Best Pens That Do Not Bleed: Cause & How to Prevent Bleeding Pen

I am not a stickler for perfection but it’s quite annoying sometimes:

A few days ago, I was writing a happy story on my diary and after I finish, I surprisingly notice that the ink bleed through the paper and smear my previous page. That mark is so obvious that I have nothing to do but tear down the page a restart one. Nothing is better than a non bleed markers.

Ink Bleed Through Paper

For those don’t have much time to read through the whole passage, here’s a takeaway for the top rated no bleed pens and markers for both school kids and adults in different use that we’ve tested and pick for you from many different pens these days.

Editors’ Pick: Best No Bleed Markers Pens


If you are curious like I do and would like to know all the in and out of the ink bleeding issue, please read on and see the root cause of pen bleeding, how to prevent and how to fix...

Content
Part 1. How Ink Spreads on Paper
Part 2. Difference Between Ink Bleeding, Feathering and Ghosting
Part 3. Best Markers That Do Not Bleed
Part 4. Reasons and Solutions to Ink Bleeding on Paper
Part 5. How to Minimize the Ink Bleeding Impact

Part 1. How Ink Spreads on Paper

There are different kinds of pens but the way how ink spreads on paper are similar. Pen inks are consist of two parts: The pigment and the liquid solution. When you write things on a paper, the liquid solution dries out (evaporates) while the paper absorb the pigment. If too much ink added on a paper with lower absorption, it will feather or bleed through the paper.

How Ink Spreads on Paper
Image from Thevirtualinstructor.com

Part 2. Difference Between Ink Bleeding, Feathering and Ghosting

Ink stains on papers can be caused by different reason. The common cause of page smears are ink bleeding, feathering and ghosting.

What is Ink Bleeding?

Ink bleeding is ink permeating a paper. It will leave ink marks and dirty smudges on the back side of the page or even the next page if it bleed too much. The ink liquid solution plays an important part whether or not it will bleed.

What Is Ink Bleeding
Image from allaboutplanners.com.au

What is Ink Ghosting?

Ink ghosting is similar to ink bleeding. Ink ghosting allows you to see writing on the paper, but no ink marks soaking through the paper. Ink ghosting could interfere with the writing on the other side and make the writings hard to read.

What Is Ink Ghosting
Image from Spillinghazard.com

What is Ink Feathering?

Ink feathering is a spreading outline from where the ink was laid down. This is more common for those who use a fountain pen with a low quality. A good fountain pen supposed to produce a clean and solid outline. The nib of the pen is the leading factor that we need to note.
What Is Ink Feathering
Image from wonderpens.wordpress.com

Difference between Ink Bleeding, Feathering and Ghosting

Though ink feathering, bleeding and ghosting all add smudges to our paper, they have some core differences:

Ink feathering is too much ink outflow from the nib of the pen, especially fountain pen, while ink ghosting can be solved with a thicker paper. As for ink bleeding, it is more relevant to ink, paper, the way the pen is used, and so on.

Part 3. Best Markers That Do Not Bleed

To save you time from endless testing and find the best markers that do not bleed, we’ve done the experiments for you. Here are the best no bleed markers that we pick out for you for different usage scenarios:

1. Best journal pen: 36 colors Fine Tip Markers (0.4mm);
Our best bullet journal pen goes to 36 colors Fine Tip Markers because it creates bright and beautiful outlines with 36 colors fine tip marker set. The premium ink ensure you smooth writing and are good journaling pens for school and arts. There are color mark on both the cap and the end so that you can easily grab the right color you want.

Best Journal Pen 36 Colors Fine Tip Markers

2. Best gel pens for writing: Cute Cactus Gel Pen (0.5mm);
This 0.5mm gel pen is the best smooth writing pens I’ve ever used. It’s comfortable and the best pens to write with. The two designs of the green cactus are cute and easy grabbing. Suitable for kids to hold it for long time.



3. Best coloured pens for note taking: 36 colors Fine Tip Markers (0.4mm);
Speak of good pens for taking notes, I prefer using pen sets that have multiple colors included so that I can use different color for different contents. To take a few examples, I use green ink for facts, orange ink for that’s doubtful and use red ink for those really important. In that way, it boosts efficiency that I can quickly locate the paragraphs we are looking for.
Best Coloured Pens for Note Taking

4. Best markers for coloring: Mildliner Pastel Highlighter (12PCS/set);
Mildliner Pastel highlighter is not only excellent for highlighting lines and cheerful quotes, but also the best color markers set. It provides bright and pastel marks to make the artwork more like a watercolor piece of art. It has marker tips on both sides to create both thin and broad outlines as needed. It’s definitely good markers for coloring.

Best Markers for Coloring Mildliner Pastel Highlighter

5. Best pen for school: Donut Erasable Gel Pen (0.5mm);
The best pen for school would be donut erasable gel pen. This gel pen has a cute donut design on the tip and a 0.5mm smooth writing experience. What’s more attractive is that there’s a eraser design on the rear end, which allows school kids to remove ink easily.

Best Pen for School Donut Erasable Gel Pen

6. Best Easter themed pen: Bunny Carrot Gel Pen (0.5mm);
If you are looking for a small but cute Easter gifts for a school kid, this bunny gel pen with a carrot and bunny pattern will be the ideal one. You can include this best Easter themed pen in the Easter bucket. I am sure your little ones will definitely love it.

Best Easter Themed Pen Bunny Carrot Gel Pen

Part 4. Reasons and Solutions to Ink Bleeding on Paper

If you use other pens that are not tested here, you can figure out the reason why ink bleed on paper to better prevent your paper and pencil case getting messy. Actually, there are many different factors that lead to ink bleeding:

10 Common Causes of Ink Bleeding

1. Bleed Proof Paper ≠ Bleed Through Resistant Paper;
2. Wrong Type of Ink;
3. Overfilling;
4. Over Blending;
5. Unintentionally Dropping;
6. Airway Clogged;
7. Status of Nib;
8. The Position it is Stored;
9. External Pressure;
10. Heat Raised;

1. Bleed Proof Paper ≠ Bleed through Resistant Paper;

Some paper are advertised as bleed proof but that doesn’t mean it is resistant to bleed-through. Bleed-proof means the paper can control the direction, but not how far the ink travels. In that way, bleed-proof paper stops ink from feathering (spread to the side) but not stop it from bleeding downwards.

Bleedproof Marker Paper
Image Alt: Bleedproof Marker Paper

Solution: Use thicker bleed-resistant paper, starting at 220gsm, or use porous material as a back boarding underneath the paper.

2. The Wrong Type of Ink;

Some bad quality alcohol based ink will be runny and easily bleed through paper. Don’t take me wrong, I don’t mean you should dump alcohol based ink and turn to oil-based ink. Actually, injecting oil-based refills in alcohol based markers will also lead to ink bleeding because it is not designed to work with it.
Wrong Type of Ink Water Based Alcohol Based Marker
Solution: When using a refillable markers, be sure you know what filler solutions work with your markers.

3. Overfilling;

Some markers and pens are refillable. But as there’s no measurable or see-through scale when refilling our pen, it is inevitable that we overfill. Overfilling will throw too much pressure to the nib and result in ink splash when you take off the cap.

Pen Overfilling Lead to Ink Bleeding
Image from: montana-cans.com

Solution: If overfill your pen, use a paper towel or tissue to absorb extra ink before using.

4. Over-blending;

Some ink are runny and watery, if you leave excessive ink on the same spot of the paper, the paper will be unable to absorb them and result in over blending. When the liquid solution of the ink evaporates, the pigment leave behind will bleed through and make a sticky mess.

Over Blending
Image from Artbyro.com

Solution: Don’t put excessive ink on the same spot of the paper to prevent over blending.

5. Unintentionally Dropping;

Similar to overfilling, unintentionally dropping the marker will result in sudden over-pressured to the nib and eventually lead to a ink bleeding.

Solution: To stop ink bleeding because of accidentally dropping or shaking, you can place the pen upside down so that the fluid will flow back and reduce the pressure from the nib.

6. Airway Clogged;

As we write on paper, wooden pulp fiber would be abraded and adhere to the nib thus clog the airway somehow. Ink flow is blocked and result in inner pressure of the pen.

Solution: Clean up the nib and slot and unclog the airway from time to time.

7. Status of the Nib;

Beside checking out the nib to remove potential congestion, we should also check whether the nib is seated properly in pen. The nib might skew where it should be if we draw heavily on paper.

Status of The Nib Worn Out
Image Alt: Status of The Nib Worn Out

Solution: Check whether the nib is well seated. If it is well seated but still bleeding, the nib might be worn out and needed to be replaced with a new one.

8. The Position it is Stored;

If markers are stored vertically nib side down, the liquid will flow towards the nib and splash when remove the cap; if rear side down, the liquid will flow against the nib because of gravity.

How to Store Pens Vertically or Horizonally

Solution: 
No matter you use pencil, fountain pen or alcohol based marker, you’d better store it horizonal to avoid excessive pressure to the tip or unnecessary ink evaporation.

9. External Pressure;

When involved with external pressure, let’s say on a plane, fountain pen are more likely to leak and bleed on your page because as air pressure drop, if there’s air in the barrel of the pen, air inside the tube will push ink out to equalize to the outer pressure, which cause leaking and bleeding.

Put Pens in Ziplock Bag to Prevent Ink Leak on Plane

Solution: Empty the fountain pen or fill your fountain pen full with ink. In that way, altitude change will not mess about with your pen.

10. Heat Raised;

Ballpoint pens are more easily leak and bleed through your shirt and canvas. That is because ink in ballpoint pen will interact with heat generated by body temperature or friction. They become more fluid, and easily leak from the nib.

Pen Leak on Canvas or Shirt Heat Raised

Solution:
Keep the pen cool and if heat is inevitable especially on summer, you’d better use a zip lock bag and put the pen in it while carrying it in your canvas pencil case so as to avoid having a messy “colored pencil case”.

Part 5. How to Minimize the Ink Bleeding Impact

If ink bleeding has already happened, is there any way to fix the smudges on the paper? We all know that some memorabilia sticker is not sticky anymore when tear off and trying to stick back on. Well, is there any better solution to make up for this than tear down the whole page and start over?

Actually, there are several remedies to make up for a smeared paper

3 Remedies to make up for ink-bled page:

  • White Gel Pens & White Out correction tape;

    Stickers & Washi Tape;

    Doodles & typography;


White Gel Pens & White-out Correction Tape;

If few spots bled through the paper, you can just cover the ink spots with the white gel pens or white-out correction tape. However, I prefer a white gel pen than a correction tape because correction tape are noticeable. However, if the paper you are using is yellow based, a white gel pen might not do its job. You’d better move on for other solutions.

Use White Ink Pen to Fix Ink Bleeding Marks
Image from: theodysseyonline.com

Stickers & Washi Tape;

If the ink bled through have involve a large portion of the page, or the page is not white base, you can get a sticker that match the bled part (would be better if the sticker can also match your journal theme). Sometimes if the ink bleed through as a horizonal straight line, I would use a Washi tape as a divider or decoration.

Use Washi Tape to Fix Ink Bleeding on Paper

Doodles & Typography;

If it is quite a huge part that has been smeared, you can play with your imagination and doodle or typography with the mark.

Doodle or Typography on Paper to Fix Ink Bleeding


Conclusion

Pen ink carries both liquid solution and pigments. Liquid solutions evaporate and pigment absorbed onto the paper as we write. However, ink decides how quick liquid solution evaporate while different types of paper decides which direction the ink goes but not how far the ink travel.

Therefore, it is quite familiar that ink bleed through paper. (Ink feathering and ink ghosting looks similar to ink bleeding but they are totally different things.)

To save you time, we’ve picked out 6 best non bleed markers for different use after testing: 36pcs fine tip markers are best marker for bullet journal, the green cactus gel pen are best pen for writing as it is easy hold, the 12pcs pastel highlighters are best pens for coloring, the donut gel pen is great as best pen for school because it comes with an ink eraser on the end.

But if you are choosing pen that won’t bleed by yourself, you’d better know 10 reasons why pen inks bleed through paper: That would be something to do with the paper, ink, over filling, over blending, the status of the tip, airway clogged, unintentionally drop, excessive outer pressure, heat raised, the way your pens are stored, and so on.

If the ink has already bleed through the paper, and generating visible smears on your page, there are multiple remedies to make up for it. You can use white gel pen, washi tape, stickers or doodle to distract eyes from the spots.