How To Refill Your Printer Cartridges
Thinkin’ Ink!

Once upon a time  my printer ran out of ink.

It was a sad, sad day and I cried very hard.  I pulled myself together and walked down to the corner so I could rob a bank.  When I got to the bank, I thought better of it and turned around and walked home.  I was sure to get caught on camera, and I was wearing a horrible outfit.  Plus I had “crying” face.

What to do.  I NEEDED to print stuff!

At home I flipped every cushion in the house, checked in every pocket and sold my cat.  The one who was weaned too early and kneads on me every night while I watch television.

Money in hand, I drove myself to the store and … bought myself a new printer.

Yeah.  It was cheaper to do that than buy a new printer cartridge.  Wasteful?  Probably?  My fault?  No.  Not really.  I *did* need a new printer, but had the ink not cost more than an entire printer with scanner, I would have just bought more ink.

The funny part about all of this is for years I’ve been filling my own printer cartridges.  I bought a kit at Costco years ago and it’s lasted forever.

And the best part?  It works.  I’m not sure why I didn’t use the kit during my “I NEED PRINTER INK” fit, but my best guess is I’d gone temporarily insane.  Maybe not so temporary actually.

Since the process is SO easy, and basically the same for every single printer cartridge out there I thought I’d share.  ‘Cause that’s what I’m all about.  Sharing and caring. And robbing banks.

What You’ll Need

Bottles of Printer Ink.  (various stores sell this, as well as Costco occasionally, and all kinds of places on-line)

Paper Towels

A used up printer cartridge (One that’s just run out of ink)






5 A







Instruction Recap

1.  Measure out 1 Tablespoon (15ml) of ink into your bottle.  If  your bottle has lines on the side to tell you how much ink you’re using, make sure you only use 1 Tablespoon.  Most printer cartridges hold 1 Tablespoon.  Measuring is important, because otherwise you are bound to under or overfill your cartridge.

2.  Remove your printer cartridge then remove the sticker.

3.  Place cartridge on a few layers of paper towel on a surface you will be able to wipe any spills up from.

3.  Insert needle into one of the holes in the cartridge.  If it hits sponge, you’re in the right hole.

4.  S-l-o-w-l-y  fill the sponge with ink.  If it starts to come out the hole you’re filling too fast.  Let it sink in, then start again.

5.  Attach your sticker to the SIDE of the cartridge, not the top where you originally took it off.  The cartridge will need to suck air to work so you can’t cover up the holes again.

6.  Insert your cartridge back into your printer.

7.  WAIT 8 hours.  You need to allow the sponge time to absorb all the ink evenly.

8.  Print to your heart’s content.

Refilling a colour cartridge is a bit different, in that you put one colour in each of the holes.  It’s still the same method otherwise and still very easy.  If you need help with filling a specific cartridge, Refill Instructions is a great website, plus they’re sponsored by a site that sells ink so you can get some of that there if you need to as well.

My printer cartridge is actually pretty cheap.  $14 for one black cartridge.  A refill kit costs around $20, which will fill your cartridge 6 times, averaging the cost to $3.33 per one black cartridge.

Now I have a bit of bad news.  I need to replace my water filter.  So once I get myself gussied up for the cameras, I’ll be making my way to the bank.



  1. Great Post about Tracking Trends. Keep up the good work sir. Thanks for sharing If you facing any problem regarding hp printer offline error

  2. Tiffany says:

    Can I use pen ink to refill my hp 61 cartridge ? Is there an ink from home I can use? Pen ink is too thick for the syringe. Can I add alcohol to the ink then use the syringe? Has anyone ever tried this? thanks for the input.

  3. I have been driving myself crazy trying to rush. Years ago the Cannon printers used to be so easy to refill. I have the same cartridge as shown above for the HP.

  4. Danielle says:

    Can I do the same thing with colors ?

  5. lauralou says:

    Have a brand new Epson printer that ran out of ink. Purchased ink on e-bay it won’t print. Informed me it wasn’t a genuine Epson cartridge. Read on line Epson ink has 7ml of ink. So it takes 500 of them to make a gallon, so 1 gallon of ink costs approximately $10,000.00.

  6. Tammie says:

    I have been filling my cartridges for 11 years. I never had a printer reset after filling one. It always said to fill the ink or wrong cartridge, but it kept printing. I got a new printer a few months ago and after filling it 1 time, the cartridges won’t let me print. So, my sister brought her printer over for me. After it ran out of ink I filled it. Now that printer won’t work with those cartridges. I’ve been told by a few people that they started making the printers so they can’t be refilled. You have to buy new cartridges. Does anyone know anything about this? Tammie

  7. Ruth Osborne says:

    Is there any way the d—n chip can be disabled?i had two cartridges refilled at Costco. They worked fine for a while. Then one day it wouldn’t print. Printed fine the day before. Printer said it was out of ink. I took the cartridge out and shook it. Sounded like it had quite a bit of ink left so I put it back in, nothing but the out of ink message. The same thing happened to the other one. Didn’t do that much printing with either cartridge. It probably wouldn’t pay to try to refill, would it? Ruth

  8. Heather says:

    Hi. Long time reader. The husband and I tried this last night and though a total mess – it definitely worked! To commenter S. West – our cartridges were not listed on the compatible list either but I found the closest looking one and followed those instructions. Karen thanks so much for the inspiration! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Heather! I ‘m glad to hear it worked for you. I’m sorry to hear it turned into a bit of a mess, lol. But … that happens sometimes. I actually needed to do this a few weeks ago, but I had let my cartridges dry out for too long so it didn’t work. I’ll have to remember to fill mine before they’re too old on these newer ones. ~ karen!

  9. S. West says:

    Hey, I have those ink bottles from Costco and I never used them. Now the printer I have is not one on the list of compatibles. So I was wondering, can I use these inks on my watercolour paper with pens to do artwork?!?

    Wonder can I mix with alcohol for alcohol inks?

    What do you think? Will they fade?

    Just thinkin’

    • Karen says:

      LOL. That’s a lotta wondering. Unfortunately they’re all wonders I have no answer for. When in doubt, give it a shot. ~ karen!

  10. jesus avila says:

    The only problem with original OEM refilled toners is that they all have a sensor chip that knows exactly how much ink is left in the toner, so if you are thinking about refilling the toners your self, you better be think about buying some extra chips (sensors)..

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