How To Fix Dead Ballpoint Pens

I promise, I haven’t gone off the deep end. I hate to throw things away that don’t need to be tossed, and most pens that stop writing can be fixed in a matter of seconds.

Fix Those Pens

We had a few hundred pens to test after having collected them from boxes bound for a dumpster. Sure, we had saved them from the landfill, but did they work? Most did, but the 30 or so that wouldn’t write just needed a little nudge. The roller ball was locked in place by dried-up ink from lack of use and we decided to put an age-old remedy to the test. If you put the tip of a ballpoint pen in a flame for a second or two it heats up the ball and gets it moving again.

Moving parts are all that’s needed when you know there’s still ink in that pen. Here’s how we did it. This ain’t rocket science:


I had 2 excellent lab testers to do the job. The result? Thirty pens saved! And, why do we do this? Because we find too many plastic pens out in the environment, on our beaches, sides of roads, sidewalks. Every time we go to the beach or to town, we find pens.

Papermate Washed Ashore at Point No Point, WA © Liesl Clark

Paper Mate Washed Ashore at Point No Point, WA © Liesl Clark

I don’t think I’ll ever need to buy a pen again. They’re everywhere, and most are made of plastic so they’re here to stay, forever. Let’s try to fix the ones that don’t work and give them a second, third, and fifth life if necessary. And when all the plastic pens have been used up, we can start buying one special metal pen a year, like my husband does. He carries it with him and uses it religiously, because it’s his one pen, his favorite pen, meticulously made, and ready for him to write beautiful things because it’s well made and doesn’t dry up so easily.

7 thoughts on “How To Fix Dead Ballpoint Pens

  1. I am a stationery addict, so have tons of pens. I do use them all up, then make stuff with the casing, such as axles for wheels, or bobbin holders for thread. I never knew about the candle method though – I shall file that away for future use, thanks! 🙂

    Like

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