For a long time I’ve just been the type of person who grabs whatever pen is the closest. Yes, I like good pens, but usually I just need something now and grab what I see. Recently I have been inspired by other planners to branch out and try new pens and see if I have a favorite. Last weekend I did just that. I ordered a bunch of pens and went to town seeing how they work. Being more of a left brain type person I figured the best option was to write them all down on the same sheet of paper to see the differences, very much like an elementary school science project. I also have been wanting to write on washi more so I placed a few common strips of washi on my page to test the pens there as well. For this experiment I tested five types of pens: Paper Mate Medium Flair pens, Paper Mate Ultra Fine Flair pens, Sharpie Ultra Fine maker, Staedtler Fineliner pens, and Paper Mate Ink Joy 1.0 mm pens.
A note on the washi I tested: As you can see from the photo I tested four types of washi tape. From this experiment I can say that the Michaels Recollections washi is totally my favorite. It takes the pens the best with little smearing. The Scotch Expressions washi (Alphabet) was the worst. It was more shiny and did not work well with most pens. I will avoid buying this brand in the future.
Here are my thoughts on the pens:
Paper Mate Flair: These pens are mentioned a lot in the planning community so I kind of assumed they would be great. Although they are good pens, they are a bit too thick for me. Maybe they’d be great for lettering and writing large words, but not for lists or other daily work. I’ll keep them around but they couldn’t be a daily user. They wrote well on the washi so this could be another use for them.
Paper Mate flair ultra fine: These pens might be my favorite. They are a felt tip pen (so don’t press to hard) but give a nice thin line. They look like a thicker marker which might be deceiving, but they are not. They wrote smooth and could totally be a daily writer. They worked on the washi, but took a long time to dry. I’d have to be very careful and patient not to smear.
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 0.3 mm These look more like the type of pens I am used to so I figured they would work well. They have a cute little plastic case that I see many planners use. Personally I can’t see myself keeping all the pens in the case, I am just not that type of person, but if you are that is awesome. These pens call themselves a Porous Tip pen. They write similar to the Paper Mate ultra fine pens but felt much more dainty, like if I push a little they might break. They wrote well on the washi if I let them sit a bit, again working on that patience. I love that they would fit in the pen loops in my planners.
Paper Mate Ink Joy M 300RT: I have been using these pens off and on for a little white now, they are ballpoint (these are the only ballpoint I tested today.) and therefore are more traditional than the other pens we used. What is nice is they are super affordable so they fit in any budget and come in the fun colors. If you are just starting out in pens this is a good place to start. Personally I fink the ink a little thick but they work fine for the price.
Sharpie Ultra Fine: I am familiar with these pens as I have them at work but I had never used them in my planner or with washi so i grabbed a pack. They were too thick to use regularly in my planner, and they were the only pen to show any ghosting (the ink showing through the back of the paper.) They worked great on the washi though, so I will keep that in mind.
Overall I am glad I did this test. I realized that I was not a fan of the Scotch Expressions washi and I got a few for a few types of pens. I will stick a few of these in my bag and at my desk and see where we go from there.
I hope tat this was helpful to you. Do you have a favorite pen? Did I test it? Tell me below!
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