Sometimes giving a pen feels too personal since there are so many variables that a person can have a preference for. Size, weight, colour, material, nib size. It can be a little overwhelming. Fountain pen inks can be just as overwhelming since you have to know which colours they like and which inks they already have. But there’s a solution to that.
Not every fountain pen shop carries them, but more start doing so. Ink samples come in small vials and have 2 ml of ink in them. Fountainfeder is the only one who offers both 2 ml and 4 ml per sample. Birmingham Pen Company has 5 ml samples as a standard. The 2 ml sample is more than enough to fill a pen and write a handful of pages depending on the nib size. Samples are a great way to experiment with new inks without spending too much. The Pilot Iroshizuku inks are expensive and buying a sample is great for testing the colour and ink flow. Perfect if you’re on a budget as well. Or to stuff a stocking with.
If you’re still not sure which colours to pick, a few stores have ink sample bundles with their favourites or fit for a theme. It’s even possible to get a random set of samples, but they can’t guarantee duplicates. Check my post about shimmering inks for a few recommendations. Other popular inks are Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo, Souten and Konpeki. Fountainfeder has just restocked their Germany exclusive Diamine Skulls & Roses, and November rain.
Stores that sell ink samples
I’ve made a list of (online) stores that sell ink samples. If you know of other stores that also sell them, please let me know so I can add them.
Goulet Pens (USA)
Pen Chalet (USA)
Wonder Pens (CA)
Birmingham Pen Company (USA)
Pensive Pens (AUS) (They’re sold out when I checked, but maybe they’ll restock for the holidays)
Ink Sample Subscription
Appelboom and Inkjournal have ink sample subscriptions. For a monthly fee, you’ll get a few samples every month. They’re curated and the first few months are guaranteed without duplicates. This is a great gift if you don’t know which samples to pick. This month’s subscriptions won’t be on time for Christmas, but having another present coming in later will prolong the fun. It’s like getting a gift twice, with twice the anticipation!
Ink samples are incredibly fun to give and to receive. You never know what you’ll get and every ink has its own surprise in which properties they have. The random ink samples I got from Goulet Pens were all new to me and it was fun to discover how much I liked them. Have you ever bought ink samples? Which are your top choices of inks to gift? LEave your answers in the comment below!