UPDATED Nov. 23, 2023
Are you old enough to remember the ballpoint pens that came with the original Spirograph sets in the 1960s and 70s? There were four colors: red, green, blue and black.
The frustrating thing about those pens, besides the limited colors, is that they would gradually wear holes in the paper, especially in designs where the lines cross over each other many, many times.
Most other pens didn’t work in Spirograph then. The tips were either too thick for the holes, not long enough, or both.
Two things have changed!
- In the 21st century, we have wonderful fine-tip felt pens available. They come in many more colors, and they don’t wear out the paper!
- The new (since 2013) Spirograph sets sold by Kahootz are designed to accommodate thicker pen tips, with larger holes located closer to the paper.
Here are some brands of fine-tip felt pens that I’ve enjoyed using.
Please note: these are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking on them, I may receive a commission for sending you there. However, I was enjoying and endorsing these pens for Spirograph well before I became an Amazon affiliate!
Stabilo Point 88
The Stabilo Point 88 are a great choice. They produce a line 0.4 mm thick. The tip is fine enough to fit even through the small holes in the vintage Spirograph gears, with a metal sleeve over the felt where the pen touches the gear.
Stabilo pens are made in Germany, and they’re good quality. I’ve also bought cheap knockoffs of these pens, but they just don’t have the same feel and vividness. They come in a variety of package sizes and container types with up to 65 different colors.
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
The Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens produce a finer line than the Stabilo, with a thickness of 0.3 mm rather than Stabilo’s 0.4 mm, and also come in packs of up to 60 different colors. My 12-year-old self would have been ecstatic! Find them on Amazon here (affiliate link).
You may also find them at your local stationery or office supply store.
I’ve also used some gel pens, which can give beautiful results. But if the ink doesn’t dry fast enough, it can smear. It depends partly on the paper you’re using. Some papers absorb the ink more quickly than others.
More colors make Spirograph even more fun!
Add a comment and let us know what Spirograph pens you are using and how you like them.
Many other pens work, including Uni-Ball Vision pens, [affiliate link] which I like. See “Spirograph Pens” in the menu for all my pen reviews.