How To Get Gel Pens To Work

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Wondering how to get gel pens to work again? Read on.

Gel Pens

This weekend I bought a brand new set of gel pens in a rainbow of colors.

I was super excited to write with them because – well, that’s what makes productivity nuts like me tick, I guess.

Actually, I need those pops of color when writing in my Full Focus Planner  or on my goal setting worksheets (see below). The visual cues really help me to pay attention to the important things.

Related: Check out my review of the Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly Planner

So, all was good. I was trying out different colors (this particular set has neon, glitter, and metallic gel pens), taking down notes, and journaling.

And then one of the pens just stopped working.

I found a piece of scrap paper and scribbled on it until the paper tore – but still nothing.

This, of course, has happened to me before but usually with older gel pens. Usually, I just figure that they are dried out or something and just toss them out.

But this time it was a new pen.

And that is frustrating. When you pay for something brand new – it should work, right?

Well, this time I wasn’t just going to let it go.

I decided to do the research and figure out how to get gel pens to work.

Certainly I wasn’t the only person with this problem.

Related Article: Pilot Frixion Pens – Unleash Your Creativity with Magical Erasable Pens

How to Make a Gel Pen Work

Luckily I found this article that offered up a simple fix:

  • tap the pen to get the air bubbles out of the ink and, if that doesn’t work
  • add a few drops of water into the ink.

What did I have to lose? I was going to throw the pen out any way.

So, I capped the pen and gave it a few good raps against the spine of my Full Focus Planner.

Then I scribbled again on that tattered piece of scrap paper.

You know what?

The gel pen started to work again. Yay!

Upon closer inspection of the other gel pens in the box – I noticed that many of them had air bubbles in the ink.

Air bubbles in gel pen ink.
Air bubbles in gel pen ink.
Gel pens after fix.
Gel pens after fix.

So the above solution really makes sense.

I didn’t have to try adding water to the ink – so I can’t really say if that actually does help.

But, if you’ve tried everything else, that might be the way to go.

The Best Gel Pens for Your Project

There is such a variety of gel pens on the market that it is hard to say which ones are best.

Personally, I think that the best gel pens for writing will have a finer point – like these colorful Pilot G2 pens in .7 mm point.

However, I think that the best gel pens for coloring or art projects will have a broad point – like this set from Arteza which have points from .8mm to 1.0 mm.

It all comes down to personal preference.

Related Article: Why Planner Accessories Will Make You a More Efficient Thinker

Have Your Gel Pens Stopped Working?

Honestly, I can’t believe how easy it was to get my gel pens to work again.

To think that I threw out so many in the past because I thought they were all dry.

I hope that this article helps you out, too.

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make your gel pens work again

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  1. For permanent markers, try dipping the tip of the marker in alcohol for just a few minutes, until you see color coming from the tip of the marker. Soak the tip of the marker in tissue to get rid of the alcohol and try writing on a piece of scratch paper. It will start out a faded color but quickly turn into its original color. I have tried this wwith BIC pens only, but pretty sure it would would work with any permanent marker.

  2. I have found that the only gel pen set that I have ever bought that has not failed me even once you can order on Amazon. The name of these gel pens is Soucolor and the selection that you get in their sets is amazing. The sad part is I cannot find them open stock anywhere.

  3. Try removing the pen nib and soaking it in warm water for a few minutes. The most common cause of your gel pen not producing ink is that it is clogged. Inside the nib, a minute amount of ink has solidified. Soaking the nib in water, on the other hand, will assist the stuck ink to liquefy anew. Put it back into the ink cartridge after soaking it and try scribbling it on the paper.

  4. I have the problem when coloring with gel pens that they leave white “bubbles” where coloring. This happens with different paper and brands of gel pens. How can I solve this?

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