How To Stop A Fountain Pen Bleeding Through Paper!

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As more and more people make the switch over to using fountain pens as their go to pens of choice rather than a rollerball pen or ballpoint pen, we have noticed more and more questions being asked about how to get the most of our a fountain pen. One question that we have seen asked and want to cover is taking a look at why fountain pens bleed through paper and the various reasons this may happen as well as how you are able to stop it.

Although there are a number of reasons that your fountain pen may bleed through paper during use, the majority of them tend to be easy to fix and are much simpler to prevent than most people think. The majority of common causes don’t need expensive, speciallist equipment to fix either and can usually be fixed in the comfort of your own home too.

That said though, there are some types of fountain pen that are more prone to ghosting than others due to their design. This is usually to try and add more lubrication to help improve the overall writing experience when using the pen but unfortunately can make it ghost sometimes. Thankfully though, we even have some work arounds for this type of issue too so we are confident our article will be able to help prevent you from having any issues with ghosting and help to quickly fix the problem.

Why Do Fountain Pens Bleed Through Paper

Please note that we have added the causes below in descending order of the more common causes of a fountain pen bleeding through your paper to least common. We have structured the article in this way to try and ensure that we can help you find the issue with your pen as quickly as possible without wasting your time so without further ado, let’s get into how to stop your fountain pen bleeding through your paper.

Upgrade Your Paper

Without a doubt, the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to prevent your fountain pen from bleeding through your paper is to upgrade the paper that you use to a high GSM paper. The higher the grams per square inch your paper, the thicker it is and the thicker it is, the less likely it is for even the wettest of fountain pen nibs to bleed through. Thankfully, high GSM paper is usually only a dollar or two more than low GSM paper these days making this a quick and easy fix.

Although we went into this in more detail in our article on do fountain pens need special paper, you are able to keep the super-smooth writing experience of some of the better, smoother fountain pens such as the Pelikan m800 that tend to have a wetter writing nib but easily prevent them from bleeding through your paper. On top of this, using a higher GSM paper will almost always result in a better writing experience too, especially with cheaper, entry-level fountain pens.

Are You Using Suitable Ink

In our opinion, the second most common reason that a fountain pen will bleed through your paper is the ink that you are using with the pen. You can have a premium price point fountain pen that costs you hundreds of dollars but if you skim on the ink then your writing experience will suffer, you risk clogging the feed and nib, and the nib may release too much ink and cause it to bleed through your paper.

Although the premium fountain pen brands recommend that you only use their ink with their pens for optimal performance, this is usually just a marketing trick. Although more and more people are waking up to this and opting to use cheaper inks with the premium fountain pen models, you should still be using a high quality, refined ink for optimal performance.

For example, say you have the Pelikan m800 that we consider to be one of the best fountain pens in the world right now. Although Pelikan recommend that you only use their Edelstein Ink with the m800, you can usually opt to use a cheaper refined ink such as Noodlers Ink with the pen and have a very similar writing experience with minimal to no bleeding.

Even if you are using a cheaper fountain pen, you can still use Noodlers Ink to save some money on some of the other refined inks on the market while still ensuring you are using a high-quality ink that should not bleed. The price tag, performance, and color range of Noodlers ink is one of the best on the market in our opinion and is probably why its popularity is growing so far while having an excellent reputation.

Are You Storing Your Fountain Pen Correctly

Although less common, one reason that your fountain pen may be bleeding through your paper is down to the way you store your fountain pens when not using them. Although we have an article on how you should store your pens, the short version for fountain pens is that they should be in verticle pen storage with the nib facing up.

Unfortunately, it is relatively common for people to store their fountain pens with the nib facing down when not in use. Although rare, this alone can cause a build-up of ink in the nib of the fountain pen that can then cause it to bleed through your paper once you start to write with it.

What Nib Size Is Your Fountain Pen

If you are new to using fountain pens then this can also be a surprisingly common thing that people overlook. By design, a medium, broad or double-broad nib will always be a wetter writer than an extra-fine, fine or fine-medium nib as more ink is required for the larger font. This in turn can result in you having the ink bleed through thinner papers and cause issues but as we touched on earlier, upgrading to some higher GSM paper will sort this out and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Is Your Nib Writing Too Wet

Although some fountain pen nibs do write wet by design to improve your writing experience, there are a number of relatively common issues with fountain pens that can cause the nib to write wetter than it should. Due to there being so many problems that can cause this, we have actually published a dedicated article on how to fix a fountain pen that is writing too wet.

An easy way to workout if your fountain pen nib is writing too wet is to hold it in your hand and then flick your wrist to try and force some ink out of the ink against some spare paper. If there is excessive ink on the paper then there is a good chance that it is too wet and may have an issue. We would highly recommend that you check out the article that we just linked as it goes into each of the common causes of a nib being too wet as well as how to fix them.

What Ink System Is Your Fountain Pen Using

With the modern ink systems in fountain pens, this can be rare and if this is the issue, it is almost always user error. That said though, it doesnt matter if your fountain pen uses a cartridge convertor, a vacuum filler or a piston filler, if you do not fill it correctly then it can result in ink leaking and then ink bleeding through your paper.

The most common cause of this with a cartridge convertor system is the user opting to go with slightly cheaper third-party ink cartridges rather than the official ones that do not connect to the converter correctly. When it comes to vacuum and piston filler fountain pens, it is almost always due to the user trying to overfill the pen and get more ink in there than its maximum capacity.

Does Your Fountain Pen Have A Pull Or Twist Cap

This one is only really an issue for the entry-level fountain pens on the market but a pull off cap can end up causing issues with the amount of ink in the nib that can then result in the ink bleeding through your paper when you first use it. This is due to the cheaper pull off caps creating a vacuum under them and then when you remove the cap of the pen, this vacuum pulls ink out of the nib.

Once you apply the nib to your paper, this excess ink then instantly bleeds through the paper and can lead to other issues too. Even if you do opt to use high GSM paper, this can still result in some ghosting due to the amount of ink that the vacuum can pull into the nib ready to write.

Have You Had Your Fountain Pen On A Plane

Thankfully, most modern fountain pens will not have any real issues with you having them on a plane but some of the older pens as well as some of the cheaper newer models can have an over pressure in the piston or vacuum filler for the ink that will force more ink out of the nib when writing than usual. This then results in the ink bleeding through your paper as you write but thankfully, once you refill the ink in the pen, the over pressure usually stops and the pen should go back to writing normally for you.


This brings our article going over how you are able to stop your fountain pen from bleeding through paper when you write to an end. We hope that you have found it helpful and we have tried to include as many of the common reasons that your fountain pen nib may bleed as possible as well as how you are able to fix them. All of the fixes are relatively simple too meaning that you should be able to quickly and easily stop your fountain pen ink from bleeding through your paper with ease.