The best way to store pens was never something that crossed my mind. I've always loved cute pencil cases (I have quite a collection as you can imagine). As my collection grew and I started experimenting with different types of inks, prush pens, metallic markers and fineliners I started to consider how best to store my stash in order to prolong their life.
Some manufacturers make this easier for us, giving instructions on the packaging. Others make it a guessing game that could end up with either a dry nib or a puddle of ink in the bottom of your pot!
I'm going to share some tips from my research which will hopefully help you make storing your pens and markers less of a headache!
Never leave your pens with their tips exposed. Ink innovation is constantly becoming more advanced and lots of manufacturers claim that their pens can survive without their caps for up to 72 hours but this is definitely not what is best for your precious pens. Always put the caps back on after you use them and listen for the satisfying click.
Don't leave any of your stationery in direct sunlight (even in Northumberland) and avoid your pens becoming too hot or cold. Erasable pens are extremely vulnerable. The ink is designed to disappear when it gets hot. Popping them in the freezer should revive them if they do get too hot.
Remember - all pens have the potential to leak. Don't leave them in the pocket of your favourite dress or in your designer handbag!
How to store brush pens
The best way to store brush pens depends on the type of ink. Waterbased brush pens can be stored horizontally or vertically. This includes Tombow ABT dual brush pens and Pentel Sign Brush Pens. Some with double tips like Mildliners might benefit from being horizontal but should survive being vertical too.
Those with alcohol-based inks like Copics or Tombow ABT Pro brush pens must be kept horizontally or the ink will evaporate. This also applies to metallic pens like to lots of metallic or alcohol based pens.
How to store ballpoint pens
Ballpoint pens tend to have thicker, slower-moving ink. Keeping them point down should ensure they are ready to go when you need them. I love to use mugs and pen pots for my ballpoints so that they are easy to grab when I need to make a quick note.
How to store alcohol markers
Pens like sharpies contain alcohol-based ink. They need to be stored horizontally so that the tip stays wet but also so that the ink does not evaporate.
How to store gel pens
It is important to keep the pressure off the tip of gel pens to stop them from leaking. Therefore, it is best to keep them tip up. After being stored this way, it may take a couple of strokes to get the ink flowing again but that's a good excuse for some cute sticky notes to doodle on.
How to store felt tips
You don't want to let the tips of felt tips dry out so they are best stored tip down. They often come in good packs for storage or look great in a pen pot in easy reach of your craft area. This rule can also be used for fiineliners with fibre tips. Those with plastic tips like Pigma Micron PNs can be stored any way you like so are fantastic for using with your diary and popping in your bag.
How to store highlighters
Highlighters have a fibre tip so it is best to keep them nib down to stop them from drying out. They should also be ok in your pencil case if you use them regularly but avoid storing them vertically with the tip up.
How to store paint markers
Paint pens or Acrylic Markers are best stored horizontally. If stored vertically, the paint may split and become clogged. These pens usually have replaceable tips which can be removed and cleaned or replaced if necessary extending the life of the pens.
How to store fountain pens
Fountain pens have always been the queen of pens to me. I like to keep them horizontally in their own pen case. This stops them from leaking but also makes sure the nib is wet and ready to go when I want to use them. If you are not going to use a fountain pen for a long time, it is best to store it empty after giving it a gentle clean.
As a general rule, if in doubt, store your pens horizontally. Choose a pretty pencil case or a fancy acrylic storage box, it's totally up to you. Just remember to put the lids on securely! I spent far too much time when I was a teacher crawling around on the floor looking for lids!
For help choosing the best brush pens for you, have a look at this blog post.