Back to School Roundup

It’s back to school season and Goulet Pens has you covered on all of your fountain pen, ink, and paper needs! With a number of blogs and videos covering our best school supplies from the past several years, we’ve established some great go-to recommendations for students and teachers alike. Check the links below as your one-stop shop for all your school necessities:

Back to School: Middle & High School Edition

Back to School: Teachers Edition

Fountain Pen 101: Back-to-School Shopping

Q&A Slice: Pen Carry/Storage Solutions for Students


Q&A Slice: Fountain Pen Inks for Students



Q&A Slice: Better for Students? Pilot Metropolitan vs. TWSBI Mini



Q&A Slice: Notebooks/Loose Leaf Paper for Students



Q&A Slice: Colorful & Shading Inks for Students

Do you have some great ‘back to school’ recommendations for students or teachers? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company

2017-10-11T14:24:22+00:00 August 25th, 2017|Shopping Guides|15 Comments
  • MP

    I’m a teacher, and I love my Vanishing Point and my TWSBI 580 at school. My Pilot Metropolitan usually comes in handy as well. Apica notebooks are a great deal, so I’m trying to work those in. But this year I’m also trying some Field Notes Bylines and some Write Notepads top bound notebooks for to-do lists. I also discovered from the Comfortable Shoes Studio blog that Mead composition books work great with fountain pen paper and cost less than a dollar at Target. That’s a great option for reducing expenses since I use so much paper, but nothing can beat the smooth, fountain-pen friendly options Goulet has. With ink, I pretty much use whatever strikes my fancy, though I do need a more sedate ink for signing paperwork and such. Right now, I’m using a sample of Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai that I bought from Goulet. It has great shading and some nice red sheen too.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      That is great to know about the composition books!

  • torrilin

    Definitely some good recs.

    I’m trying out an eye dropper Preppy. Don’t have anywhere near the ink mL through it to recommend it yet. But Preppies tend to unscrew less in use than my Lamy Safaris so they may be ok as an eye dropper. Unscrew while writing is a pain. Not as annoying as ink everywhere but not cute.

    I’d recommend a TWSBI eco over Lamy Safaris and Pilot Metropolitans. If you don’t want ink everywhere they’re hard to beat. Not too heavy. No unscrewing issues. And the ink capacity is nice. And they don’t dry out easily.

    J. Herbin regular inks tend to be nice. Rouge Caroubier is a good red with a nice dry time (most red inks are horrible if you’re a lefty and result in tons of smudges). It also shades well. Violette Pensée is also really nice. I don’t have enough ink mL used to endorse any other particular colors, but Herbin inks tend to have consistent dry time across reviews, even if the color appears inconsistent. My personal threshold is a 20s smudger is probably ok, since most ink reviewers use a paper like Rhodia which has terrible dry time. So unless you’re also using horrible smudgey paper you will be fine. A 10s smudger is good. Very few ink reviews put enough emphasis on dry time.

    You’ll get the hang of telling by feel whether a cheap paper will feather, bleed or smudge. In my book smudges are the worst. You can compensate for bleeding and feathering in a variety of ways, but there’s no good way to fix a paper that smudges. And if it smudges with a fountain pen it will smudge with EVERYTHING. Pencil, ballpoint, roller ball, gel pens… and then you have to get rid of it.

  • Robert Dašek

    Some of the inks that perform well on cheap paper and aren’t black:
    Most of the iron gall inks: I have tested Platinum blue-black, citrus-black, sepia-black, forest-black, and cassis-black with excellent results. Also Rohner & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa work really well. These are also quite permanent so that’s a plus.
    Other inks that also work well (I think Brian mentioned this brand): most colors of Pelikan 4001 inks. These inks are not very water resistant.
    On the other hand, Pelikan Edelstein inks are quite wet and they’ll feather and bleed on cheap papers.
    Last, but not least, Lamy inks seem to perform well too. I have only tested blue-black, and blue.

    • Ben Jackson

      I second the recommendation for iron gall inks. R&K Salix is a bit boring but works really well on most paper. So does Scabiosa, though it feels dry in some pens. I’ve tried Platinum’s forest-black and cassis-black and those work well too. So does Diamine Registrars (though it clogged in one of my pens). I also tried some KWZ iron gall inks, but those did not seem to work as well as R&K and Platinum. I got a fair amount of bleed through and feathering with the KWZ green inks I tried, which surprised me.

  • Tom Johnson

    The previous posters covered things quite well. I’ll add some thoughts. Top off your pen’s ink every night or morning to be sure you do not run dry in class. If you use cartridges then just carry several with you to class, but those using converter, piston or vacuum filling pens or who refill cartridges, a top off is quick and assures you will not run dry.

    Carry a backup pen, you just never know. Don’t go to class with an untried pen!! Test new fountain pens and inks doing your homework, not taking important class notes.

    Noodler’s bulletproof Black has been the best ink I’ve ever seen for paper that bleeds through badly. I’ve even written on newsprint with it with minimal bleedthrough (though it does bleed through this cheapest of all papers). For a good performing red for editing, corrections, notes – Noodler’s Fox red is bulletproof and performs quite well in my fine Metropolitan. And Platinum Carbon Black and Pigmented Blue perform quite well, never had a pen that these inks clogged (I keep them in pens that the cap seals well). If they dry out in the nib, they respond with a simple rinse under the tap.

    I recommend the Platinum Carbon Desk Pen for use on your desk. So quick and simple to just pluck the pen out of the tulip and write, then drop it back in. Gravity holds the pen in well enough that the nib does not dry out for weeks at a time, yet it only sits with its own weight. Only in EF and M (like a European F), but so handy, like plucking an uncapped pen out of the air and returning it. My 2 never skip until the cartridge is running dry.

    Consider the Platinum Plaisir for a rugged, reliable inexpensive pen that can sit capped for a long time without drying out. I recommend having a couple of cheap ballpoint or rollerball pens handy to had out to friends who have “forgotten” their pen – NEVER LEND YOUR FOUNTAIN PEN TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER USED ONE, unless you don’t mind getting the nib ruined when they press down too hard. And keep a paper towel or two handy. Just in case!

    • MP

      I kinda want a Carbon Desk Pen for my office, but I don’t think I’m in there enough that it would get used enough. But I’ve always loved those desk pen looks.

      • Tom Johnson

        I never thought much about desk pens until my sister gave me her late husband’s 1960’s Sheaffer Snorkel desk pen. Loved using one so I got the Platinum EF with base. I also have the M Platinum without the base. Now I wish I’d bought a fountain pen desk model years ago before I retired. Never thought I’d want one, but now I see that I would have loved having one on my desk at work. Mine does not get used that much at home though, sometimes for editing and where I need to write very small.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Those are fabulous tips, Tom! Thanks!

  • David L.

    Tom had some excellent points. Noodler’s Black is a must-have for anything. It’s the best black I have ever used. Add a Metropolitan and a pad of Rhodia and you have the perfect student package. For a teacher, I agree with Tom here as well. The Platinum Desk Pen would be perfect. You could have two. One inked with Noodler’s Black or Platinum Carbon Black and the other filled with Diamine Red Dragon (for grading). I do not have a Plaisir, so I cannot testify to the quality, but from what I’ve heard, It’s an excellent pen. A TWSBI would also be a good pen to have for a student or teacher. I’m not including it because it was mentioned in a video. It was one of the first pens I thought of when I read the question. Maybe a Preppy or a Charlie with Noodler’s Baystate Blue. That you have a permanent blue as well. Why can’t there be more permanent blues?!?! This and Liberty’s Elysium is all I can think of. Please notify me of any more anybody can think of. There is really no more that I can add. Everyone has done such an excellent job at giving their preferences and recommendations that there is not much more to say!

    • Tom Johnson

      Great points David. Just think of the Plaisir as an armored Preppy. I love TWSBI’s, and the Eco especially. There is one more permanent (waterproof) blue ink to add to your list: Platinum’s Pigment Blue. It is a great ink, well behaved, cleans out easily, does not clog. I usually use Liberty’s Elysium just because I prefer the shade, but Pigment Blue is a wonderful waterproof ink with a nice blue color.

      • David L.

        Thank you, Tom! I knew that there was at least one more, but I just could not think of it.

  • Liz D

    My non-black favorites for cheap paper are Baystate Blue and North African Violet in the Pilot Plumix. That pen is great for keeping the ink from drying out. One time I forgot to clean it for 4months loaded with Baystate Blue and it still wrote without hesitation. Another good one for me has been LaReine Mauve in a Lamy Safari with italic nib. Again the italic nib is slower to dry out. Also with these strong Noodlers permanent inks I always add 10% water to prevent drying out. …And I tend to carry them in ziploc bags just in case, to prevent accidental staining.

  • Aquaria

    I only carry inexpensive FPs with me, because we had a theft scare on campus last year. I won’t risk my expensive pens that way.

    My primary writer is a Sailor Young Profit. The MF nib is smashing for writing kanji–and everything else. It’s loaded with Namiki Blue ink, my go-to ink for student writing tasks because it’s water resistant, plus that ink combined with the Sailor nib plays nicely with cheap, nasty American paper that I’m forced to endure for tests and the like. I have other inexpensive FPs that have different color inks for my color-coding fetish.

    As a math + Japanese major, I would die without the Uni Kuri Toga Alpha Gel mechanical pencil. I can write all day (and night) with it. I also keep a Pentel 8-in-1 for my graphing needs. Math professors these days want to see graphs with COLOR! Lots of COLOR! The 8-in-1 does the job, without having to lug around a bunch of individual pencils.

    I use a Platinum highlighter, and fill it with Tombow ink. Leave it to me to find the one company that has bottled purple highlighter ink! I do water it down, so that it’s pale enough for my tastes.

    A Midori Traveler with the dated monthly and weekly calendar inserts is my agenda to keep track of assignments. club meetings, appointments, and etc.

    The Maruman Mnemosyne A4 graph notebook is a STEM Major’s best friend, especially math majors. Turning the orientation sideways means having plenty of room to do long, complex problems without getting lost in the details, and for drawing graphs. I draw a lot of graphs.

    For my other classes, I don’t know what I’d do without a Kokuyo Slide binder. I have A4 and B5 varieties, but mostly carry the B5, because it’s lightweight, sturdy, and just the right size for taking lots of notes and having removable paper for in-class assignments that I must turn in. Best. Binder. Ever.

    Kokuyo’s Sarasara filler paper (graph and lined) is perfect for all FP student needs.

    Midori has a line of A5 notebooks called “Colors” that I find useful for study guides, keeping track of formulas, vocab lists, and so on. I can tuck them into my purse for studying while I’m getting my oil changed or waiting at the clinic for my doctor to deign to see me.

    I carry two pen cases. A Cubix or Nomadic is for my math days, because I need so many things for those classes. Then I have a Kokuyo NeoCritz for non-math days. What I always have with me, either case: FPs, highlighter, pencil, Sakura or Pilot foam eraser, Midori mini-stapler, and Papermate correction tape. Take it from a math major: the Sakura and Pilot foam erasers are the world’s best erasers, ever. They take no prisoners when it comes to getting lead off a page.

    The only American paper that I will touch by choice is NorComm or the cheapie store brand paper at my local supermarket chain (HEB). They’re the only American papers that can hold up to a Lamy Safari M nib in my experience. I wouldn’t touch the garbage that is Mead if you paid me.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Sounds like a great set up!