Many people enjoy writing with a pencil more than a pen. One of the advantages of a pencil is that you can easily correct your mistakes. But can you remove pen ink from paper as easily as a pencil? Read more to find out.
Admittedly, it is much harder to erase ink than it is to erase graphite, but it can be done, provided you know a few techniques that make it possible. Make no mistake, it would still be simpler any day of the week to erase a mistake made in pencil, but if you find yourself needing to erase ink, it can be done.
In this article, we’ll discuss a myriad array of ways to erase ink from a pen, as well as how to determine which method is ideal for your situation. Be sure to also check out our article about pens that are designed to be erased.
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Determining Your Best Course of Action
There are many methods for removing ink from paper, but they aren’t all universally effective. There are certain factors that you need to take into consideration when asking how to erase pen ink. These factors are as follows:
- What type of ink needs to be removed?
- What type of paper is the ink on?
- How many errors need to be corrected?
These factors matter for a good reason: some ink is removed rather easily, like ink from printers or pens. Other ink, such as that from markers, require special techniques. Some inks are so tough that there’s no hope of removing them at all.
And of course, the durability of your paper matters because the delicate paper could be ruined by some ink removal methods, and that would defeat the entire purpose of what you are doing. Finally, if there are too many errors to correct, you might just make a mess out of your paper rather than fixing it to be presentable. Now, onto the methods.
Use Correction Tape or Fluid
Undoubtedly, correction tape or fluid is the most painless and simplest way to achieve your goal. All you have to do is cover the ink you want to be removed with the tape or fluid.
Technically, this does not “erase” the ink, but it does conceal it entirely, allowing you to write on a new patch of white. It’s like having a new piece of unmarked paper, but only in that spot.
The good is that this easy method is also quite quick. If using correction fluid, you’ll have to wait for it to dry, but that doesn’t take terribly long. If using correction tape, you can write on top of it as soon as it is applied. This correction method is also great for delicate paper because it doesn’t inflict any damage on it.
On the negative side of things, correction tape or fluid may look odd depending on the paper in question. It’s great for solid white printer paper but will stand out on lined paper depending on how it is applied, and it’s definitely a noticeable eyesore if applied to colored paper for whatever reason.
If you are in a situation where you need to physically remove the ink from paper, you can actually use sandpaper to achieve this. A little piece of sandpaper with fine-grit can be gently rubbed against the ink you want to remove to get the job done.
Of course, this is a delicate balancing act, because you want to rub hard enough to get the ink off, but not hard enough to rip the paper or put abrasions on it. Not to mention, some inks are very tough, and removing them in this manner can be difficult. Still, it can work in a pinch.
Apply Lemon Juice
Many people have heard of this homemade remedy with how to erase pen ink. Lemon juice is very acidic, which allows it to remove ink from paper. You must use pure lemon juice, not something like lemonade, which has other things in it. You need as much acidity as possible, so pure lemon juice is the best choice.
You’ll want a tool that will allow you to apply the lemon juice very precisely, such as a dropper or a toothpick. That’s because it can be quite easy to mistakenly get lemon juice on the ink you don’t actually want to erase.
Once you have applied the lemon juice, simply allow the paper to rest for a time. The ink should be removed soon enough. You may want to cover the rest of the paper with something so the rest of the ink isn’t affected in any way.
Using a Razor Blade
Odd as it may sound, you can actually use a razor blade to get ink off of a paper in some cases, especially when it comes to printer ink. One must recall that ink is not part of the paper, but is actually on top of it, though the difference in the layers is minute.
The point being, if you have a steady hand and a good eye, you can actually get the edge of a razor blade underneath the ink, and literally scrape it off. Admittedly, this method is a little dangerous since you could hurt yourself, and if you are too blunt with your attempts, you may cut the paper itself. But it is doable.
Apply Rubbing Alcohol
This is another liquid you can apply to ink to remove it, but like lemon juice, you must do it in very small increments. Rubbing alcohol is a powerful chemical and pouring it directly on paper is just going to damage it.
The best tactic is to use a cotton ball or swab to soak with rubbing alcohol, which you can then dab on the ink in question with precision and restraint.
There are many ways to remove pen ink from paper, and we didn’t even discuss all of them here. There are other alternatives, such as acetone, baking soda and water, and even brake fluid. Look around the internet: many people have come up with interesting solutions to this exact conundrum!