Tangling With a Glass Dip Pen


A year ago I was seeing glass dip pens popping up in my Amazon feed. A load of them. And I had never tried one before so I thought I should rectify that situation and ordered a cool dip pen. Of course it was teal-ish in color.

Isn’t it pretty? I paid about $8.00 on Amazon. They had boring ones in the $3 – 4.00 range, but I wanted pretty. Since then, I’ve seen other glass dip pens that range upwards to $150-220 each. I found one cool pen that had a jelly fish design and a huge price tag! Do not spend that kind of money unless you really get amazing at this type of drawing. Those little tips are super fragile. Trust me, I know. I no longer have this pen. And I don’t even know why the tip cracked. Anyway, I digress. Sorry.

I figured I needed some training before I got around to tangling, so I watched a YouTube video that lasted one minute and 20 seconds and called myself a pro. Hahahaha! At least enough to get started! These are the inks I used. I already had them so no purchase was necessary. I use them sometimes to make backgrounds but had never drawn with them before. There is a mix of Daler Rowney Liquid Acrylics and Liquitex Acrylic Ink. They worked equally well.

It is as simple as dipping the pen into the jar of ink, lifting it out and wiping the excess off onto the lip of the jar gently (because fragile), then holding the pen like you would any other pen – and draw! Narwal is a fun tangle that looks cool, so I started with that.

I drew the framework using two different colors of ink. Then I started filling in the sections with – what else? – printemps! I know that surprises you! Hahahaha! I’m thinking comfort tangles here. Ta-da!

I am impressed I remembered to take photos. In this shot you can see the pen inked. Truly, all you do is stick the pen into the ink and wipe the excess on the rim. The ink sits in those little grooves and does not fall off the end of the pen. Seems like it would but it doesn’t. Don’t try writing straight down at a 90 degree angle – because it won’t work. Hold the dip pen like a regular ballpoint pen and draw.

Class is over for the day. Hahaha!

I tried every color I had that wasn’t boring – like silver and black. Ugh. The one that looks like black is actually purple. Way dark but I like the contrast.

I had not used the sepia color yet, so I started outlining the entire narwal to tie it all together. Once you are done with one color, dip your pen into a container of water and swirl it around. That will wash the color off, then dry gently on a soft cloth or paper towel. This will keep your dip pen clean and you keep from cross-mixing colors you don’t want mixed. Unless you like having a whole jar of mud color.

My hand slipped as I made one of those curves, so now that narwal has a thicker border than planned. This way it looks intentional! Yep! Hahaha! Glass dip pens may just be where it’s at. Now if I could only justify spending a small fortune on that jellyfish pen I found. Yep. Not likely.

I mentioned the tips cracking. I have a new pen now. When I pulled this one out of the drawer to make another drawing, the tip was cracked. And I could not use it. My new one came with a plastic cover over the tip – like you get on new paint brushes – and came in a padded box. A lot better protected than the first one and it cost a dollar less. Go figure. If you should try dip pens – I would love to see what you do!

16 thoughts on “Tangling With a Glass Dip Pen

  1. That was interesting, but I don’t think I am in that league. It is a very lovely pen. Thanks for the great post I am sure some of our colleagues will give these a try with breathtaking results. Have a good day.

  2. Love the dip pen and art. I’ve sanded a broken glass tip with emery cloth and made it usable again.

    • I’ll keep that in mind but it is too late for this pen cause it is in a landfill somewhere. >.<

  3. I received a glass dip pen for Christmas and I love it. I also received a bottle of invisible ink (it shows up under a black light). Love working with the pen. I feel so …worthy?

  4. Thank you for sharing! I have loved watching people write and draw with these online! The look so smooth and beautiful! So elegant! I thought they were way more costly! I might have to try one (the $8 version of course 😁) Beautiful Narwhal! Have a great day!

  5. Thank you for this inspiration. I have purchased several of these beauties….but they are just sitting there at the house somewhere!!! Now to find them…..or maybe just order another couple!!!! I was unsure how to use the ink with them. But after reading this and seeing your pictures, I want to take a day of vacation and go home to start!!!

  6. Too bad it cracked, it was so pretty. I like playing around with lettering so I just have a plain wood one with a couple of different nibs. Your Narwal looks great.
    The Postman’s Knock website gives a lot of info on inks and pens.

    I’m already on your mailing list. I never know if I should x the box or not.

    • no, you don’t need to fill in the boxes if you are already subscribed 🙂 and I do follow The Postman’s Knock, she is a little intimidating for me because she is so great. hahaha! but I keep reading anyway <3

  7. Narwhal certainly looks like he has a pearlescent shell with all those colours – I like how your opportunity was so so effective giving such a lovely definition with your chop made more prominent as a result.

    • hahaha! I wondered if you would notice that 🙂 I may play with this type of pen again today. it was a lot of fun!

  8. My husband bought me two. In a box. With ink. I’ll take a picture. But my drawing with them are not nearly as nice as yours.

    • hahaha! I bet your drawing with them is awesome! I need to do more. this is the only piece I’ve ever done. then the tip broke. booooo!

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