Investigating Alternative Ink Bottles

Rob Smith of Dot Cross Dot has been addressing a problem many fountain pen enthusiasts come across: filling a pen from a small ink bottle. Rob was frustrated by the small size of the neck of the 30ml Diamine bottles but that’s not the only problem with ink bottles. Taller bottles can be a little too easy to knock over (if you’re me, anyway) and wider bottles can be tricky to get the ink from when they start to get low. (You need to be able to get the nib right into the ink.)

Rob was kind enough to send me over eight bottles that he’d been trying out. I poured 25ml of water into each one then a couple of drops of ink.

Ink bottles with ink in

Not too easy to knock over

I can knock pretty much anything over, to be honest, but bottles 1 and 7 are just asking for trouble.

Easy to get ink from

Bottle 2 is just a little too wide, the ink will quickly be too shallow to easily draw into a pen. Bottle 4 isn’t much better.

I also checked to make sure the caps didn’t leak (and they didn’t).

Ink bottles upended

Bottles 3, 5, 6 and 8 all perform well. Although I’m not keen on the white plastic of bottle 6 I’d probably go for that one if I was sending ink by post, just to reduce the chance of breakage. At home, I’d probably pick bottle 5 because it lets me see the ink properly and I like the shape of it.

Scribble had a look at United Inkdom, where we are also doing a giveaway, and Rob has a much more detailed examination of the options over on his site, along with links of where to buy them.

I’m a tinkerer and what I love about pens, fountain pens in particular, is there’s always something to tinker with. Thank you very much to Rob for sending me these bottles!


  1. Two things ~ I use a dip pen so the ‘knock ink over’ factor is really an issue I care about so I use a kneadable eraser to keep whatever vial/bottle in place. Just smack that to your surface and squish the container into it so it’s snug…trust me, this works like a charm.

    2nd…I transfer ink, that i used constantly, into the following little squat bottleswhich I sourced on Ebay. Works for me:

    1. I remember you saying about the putty eraser on Twitter and I’ve used that trick ever since! I’ll be forever grateful to you for telling me about it.

  2. I forgot to mention…with the kneadable eraser you can tip your vial of ink on an angle that is comfortable and it keeps is steady! 🙂

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