Copic TLC - my Christmas gift to my markers...

Hello my fabulous friends!

I don't know about you, but as this year is winding down, I'm finding I have just a little bit of extra time before the end of the holidays and jumping right back into work... 

Since I've been working almost non-stop for months between new releases and prepping for Creativation, my Copic markers are looking a bit worse for wear, and are in desperate need of a little TLC...

The problem with dirty caps and markers is not just an aesthetic one... it can actually hurt your markers! 


 Well, the build up you see is ink that is transferred when the nib hits the inside of the cap while recapping.. when the alcohol evaporates, it leaves behind this sticky residue... That residue can build up to the point where it either keeps your caps from sealing properly (leading to your markers drying out) or, that sticky stuff can get transferred back ONTO your nibs as you pull your marker in and out, and that can clog your nibs, which at best makes your marker not color as smoothly until you can work the gunk out, and at worst, destroys your nib beyond saving, and you have to replace the nib.

It can also cross contaminate your markers... I noticed that many of my markers had bits of DIFFERENT colors in the gunk... Why, you may ask? Well, that residue on the marker can transfer to your fingers while coloring...  (you may have noticed that spot of color on the finger you brace the marker with when coloring) when you pick up a new marker, the color you were just using can transfer to the sticky gunk on the new marker.. When you cap it, you can transfer some of that color... and you are starting to see the problem, right?

The good news is cleaning them is actually pretty easy.

I recommend using a combination of Copic Various Ink Colorless Blender and Isopropyl Alcohol (You can use rubbing alcohol with a lower percent if that's what you have on hand, I have 99% because that's what I use in my alcohol paintings)

I also suggest cotton swabs and gloves. 

Let's start with the marker it's self.. I suggest using the Colorless blender for this.  The reason, is that if you accidentally get a little on the actual nib, you won't hurt the nib or the color inside the nib (it may make it slightly lighter until you scribble out all the blender, but it won't hurt the overall makeup of the ink. 

Simply dip one side of the cotton swab in the blender and rub it around the plastic part of the marker. You can use the other side to wipe it dry. You want to avoid touching the actual marker nib.

Some cotton swaps can leave behind little tiny strands of cotton.. if you see any, pick them off before recapping.

Next let's do the cap... For this you CAN use the Colorless blender, but I like to use the Isopropyl Alcohol just because it is cheaper, and as long as you make sure the cap is completely dry before recapping it won't make any difference.  

Again, soak one side of the cotton swab in the alcohol, then scrub down the inside of the cap. Wipe dry with the other side. (for dark colors and very dirty caps, it may take more than one cotton swab to get all the ink out)

Some people like to soak their caps, but 99% Isopropyl Alcohol can be hard on plastic if it just sits in it, so I chose to do it this way. 

Make sure you check both the brush and chisel tips and caps. Once all is clean, you can recap and move on...


While you are going through each marker in your collection, it's a great time to check for dry markers. I do this by weight. 

Make sure both caps are off while refilling your markers. I also like to stand my caps next to the refill cap so I can do a good double check that I'm using the right ink for the marker... That extra double check has saved me from putting the wrong color various ink in a marker before... It's easy to do. You think you have the B000 but instead you grabbed the B00 or BG000 refill... It happens.

The visual double check of having the caps next to each other helps avoid mishap!

For more details on refilling your markers (and another blogger's cleaning routine), check out THIS post by Thinking Inking. She also has a lot of other GREAT Copic info. Yes, it's an older post, but the info is just as relevant, and it's where I learned to fill markers by weight (a method I prefer!)
(and yes, I know she says it should be 9.5 - 10 grams, but my scale is a bit off, so I aim for 9.0- 9.3)

I admit that this process is very time consuming (especially if you have a large marker collection), but  if you turn on a movie or audio book, or chat with a friend while working, it's not so bad.  I have a lot of money invested in my markers, so, for me, it's worth the time periodically to ensure my markers are healthy, happy, and coloring for years to come!

See you soon!

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