Syringe Refill A Cartridge

A syringe, Duct tape, PVC and an Altoids tin and you’ll never be bored.

Okay so you want to syringe refill a cartridge. It’s FUN. Yes, you’ll get inky but as with many things in life, you have to get a little dirty to have some fun. I will walk you through the simple steps to make you feel like a champion hobbyist. Who can call themselves a fountain pen enthusiast who hasn’t tried this yet… give it a shot!

The Essential Utensils

  • A blunt-tip fill needle (syringe)
  • Bottled Fountain Pen Ink
  • Your favorite cartridge-fill fountain pen
  • An empty ink cartridge that fits your pen
  • A sink and faucet nearby
  • Paper Towels

“Brace yourself.

This could be fun.”


Cleaning The Pen and Cartridge

You should make sure to clean your pen first before you begin syringe refill a cartridge. You’ll want your pen ready so you’re ready to write when you have your freshly filled cartridge.

Then, you will need to clean the empty cartridge. Why? Because there are likely some dried up ink bits still in the cartridge that you don’t want mixing with your new ink to change the color or flowing into the feed of your pen or muck up the feed.

Draw some clean water into your syringe and, with the cartridge positioned over your sink, squeeze it into the empty cartridge to flush it until it’s clean.

Cartridges may have baffles at the insertion point to keep the ink from drying out or flowing too quickly into the pen so you may have to nudge a ball or flap aside to get into the cartridge with your needle.  That is normal.

It was BROWN Ink! I know it doesn’t show too well here.

Flush Out The Cartridge Well

Once you’ve flushed it clean and all the dried ink bits are out of it (as shown below in the photo), you may still have a little water trapped in the bottom of the cartridge. Just empty your syringe and use it in reverse to draw water back out of the cartridge. Leaving the inside damp is fine, you just don’t want it ¼ full of water or it will dilute your ink.

The Fun Part When You Syringe Refill A Cartridge

Then, over a paper towel, draw a couple of milliliters of your favorite ink out of the bottle with your syringe. Push it into your cartridge, being careful to stop filling just before the “neck” if there is one as pictured. If you’re using a cartridge that is straight, just leave some room at the top so ink doesn’t overflow into the section of your pen when you attach it.

Attach it to your pen as you would a brand new cartridge

I don’t really think this needs an explanation, but the OCD in me really wants there to be some text here so… you get it right? Hey, I’m not as bad as Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, but it’s enough that I’m compelled to write this.

Humor me and just plug it in.

Pull The Ink Through The Nib and Start Writing!

Touch the tip of the nib and vent hole to a clean paper towel until you see it pull some ink out and you’re ready to write.  Make sure to rinse your syringe and lay it on the paper towel to air dry so you can do it all over again later.

You just learned to how to syringe refill a cartridge!  Time to buy ink! You can check out some favorite fountain pen ink bottles here.


Hey, I know I could’ve done this a lot more carefully and spilled almost no ink, but what’s the fun in that?

I like Smurf murder scenes when I’m done.

It’s beautiful… and as close as I’ll get to finding my inner Jackson Pollock.