Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What to do with Dried up Markers?

Just discovered something fun.
Now, as a rule, we try not to throw anything away. If it can be used, or fixed, or used for something else, I keep it. This often leads to...piles.
But anyway, one thing I generally just toss (when the boys aren't looking--Gibbie, like me and my father before me, will take anything he deems useful right out of the trash) is markers without caps. We have an abundance of markers, and once the cap is gone, even if we may find the cap a few hours or days later, the marker is a goner. It was a pet peeve of mine as a kid, going through the marker box, looking for a good marker of a certain color, and keeping finding dried-up markers, or mashed tips. I remember coloring layers on layers, trying to get a good look, from a dry marker that just didn't have the juice anymore. It occurred to me years later, that I might as well just throw away a dry marker as soon as I find it, as no one will ever want to color with it, and there is really no fixing it.
Well, this morning I found one good use for a dry marker! When watercoloring, as the child's interest in painting begins to wane, hand her a dried-up, capless marker! The moisture on her paper wicks pigment out of the-otherwise infuriating marker. Depending on how wet the paper is, it may also bleed in cool patterns. Fun is had by all.
Now throw away the marker.
**Okay, read the great ideas in the comments!**


Anonymous said...

We've been doing this project for quite a while at school (because everyone knows that kindergarteners ALWAYS put the caps back on...) I've discovered that construction paper and coffee filters both "bleed" very nicely. We can't afford nice watercolor paper.

We've also discovered that letting a "dry" marker sit in a cup of water overnight will make a very nice colored water to put into spray bottles and then spray onto paper. Sometimes this works best if you can pop the ends of the marker and take the ink tube out.

And then, once you have an empty marker shell you can toss it into the sand and water toys because it makes a really neat thin funnel.

Anonymous said...

Another idea (from the Tightwad Gazette) is to drill cap-sized holes in a piece of plywood for all your markers, and glue the caps into them. Then the kid just plugs the marker into an empty hole in the plywood and voila, it's capped. No losing caps, no losing markers, and less waste!

Anonymous said...

One option is to also buy some new markers that are just coming out that have no caps. They come in a travel container and the base that they fit in actually has all the caps built in.