I recently did a survey on Instagram about what kind of blog posts people liked, and a lovely number of you said you liked ink reviews. I have a tendency to focus on what’s new to the shop, and so I thought I would start a new series, which is cracking open a mystery sample pack every once in a while.

We sell ink samples of almost all the inks we carry. This is truly a labour of love, but it’s a great way to try a bunch of different inks, especially if you’re looking just that right blue-black and need a few. It’s also great if you only need a little bit for a few Christmas cards or a special occasion. A 2mL ink sample will give you enough to fill a Safari converter 2-3 times.

The Mystery Sample Packs are five random samples, and are very popular in the shop. We try and mix it up a bit so you’re not getting five black inks, but there it is pretty randomized so you (and we) never know what you’re going to get.

Shockingly, I am not normally someone who embraces this excitement, the thrill of five mystery ink samples. I have a very specific set of ink colours that I primarily enjoy (browns, dark blues) and a few favourite inks that I return to over and over again.

And so this series, opening a mystery sample pack and seeing I have to ink up, is a great way for me to break out of my shell a little bit. And share with you all.

The pens from left to right: Lamy Safari Neon Green (fine), Sailor Highlighter (medium), Sailor Pro Gear Slim Shikiori Series, the Dragon Palace Mint Green (medium-fine), Pilot Custom 74 in burgundy (medium), Lamy LX Marron (fine)
Rohrer and Klingner Solferino, an ink I used to use a bit more. If I was a teacher, this would be a great ink for marking. Even has a bit of sheen! But I mostly love it for its bright colour.
Diamine Red Firestorm (with silver shimmer) in a Sailor Medium. I find Diamine Shimmertastic inks to be very shimmery. It’s hard to always get an even amount of shimmer in the samples, even though we agitate the bottles before we start siphoning out. The shimmer settles and moves so quickly. However, with Shimmertastic inks, most samples do get a good amount of shimmer because they’re so much. We often get questions about whether or not shimmer inks clog, and the short answer is that they are designed for fountain pens, but will clog more quickly if they’re left in your pen for too long.
Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin in a Sailor Medium-Fine.
J. Herbin Kyanite du Nepal in a Lamy LX Fine. A turquoise with both shimmer and some sheen. I’d forgotten how the shimmer gets into the feed, and sometimes for several ink fills after that you still get the occasional glint.
Noodler’s Midway Blue was an early love for me, one of the first Noodler’s inks we carried in the shop, bright and vibrant. It may not have the razzle dazzle of glitter, but it’s a great blue for summer skies.


These days I’ve been cleaning out the Studio Shop a bit. Most of the inventory has been trucked over the main shop, early on in the pandemic when we wanted everything to be accounted for and available online. So I’m looking at what’s been left over, dusting and sweeping, organizing drawers that have been neglected for months now. The battery for the keyboard died, but now it’s working again. I put away our sad (and empty) little candy bowl where people used to help themselves on their way out. I actually discovered this sample pack in the studio shop.

It’s both slightly demoralizing to see the shop so empty, but also nice to start sprucing things up again and start thinking about what’s coming down the line. Nice to start getting things ready.

The kids run inside and outside, and occasionally complete tasks assigned to them, like “bring this toy upstairs,” instead of leaving it outside. They mostly just eat dripping popsicles and spray each other with the hose in the backyard. School is starting soon enough, and I have no idea how we’re all going to fit back into the old routines again.

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August 16, 2020 — wonderpens



marcy said:

I do love the ink reviews (I miss the WonderPens Ink IG account) and always look on the blog as I’m purchasing my next ink. Waiting in the mail for five new inks in sample sizes!!


Danielle said:

These are all so lovely! I really enjoy getting these mystery packs, I never know what overlooked ink I’ll fall in love with!

Pat D

Pat D said:

Ohhh! Very nice to see a sample pack opened to see what it brings :)

Out of curiosity, what do you do with all the little sample vials afterwards? (I’ve collected a few over the years and have yet to find a use for them)
Are they recyclable?

Thanks for continuing to populate the blog! It brings me a lot of joy to read how you’re doing and also get to relish in seeing some more stationary etc…


wonderpens said:

We do recycle them, although more often I refill them with a different ink from my own collection to share or give away. In the back we have an overflowing small box of half-used sample vials that staff can take from as they like, to fill their own pens or any of our shop tester pens.

I’m glad to be here! These days it’s been a bit wayward as we’re prepping to send the kids off to school, but I will take what I can get!

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