Kuretake Karappo Empty Brush & Felt Tip Pens (Set of 5)

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens

When the Kuretake Karappo Empty Brush Pens (Set of 5 for $17.50) and Felt Tip Pens (set of 5 for $15)  first arrived on JetPens, Jesi, Jaclyn and I pretty much hoarded the entire inventory and then argued about who was going to write the review about them. I believe Jesi and Jaclyn got the Kuretake Ink-Cafe Set that included the empty pens and a set of inks that will allow you to mix your own ink colors. Because we need more ink colors like we need a whole in our heads, right? So, look forward to either Jaclyn or Jesi writing up a review of their ink mixing experiments in the near future.

I purchased the pens because I wanted a chance to find new and different ways to use my fountain pen inks. Would these Karappo pens work with sheening inks? Would they work with shimmer inks? I needed answers to these questions!

I also wanted to experiment with the difference between the brush pen and the 0.4mm fine pen.

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens

First, I wanted to know how long it took to fill the pen? Answer? About one minute with regular fountain pen ink.  I did not use any special tools. I just dropped the cotton-y looking inserts into a bottle on ink and watched as they wicked up the ink.

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens

I filled two of the “fine” 0.4mm on the left and three of the “fine” brush pens on the right.

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens

I tested a sheening ink — Diamine Skull & Roses in one of the 0.4mm fine tipped pens and the sheening qualities of the ink are still visible. The advantage, for me, of theses pens over other pens which accept fountain pen ink is that they are fiber-tipped rather than rollerball. As a lefty, I tend to choke rollerball pens or I don’t hold them at quite the right angle to get them to write. With the fine 0.4mm and brush tip Karappo pens, I had no issues with ink flow!

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens

The other fine tipped pen was filled with a delicate grey ink: Colorverse Matter. All the shading properties remained! I like how the 0.4mm pens write. They are very similar to the width of a Sharpie Pen, IMHO.

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens

The brush pens were not super flexible or brushy but just gave a nice bit of line variation and would be perfectly acceptable for embellishing the titles or headers in a notebook or addressing an envelope. Since I tend to buy a lot of very light inks and very fine nibbed fountain pens that do not show the inks to their best  result, these pens are a great opportunity to give some of the paler inks a second life.

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens

My last experiment was to put Pen BBS #111 (a shimmer ink) into one of the Karappo brush pens. While the color looks amazing, none of the shimmer is evident. I don’t think the material was able to absorb any of the shimmer particles. So… that answers that question.

Kuretake Karappo Empty Pens Labels

Each package of pens comes with a set of stickers to mark with the color of ink in your pens and attach to the cap.  (Please ignore my winter parched hands.)

Of all the fountain pen ink-fillable pens available, the Kuretake Karappo Brush and Fine Pens are by far my favorites even if shimmer inks don’t shimmer. Now to decide what inks to put in the other empty pens…


DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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17 comments / Add your comment below

  1. How neat! I was just wondering if these are re-fillable at all? Like can you clean it out when it’s exhausted the ink and put something new in? I’d love to try them but I’m trying to buy fewer one-use plastics :/

    1. Someone else just asked me the same question on Instagram and I’m not sure. Since I’ve just filled them up. I’d even like to find out if I can just replace the cotton-y filling but I’m not sure. I’ll look into it.

      1. I was sorta wondering the same thing… The JetPens site says that once the stoppers are inserted, they can’t be removed, which seems to point to single use. Though would be interesting to see how long a fill lasts, and how much comes out of the cottony filler.
        Any estimate on how much ink was absorbed into the filler?

        1. I think the inserts could easily be removed with a set of tweezers since it is just pushed into place.

          If reusability is holding you back, there are a several refillable rollerball pens that accept fountain pen ink that you could try instead. J. herbin and Monteverde are the first that pop into my head.

          1. There’s also the felt tip refillables by Yookers, but they use convertors and I was really intrigued by these pens’ use of capillary-action! Maybe soon they’ll have a re-useable version (or some person here will come up with a genius hack?)

  2. I am cracking up here because I almost unwittingly jumped into the fray, but then I thought, “Naaahh… Ana probably already has it covered!” 🙂

  3. These are really interesting and I have been wanting to use my ink more as well so I’ll have to check them out. Thanks for the intro!


  4. Well, the idea of single use sort of dampened my enthusiasm, but: otherwise, this is just what I’ve been looking for! I love fiber tip pens. It’s like having a Flair pen for your favorite fountain pen ink. And I’m not at all surprised it was able to write with sheen but not shimmer. Sheening additives are liquid, so they can pass through the cottony stuff. But shimmer is solid particles. Even if some gets sucked up by the cottony insert, that absorbent material can’t pass the solid particles through its sponge-like body. The liquid can move through a sponge, but any shimmer sucked up will still be caught at the edges of the insert. Bummer.

  5. Ohh, very cool to know that sheening and shimmer inks can work with these… seems like a really great alternative to fountain pens if you’re worried about cleaning those. Curious — what are some of the other pens that are fillable with FP inks? :O

    1. Kiri, Jesi has done several reviews of rollerball pens that accept fountain pen ink. Let me track those down and post links for you here

    2. The list of fountain pen ink compatible pens is continually growing. There are some inexpensive options like the J. Herbin Refillable Rollerball and the Pilot V5 Techpoint. Actually Unsharpen has a great list of rollerball pens that can be refilled with fountain pen ink. Then there are quite a few brush pen and marker options. Platinum makes a lovely maki-e brush pen. The Platinum Preppy highlighter and marker pens can be fitted with a cartridge converter and used with fountain pen ink too. The Yookers brand makes felt tip and brush pen models. Pen BBS offers swappable fountain pen and rollerball sections so that pens like their 350 model can use fountain pen ink with either tip option.

      1. Hi Ana, thanks so much for taking the time to gather those inks! While I’m mostly interested in brush pens, I had no idea there were so many rollerball pens that could be filled with FP inks. I’ve never heard of Yookers before and those pens definitely look super interesting. Thanks again for sharing!

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