Quick Tip: Refresh and Reuse Those Old Markers

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So . . . you’re a poor college student, starving artist, or another casualty of the raging recession. Markers aren’t getting any cheaper, the refill inks can be terribly expensive – so what do you do?

The solution is rubbing alcohol :-)

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Yes, simple rubbing alcohol can add some life to those old markers. Just try these simple steps to revive that old marker. . .

NOTE: I HAVE NOT TESTED THIS ON AD (CHARTPAK) MARKERS AS THEY ARE SOLVENT BASED

Get some rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol). It’s super cheap and you can get it here if you are in internet shopper.

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Most design markers come with a chisel tip on one end. It’s the blunt chunkier flatter side of the marker. Simply remove the tip using a wad of tissue paper or sketch paper to keep the ink off your hands.

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Next, while holding the marker upright, add a few drops of the isopropyl alcohol to the ink chamber of the marker. Note: this will dilute or lighten the tone of the marker

After you’ve added a few drops, replace the nib of the marker and wait a few minutes to allow the tip of the marker to absorb the alcohol. Presto! your old marker has some more juice.

So get some old markers that are starting to dry up and give it a shot. Your pocketbook will thank you in the end. :-)

If you like this tip, please share it with others. It definitely saved me a few dollars in college!

UPDATE: From commenter Michael -

“Bestine-(Rubber cement thinner) works better than Alcohol. I’m still using old Design2 Markers that are 10 years or older using bestine.”

So give it a shot!

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  • Mason

    ha cool! i like the photography! do u do it yourself spencer?

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      Depends on how dark the marker is to start with. . . but I’ll leave this one up to your discretion ;-)

  • Mason

    ha cool! i like the photography! do u do it yourself spencer?

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      Depends on how dark the marker is to start with. . . but I’ll leave this one up to your discretion ;-)

  • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

    Yep :-) John’s a great photographer as well.

  • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

    Yep :-) John’s a great photographer as well.

  • http://www.coroflot.com/mschobel07 Michael

    Bestine-(Rubber cement thinner) works better than Alcohol. I’m still using old Design2 Markers that are 10 years or older using bestine.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      I’ll have to try that out! I have some bestine for cleaning my tools, but haven’t experimented on markers yet. Thanks for the tip!

    • Aaron

      Bestine works well for chartpack ad markers. I looked up the MSDS and the solvent they use is xylene, but bestine seems to work fine and dries quickly enough. And the ad markers nibs easily pull out, i squirt in about 2ml into the cotton (where the solvent goes, the pigment is in the nib). Works great.

  • http://www.coroflot.com/mschobel07 Michael

    Bestine-(Rubber cement thinner) works better than Alcohol. I’m still using old Design2 Markers that are 10 years or older using bestine.

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      I’ll have to try that out! I have some bestine for cleaning my tools, but haven’t experimented on markers yet. Thanks for the tip!

    • Aaron

      Bestine works well for chartpack ad markers. I looked up the MSDS and the solvent they use is xylene, but bestine seems to work fine and dries quickly enough. And the ad markers nibs easily pull out, i squirt in about 2ml into the cotton (where the solvent goes, the pigment is in the nib). Works great.

  • Mason

    cool stuff! thanks ppl!

  • Mason

    cool stuff! thanks ppl!

  • Erik

    What will be the effect on the marker in long run doing this? I can see the point of getting some extra lines out of an old marker that you can’t get refills for, but markers with refill? Can you refill the marker later after having done this and the marker is fine agian?

  • Erik

    What will be the effect on the marker in long run doing this? I can see the point of getting some extra lines out of an old marker that you can’t get refills for, but markers with refill? Can you refill the marker later after having done this and the marker is fine agian?

  • http://www.robjensendesign.com Rob

    Great tip, thanks!

  • http://www.robjensendesign.com Rob

    Great tip, thanks!

  • http://broba.blogspot.com/ thnarita

    I heard a solution for the Chartpaks. Try to use Lighter Fluid.

  • http://broba.blogspot.com/ thnarita

    I heard a solution for the Chartpaks. Try to use Lighter Fluid.

  • stephe

    Xylene works well, and is what use to be used in markers. Some still use this. It WILL give you a headache.

  • stephe

    Xylene works well, and is what use to be used in markers. Some still use this. It WILL give you a headache.

  • Xavier

    I’ve jused synthetic paint thinner, 2ml of it.
    So far no problems.

  • Xavier

    I’ve jused synthetic paint thinner, 2ml of it.
    So far no problems.

  • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

    Awesome! Just don’t get too high off it :-D

  • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

    Awesome! Just don’t get too high off it :-D

  • Ralph Dunn

    Great info! Thanks. Have you tried the Bestine in the Design2 colorless blender marker?

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      Haven’t tried it, but I hear it works. Give it a go and let us know if it worked for you!

  • Ralph Dunn

    Great info! Thanks. Have you tried the Bestine in the Design2 colorless blender marker?

    • http://www.idsketching.com Spencer Nugent

      Haven’t tried it, but I hear it works. Give it a go and let us know if it worked for you!

  • aqbar

    what if rubbing alcohol i change using zippo, it’s function?

  • aqbar

    what if rubbing alcohol i change using zippo, it’s function?

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  • Jtolam

    I tried and it works!!!! So simple wish I knew this back in school so I didn’t have to buy so many extra markers

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  • ridell

    How long does it take for the marker to run out of pigment?