Signed.. .Bleeding

Dear Arrighi,

I will forever be in your debt if you can solve my problem. I’m addressing wedding invitation envelopes (200 — sigh!) for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Decided on a great style and all was well until I put ink to paper and the envelopes are so–ooo porous everything is bleeding. Can’t change paper obviously. Working with cartridge – Rotring 1.1 is ALMOST passable, but while I love the new Pilot Parallel Pen for ease – it’s too much ink. (I’ve tried their ink cartridge and tried filling it with Higgins engrossing black, too.) Can you recommend a “drier” ink that the pen can handle without gunking up? Going to a dip pen will double the size of this project for me. Speaking of size – do I dare try any sizing of the envelopes? I’ve never done this and it scares me to death!

Thank you for any advice you can share!

Bleeding in Cleveland


Dear Bleeding in Cleveland,

I’d pounce the envelopes with gum sandarac then use the rotring pen if it’s almost okay. You can get sandarac from Brenda Broadbent at Pen and Ink Books and John Neal.

It’s already ground and you put it into some material (I use 2 layers of cotton or t-shirt and draw it up and wrap an elastic band around it) so it’s a little pouch, then pounce it onto the envelope rub a little with the pouch and blow on it. That’s it. Nothing to be afraid of. Another solution is to spray acrylic spray fixitive (matte) onto the envelopes, this helps keep it from bleeding. I spray a light spray over the surface and let dry thoroughly. Do this outside because of the fumes. I put newspaper down first. Then write on it, if it still bleeds spray it again and again till you find the right amount.

I can’t give you any ink that will bleed less and still come out of the fountain pen. Maybe Higgins Eternal but I’m not sure about that. Generally, if the paper is very porous you have to treat the paper or use gouache or stick ink. The fountain pen doesn’t give you much choice as far as ink goes. So you’ll have to decide if you are willing to go to a dip pen which has more possibility for different writing liquids. Good Luck!