How to Make a Gel Pen Work

A gel pen is a great way to add personality and flair to any writing task. It’s important not to make the mistake of thinking that gel pens are just for kids. However, they’re also an excellent option for adults who want their handwriting to look more polished.

How to Make a Gel Pen Work

Gel pens are a popular option for students and illustrators alike, but many people complain that they simply don’t work. The truth is that gel pens require different care than traditional ink pens to remain in working order. This article will teach you some basics on how to make a gel pen work and get the most out of your pen! 

10 Ways on How to Make a Gel Pen Work

  • Wet a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol or water, then use that swab to dab at the tip of the gel pen. This will eliminate the dried ink and allow your gel pen to start flowing again.
  • Write something straightforward and see how that goes. Again, an easy sentence or two should do the trick.
  • Examine your gel pen to see any tears in the tip of the cartridge. If so, fix those first before trying anything else. Tearing open a small plastic point with your fingernail is one way to do it without breaking the nib on your gel pen.
  • Hold your gel pen upside down while you write. This trick does work, but it causes problems of its own. However, try doing this as a last resort only if the first method did not work for you.
  • Try shaking your gel pen up and down a few times. Do this until you can see the ink moving inside of the cartridge. Then try writing again using your gel pen, but only for about five seconds at a time, to begin with. This often resolves the issue in my experience.
  • Examine the tip of your gel pen. If it looks like the inside ink is dry, try flushing that tip with rubbing alcohol or water again first before trying anything else. You want to make sure that little opening is clear of dried ink before using it again.
  • Wet a folded-up paper towel with warm water and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, soak the tip of your gel pen in that water briefly to dissolve the dried ink inside the cartridge.
  • Take apart your gel pen and check on any dry parts, like where you unscrew the point off of the cartridge. Once again, if there are no tears in the cartridge itself, this ink should start flowing again with a little bit of work.
  • Take your gel pen apart and soak the tip in rubbing alcohol or water for about ten minutes. This should take care of most cases of dried ink inside your cartridge.
  • Try using another brand of gel pen to see if that helps clear things up any. If your pen is just too old, it might not be salvageable.

Difference Between Gel Pens and Traditional Ink Pens

A gel pen is a pen whose ink is contained within a transparent, viscous liquid gel or resin. Gel pens are commonly filled with pigmented colloidal suspensions of colored pigments or dyes, although some manufacturers offer non-pigmented versions that only contain colorless dyes.

Traditional ink pen

While some artists use generic art markers or alcohol markers for various applications, most professional illustrators and artists prefer fine-tipped pigmented gel pens made by several specialist manufacturers. These are often used with an artist’s brush to achieve the best results.

5 Ink Pen Maintenance Tips

If you want to make sure that your gel pens always work and write smoothly, you will need a little bit of maintenance.

This includes cleaning out the tip and ensuring that the ink flows properly and does not get clogged inside the pen.

  • The first thing you will need to do is take the cap off your pen. This can be done by unscrewing it from the base, or if you are lucky, simply pulling it off with a gentle tug. If there is still ink in the pen’s reservoir, use a tissue to wipe down excess and throw it away. You may want to wear some gloves for this step to avoid staining your fingers with ink.
  • Take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. Carefully clean the inside of the pen by slowly rotating the swab around in circles inside the reservoir. Be sure that you do not leave any cotton fibers inside.
  • Take the cap and put a few drops of water into it, then screw it back onto the pen. Open up the ink cartridge and gently shake out any excess water. Be careful to hold onto the tip at all times, as you don’t want that to get wet either.
  • Place a drop of water a little larger than needle-sized onto the tip of the cartridge, then close it again. Gently rotate the pen around until you can see that all of the sides are coated with ink.
  • Slowly open and close your pen a few times to get everything flowing properly.


The most common way to make a gel pen work is by pressing the tip against paper and drawing your desired design. However, there are also other ways of making these pens write that you might not be aware of.

A gel pen is a great tool for writing and drawing. It’s made of two parts, the ink cartridge, and the barrel. If you have trouble with your gel pen not working correctly, try these troubleshooting tips to find out what could be wrong.

We hope this article on how to make a gel pen work has helped you. Please leave your feedback in the comments section below which of these methods works best for you?

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