How to get the most use out of your Sakura Micron Pens
Sakura Microns particularly the tiny .005 .01 fine line pens are super delicate so two things have probably happened. You push too hard when you draw and you have bent the nib or it has gotten clogged by the paper you are writing on.
Micron’s best use is on paper, so non-traditional uses such as tole painting, decoupage applications, using it on canvas, decorative quilts, etc., might contribute to a bent or clogged nib. A Micron nib may clog from use with partially dried paint or primer, wood dust, fabric dust, starches & protections on fabric surfaces, and very fibrous paper. The Micron nibs are essentially “micro-size plastic tubes” which allow our pigment ink formula to easily flow from the barrel to the paper. When any foreign matter clogs these tubes, the Pigma ink flow is blocked. Microns are designed to be used at a 90° degree angle, straight up and down, not the way you normally use a pen to write out say your check. The Sakura site says to use a very light touch, no more than the weight of the pen itself. Microns require very little pressure to provide a flow of ink. A leak near the nib holder or ink wick could be caused by dropping, inadvertently shaking, or accidentally applying centrifugal force to the pen by spinning it in your hand.
Microns are archival, acid-free and permanent on most surfaces.
Sakura has some great ideas to try for longer pen life and many of these would likely work with other pens as well.
Pigma Microns are considered disposable pens. The product specifications and design use are for paper and not for rough surfaces such as wood or nubby fabrics. However, the Pigma Micron is the pen of choice for many tole painters. Here are a few helpful hints from tole painters sent to us over the years. (Note: They do not necessarily endorse these practices but offer them as ideas to try)
- Hold your Pigma Micron pen in a 90° degree position while writing. This will prevent uneven wear to the tip of the nib.
- Use a 05 or 08 point size when marking against hard, rough surfaces such as wood or nubby fabrics.
- Use more than one pen, and rotate your pen use. This allows pens to rejuvenate the ink flow overnight and this extends the life of the pen. (I do this a TON because I lose my pens all the time, in the car, couch, bedroom, office, outside. I like to create everywhere.. this requires multiple pens… see honey! THAT’s why I need so many!)
- Do not press down hard on the nib while you write. The excessive pressure wears down the plastic nib faster, especially on rough surfaces.
- Do not make long uninterrupted lines against rough paper surfaces or wood with the pen. Make shorter line strokes and the pen nib will last longer.
- When writing on paint, make sure that the paint is fully dried, not just surfaced cured. Acrylic paints may feel dry to the touch but just below the surface, may not be. The nib picks up bits of the wet paint and will clog easily. One needs to experiment to be sure the paint is completely dry due to differences in weather conditions. Remember, the paint drying time will differ depending upon the brand of paint you use.
- If you have one which is out of ink (and the nib is not clogged), you can exchange its nib with another Micron pen which is not out of ink, but has a clogged nib. Here’s how — With a needle nose pliers, firmly grasp the metal sleeve and gently pull the nib straight out. A long ink wick will be attached to the back of the nib holder. This ink wick is what brings the ink to the nib. Do the same for the bad nib / ink-full pen. Now gently insert the good nib into the pen with ink. Make sure the nib assembly is seated snugly into the pen barrel. Put the cap back on the pen. Then you must wait for about 3 hours for the ink to gradually pull itself through the ink wick into the nib. Do not try to rush the process by shaking the pen – you’ll only create a mess by making the ink go around the ink wick and flood the pen cap. (Note: This process does not always work, but it is worth a try. Also, do not mix ink colors. Do not take a red pen nib and insert it into a green ink pen!)
- Do not try to put any other brand ink refill into the Pigma Microns pens. They will not work.
Sakura Gelly Roll or pen products provide an alternative for a more durable point and are ideally suited for everyday writing use. I find the lighter you press with many of the Sakura Gelly Roll pens, the easier the ink flows out. This ink often needs to dry a bit before touching it so give it a little while. Sakura Micron Pens also come in a bunch of pretty colors for your Zentangle and doodle needs.