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iPenBox Subscription Review + Coupon – July 2017

iPenBox July 2017 Box

iPenBox is a monthly box for the ‘pen, paper and ink enthusiast’. Each box contains 5–10 items curated around a theme. 

Reviewed by popular demand!

iPenBox July 2017 Box

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

iPenBox July 2017 Box

The Subscription Box: iPenBox

The Cost: $30 a month for the US or $40 a month for Canada/International, both with free shipping

The Products: Each box will contain a fountain pen, an ink sample, paper and at least two more items.

Ships to: USA & International

Check out the Paper & Stationery Subscription Box Directory for more writing subscription boxes!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add iPenBox to your subscription list or wishlist!

The theme for July was Color Pop, with plenty of brightly hued items. One card lists the items and the other includes a code for 10% off orders in the iPenstore shop.

iPenBox July 2017 Box

They included a postcard from Holland, Michigan. I grew up in Michigan and always wanted to visit this area, which is known for its tulips.

iPenBox July 2017 Box

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Flower Erasers – Total Value $0.76

Continuing with the tulip theme, these erasers are very cute. I tried using one and it did erase, though it wasn’t the best eraser I’ve ever used. That’s ok though because they’re still adorable. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Tootsie Pop – Value $0.20 (buy a box of 100 for $19.99)

This Tootsie Pop was a welcomed extra!

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Miquelrius Mini Notepad, 2.7″ x 4.3″, Blank, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Flowers – Value $2.49

This notepad has 90 blank pages and was made in Spain. I always appreciate when notepads have elastic at the bottom, as otherwise they come open in my bag. The bright flowers on the cover fit the Color Pop theme perfectly. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Sticky Notes – Value $2?

I love the text on the cover: “Life is like a rainbow, beautiful, full of happy and moved.” Apparently their rainbows are mostly purple, but I don’t mind. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Jinhao 992 Fountain Pen, Transparent Green – Value $6.97

Green is my favorite color, so I was excited to see this bright green fountain pen in the box. The nib says F, and the website says it’s a fine nib, but it feels more like a medium nib to me. I found it a bit hard to fill with ink, but the writing was very smooth. As a lefty, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this pen, but it surprised me. I can tell I’ll be using this one a lot this summer. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Monteverde Purple Reign Ink Sample – Value $0.50? (buy 30ml for $7.97)

I have a love-hate relationship with this ink. Although it looks black in the vial, it is a beautiful pinkish purple with a slight gradation. It worked perfectly in the green fountain pen above. One neat thing about this ink is that it ‘lubricates and protects your pen’s ink feeding system from corrosion and clogging’, according to their site. The ink is made in Europe and packaged in the USA.

So why the love-hate relationship? Let’s just say that it’s very difficult to clean the ink off a white desk, and that cats should be kept far, far away from open vials of ink. I didn’t see anything on the site that said it’s waterproof, but having spent a long while scrubbing it with everything I could think of, I can assure you it’s durable. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen in blue and purple – Total Value $6.74 ($3.37 each, on sale for $2.79 each)

An MSA reader recommended this pen, so I was excited to see it in the box. I love the idea of a disposable fountain pen! While I wouldn’t mistake these for more expensive pens, they work well for the price and could be an inexpensive introduction to fountain pens – if you’re right-handed. Unfortunately, I experienced a lot of scratching/skipping as a lefty. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

iPenBox July 2017 Box

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Sheaffer VFM Metal Barrel Ballpoint Pen 9416-2, Pink Sapphire – Value $15 (on sale for $11.97)

This ballpoint pen is beautiful and comes in a nice gift box. (Is it just me, or does the Shaeffer logo look like a Pokéball?) The rounded shape feels nice in the hand, and I love the bright color. It writes pretty smoothly, though I must say it felt strange using a ballpoint pen after testing the fountain pens. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Pentel BK90USA-A RSVP Ballpoint Pen – Value $0.89

The funniest thing about this pen is that it was made in Mexico! It’s really cute though, and nice for July. It writes about like every other dollar pen; servicable but nowhere near the quality of the other pens in this box. Once you start using fountain pens, you will wonder what you ever saw in pens like these. 

iPenBox July 2017 Box

Here’s a writing sample with all the pens. There’s the beautiful Monteverde ink at the top, with the darker Varsity pens below it. For the ballpoint pens, the USA pen’s ink flow was poorer than the Shaeffer. Kind of funny how gradation in fountain pen ink is beautiful but rather ugly with a ballpoint pen.

Verdict: My estimated RV is right around $36, which is good for a $30 box. I really enjoyed trying out all the items, and they did a good job with the Color Pop theme. My favorite discovery was the green Jinhao pen with the purple Monteverde ink. There’s something for everyone in this box, but the variety does mean that you probably won’t love every pen. It might work well to split the box with a friend, or just expect to give lots of pen-related gifts.

What do you think of July’s iPenBox? Do you prefer ballpoint pens or fountain pens?


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Written by Désirée Eien

Désirée Eien

Désirée has survived the subscription box rollercoaster since 2013. Her other hobbies include meticulously over-researching minor purchases, crafting things she hopes to pass off as gifts, and dressing her cat up in silly costumes.

Posted in iPen Box Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: ipenbox | 8 comments

Comments (8)

  1. Yet another box I didn’t know about but now want, sigh. I love fountain pens and ink, though I’ve never tried anything more expensive than a Preppy, which I imagine are just a bit higher in quality than the Pilot Varsity, which I also like. The ONLY ballpoint (except for expensive ones, which I’ve never tried) I like is Paper Mate’s Ink Joy.

    My husband sometimes wonders how I can have so many pens but not have a plain black ballpoint pen. Whenever he can’t find a pen and asks me for one, he says my face screws up like he just asked for something really gross.

    • It’s surprising that your taste in pens hasn’t rubbed off on your husband (yet). I’d like to try the Preppy as my best friend uses that one.

      My favourite ballpoint is the Caran D’Ache 849. And now there’s a fountain pen version of it! I haven’t tried it yet though.

  2. Try Mr Clean Magic Eraser. That product is amazing and I have yet to use it on anything that it couldn’t handle.

    • You’re completely right, but I’m out of them right now. I am hoping it will take the fine pink sheen that’s still left on the desk.

  3. Looking at the review in my mind I was thinking “wow, it would be nice to see what these write like though…” so glad you included that at the bottom of the review! Really helpful!

    • Would it be better to have the writing samples with each pen? Or all together at the end for comparison? I wasn’t sure which would be best.

  4. Thanks for the review. I could never decide if I should buy. I did not care for this box. Maybe better next time.

    • I would have preferred last month’s which had lots of greenish pens. Let’s hope we both love next month’s!

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