Monday, November 19, 2012

Dried out markers aren’t dead yet!

There are probably others ideas you’ve tried and I’m sure one can find ideas from a Google search but I really like the effect of using the markers like a paint.  It’s a bit messy and takes some time to set up but I think it’s worth the time and effort.  My kids love it too and that’s important to me as well.

Nov 14 031 When I find a marker that's dried out, I put it a tub that's reserved just for dried out markers. Then several times a year I take the markers apart and create some "Marker Paint" for the kids to use. The colors are nice and bright, apply easily and it's a good way to reuse what otherwise might be thrown out.
Nov 14 032 Here are the basic tools I use.  The pliers are good for pulling out tips and the cutters grip well when removing the bottom of the marker.


Nov 14 036 First I remove all the tips on the markers of the ones I plan to use.  I do one color at a time.  By removing all the times (say of the blue colors) then I don’t have to keep switching  tools for each individual marker.  Whatever works best for you, do that! Nov 14 037


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Here I am removing the bottom of the marker.  When I use the pliers my hand tires after a while but with a good heavy duty wire cutter the caps remove easily.  BTW, if one wanted to he could simply remove this cap, add a little water and the marker would work again.  You have to add just the right amount of water but it does work.  I’ve not tried it that way much so I don’t know how long they last but I suppose one could just keep adding a little water until they are completely out of ink.


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Once the bottom cap is removed I used a thin paintbrush end to remove the inner fiber cylinder that contains the ink.

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Once it is dislodged from the tip, the fiber cylinder  comes out easily. 

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Finally I place several of the fiber cylinder and the tips in a small amount of water and let them soak.  They are ready to use in minutes.  I add the paint lids (I have the spill-proof type) and I cover them at night.  The only downside is that after a while, if the fiber cylinders are left in too long, the paints starts to smell.  So after a few days I remove them.  By that time most of the useful ink has been drained. 

Now it just occurred to me that I don’t have an example picture so I will have to start looking.  Please share your thoughts and ideas on the uses of dried out markers!  Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I've seen this a few times on pinterest - thanks for the detailed instructions and tips! I've started saving my dead markers... when I think of all the ones I've thrown away over the years!
    :) Elizabeth

  2. I have done this with my dried out markers as well. The results are very rich colors. Painting with them reminds me of liquid watercolors and this is so much cheaper! The only draw back I have experienced is that they stain my hands, the tables and the counter. Anyone else experience the staining? Any ideas for removing the stain?

  3. I quite like this idea for bringing markers back from the dead!
    I heard that freezing markers works this way, but my experiment by this means has not proven to be successful.


  4. Hmmm that's make us think to stop buying a new marker when dried out.Thanks Bro