It's that time of year again
Forget about the crocus buds or the robins singing! The surest sign of spring is when all the house cleaning tips start blooming on the internet.
Yep. Everybody loves a good spring cleaning.
This year, don't forget about your Copics!
Spring cleaning for Copics?
I know what you're thinking...
I've seen lots of tutorials about how to clean Copic Markers, but that's for people who color all the time, right? A lot of tutorials talk about cleaning your marker after you refill it and I've NEVER had to refill!
I guess when I finally refill my markers, I'll worry about cleaning then.
You're absolutely right. People like me, who use Copics on a daily basis— instructors, bloggers, and super serious colorers- we do refill markers more frequently than average colorers.
But cleaning? That’s a different matter entirely.
Everyone, from high volume colorers to the once-in-a-whilers:
We ALL need to clean our markers on a regular basis.
Do you make Copic Jelly?
Copic jelly? Really?
Yep. I have jelly problems. You have jelly problems too.
Every time you uncap and recap a Copic, your marker nib rubs along the inside of the cap. It leaves a streak of marker ink.
That streak of ink quietly lurks inside your cap, slowly evaporating. After the solvent is gone, the streak becomes a smear of Copic Jelly- a super sticky residue.
I know, it’s a bit of a weird concept. When most of us think of "evaporation", we think of water, right? Water just disappears into the air and leaves no trace behind.
But Copic ink is not water; Copic ink is dye mixed with an alcohol solvent. Sure, the alcohol part evaporates cleanly without a trace, but the dye sticks around as residue.
Old dye residue lingers inside your marker caps, waiting to make trouble.
What kind of trouble?
Once you get an ooey gooey build-up of dye residue inside the cap, that jelly makes it hard for Copic caps to seal properly.
The cap clicks as normal, so you assume they're sealed... but no, the jelly breaks the seal.
Yep. Jelly is nasty stuff.
Without a tight seal, your marker nib will slowly dry out as the solvent in the nib begins to evaporate.
Basically jelly in the cap encourages the growth of more jelly on the nib.
Eventually, jelly can works its way into the spongy core inside your marker!
Once the jelly makes it to the core, your marker is shot. Jelly doesn't just kill marker nibs, it kills whole markers!
It's like The Blob in that 1950's horror movie, jelly keeps creeping along, destroying everything in its wake.
It's not just unsightly, jelly costs you money!
Every once in a while...
I'll pull out a marker that hasn't been used in some time. When I begin to color with it, the nib leaves a weird dark streak. Not all the time and not everywhere, just little smudges of darkened ink that don’t want to smooth out.
Have you had that happen too? Its a bit of jelly that has transferred from the nib to your project.
Dark streaks are not pretty.
Let’s look on the bright side though, that streak is a warning call.
Your marker is crying for help.
When you see dark streaks, you can clean the marker and the nib before the jelly spreads further.
So yes, because I use my markers every day; all that uncapping and recapping means I create jelly quicker than you do.
But I'm also more likely to spot the jelly problem early. I can quickly resolve the problem before it ruins the whole nib.
If some of your markers sit for months without use... then you're completely missing the early warning system!
Keeping caps clean is MORE important for the weekend hobbyist than for everyday colorers!
Dirty caps + long periods sitting unused gives your jelly lots of time to kill the nib!
Cleaning is easy!
And it's easier to do them all at once (in spring cleaning style) than cleaning them one at a time.
Pop in a good movie and sit down with your markers and a few basic supplies.
I have a small 4 ounce jelly jar (warning: Amazon affiliate link there) that I fill with 90% rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy aisle of my grocery store. The 70% alcohol works too but the 90% works faster.
Into that jar, I cut small 1 inch squares of clean paper towel.
This jar of teeny tiny wipes and a pair of tweezers are all you need to clean your entire marker collection!
Now keep in mind, rubbing alcohol is a different kind of alcohol than the alcohol in your Copics. These alcohols are not interchangeable or compatible!
Rubbing alcohol also has some water in the mix. That’s what the % on the label indicates. 90% Rubbing Alcohol is also 10% water. 70% Rubbing Alcohol is 30% water.
Because of that water content, I'm super careful when wiping off the plastic right below the marker nib.
Rubbing alcohol is not good for your nibs!
But aside from that one caveat, rubbing alcohol makes an excellent cleaner. It dissolves Copic jelly on contact, and it's soooo much cheaper than cleaning with Copic Colorless Blender!
First, wipe the marker off with a little tiny square of alcohol-soaked paper towel.
Then plunge the same square into the marker cap and ream it around with the tweezers to clean the inner cap area.
Tap the excess alcohol out of the cap, recap the marker, and move on to cleaning the next marker with a clean square.
It's an easy-peasy process and you can clean even the biggest marker collection before the movie is over!
spring clean your Copics!
Clean caps aren't just for neat freaks or heavy duty marker users.
Clean caps extend the life of your marker nibs and prevent accidental ink evaporation.
Try a little spring cleaning today and give your Copic babies a bath. Your markers will thank you!