Through the Looking Glass Pen

Through the Looking Glass Pen

Not satisfied with just one picture of the fabulous marbleised glass pens from J Herbin we went and took these rather nice close ups which show just how pretty these things are. In particular I love how the ink flowing down the grooves mirrors the marble pattern of the pen. We’ve also got a video of glass pens being made and a quick review after the jump.

The close-ups:

blue glass pen



How to make a glass pen and more

We also found this video by Steveokroma featuring glass worker artisan Janelle who shows how a glass pen is made and has some very interesting ideas for using them with products other than ink; it’s a great look at what goes into making a glass pen like this.

If the video is too long…

If you didn’t see the video, there are two very interesting ways in which you could also use the glass pen, either dipping it in drawing gum, which is basically a very thin liquid latex (art masking fluid), then writing something out, brushing on some ink, and then rubbing the latex off just with a finger once its dried, picks the writing out off the background. She also used a thin adhesive, such as that used for metal leaf to apply pigment powders or metal powder for some very cool writing effects.

Be careful though, we have not personally tested any of these methods, and there may be some products out there that won’t be good for the glass pen or hard to remove. With that said, experiment, and let us know if you have any ideas for ways to use these cool pens.

Our quick review:

glass pens

A pen that has been around since the mid-17th Century and still has its uses today, using one really does make you feel transported back in time. Beautifully marbleised these pens make a fantastically elegant addition to any stationery collection, and with its curves it’s actually quite a comfortable pen to hold.

A fluted nib

The pens have a spiral fluted nib, which allows the ink to sit in the pen’s nib letting it last a bit longer as it moves down to the end. Also when inked it provides a nice contrast with the marble effects in the pen itself. You can get at least a few lines out of it with each dip, but there will be a contrast in colour between the first word and the last.

Change colours quickly

Great for testing out lots of ink colours, doing drawings with several colours or doing invitations or letters in nice calligraphy and more. All you have to do to change colours is take a wet paper towel and wipe it off, or you can dip it in water, rubbing alcohol or ink remover and then wipe it off. This speed in changing between a lot of different colours is one of the main attractions of a pen like this.

If it feels a little rough

Writing with the pen itself might seem a little different at first, and it might take a little practice to get used to it. Sometimes the pen end might seem a little rougher than you like at first, this might be because they are handmade. However, if you want to you can take a bit of fine sand paper and give the tip a little rub to adjust the smoothness to your liking.

The glass pens also fit perfectly in the little groove that Herbin puts on their ink bottles to rest the pen on.


Overall these make a great indulgent addition to anyone’s collection, they’re fun to write with and perfect for trying lots of inks. For something quite so unique the price is also very reasonable too: click here to go to their page.

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