How to Make Epoxy Resin Pens Using Molds
Making epoxy resin pens with molds is a great project for both experienced resin crafters and beginners. I have been getting, giving, making, and using handmade pens for many years. For me, each pen has a story which reminds me of a special time or friend whenever I use it. I just love adding a new handmade pen to my collection and giving the pens I make as gifts to friends and family. Also, my favorite art projects are beautiful and practical. Handcrafted resin pens are pretty much the epitome of functional art!
There are two main ways to make your own acrylic pens: either on a lathe, or using molds and resin. If you’re using a lathe you create a block of resin that locks into the lathe and is then spun at very high speeds. You then carve the block with special tools until you have perfect pen shapes. While these pens turn out beautifully, they require expensive equipment and training.
On the other hand, molded resin pens only require the materials you already own for resin art, plus the pen molds. The pen molds I’ll be using come in a set of three pen styles and include plenty of blue, black, and red ink cartridges.
Resin Pen Molds
The IntoResin pen molds are made of silicon and very smooth. This gives the molded pens a shiny glass-like finish. A nice feature to the molds is that each one has flat support on the bottom so the molds can’t roll even though the pens are rounded. Also, the molds are designed to securely hold the ink cartridges. There is a tiny channel to hold the pen tip, and a tiny nub that fits perfectly into the open ink cartridge hole on the other end. The ink is held securely in the middle of the mold so resin can flow all around the cartridge.
Every IntoResin pen kit comes with one of each of the following three pen mold styles. Since they are all reusable, you can make as many of each type as you want.
Pen 1 (5.75” long x .5” at the widest point)
Of the 3 unique pen molds, this one is the most standard shape. It creates a slim, round barrel pen that is nicely tapered at top. This mold works beautifully with alcohol inks, mica powders, and fine glitter, amongst other inclusions.
Pen 2 (5.75” long x .5” wide)
This gently squared mold creates a modern geometric shaped pen. It has four sides with rounded corners for comfort. The top has a slight angle and a small square decorative element. The top square can easily be trimmed if you prefer a flat top.
Pen 3 (6” long x .75” at the widest point)
This rounded chunky mold is probably the most versatile of the three because of its larger size. It creates a very comfortable rounded pen that tapers fully at the top and bottom. Because of the wide middle, it is particularly accommodating to larger items you want to embed. This pen mold is perfect for adding dried flowers, charms, small photos, etc. As you will see further in this article, the combination of dried flowers or plants and clear resin in this mold produces a stunning pen.
How to Make Epoxy Pens
I have used a lathe to make epoxy pens in the past, so I know that using molds is so much easier! I was surprised at how simple the technique is, and how little resin these pens use.
And the molds are so versatile! I’ll show you a few of my favorite variations after I give you the basic instructions. Below the general directions you’ll find instructions for how to make a gorgeous and easy dried flower pen, a cool holographic pen, and a metallic mica pen.
But first, here are the general instructions for making epoxy resin pens:
What You Need
- 2-Part epoxy resin
- Silicone pen mold set (molds and ink cartridges)
- Mixing cups
- Pipettes or long-tipped syringes
- Colorants or mix-ins (such as glitter or flower petals)
- Wooden stirrers
- Kitchen scale or measuring cup
- Kitchen torch or lighter (optional)
- Tweezer (optional)
- Parchment Paper (can substitute wax paper)
- Nitrile gloves
- Flat surface
- Something to protect surface
- Good ventilation
Pen making is simple, but there are a few important points to be aware of so your pens come out beautiful and mostly bubble-free. First, note that pen molds are fairly small and the addition of the ink cartridge creates tiny, hard-to-reach crevasses. Therefore, it’s important to use resin that is as thin as possible so it can flow into the tiny spaces under and around the ink cartridge. IntoResin’s 2-part epoxy works perfectly.
To keep the resin as thin as possible make sure it’s warmed before you begin. I put my bottles in the sun, but you can use warm water or other techniques described in our temperature article. The environment you're working in should be warm as well, if possible. Another important tip is to have everything prepared and ready for casting as soon as your resin is mixed. With these points in mind, you're ready to begin making pens!
1) Insert ink cartridges into your pen moldsYou will see each mold has a narrow tip end and a tiny nub on the other end of the inside of the mold. Insert the nub into the open end of the ink cartridge. Then insert the ink cartridge tip all the way into the tip of the mold. You may need to bend the ink cartridge or the mold to get the ink in securely, but then everything will straighten out after the ink cartridge is inserted properly. When you’re done, put your molds aside on some parchment or wax paper, where you plan to fill them with resin.
2) Have colorants readyAdd any mix-ins to your mixing cups before preparing the resin.
3) Mix enough warmed, 2-part epoxy resin to fill your pen moldsIt won’t be much. Mix thoroughly. Because the resin is warm, bubbles will rise and pop very quickly. Tap your mixing container on the table a few times to help the bubbles rise. Wait just a couple of minutes. You don’t want the resin to begin setting before getting it into your molds.
4) Pour some of the clear mixed resin into your prepared mixing cupsThen stir to combine your colors and mix-ins thoroughly. Adjust the colors and opacity by adding more color or more clear resin as desired.
5) Use your pipette or syringe to draw up a small amount of the mixed resinYou can choose either the clear, or one of the colors - but only use a color if the resin is still thin and runny.
6) Insert the tip of the pipette or syringe into the tip of a pen moldnext to the ink cartridge. Now slowly squeeze to inject a small amount of resin into the pen tip. Remove the pipette.
7) Inspect the pen tip for trapped airby holding the mold up and looking through the silicone. Squeeze the outside of the mold tip gently to push the resin around and release any bubbles. For particularly stubborn trapped air, use a toothpick or pin to coax out bubbles and pop them.
8) fill your pen molds the rest of the wayOnce you have the pen tips filled, you can use your mixed clear resin, colored resin, and add-ins to fill your pen molds the rest of the way. This is where your creativity comes in - You can pour colors in patterns, embed tiny objects, add sequins, embed dried flowers, add bits of fabric, and mix in glitter. Have fun!
9) Pop bubbles as they come to the topWhen your pen molds are filled, set them aside on a flat level surface to cure. To keep dust and debris out of the molds, you can cover them with a clean box. It’s best to let the pens cure overnight.
10) Check the progress
To see if your pens are ready to be removed from the molds, check for tackiness in the exposed resin. It won’t be rock solid yet, but it should feel dry and firm. At this stage your cured pen will pop out of the mold easily. If it’s still a little bendy, just let it cure another day. (No need to put it back in the mold.)
11) When your pen is hard like glass, it’s fully curedBefore using your pen for the first time, remember to peel off the wax seal on the pen tip. Now you’re ready to write!
Now that you have the basics of epoxy pen making, here are specific instructions for three of my favorite pen making variations using: dried flowers, holographic glitter, and mica powders.
Custom Epoxy Pen Ideas
1 - Dried Flower Pens
Dried flowers, leaves, and other dried plant material can be embedded in resin to create stunning and unique pens. When choosing what to embed, make sure the plants are 100% dry. Also, try to avoid flowers that are thick and inflexible. You’ll want flowers that can bend to the shape of the pen and fit inside the small molds. Flower pens use only clear resin to allow the flowers to be seen.1) To get started, put an ink cartridge in your mold as described above. Have your flowers ready. Have a tweezer or toothpick handy to help place the flowers.
2) Before mixing resin, begin placing flowers by setting them in the mold under the ink cartridge. Make sure the flowers are facing outward. Use tweezers or a toothpick to move the flowers around. When you have what you like under the ink cartridge, start adding flowers to the sides of the mold, always facing them away from the ink cartridge. Set the mold aside.3) Now mix some 2-part epoxy resin as described above.
4) Using a pipette, “inject” a small amount of clear mixed resin into the tip of the mold where the pen tip is. Press the pipette in as far as you can to get the resin into the tiniest spaces. Then remove the pipette and squeeze the pen tip of the mold a little to press out any possible trapped air. You should be able to see bubbles through the mold and can poke particularly stubborn bubbles out with a toothpick or pin.
5) Next, slowly pour more clear resin into the mold, over the bottom flowers. Let the resin flow slowly over the flowers. Wiggle the flowers around a little to release any trapped air, and to make sure the resin touches all parts of the mold.
6) Add more resin to the mold and continue the process with the side flowers.
7) Now it’s time to add your last flowers to the final side. Place more flowers on top of the resin in the open space. Push them around a little to release trapped air.
8) When you’ve added all the flowers you want, pour enough clear, mixed resin over the top flowers to create a slight dome. Push any floating flowers back into the resin with a toothpick. They will stop floating up as the resin thickens.
When the flowers have settled into place, set your mold aside to allow the resin to cure fully. When your pen is firm and dry, remove it from the mold, take off the wax tip, and it’s ready to use!
2 - Holographic Glitter Pens
Holographic glitter is a mix of glitters and mica that give a 3-dimensional effect when mixed with resin. This technique is great for making pens for anyone who loves things with a lot of sparkle. Because the pen molds are small, keep your color choices to three or fewer. Holo glitter is fairly dense, so you probably won’t see much of the ink cartridge in these pens.
1) Choose the mold and colors you want for your holographic glitter pen.2) Put an ink cartridge in your mold as described above. Then put a small amount (around ½ tsp) of each holo glitter color into a small mixing cup and mix some clear resin.
3) Next, same steps as described above.
4) Pour some of the clear mixed resin into each mixing cup that contains holo glitter. Stir each one well. And pour a little of one holo glitter resin color near the pen tip.
5) Using a toothpick, mix the colored resin into the clear resin to blend the pen tip as best you can.
6) Now pour more of the first holo color into your pen mold. You can pour randomly or in a pattern for different effects.
7) Add the second and third colors (if you are using them). Mix more holo glitter if you’re running low. You can also add a little plain clear resin over the colors if you want.
8) When the mold is full, set it aside to cure fully.
When your pen is firm and dry, remove it from the mold, take off the wax tip, and it’s ready to use. Hold your holographic glitter pen up to the light to get the full sparkly effect!
3 - Mica Powder Pens
Mica powder gives resin an opaque metallic look with very saturated colors. You will not see the ink cartridge in these pens. Mica powder resin pens can be created using an almost infinite palette of colors and patterns. They are a great choice for someone who wants a unique pen that’s a bit more conservative.
Note that mica powder mixed in resin won’t bleed together a lot like alcohol inks. Nor will mica powder get chunky and take up a lot of space. Therefore, you can use more colors in each pen than with the other techniques, if you want. I’m using green, blue, and black to demonstrate, but choosing more colors would work well.
1) Choose the mold and the mica powder colors you want for your pen and put an ink cartridge in your mold as described above.
3) Mix some clear 2-part epoxy resin as described in the general pen-making instructions above.
4) Pour some of the clear mixed resin into each mixing cup that contains mica powder. Stir each one well until the mica is completely blended into the resin. Check the fully blended color and decide if you’d like to add a bit more mica powder or resin to adjust the color.
5) Choose your first blended mica powder and resin color. Use a pipette or syringe to draw up some of this colored resin. Unlike resin with chunky inclusions like glitter, this colored resin will be thin enough to flow into the tiny spaces at the tip of the pen.
6) Using the pipette, “inject” a small amount of the mixed, colored resin into the tip of the mold where the pen tip is. Press the pipette in as far as you can to let the resin flow into the smallest crevasses.
7) Next, remove the pipette. Squeeze mold’s pen tip gently to press out any air that got trapped in that end. (You should be able to see bubbles through the mold.) You can also pop stubborn bubbles with a toothpick or pin.
8) Pour a little more of the mica colored resin near the pen tip. You can do this with the pipette, or pour straight from the mixing cup. And next is the creative part. Pour more of the first mixed color into your pen mold randomly or in a pattern for whatever effect you want.
9) Add the second and third colors (if you are using them). You can alternate which colors you want in the mold until the mold is full. You can create many effects using mica powder in resin. Try tipping the mold to let the colors run together, or swirl them with a toothpick. As the resin thickens you can even craft dots and other shapes.
10) When your pen mold is full, set it aside to cure.
Check to see if your pen is firm and dry. Then remove it from the mold, peel off the wax tip, and your pen is ready for writing!
What kind of resin works best for epoxy pens?
Since the pen molds have tight spots the resin has to flow into, you should use a thin resin. A two-part resin that is warm and not given any time to set, will be nice and thin. IntoResin 2-part epoxy works great for resin pens.
Will my pens have a flat area?
Yes. When you pour resin into the mold opening the resin will level out and create a flat spot. The flat area will be just as shiny as the rest of the pen and also keep your pen from rolling.
How do I round off the flat part of my pens?
There are three basic ways you can make the flat area of your resin pen rounded:1) Dome - Dome the flat area by adding more resin after you’ve taken your pen out of the mold. This is done the same way as doming a pendant.
2) Press - There is a stage when your resin is cured and dry, but still a little bendy. (Timing will vary depending on environmental conditions.) At this stage you can safely press the flat edge along the length of your pen until you’ve reshaped the barrel the way you want. You can use your fingers or another pen to press and do the shaping. Note that this will make relatively small changes, but will round the edges.3) Sand - You can sand the flat part of your cured resin pen into a round barrel. Note that this will dull the shine. To bring back the shine you have to sand with increasingly fine sandpaper, or…sand as smooth as you can and then apply varnish or more resin.
What if I want to see the ink barrel through my pen?
When you mix your resin, make sure you can see through it. Clear resin, sparse glitter, and transparent dyes work well for this. If you don't want to see the ink barrel, you can try to use mica powders, opaque dyes and dense glitter.
What if the ink stops flowing even when the ink cartridge is full?
Sometimes you’ll notice a pen will stop working for what appears to be no reason. What is actually happening is that the ink in the cartridge gets stuck. For a pen to keep writing it needs air to flow into the ink cartridge so the ink can flow out. Depending on the configuration of the pen and the exact placement of the cartridge, your pen may need a tiny airhole, much in the way a water jug needs an airhole for the water to flow. This is such an easy problem to fix, I drill holes in all the pens I make so I know they won’t stop writing until the ink is gone. This isn’t always a problem, but I would recommend making air holes if you’re gifting or selling your pens. Here’s how:There are several ways to create an airhole in your pen:
1) Sand - If the open end of the ink cartridge is close to the end of the pen, you can simply sand the pen end until the cartridge hole is exposed.2) Dremel - If you have a Dremel or equivalent, it is the best choice for drilling holes in resin. You can make extremely small holes and have a lot of control. This works perfectly for restoring airflow in resin pens. I use a 1.6mm Dremel bit (#664DR) and either drill sideways into the empty part of the ink cartridge or into the cartridge from the back end of the pen. It takes seconds per pen. Then just tap out the resin dust, and you’re done.
3) Drill - You can drill through the back end or side of your pen directly into the empty part of the ink cartridge. Drilling can be done by hand with a hand drill or bead reamer (a tiny hand “drill” used for opening and widening holes in beads). Though, drilling is easier and faster with an electric drill (use the smallest bit you can get), and easiest of all, with a Dremel.
How do I get the resin into the ends of the pen mold?
Getting resin into tight spots without creating air bubbles can be tricky, but here a a few tips that will help:
1) Make sure to use only newly mixed resin and keep it warm if possible so it flows more easily.
2) Use a pipette or syringe to inject the resin into the tip of the mold.
3) Use plain resin with no inclusions for the very tip of the mold as described in the above directions.
4) Pour resin into the mold very slowly at first, giving the resin time to flow into tiny crevices.
5) Use a round toothpick to push the resin into the smallest spaces and pop air bubbles.
6) Gently squeeze the mold near the pen tip to push out air and squish the resin in.
So whether you’re an experienced resin artist, or this will be your first resin project, you’ll be able to make pens that are as easy or as involved as you want. You can make and use a simple one color pen straight from the mold, or create a multi-colored pen design rounded on all sides. The inclusions, colors, and even final shapes are all up to you. If you're like me, you’ll find your favorite pens to make, and you’ll never run out of variations to try!