Spring Cleaning: Simple care will extend the life of your Copic Markers

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

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...

Okay, I've seen lots of tutorials about how to clean Copic Markers; but that's for people who color all the time, right? I mean, a lot of those tutorials talk about cleaning your marker right after you refill it with ink and I've NEVER had to refill a marker. So sure, I pinned a few tuts and maybe someday when I have to refill a marker, I'll clean my marker then.

And you're absolutely right, folks like me who use Copics on a daily basis- instructors, bloggers, and super serious colorers- we do have to refill our markers, far more than the average colorers.

But cleaning is a different matter entirely. Everyone from high volume colorers to once-in-a-whilers, we ALL need to clean our markers on a regular basis.

Why? Because we all make Copic Jelly

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com


Copic jelly?


Yep. I've got jelly problems and you've got jelly problems too.

Every time you uncap or recap a Copic marker, your marker nib rubs along the inside of the cap and leaves a streak of marker ink.

And then that streak quietly lurks inside your cap and the solvent slowly evaporates. What's leftover after the solvent has gone is Copic jelly- a super sticky residue.

I'll bet that when you think of evaporation, you think of water, right? Water just eventually disappears into the air and most of the time, it leaves no trace behind.

But Copic ink is not like water; Copic ink is a dye mixed with an alcohol solvent. Sure, the alcohol evaporates cleanly without a trace, but what remains is a whole lot of ink residue. And that stuff just sits there on the inside of your marker cap, waiting to make trouble.

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

Copic jelly goo, once you get a pretty good build up going, the jelly makes it hard for your marker caps to seal properly. You heard them click, so you assume they're sealed, but jelly breaks the seal.

Yep. Jelly is nasty stuff.

Without a tight seal, your marker nib will start drying out as the solvent in the nib begins to evaporate.

Jelly creates more jelly by breaking the seal on your markers.

It's like The Blob in B movies, Copic jelly just keeps creeping along and destroying everything in it's wake.

It's not just unsightly, jelly buildup damages your markers.

Every once in a while...

I'll pull out a marker that hasn't been used in a while and when I begin to color with it, the nib leaves a little dark streak in with the pretty ink color.

Have you had that happen too? It's pretty common. That's a bit of jelly that rubbed off onto the nib and now you've accidentally transferring that jelly streak to your project.

Not good.

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

Actually, there's a little ray of sunshine there because that streak is a warning. Now you're catching and cleaning that marker an the nib before the problem continues to spread.

If you get enough jelly on a nib, it's toast. No one wants a marker that leaves dark streaks, but as I said before, jelly grows. It's eventually going to turn your brush nib hard and crusty.

So yes, if I use my markers more frequently than the average weekend hobby colorer, it's logical that I'm going to dirty my caps faster and create jelly quicker than you.

But I'm also more likely to spot the jelly problem early and I can easliy resolve the problem before it ruins the nib.

If some of your markers sit for weeks or months without use, either because you haven't found time to color or because it's a color you rarely use... well, you might say that keeping clean caps is even MORE important for the hobbyist than for the professionals!

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

Cleaning is easy!

And it's almost easier to do them all at once (in spring cleaning style) than to do them one at a time.

Pop in a good movie and sit yourself 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 rubbing alcohol. Into that, I cut small 1 inch squares of clean paper towel. That jar of teeny tiny wipes and a pair of tweezers are all you need to clean your entire marker collection!

Now rubbing alcohol is a different kind of alcohol than the alcohol in your Copics, the alcohols are not interchangeable. Plus rubbing alcohol has some water in the mix, so I'm super careful not to splash the rubbing alcohol everywhere. When I'm wiping off the plastic below the marker nib, I make sure not to touch the brush nib. But aside from that one caveat, rubbing alcohol makes an excellent cleaner and it instantly dissolves Copic jelly on contact.

So I wipe the marker off with my little tiny square of alcohol-soaked paper towel, then I plunge the same square into the marker cap and ream it around with the tweezers to clean the inner cap area.

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

Tap the excess moisture 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!

So yes, you can spring clean your Copic markers

Clean caps aren't just for neat freaks or heavy duty marker users, they extend the life of your marker nibs and in the long run, you'll use loose less ink to evaporation.

Try a little spring cleaning today and give your Copic babies a bath. Your markers will thank you!