How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper

John BosleyHow To 14 Comments

Fountain pen blotting paper can be very useful, especially if you enjoy using inks or papers that have higher dry times. What is blotting paper? Essentially, it is a highly-absorbent paper that can be used to soak up excess ink on the surface of your paper. If you’ve never used blotting paper or don’t know anything about it, there are a few things to know before using it for the first time. In this article, I’ll show you what blotting paper is, how to use it and give you a few tips and tricks to help you out.

What Is Blotting Paper?

The first question is what is blotting paper? As I mentioned above, it is highly-absorbent paper that is specifically made to quickly absorb excess ink. It has been used for many years, with some reports claiming it dates back to the 15th century. It is mainly found in flat sheets (just like paper), but can also be found in rolls, such as in the base of a bottle of Lamy ink.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper sheets

I purchased this pack of blotting paper many years ago and haven’t needed to buy more.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper

When describing how to use fountain pen blotting paper, there are two different aspects to discuss. First, there is literally how to use it, but there is also physically how to use it. Let’s start with the actual use of blotting paper.

Using blotting paper is as simple as pressing two pieces of paper together. One piece of paper is the blotting paper and the other is the paper with wet ink on it. When the blotting paper comes into contact with wet ink, it quickly soaks it up. The result is that you don’t have to sit and wait for the ink to dry. I have found that gently laying the blotting paper on top of my wet writing and then pressing straight down gets the best results. You don’t want to rub or move the blotting paper, as you will likely smear your writing before the ink dries.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper smeared ink

Here you can see I smeared the ink and also transferred some color with sloppy blotting.

While you can use a plain sheet of blotting paper and simply lay it on your paper, there are other ways to use it. The most popular is to use a rocker blotter. A rocker blotter is a tool that you attach a piece of blotting paper to. Its curved shape allows you to “rock” the blotting paper across your writing instead of laying it directly on the paper. It certainly makes blotting much faster and easier. Does it change the way the blotting paper works? Keep reading to see some tests that I did.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper silver blotter

Rocker blotters can be simple or, like this silver one, quite ornate.

Blotting Paper Tips and Tricks

I’ve been using blotting paper for as long as I’ve been using fountain pens, so I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that might make things a little easier for you if you’ve never used it before.

Does a rocker blotter work better than just plain blotting paper? In my experience, a rocker blotter works better and is easier to use than just a sheet of blotting paper. It tends to blot more evenly since the pressure is distributed across the paper and not just where you press with your fingers or hand. It is also much quicker to use a rocker blotter since it has a handle and can quickly be picked up, rocked across your writing and removed.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper rocker blotter test

You can see that the rocker blotter did a better job at evenly removing excess ink.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper bottom

Blotting paper attaches to the bottom of a rocker blotter and can be easily replaced once it is used up.

Choose your blotting paper wisely. I’ve used a few different types of blotting paper and can say that they indeed perform differently. For starters, unless you’re desperate, I wouldn’t even bother with the stuff in the bottom of a bottle of Lamy ink. It is intended to be used as a nib wiper, but it is often referred to as blotting paper. In my experience, it is difficult to use and doesn’t work very well. I’ve also used some blotting paper that is also used as a business card. This does work, but beware of any printing or embossing, as it will be less absorbent than the paper. Finally, there is plain old blotting paper. In my opinion, this is going to be the best to use, as its intended use is only for soaking up ink.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper comparing papers

All blotting papers work about the same at absorbing ink and reducing smearing, but the Lamy paper is much harder to use.

Be careful when using used blotting paper. On more than one occasion, I have accidentally transferred a different color of ink from my blotting paper to the wet ink I’m trying to soak up! This usually happens when using lighter, low-saturation inks and blotting paper that is heavily used.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper ink transfer

A bit of red ink transferred to this wet green ink. Lighter colored inks are much more likely to pick up ink from your blotting paper.

Cut custom blotters for different uses. I tend to keep pieces of blotting paper in many of my journals and notebooks. Not only does it work as blotting paper when I’m writing, but also as a bookmark! I’ve also used it in the past as a hand rest while doodling. This helps to soak up any wet ink that may be on the surface of my paper, but also keeps the oils on my hand from smearing high-sheening ink.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper blotter bookmark

In notebooks and journals that I use regularly, I keep a piece of blotting paper as a bookmark.

Using blotting paper may cut down on the amount of sheen that you see. Ink tends to sheen when ink is slowly absorbed into paper and some of it dries on the surface. Using a blotter removes any excess ink from the surface of the paper, which reduces sheen, so if you’re a fan of high-sheen inks, you may be better off skipping the blotting paper and waiting for your ink to dry on its own.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper sheen

For maximum sheen and no “dead” spots in your writing, avoid using a blotter.

Using blotting paper too quickly can remove too much ink. If you blot your ink every few words before it has a chance to dry, chances are you’ll end up with a bunch of undersaturated writing. As you can see in the image below, using a blotter before the ink has a chance to dry removes a lot from the page and doesn’t look nearly as good as letting it dry a bit.

How To Use Fountain Pen Blotting Paper emerald of chivor

The top writing was blotted immediately after writing, while the bottom was allowed to dry without blotting.

If you’re interested in getting some blotting paper and trying it for yourself, you can buy it in a few different places: Amazon or Pendemonium (scroll down the page, just before the advertising blotters)

Comments 14

  1. VERY thorough article, and great detailed photos to illustrate every point. Bravo. I keep a sheet or two of Herbin white or pink blotting paper in every notebook — I use Tomoe pretty much exclusively, so blotting paper is a must!

    1. Post
  2. Thanks. Interesting and informative. When I was a kid lots of businesses and banks still had desk pads with blotting paper. They were so cool! But I always thought that the stuff on the Lamy bottles was meant to wipe your nib of excess ink after you’ve filled it. Isn’t there a little diagram on the Lamy bottles showing that?

    1. Post

      Wow, I suppose that many places would had to have blotters available when fountain pens were the main/only option. I had never thought of that! As fro the Lamy paper, the box does show that it is for nibs, but I often see people refer to it as blotting paper, so wanted to mention it as well.

  3. I have a sheet of pink blotting paper that came with each of my Nanami notebooks (Tomoe River paper), and they’re all very well used! I basically just place it against the page just written on when I turn the page or close the book. I don’t think I’ve ever blotted my writing by hand before turning the page…..

    1. Post
  4. Great article, very informative. As a lifetime fountain pen user, I have often had to explain to people why I keep a “paper” full of ink blots in my journal; it’s the blotting sheet, of course, and it’s helped me keep my ink from smearing for years.

    1. Post
  5. I’m curious about the style of blotter that has a handle with a roller. Rather like a rubber brayer use in crafting. For that type of blotter would someone lay down blotting paper over the wet ink and then roll over it with the handled blotter? Or do you attach blotting paper to the roller itself? Thanks so much for the informative article.

    1. Post

      I haven’t actually ever used one of those, Debra. I would guess that you would lay the blotting paper over the wet ink and roll over it. I think if you had the paper attached to the roller, you’d run the risk of rolling wet ink from the blotting paper onto your writing paper.

  6. Hi there,

    I am new to ink/paper/other fun stuff 🙂

    I haven’t yet chosen a fountain pen or ink pot, but I would like you know how to use this letter ink blotter that came with a lovely journal. I am using an OHTO 1.5mm rollerball. The ink doesn’t dry as quickly on the gsm 75 as it does on the gsm 52.

    Would you mind helping me figure this out? I would eventually like to buy the right fpuntain pen to write in this journal.

    Thank you, I know it’s a Piper Jane.

    1. Post

      Hi Piper, I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking here. To use a blotter, you simply put it on the wet ink until it has absorbed. Some papers take longer to absorb the ink than others, so they’ll have different dry times. Additionally, the pen and ink combinations you use will also have different dry times.

      If dry time is a concern, you’re probably better off using a fountain pen with a fine point. You might also research inks with faster dry times in colors that you like. With a little research and experimentation, I’m sure you’ll find a combination that works for you!

  7. Hi There,
    I am an Antique Collector and just started adding pens to my many Items.
    As I love Sterling Silver I do find many Ladies Manicure Tools including “Nail Buffers”. Could these Highly decorative tools “Double as Blotters?’

    1. Post

      While nail buffers somewhat resemble blotters, I don’t know how you’d attach the blotting paper to them in order to use them as blotters. If you are able to create one, please let me know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.