View Full Version : Fountain pens and Spirograph

April 21st, 2016, 07:17 AM
Hello folks. I thought I would share a different way to use your pens.

Last year I stumbled across this blog http://spirographicart.com dedicated to Spirograph. This brought back flash backs to my childhood, thus I sought out a vintage kit.

When I got the kit, it hit me.....use my pens and ink. With experimentation I found pens/ink that worked well with wheels and gears. I'll give tips later on.

I had a ton of fun with Spirograph but it's limiting. The pieces are pressed plastic and don't run as smoothly. To make certain patterns, you need to shift gears in the wheels which can cause errors in your design.

Spirograghicart had a blog post about wild gears on Kickstarter. Aaron Bleackley had redesigned Spirograph and the pieces are produced from laser cut plexiglass. I jumped a board his Kickstarter program - "Wild Gears".

7 months later I own 5/6 sheets of wild gears. Im cucko for wild gears and fountain pens. My two loves have met and we all love each other [emoji6]


I have a corner of my living room decorated with the large gears/wheels and sheets.


How did Aaron improve spirograph?

1. Wheels and gears very is size. From extremely large - bigger than 9x12 - to very small. This provides a ton of variety.


2. These wheels/gears are SMOOTH!!!! The laser cutting has provided beautiful movement.

3. Gears have holes lined up is such a way to create patterns without moving the gear.


4. Gears have a variety of sized holes. You can use magic markers, gel pens, pencils and of course fountain pens. Some holes come with inserts. You can use it to create a outline of the pattern create by the larger hole. Or use a smaller nib tool in the too large hole.

5. You can put a wheel inside a wheels with a gear. Or a gear inside a gear. This creates some unusual patterns. In fact, Aaron has several interesting ways to use the sets. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/465068187/wild-gears-20-reinventing-the-spirograph/posts/1445996


6. The unusual shape set creates amazing patterns.



Tips to use Spirograph or wild gears with fountain pens.

1. EF or F nibs are the best. Wet fat nibs equal a big smeared mess. Most of the nibs I use are Franklin Christoph. Gold or steel don't make of a difference. Though I have a gold F with is too flexible and causes smearing.
2. Lubricated inks cause smearing. Drier inks result in the gear not turning smoothly. In the end, I found its experimentation between ink and nib for the best combo.

General use ideas for Spirograph and wild gears

1. No need to pin pieces anymore. If you're old enough, you'll remember pins would hold the gear onto a card board backing. Not anymore. Someone figure out that poster board putty works. You'll see in some of my pictures strips of putty on pieces. Sometimes the wild gears are big enough to weigh down with a heavy object. Sometimes I will apply pressure with my hand when putty/heavy object is not enough.


2. When spinning a wheel - outer holes on gears (especially big gears) can be difficult to make a complete turn. You might want to gently push it with your free hand.

3. Keep your fountain pen upright at all times. Otherwise the pen get caught on paper and causes the pattern to be "off".

4. Use multiple colors to had fun to the pattern. Hey, there's got to be a reason for having 20 pens inked up. Right?

5. Use washi tape to cover areas and create over lapping designs. See pic above.

As I create designs I'll post pics. Thanks for reading.

April 21st, 2016, 07:20 AM

Top pic: FC 66. EF steel nibs. De atramentis document ink mixed to create "brownish"

Bottom pic: FC 02 EF gold nib. De atramentis document ink mixed to create "something".

April 21st, 2016, 07:21 AM

Ink: Diamine soft mint.

April 21st, 2016, 07:24 AM

Top. Created with document ink green.

Bottom created with sailor storia Magic purple.

April 21st, 2016, 07:26 AM

Created with de atramentis document green.

April 21st, 2016, 07:27 AM

This design was created by a wheel in a wheel with a gear. I drew this one awhile ago and don't remember which inks I used.

April 21st, 2016, 07:30 AM

Ink: Diamine soft mint and sailor storia Magic purple.

April 21st, 2016, 07:32 AM

Created with de atramentis document ink - mixed to create a nice red brown. One of my better mixes.

April 21st, 2016, 09:25 AM
WOW! Those are absolutely fabulous! Beautiful work. Love 'em :applause:
I especially love the colour combinations of the DA document inks.

I stumbled across WildGears a few months ago & was intrigued, but I couldn't see how they would work in practice. The videos I've seen are a bit complicated. I loved Spirigraph as a kid, but it can be limiting. Thank you so much for posting these so I can see the potential. And especially well done for using fountain pens!

April 21st, 2016, 10:11 AM
This is so cool!
Thanks a ton for sharing. Revolutionary.:jaw:

April 21st, 2016, 11:08 AM
I was wondering how you did the spirographs with a fountain pen. My memories with a spirograph didn't think they would fit the holes.

April 21st, 2016, 11:20 AM
Awesome work and so cool to see those gaining ground in popularity again.

Really like your posts on Instagram :clap2::clap2:

April 21st, 2016, 04:07 PM
Thanks so much. When I'm completely frazzled from work, the swirling motion of wild gears helps me de stress. It's a creative outlet for me that's very different than the art of Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

April 22nd, 2016, 07:49 PM
Lovin' these. They must be mesmerizing to use once you get the hang of them!

April 22nd, 2016, 08:32 PM
Wow these are incredible. LOVE THEM! They sort of reminded me of Peter Max, from way back when. I used to have a Spirograph too. It was cool. I don't remember what happened to mine. You've outdone yourself here, Crazyorange!