Besides the limited colors, the frustrating thing about those pens is that they would gradually create holes in the paper, especially in designs where the lines cross over each other many, many times.
Back in the day (the 1970s), I tried other pens with the set, but they didn’t always work. They had to be thin enough at the end to go all the way through the wheel and make full contact with the paper. Pens with tapered ends might work at first, but if you didn’t hold the pen perfectly vertical they would skip.
Now I use fine-tip felt pens. They come in many more colors, and they don’t tear the paper.
- Staedtler 334SB20BK Triplus Fineliner Pens,.3mm,Metal Clad Tip,20/PK,Assorted
- Stabilo 88 25-color Wallet Set
I got both at a stationery store, but if you click the links, you’ll find them on Amazon in packages with lots of colors.
I’ve also used some gel pens, which can give beautiful results. But if the ink doesn’t dry fast enough, it can smear.
So the options have improved a lot over the years, as far as pens and colors are concerned. They make Spirograph even more fun!
ADDENDUM October 23, 2013: The new Spirograph Deluxe Set now available has 3 ballpoint pens: red, green and blue. If you get this set, you’ll want to try other pens, and you’ll have more choice because the holes in the wheels are bigger. Add a comment and let us know what Spirograph pens you are using and how you like them.
ADDENDUM January 28, 2014: There’s a new “The Original Spirograph” set available that comes with 8 markers, but otherwise the kit seems to be the same as the “Spirograph Deluxe Design Set“. I haven’t tried them.
ADDENDUM July 6, 2013: Made a post on the Uni-Ball Vision pens, which I like. See “Spirograph Pens” in the menu for all my pen reviews.