How to Store a Fountain Pen (Beginner’s Guide)

how to store a fountain pen

Are you new to fountain pens? Or maybe you’ve been using them for a while but don’t know how to store them properly?

Here’s how to store your fountain pens so they stay in A+ condition for years.

  1. Store them horizontal, nibs up, or nibs down according to the pen (and personal preference)
  2. Consider using a pen case to protect and stay organized
  3. Keep pens out of direct sunlight and away from heat
  4. Empty the ink reservoir for long-term storage

But there are several more tips to keep your fountain pen collection in perfect condition.

Let’s dive in!

Which Direction Should I Face the Nib During Storage?

storing fountain pen nib up
easy “nib up” storage in my office

Although it doesn’t make a ton of difference, some pens could benefit from being stored a certain way.

Storing horizontally

This is the easiest and will result in just a little bit of the ink staying in the nib of the pin. This makes it fast and easy to pick up the pen and just write!

Storing nib up

If your pin is on the “wet” side or writing, you might want to keep the ink out of the knob during storage.

You can purchase a pen holder, or figure out some way to keep the pins stored so that the ink doesn’t rest in the nib.

I’ve seen people use toilet paper rolls–so there’s no judging here.

Storing nib down

If you have a pen on the dry side, storing it nib down will help keep the ink in contact with the feed, and make it easier to write with quickly.

Just be careful–the ink could potentially leak out if the pin is stored this way for too long.

Do You Need a Pen Case?

There are all types of pen cases out there, from the super cheap on Amazon to the ultra-fancy leather & wood display cases!

You don’t need a pen case to store your pens, but it can certainly make things easier.

Having a pen case will:

  • keep your pens organized and protected
  • prevent them from getting scratched or nicked
  • help during travel (see below for more tips on traveling with your fountain pen)

They even make single pen cases, which are superb for traveling anywhere.

Keep Your Pens Out of Direct Sunlight and Away From Heat

Direct sunlight could cause the pen to fade in color! No good.

And heat is also bad in general–the heat could cause the air to expand and potentially leak out of the pen (or, in the case of cartridge/converter pens, heat could cause the ink to evaporate).

So keep your pens stored in a cool, dry place.

A desk drawer is fine, just maybe not in the sauna 😉

Empty the Ink Reservoir for Long-Term Storage

laying fountain pen horizontally
short term? doesn’t really matter! Keep em handy!

For storing long-term, it’s best to empty the ink out of your pen.

Either empty the ink back into the bottle (and be sure to flush your pen with water using a syringe, or just running it under a water spigot), or remove the cartridge and flush.

How long can I let the ink stay in the fountain pen during storage?

Here’s a handy table:

Horizontal with inkNo more than 2 weeks (without use)
Horizontal without inkUp to a year (or more)
Vertical with inkSlightly longer, up to a month (without use)
Vertical without inkUp to a year (or more)

These aren’t super strict, so just use your best judgment if you have a lot of pens to balance!

Pro Tip: Always keep your cap on your fountain pen! This likely goes without saying, but accidentally leaving the cap off of your fountain pan could be disastrous for a number of reasons. Make it a habit to snap that cap back on anytime you stop writing.

Keep Your Pens in Your Shirt Pocket Instead of Your Pants

They make pocket protectors for a reason! Storing a fountain pen in your pants (and closer to your body heat) could lead to more air expansion and potential leaks.

If you’re going to walk around with your pen in a pocket, be sure it’s in a shirt or jacket pocket instead.

Traveling With Fountain Pens, the Basics

If you were traveling on an airplane, it might be best to empty the ink reservoir and clean out the fountain pen before you leave.

(Though you don’t have to. Check out our full guide to traveling with your pen on an airplane).

You can also fill up your fountain pen just before you travel so that there is less air in the ink reservoir! The less air, the less expansion, and potential leaks!

It is also best to travel with a pin case, or at least storing your fountain pen in a plastic storage bag when you travel (just in case).

To Sum Up: Proper Fountain Pen Storage Is Important (But Easy)

As long as you’re aware of the potential issues (like ink leakage and evaporation), you can store your fountain pens with confidence!

Just be sure to:

  • keep them away from direct sunlight and heat
  • store them upright or nib-down, depending on the pen (and your personal preference)
  • use a pen case for extra protection (especially when traveling)
  • empty the ink reservoir (for long-term storage)

There ya go! Now go increase your pen collection 😉

Fountain Pen Storage F.A.Q.s.

Where do you put a fountain pen when not in use?

This will depend on how long you were storing your pen for! It is always going to be best to store it in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight, and with the ink reservoir empty (for long-term storage).

Should a fountain pen be stored upside down?

Not necessarily, but it might depend on your pen. Simply laying a pen horizontally is perfectly fine for short-term storage. Some ink will stay in the nib, and that’s ok. If your pen writes more “wet,” you might want to store it nib-up to keep the ink out of the nib (and nib down if your pen writes more “dry.”)

How do you store a fountain pin on a desk?

There’s no harm in simply laying your fountain pen on your desk when you’re not using it. You can also get a pen stand to store your pens upright on your desk. Just make sure you empty the ink reservoir first if you’re going to be storing it for a long time!

How do I keep my fountain pen from drying out?

The best way to keep your fountain pen from drying out is to use it regularly! If you’re going to be storing it for a while, make sure the ink reservoir is empty. You’ll also want to store pens in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

Related Reading: How to hold a fountain pen (correctly).