I really love my old ball pens. They are broken in. They flow so smoothly and glide over the paper. But when I get a new ball pen, in the beginning it is scratchy until it is used enough to make it flow really easily. It is so irritating.

It there anyway to make a new ball pen perform just like an old ball pen?

  • Switch to fountain? Honestly it is great for my wrist, and i can write much longer using fountain than ballpoint pens.
    – Nelson
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 5:32
  • @Nelson If you have an answer, please post it below. Thanks. Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 11:00
  • How did you break-in your favoured pens before you asked here?
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 16:26

4 Answers 4


The one thing that helps me a lot with this issue is to use the pen against the sole of my shoe, I really don't know why or how it works. I was given this tip as a kid by an older friend and I've done it ever since. Draw a couple of lines on your sole and they're gonna start coming out smoother and smoother with each "stroke" you do. I've done it on running shoes, dress shoes, and boots.

  • Sounds like it gets rid of the tiny dried crust of ink from the ball of the ball-point pen without damaging the 'socket'.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 8:54
  • It take a little longer than you suggest (a couple of minutes), but, yeah, it works!
    – Sky High
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 1:52

I usually run my new, scratchy ball point pens on some newspaper until they 'click' into their smoothness.

Personally though, I find heating up the ink mildly tends to help greatly, hence I usually leave it in the sun for a while (or better, an incandescent bulb for a few seconds).


I know, it sounds gross, but many times I've just licked the tip of the pen, and usually that helps the ink to start flowing smoothly.


It is very often that the ball point pen that we purchase may not be having smooth ink flow. So I usually rub it against window pane, until I am satisfied. Window pane I meant is shown below. Also do remember to clean it if ink is present on glass. This heats up nib of pen and the related portion of solid ink if any present.Thus making flow of ink smoother.

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