If there’s one thing that can be said about fountain pens, it’s that they are pretty adaptable to just about any kind of ink you throw at them. However, not every ink is suitable for use in a fountain pen. You can certainly load it up, but that doesn’t mean that the overall experience will be worthwhile.
While there are rare fountain pens that were specifically designed to accommodate acrylic ink, they are the exception rather than the rule. For most fountain pens, acrylic ink is not only unsuitable, but it could also end up destroying the fountain pen.
There are a number of things that acrylic ink is acceptable for, including many of the same things that you would use a fountain pen for. This is why it’s probably associated with fountain pens in some ways since quill pens are often dipped in acrylic ink.
Acrylic ink is also used in a number of paints and art style projects including stamps, airbrushes, standard paintbrushes, and dip pens. It’s a really thick paint and, for that reason alone, should never be placed anywhere near a fountain pen.
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What are Acrylic Inks Primarily Used For?
Acrylic inks are often used as a touch-up for fine-detailing an existing painting or they are used in calligraphy. There are plenty of articles out there that depict a “versus” battle between acrylic inks and either India Ink or alcohol ink, all of which are in calligraphy settings.
Acrylic ink is ideal for calligraphy since it has a very broad spectrum of bright colors, holds up well over time, doesn’t fade, smudge, smear, bleed, and is generally resilient against water after it has sufficiently dried.
You can use them alone to create your own paintings although they are usually embraced as an accommodating touch-up. They don’t mix very well but the available colors are numerous and vividly bright so they work great for illustrative properties or to add highlights.
They are also used extensively as “paste inks” for flexography and various printing processes. Also, lithography is another application in which acrylic inks are an excellent choice.
Acrylic ink is marketed as an ultra-fluid artistic coloring and that’s primarily what you will get. There are a lot of uses for acrylic inks outside of a fountain pen and those uses are where acrylic ink is not only a strong choice but a non-fountain pen choice.
Why Acrylic Ink Doesn’t Work with Fountain Pens
Acrylic ink will ultimately damage your fountain pen, possibly to the point where it is no good to write with any longer. Since most fountain pen connoisseurs purchase fountain pens at a premium price and as collectibles, that’s the last thing that you want to happen.
There are a number of issues with acrylic ink that makes it a downer for fountain pens.
- Although its the thinnest form of acrylic paint, it’s still terribly thick
- Dries very quickly
- It’s a very heavy ink
The extremely thick nature of acrylic ink means that it will not flow very well from your fountain pen if it flows at all. Fountain pens are designed to use very thin, fast-flowing inks that flow quickly and smoothly off of the tip of the nib.
Since acrylic ink is thick, sluggish, and doesn’t flow very well—not to mention the fact that it dries very quickly—the first thing that will happen if you fill your fountain pen up with it is that it will dry up either inside the pen or at the point where it flows out.
Not only will it dry up, but it’s also permanent ink, so it’s incredibly difficult to get rid of. We clean our fountain pens with water and using alcohol is a big no-no four fountain pens so water is the only reasonable choice.
However, acrylic ink is waterproof, so the only viable solution for cleaning your fountain pen will do absolutely nothing to dislodge the dried-up acrylic ink. In other words, your fountain pen likely just became a pretty expensive paperweight.
The heavy nature of acrylic ink makes it far more sluggish and the thickness doesn’t help. On the bright side, if you ever tried to draw acrylic ink up into the fountain pen, it probably won’t flow into the piston very well, which should be an immediate clue as to whether or not it belongs.
Are There Any Fountain Pens That Use Acrylic Ink?
There sure are and they are alone amongst fountain pens in the fact that they must be cleaned and maintained mercilessly. Even though they are made for using acrylic ink, the nature of the ink necessitates constant cleaning.
The rOtring Fountain Pen is a primary example of a fountain pen that was designed for acrylic ink and Indian ink. This pen is different from most others in that the level of disassembly is pretty extravagant.
- Combines the balance and nib shape of a quill pen with the convenience of a modern fountain pen for comfortable grip.
- Nibs are crafted from the finest stainless steel, easy to replace, provide long use, can be compatible with all rOtring...
- This fine nib fountain pen will turn every piece of writing into a small work of art.
- Comes with 2 pre-filled cartridges of black ink.
- Not for use on skin, including tattoos.
Knowing the chaos that acrylic ink can cause inside of a fountain pen, these types of pens were designed to break down as far as possible and with the rOtring, you can even disassemble the nib.
The Osmiroid is another such pen that is technically classified as a fountain pen but is most often referred to as a calligraphy pen. There is a difference between the two, however, calligraphy pens are usually far simpler instruments than fountain pens, and that can’t be said about the Osmiroid.
Like the rOtring, the Osmiroid can be disassembled down to the tiniest of parts and these pens are created this way entirely because of the types of inks that you can put in them, such as acrylic ink.
If either the rOtring or the Osmiroid was designed more like fountain pens, they would never survive a bout with acrylic ink.
Fountain pens were not designed to work with acrylic ink unless it is a very specifically designed fountain pen, such as the rOtring or the Osmiroid. Acrylic ink is far too thick, heavy, and waterproof to make a viable ink alternative for fountain pens. If you love your fountain pen(s), then you would do well to stay away from acrylic ink.