7 Ways to Re-use Empty Ink Bottles

Have you ever looked at the bottles that your fountain pen ink comes in and wished you could re-purpose them after the ink runs out? The variety of shapes and sizes is nearly endless, so it’s almost guaranteed you can find a new life for your bottles with a little creativity! Read on below for some of our suggestions for reusing your empty ink bottles.

To begin, you’ll want to clean out the bottle before using them for any projects. There will be traces of ink still in the bottle. Add a drop of dish soap and shake it with a bit of water inside a closed off bottle to remove ink. Flush through with water until all the soap is gone and then leave your bottles upside down on a towel to dry. You can also soak your bottles if you’d like to remove the labels. Now you’re ready for one of the many fun ink bottle uses below!

Desk Storage

Surely, you’ve got all kinds of knicknacks and small items floating around your desk. Round up those paper clips or push pins and stow them away in an appealing vessel. The ink bottles allow for easy access to these items, while keeping them contained.

Wedding Favor

Send your guests home with a one-of-a-kind momento. You can personalize each bottle with a custom label with your names, monogram, date, or anything else special you might want to include. Add some candy or a simple flower and you’ve got a great and unique favor!

Decorative Bud Vase

You can brighten up any table or desk space with your ink-bottle-turned-bud-vase. Once you’ve cleaned the bottle out, it makes the ideal home for some cheery little blooms and buds.

Jewelry/Bobby Pin Holder

How often do your bobby pins and hair accessories seem to disappear into thin air? Keep them collected and contained in one spot by repurposing an empty ink bottle! Especially with some of the larger capacity bottles, you will have plenty of space to stow away pins, clips, and hair ties for safe keeping until you need them again.

Tiny Planter

Test out a clean empty ink bottle as a tiny terrarium for a petite plant!  It is the perfect size for a little sprout to add some greenery to your desk. Put an ink bottle to use for propagating a new plant. Place a clipping into your ink bottle with some water and watch your plant shoot up, much like your inspiration to write with your pens.

Essential Oil Reed Diffuser

The power of smell has a strong connection to your mood. Surround yourself with calming vibes and create a serene space by making your own diffuser with some reeds and essential oils. Fill the empty ink bottle with your favorite scents and soak your reeds. Soon, you’ll have a refreshing aroma all around you.

Recycle Them!

The more you can recycle in this world, the better. If you have no use for the previous ideas, you can still give your empty ink bottles a second life by recycling them to be reused in another way. Most recycling programs should take clean ink bottles, just as they would empty soda bottles.


If you don’t have any empty bottles laying around at home, you can also find some for purchase on our site! Check out our selection of empty ink bottles. How do you reuse your empty ink bottles? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

2017-11-15T20:26:05+00:00 September 12th, 2017|DIY, Tips & Tricks|29 Comments
  • David L.

    I have not yet emptied any ink bottles. When I do, I will probably use them for calligraphy and fountain pen nib storage. Unless it is one of those hideous new Diamine bottles. They used to be the perfect ink bottle. Plain and simple. Now, they get tucked away, out of sight until it’s time to fill. With some bottles, like Caran d’Ache, Pilot Iroshizuku, and Visconti, I would fill with a diluted ink and set it on display. With Nemosine, Noodler’s, and a few others, I may use them to hold pens. Currently, I’m using empty sample vials in a Lego stand to hold my inked up pens. And if I get too many, I’d just recycle them.

  • Unjuan Equis

    I would love to recycle my ink bottles by refilling them with more ink, but the problem is that nobody sells ink without bottles.

    • Julie Paradise

      There is a brand that sells ink in sealed plastic/foil pouches, I just cannot remember the name.

      • Michell


  • lisaspangenberg

    I’d love to be able to send bottles to be re-filled. In the meantime, what about using them to mix inks?

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      You could do that as well 🙂 Bottle make the perfect mixing apparatus

  • Shaavazul

    What a fun post! Pretty helpful!

  • Henry

    Since the bottles look so pretty with the original colored ink try filling an empty bottle with water and add a few drops of the original ink. Place the bottles on a sunny window sill and enjoy the view. The color may not be a deep as the original one but it should look pretty.

  • Evrim Binbaş

    The problem is I cannot finish a bottle… I have around 40 bottles, and if it takes a year or so to finish a bottle, it will be years before I get an empty bottle in my hands.

  • chupkar

    Love this post.

  • Tom Johnson

    These are some really great suggestions here.
    I have only had a couple of ink bottles go empty – my first bottle of Noodler’s Black and a bottle of Noodler’s Lexington Gray that spilled on the floor (less than half full, rest in TWSBI ink well and vials). I bought several small empty bottles from Goulet Pens to use for filling from. I bought an empty bottle of Iroshizuku ink that I did not use, sold on eBay for several $$. If I find an ink mix I’d like to keep permanently, I’ll use an empty bottle for that.

  • Randy R

    Very interesting and clever. Some of your ideas will definitely be put to use.

    I use an empty Lamy Ink bottle without its cap to hold a sample vial while filling a pen. The bottle has a much larger base than the sample vial making it more difficult to accidentally tip over. Its mouth is large enough to let the sample vial lean a bit (easier to reach the filling hole of the nib when nearly empty) and it is short enough that the vial sticks up a bit higher than the Lamy bottle’s lip which makes it much easier to grab and recap the vial. Most of the other bottles are too tall for that and the vial must be carefully extracted from the others. I like it partly because it looks like it belongs on my writing desk, but mostly because I’m simply not as self-confident, talented or as steady as Brian in holding everything: vial, nib, converter and twisting the converter simultaneously without spilling! Ah, well. Not all of us “have it.” 😀

    Thanks for this post!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      What a smart idea!

  • Ms.Egg

    I have a couple of empty bottles I got from Goulet – ones that are truly inkwells; Edelstein and Pilot Iroshizuku. Because I frequently use dip pens and vintage calligraphy pens, I find them better to work with due to their overall weight and design. I like to fill them with my favorite inks and keep them on display on my art table (because they’re pretty). I don’t have too many other empty bottles, but I have a feeling that the cheaper ones will get used in my classroom for holding M&M’s (aka: chill pills), Jolly Ranchers (aka: no-you-don’t-need-to-go-to-the-nurse drops), grading pens, and other essentials. It would also be really fun to create an miniature art project with them, such as an Alice and Wonderland “drink me” bottle, or a tiny Smaug guarding his hoard. Ok, now I just want a tiny dragon in a bottle with a note saying “open in case of emergency”.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Hahaha I love everything about this post. I like your candy ideas, those are great! And the tiny dragon in a bottle sounds like a must-have now!

  • MP

    I wonder how long it will take me to empty a bottle of ink. I only have a few bottles in my collection so far, and I haven’t done more than 2 pen fills from any of them. I’ve been experimenting so much with samples in this first year of fountain pen discovery.

  • Kristen

    I use empty bottles to split my inks between work and home! I bought a 4.5ml Noodler’s Lexington Grey and filled an empty Caran d’Ache bottle with it (bought empty from Goulet – thank you!). The Caran d’Ache bottle then went to work with me, and the rest of it stays at home as a stock pile.

  • Avery Edghill

    Here’s another variation on the bud vase. I don’t typically venture into the world of craft, but I had some empty ink bottles and needed a small gift in a pinch. All you need are some “plastic perennials” from your local craft store, some color beads, and voila, you have a set of pleasant home/office decor pieces.

  • Avery Edghill

    Here’s another variation on the bud vase. I don’t typically venture into the world of craft, but I had some empty ink bottles and needed a small gift in a pinch. All you need are some “plastic perennials” from your local craft store, some color beads, and voila, you have a set of pleasant home/office decor pieces. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89247f62ec2f002a4c9764cd394ad7f39bc835ff0380916ec1ef0df9b0bffec7.jpg

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      That’s fabulous! I love it!

    • Kris R

      Those are great!! I love the look of the beads in the glass bottles – a great way to showcase favorite beads as well!

  • ec

    I love glass ink bottles! Thanks for these fresh ideas.

    Edit: I’ve put sprigs of tiny silk flowers in three (left the labels on and a bit of dried ink in the bottom edges), and they look great on my lingerie chest! Used Herbin, Diamine, and DeAtramentis bottles.

  • Kris R

    I finally got a chance to play with my order of empty ink bottles…here’s what one became (many of the rest will go into the kiln to become small candle trivets, chopstick holders and other assorted ‘platforms’ for things). https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b1a51e495a0bc526ce5946052cb7a6b732e34a4377eef5f88d60218921f9d27a.jpg

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Wow! That’s so neat! Very beautiful!

  • bois234


    Just put a drop of ink into a clean ink bottle, fill with water and stir gently. It will take on a beautiful translucent quality for your flowers.