The Best Paper for Your Fountain Pens

With any good fountain pen, there needs to be some equally great paper. Surely, you wouldn’t purchase an expensive fountain pen so you can mark up some college-ruled notebook paper, right?

Cheap paper has its uses, whether for a grocery list or a random note. But premium paper can really help your fountain pen shine.

In this article, I’ll talk about what makes paper “premium”, and what things you need to consider when looking at higher-quality paper. I will also give some recommendations for the best paper for your fountain pen.

So, if you want to make your writing more creative and professional learn more about premium fountain pen paper below!

How to Choose the Best Fountain Pen Paper

There are several factors, or features, that you want to look for in some good, quality, fountain pen paper. It also depends on what you are going to be using it for, whether it is office work, calligraphy, creative drawing, letter writing, or note-taking. 

The following are some of the factors that you should consider:

  • The smoothness of the paper
  • Paper color
  • Price
  • Level of bleedthrough (if any)
  • Dry time for your ink
  • Feathering

When it comes to the smoothness of the paper, you have to go for a happy medium. Fully coated paper will almost always reject your ink and even the parts that do sink in will take forever to dry.

Paper with no coating is rough and coarse. It doesn’t go well with the smooth writing capability of a good fountain pen. You want something that is semi-coated or half-coated, that way you can use your fountain pen to its fullest extent. 

Paper color is a matter of personal preference usually, but not always. If you really want your chosen color to stand out, then you want the whitest paper available. However, if you need something that isn’t as harsh on your eyes, a warmer palette is a must. 

Price can sometimes be an issue, though you will find that many premium papers are like everything else, easy to find at a discount if you’re willing to put in the research and time. When it comes to paper, it’s usually a case of you getting exactly what you pay for. 

Bleedthrough is definitely something that you want to avoid. The thicker the paper, the less likely there is to be any level of bleedthrough. After all, you don’t want to constantly worry about what you’re writing on every time you break out the fountain pen. 

Like the coating on paper, you want to find a happy medium when it comes to the dry time for your ink. You want something that will absorb relatively quickly, without being rough to write on. Your best bet is to go with the semi-coat paper aforementioned. 

Last but not least, you want to avoid the types of paper that create feathering, which is when the ink absorbs into the fibers of the paper and spreads, like a series of complicated roots or veins. You’ll often see this result with lower-quality paper. 

The Best Notebooks for Fountain Pens

Let’s start with notebooks and journals for our fountain pens. Some of the best paper in the market can be found in fountain pen-specific notebooks.

Midori MD Notebook

The Midori Notebook is very simplistic in its aesthetic appeal and minimalism, which makes it great for fountain pens, especially considering the fact that the notebook paper within is very white, which means your fountain pen color choice will stand out. 

It has an exposed spine, meaning that there is no binding in the traditional sense, no encapsulating folder, no “three rings”, and no rings of any kind. This paper is very clean and almost luxuriously thick. You don’t want to handle it with dirty hands or there will be smudges. 

The individual papers, of which there are 176 sheets, have a very low feathering and bleedthrough rating, with a high level of sheen and a drying time that is somewhere in the mid-range. 

Midori 15003006 MD Notebook, A5, Grid Ruled
  • The notebook is comfortable to write. Ruled grid with the feel of the original paper
  • Size (H x W x D): 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches (210 x 148
  • Specifications: 176 pages, 0.2 inch (5 mm) grid rule, book binding, thread binding, cover/glass paper, with bookmark...
  • Made with an original writing paper "MD paper" that is resistant to bleeding and bleeding. Sewn binding allows for easy...

Rhodia Dot Pad

This 80-page notebook is one of the most highly rated and recommended for fountain pen enthusiasts. It’s a flip-up design with a pretty standard cover and could easily be mistaken as a standard notepad. 

It has a staple binding and the paper design is a 5mm DOT. It has a low level of sheen but also has a very low rating when it comes to feathering (a low rating in a good way). Also, the rating for bleedthrough is low as well, so you won’t have to worry about pushing too much ink.

The paper is a very bright white, so your colors will almost standoff of the page, and despite the low level of sheen, it provides a very smooth writing surface for your fountain pen of choice. 

Rhodia Head Stapled Pad, No18 A4, Dot - Black
  • A4 in size
  • Paper within the notepad is made from Clairefontaine 80 g Superfine Vellum
  • 80 detachable micro perforated sheets
  • Printed with a light grey grid with 5 mm intervals between dots
  • Suitable for use by creative people, architects, graphic designers and more

Apica Premium CD Notebook

This notebook paper, provided by JetPens, is a very sophisticated-looking, 865 premium paper notebook. It’s not as white as the first two, but even so, the written visuals really seem to pop off of the page. 

Each sheet has a luxuriant feel to it and holds the ink from your fountain pen very well, with a low level of bleedthrough and feathering. You can purchase the Apica CD notebook in A5, A6, and B6 sizes, with 5mm, 6.5mm, and 7mm line spacing. 

The Apica has a thread binding which is an enormous benefit since it lays flat when opened up, so writing on the left page means that your hand won’t run up into the barrier of the binding, and vice versa for left-handers. 

Apica Premium C.D. Notebook - A5-7 mm Rule - 96 Sheets
  • Material : Curious Metal (Special Paper)
  • Ideal for gift
  • Product of Japan

Strathmore 500 Series

This glue-bound notebook comes with 50 sheets of acid-free, 25% cotton sheets. You can get it in either blank or lined options and the paper is worth it. It does have a more rough feel to it than the previous mentions but it never seems to slow down the glide of the fountain pen. 

Dry time is excellent and the sheets are thick enough that there is a low rate of bleedthrough and very little if any feathering. It’s backed by heavy chipboard so you can write on the go, even if you don’t have a desk directly in front of you. 

This is a great entry-level paper notebook for those who are just getting into the growing fountain pen crowd. 

Strathmore 500 Series Lined Writing Paper Pad, 8.5x11 inches, 50 Pages (24lb/90g) - Professional Artist Paper
  • Strathmore-writing pad lined
  • Strathmore writing paper delivers the ultimate Handwriting experience
  • This item is manufactured in United States

Bookfactory Ink Lover Notebook

This notepad frequently makes its way into the top of the highly-rated notebook paper for fountain pens. It comes with 100 sheets of what is called “32lb paper” and you will immediately see why when you put your hands on it. 

The paper is exceptionally thick, but not so bad that it’s outrageous or anything. It is rated as excellent in terms of very low levels of ghosting, feathering, or bleedthrough, which makes plenty of sense given its level of thickness. 

You can also purchase them in either blank pages or lined, depending on what you want to use them for. 

BookFactory Ink Lover Notebook/Marker and Fountain Pen Friendly Sketch Book/Premium Thick Blank Bleed Resistant Paper - Wire-O, 100 Pages, 8.5" x 11" (JOU-100-7CW-PP-(InkLovers))
  • Our durable, BLANK, thick paper allows you to use a variety of inks, markers, pens - without bleeding or ghosting
  • For the self-proclaimed or professional doodlers, illustrators, artists, calligraphers, scribblers
  • This book uses 32 lb paper which is a thick blank paper
  • This heavy paper and offers a super smooth finish and white paper shade Page Dimensions: 8.5" x 11"
  • Made in USA, Proudly Produced in Ohio. Veteran-Owned.

Best Loose-Leaf Paper for Fountain Pens

Not everybody wants to use a notebook for writing and that’s understandable. Especially if you’re mostly looking to write letters and other mementos that really don’t require a binding to hold everything together. That’s where loose-leaf paper comes in! Here are some of the best loose-leaf paper for your fountain pen.

Clairefontaine Looseleaf French-Ruled Sheets

While these come in a notebook, they are easily removable and are absolutely wonderful in terms of writing on them with fountain pens. They come in A5 and A4 sizes and, when you purchase the double sheet booklets you will get non-perforated sheets.

These sheets are known for being highly ink-friendly with almost zero feathering, ghosting, or bleedthrough. Best of all, it’s relatively inexpensive, so you don’t have to shell out half of your available bank account for something to show off your fountain pen with. 

Clairefontaine - Ref 7964C - Calligraphe Loose-Leaf Coloured Paper (Pack of 50 Sheets) - A4 Size, 80gsm Superfine Vellum Paper, Séyès Ruled, 100 Pages - Yellow
  • A4 in size
  • Pack of 50, film wrapped and with an insert
  • Paper is made from 80g superfine Vellum
  • Paper is séyès ruled
  • Paper is multiple punched for easy filing in 2 ring or 4 ring files/folders

Cosmo Air Light 83

Cosmo Air Light comes with 200 pages, so you’re going to get plenty to work with right from the get-go. It has a unique feel to the paper and it’s plenty thick with a moderate level of drying time required. 

In other words, don’t flip the page too quickly once you finish the final flourish on the previous page. There is a level of show-through but that’s how this paper is designed, with a translucent quality that shows through with very little in the way of bleedthrough, ghosting, or feathering. 

It comes with 7mm lines and cross-shaped dots across each page. It feels perfectly symmetrical and almost begs you to start writing in it. 

HP Printer Paper Premium 32

If you’re new to the art of fountain pens, printer paper may seem to be a bit of a strange choice, but why should it be? In our eyes, HP Printer Paper Premium 32 is the best printer paper for your fountain pen. This paper is designed for color printing and has a nice, thick, premium feel to it.

It’s also very bright paper, so your colors will really pop, even if you go with midnight black. It’s designed for quick drying as well, which means that it was designed for a ton of ink being thrown at it at once, without bleedthrough and feathering. Of course, that’s exactly what you’re looking for with a fountain pen. 

The acid-free paper comes with Color Lock technology and if you want something that’s going to lock in your ink and avoid any ghosting, this is the perfect paper for that.

HP Paper Printer | 8.5 x 11 Paper | Premium 32 lb | 1 Ream - 500 Sheets | 100 Bright | Made in USA - FSC Certified | 113100R
  • Made in USA: HP Papers is sourced from renewable forest resources and has achieved production with 0% deforestation in...
  • Heavyweight premium printing: HP Premium32 is a heavyweight (32 pounds), brighter (100 bright) and whiter (163...
  • Certified sustainable: HP Premium32 presentation paper is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and contributes...
  • ColorLok technology printing paper: ColorLok technology provides more vivid colors, bolder blacks and faster drying.
  • Acid free paper: HP Premium32 presentation paper prevents yellowing over time to ensure a long-lasting appearance for...

Life L. Writing Paper

This paper comes in a glue binding but easily tears away in a straight line filled with tiny perforations, so it can work as standalone paper. It has a very high level of sheen to it while retaining an excellent anti-ghosting, anti-bleedthrough, and anti-feathering capability.

It does take a while to dry, mostly due to the high sheen effect that makes the paper a little more glossy and less absorbent with your ink. The colors really stand out on the sheets, however, so a little patience waiting on the ink to dry will be well rewarded. 

It’s also available in A5 and B5 sizes, so you have a tiny bit of variety in size choice. Either way, this is a highly rated paper and a fan favorite amongst fountain pen enthusiasts. It’s hard not to appreciate how well the colors stand out. 

Life L1007 L Brand Label, Horizontal Ruled
  • Size: 7.0 x 9.8 inches (177 x 250
  • Number of Pages: 70

Heavyweight Blotting Paper

This paper is not meant for writing letters, taking notes, or doing anything that resembles writing in terms of words. However, Blotting paper is outstanding for calligraphy and if you are heavily into this hobby, you’ll appreciate this paper.

It is astoundingly thick and you can expect to never have to deal with any show-through, bleedthrough, ghosting, or feathering. It’s simply too thick for anything like that. However, it handles the ebb and flow of a fountain pen exceptionally well, though it will need some lengthy dry time when it’s done. 

You can feel free to go heavy on the ink with this, without too much worry. The biggest drawback is that it only comes in one size, which is A5. But if you love calligraphy, then this is definitely the paper for you and will accommodate you better than the above-listed options. 

Printhead Hospital Heavyweight Blotting Paper for Flower Press, Calligraphy and Inkjet Printer Cleaning | 8x6 (10 Absorbent Paper Sheets) Blank Blotter Paper | Highly Absorbent Paper
  • 10 sheets of 8x6 blotting card
  • Double-thickness fibreboard (the same weight as a softback book cover).
  • Increased absorbance improves performance and reduces smudging
  • Cutting guides are watermarked on one side: this does not transfer when used for calligraphy.
  • Cut to UK A5 size (we're a British company) so will need trimming if you need a US paper size.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. In terms of notebooks and standalone paper, these are some of the best on the marketplace for fountain pen use. The great thing about fountain pens is that the look and feel of that aesthetic doesn’t end with the pen, but continues on to the paper as well.

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