Tip Thursday: Cataloguing Fountain Pen Inks – A Little Project

From the header image of this blog, some of you may have hazarded a guess that I like fountain pens. You’re not wrong 🙂 I first got into them in mid-2014, and even wrote a little post about it here.

A year on, I have a nice small collection of fairly affordable (to cheap) fountain pens, and as with fountain pen lovers, a modest little collection of fountain pen inks. I will probably never finish using them before they dry up, and yet, I will probably never stop collecting them.

Nicely catalogued fountain pen ink boxes

Now if you are like me, you probably do not have enough space to display your inks out on a nice little (sheltered) shelf, and they all probably reside in plastic storage boxes, somewhat like this (excuse the messy desk).

Fountain Pen Ink boxes all unknown

What you see above (is part of my collection) is a crazed purchase of unknown fountain pen inks, from an unknown source, and a bottle of Private Reserve Shoreline Gold.

The problem with having them in storage boxes, and unfortunately with cheap cardboard packaging, is you simply cannot tell what colour is which. Today’s #thursdaytip shows you how to catalogue the boxes clearly so you can tell the ink colour at a glance. I mean after a while, you still forget the exact shade of Shoreline Gold among all your orange inks, no matter how pretty it is, amirite?

China BBS Inks - catalogue

I did make the effort to catalogue the colours on paper (and even did a water-proof test). But it is still a bother to fiddle around the paper while trying to decide what colours to use this week. Why not be more direct? Some of you may have seen my Instagram post about my little late night project and know what I am up to next.

Just as I was thinking of how to catalogue my inks properly, OnFountainPens very nicely published her post about logging fountain pen inks and gave me an idea on how to get started.

(This whole post actually came about because of OnFountainPen‘s post about logging fountain pen inks, so head over to her blog to take a look.)

So off I went! Stationery shopping first! Well, just the index cards anyway. Other tools needed are:

Cutting Tool / Pen knife (not pictured)
Glue Stick or Glue Runner
Cotton Buds
Cutting Mat
A plastic bag to throw inked cotton buds
Napkins for wiping up messes

Tools to catalogue fountain pen inks

Armed with these simple tools, my project was easily completed! I measured and cut the index cards into 9 square pieces each, which fit the top of each box nicely. As you can see from the first picture, I had already labelled the ink names on the boxes, so it was one less job.

Refer to OFP’s post on a more accurate method of swabbing inks. My tip is to cut each (double-tipped) cotton bud in half. That way you can discard each one once done. If you don’t cut it in half, you either waste the clean half, or risk staining something with the inked end when you leave it waiting around for the next swab.

discarded swabs of fountain pen inks

Once the swab on the card dried, I simply peeled off the sticker label with the ink name and stuck it on the swab. Then I just glued the entire swab on top of the box. Easy, right? Now all the inks are easily referenced by colour, and it looks so pretty too!

Nicely catalogued fountain pen ink boxes

My next project will be to log my fountain pen inks as per OFP’s post method.

Hope you liked today’s rather long tip.  Do you log your fountain pen inks? Share how you do it on Twitter @scribsnstat or on Instagram @nicthegeek. I would be really interested to see other tips and methods for better ways of recording fountain pen inks.



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