My kingdom for a pen cap.
October 19, 2005 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Too many pens, not enough pen caps. I gradually acquire disposable pens that are missing their caps. Is there something that can commonly be used as a cap for these de-crowned writing sticks? I've tried small balloons--too awkward. Corks? Does someone sell universal pen caps? Just one of life's small annoyances and I'm wondering if there is an elegant, material solution, short of tossing them.
posted by craniac to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
When I got my first job at a sandwich shop, I was corrected for putting the lids back on the pens. Apparently the time it takes to remove the lid was considered too much of a delay for the person writing the order. The same when I worked at the dry cleaner. Both places had big cupfulls of pens that never seemed to dry out despite their decapitation.
posted by leapingsheep at 3:56 PM on October 19, 2005

Best answer: Soda straws? For the most part, pen caps exist only to keep the pen from pushing against something in your pocket or bag and turning it all pen-ink color. My understanding, having a few pens myself, is that there's not much to the "keeps it from drying out" line of reasoning, though please correct me if I'm wrong [and perhaps specifiy what sort of pen you use] So, you should be able to slide something over the end of a pen, even if it doesn't have and end to it, like one of these grips, for example. If you want to keep some pens in one place, you could build the caps into some sort of stand and then you'd store the pens by putting them back IN the caps. Not good for carrying around unless you sew one onto all of your clothes too. Or do that velcro thing that I've seen some skiers do with chapstick.

You could also use something not expressly made for this purpose as well like, perhaps a KUM sharpener? [please specify one hole or two]. Or, if you're a fan of recursiveness, these pen caps have pens on them! [more info here]. I think if it were me, I'd go find one of these vintage ink pen caps and put some sort of a grommet inside it so that it would fit different width pens, have my name engraved on it and call it a day.
posted by jessamyn at 3:59 PM on October 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The headless pens tend to mark up my clothing. I imagined something that gradually narrowed so it would fit a range of pens.

I have no life...

Keep the ideas coming! And watch for my new book, "Kitchen Drawer Annoyances."
posted by craniac at 4:01 PM on October 19, 2005

Response by poster: Either Jessamyn just took a big hit of caffeine, or s/he has thought about this before. Great ideas, and I am delighted but unsurprised to find a website devoted to pencil grips in your post:
posted by craniac at 4:08 PM on October 19, 2005

You can buy a titanium coated pen-cap for $19.00 here. The expense might prevent you from loosing it so easily...
posted by delmoi at 4:10 PM on October 19, 2005

Best answer: I think I'll get some calipers, find the exact diameter of a bic pen, and cut some aluminum tubing into one inch increments.
posted by craniac at 4:22 PM on October 19, 2005

Response by poster: correction:

I'm thinking vinyl aquarium tubing would work too.
posted by craniac at 4:26 PM on October 19, 2005 [2 favorites]

Bic pens are about 8mm. Don't you remember the Kryptonite lock thingie you can do with them?
posted by jessamyn at 4:31 PM on October 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

I swear I've seen a kind of pen condom thingy that rolls down over the top of a pen, like a small balloon. I even remember it was red. However, I can't find it by googling, so I am useless.
posted by emyd at 5:26 PM on October 19, 2005

Hmm, emyd - bulbs for pasteur pipettes (scroll down to bulb for pipettes - this is just the first I've found from a google, there are better-looking ones out there) are made of rubber, and I guess they could be adapted for pen-capping purposes... and now that you mention it, they *do* look like mini (for really really hung lab rats?) condoms.

Then again, I'm almost certain that I've seen rubber bulbs marketed exclusively as a pen-capping thing, but I don't think I've seen any since elementary school.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:51 PM on October 19, 2005

Would a splice cap of appropriate size do the trick? I use them for capping tubes of caulk and glue, which is kind of the gradually narrowing application.
posted by forrest at 6:24 PM on October 19, 2005

buy pens that click.
posted by smartypanties at 7:59 PM on October 19, 2005

capped pens just appear, through spontaneous generation. Surely I'm not the only one that has witnessed this phenomenon. It's not a question of buying them.
posted by mecran01 at 9:47 PM on October 19, 2005

I much prefer retractable ball points primarily for this reason. Next time buy those I guess. Otherwise back in the old days they used to use pocket protectors for this particular reason. Now that "geek is chic", how about just getting a pocket protector?
posted by JJ86 at 12:40 AM on October 20, 2005

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