Refilling a Stain pen

I know I’ve been quiet lately but I’m still doing minis. To work on furniture kits for my Petite Chateau, I needed a certain color of stain. I had purchased a small can but wanted to use my stain pen. My stain pan had been empty and I had heard about refilling these. I finally got around to trying it.

Things needed

A stain pen. When I considered this in the past, I had thought the pen had to be ‘refillable’ but there is no such label. Since I only tried this with one brand I don’t know how it will work with another brand which could be made differently.

I knew I needed a way to get the stain into the pen. I had decided to use pipettes and so I had purchased some plastic ones from my local hobby store. Alternatively a small plastic straw may work. This would work by dipping straw in stain, then holding finger on the end creating suction. Then release finger over the top of pen. Where I see potential problem is no control as to the flow or amount dropped. Pinching it might work but I would have concern it would leak. With the pipette, I only had drips from outside.

I knew that I needed a way to hold open the flap so that stain could drain into it the tank. This flap keeps the stain from flowing when you have it upside down. It’s why you have to press the tip multiple times to get the stain flowing. I used a metal rod that was part of a radio antenna. Alternatively a thin wood dowel or bamboo stick work.

Old clothes in case I get stain on them.

A rags or paper towels to clean up spills and drips.

Plastic lid or other small tray.

Tweezers or other way to pull out the nib. Maybe even fingers would work.

Replacement nib. I did not replace mine at this time but good to know they are available online should I need them. I searched for ‘replacement marker pen nib’.

Here are the pipettes. I only used one but they came in a pack of 20 or so for just a few dollars. I liked being able to just throw it away when done.


Because I would be working with the can of stain open which has a lot of odor and therefore a lot of chemical vapor I did this outside in our utility building.

My steps

I make sure that the stain was well mixed and then it was time to test on ways to keep that spring-loaded flap open. I was thankful that my husband had something that I could use which worked great and that was an old antenna. It’s metal and it had a smooth end. That will come in handy*. I think I could have opened the flap with the metal rod and maybe lodged it open but I was concerned about damaging the flap so I did not try that.

I removed the nib by pulling it out with tweezers and I set it aside on the plastic lid to not get anything on it like any dirt.

I would fill the pipette and while holding the pen upright I would allow the stain to fill the top where the nib goes.

Filling the end
Top of pen is full, ready for next step

Then I would use the metal rod to press. I tried pressing and holding but it didn’t seem to work because of the air that was still in the tank didn’t allow it to drip so a up-down motion was needed.

Metal rod inserted to press the flap repeatedly

That’s basically it. Fill the pipette and then add to the pen and use the metal rod to repeat.

Plunge repeating until the stain has emptied from the top

This took about 5 to 10 minutes all total and it was a little boring but it did work I put the nib back in, tested and it works great.

*Why was the end of the metal rod beneficial? Each fill required pressing multiple times and having the end smooth and flat was just more comfortable. Certainly not a requirement as I could have just held the rod itself since it was long enough. My fingers might have gotten tired as would need a firm grip. But again it was only for a short time.

Things I will different next time

I will find a way to keep the pen up right. The reason is once the stain is in the top, you can’t tilt it or it is going to spill. I only spilled once but I was concentrating on keeping it up right the whole time.

Now to use it on that furniture.

Happy miniaturing!


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