of trying to count out 50 drops without being distracted and losing count. Using the larger capacity pipette to suck up the mixed ink and fill up my Pelikan M215 was also very easy, the pipettes do a good job of making a neat and clean transfer of ink from bottle to test tube to pen. The test tubes themselves have a nice cap on them with a dual ring system to prevent any leakage, and the tubes themselves are made to resist any staining from the inks.
The only issue I had with the ink mixing kit and making my own inks was in trying to keep organized and keep track of the inks that I was concocting. I made up an on the fly system in my notebook to indicate which mixture was located where in the container because it will be days, weeks, or months before I get to try all of these out. As I was writing down my color recipes that I created, I indicated where in the box the test tube with those colors was placed, and as I was doing this it made me think that it would be so much more user friendly if each cap had a number or letter on it so you could just write up a nice little reference sheet for each batch you created. Instead I had to make my own key that corresponds with each mixture, so I’ve got a sheet of paper with “Left 1” or “Right 1” to indicate the column and row that my mixture lives in. I can only imagine this would be more complicated with the Deluxe Ink Mixing Kit that comes with 32 test tubes.
Overall I think this is a really fun way to try and get some extra mileage out of some inks that you may not love, and to just have fun experimenting and making some unique inks for yourself. Im sure that some of my creations today will probably turn out to be nothing more than a different shade of black, so Ill be sure to share my successes and failures and do some ink reviews of what I’ve come up with in my new ink mixing test kitchen.