Pen and Ink Storage

This article has some tips in regards with what to do with your pen and ink supplies (dip pens, nibs, brushes, and ink) when they are not in use. Some of the information is obvious, and the rest is from my personal experience. If nothing else hopefully the information will help you better organize your pen and ink material.

Most of the article can be summed up by simply getting yourself a small plastic toolbox to hold everything. My pen and ink toolbox is in the image below and only cost me a $1 at a local DollarTree store. I have packed it around my time at college, the trips walking to/from home/college, and also for working at various other places. I can not recommend a toolbox enough.

Pen storage boxes

Pen Holders

Pen holders with, or without, nibs can safely be stored in small plastic tool/craft box, tackle box, or the so called dip pen boxes. Or if you have no problems storing them sitting on your desk, they can be put into a cup with the nib end pointed up as well.

In the image above the toolbox (left) can hold dip pens and nibs in the top container and everything else inside. The container (right) in the image is great for holding pen holders and nibs, extra material, and can fit inside the toolbox.

Also you can get a desk organizer that will hold several dip pens and a inkwell. The organizer will look great and keep your pens convenient. Often they are made of plastic or wood and can hold several dip pens at once.

Pen nib storage

Pen Nibs

Additional nibs can be kept in their original packaging, small plastic tool/craft box, tackle box, or the dip pen boxes – or in small glass containers. Anything that keeps the nibs dry and safe will work.

The only problem to watch out for, beyond bent/broken tines, is rust. After the nibs are clean be sure the nibs and holder are completely dry before storage. I had some nibs that were covered in rust in just a week as the pen holders were not completely dry after cleaning.

The higher the humidity the quicker the nibs will rust as well; however, if the original nib coating has not been removed they should last many years. I have a couple boxes of NOS (new old stock) Esterbrook nibs from the 1950’s with no rust.

Another item that is great to have handy, with the nibs, is a small pair of needle-nose pliers. They can be used to straighten bent tines on nibs, or remove stubborn nibs from pen holders when cleaning.

Ink storage


Ink is best stored in air tight containers, keeping the ink from drying out and getting thick. The best containers would be a inkwell, ink cups, or other small containers with a tight fitting lid.

The longer ink sits on a shelf the more likely the ink will thicken or separate. Thick ink can be “revived” to near original form with just a few drops of water. Use a eyedropper and add a drop of water and stir the ink. Repeat until the ink is the consistency desired.

If the ink pigments have separated (no longer in suspension) in the container simply stir the ink. Some ink manufacturers recommend that the ink should be stirred before each use and occasionally during use.


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