Here is my Copic marker advice for the day: Buy some teflon tape. That probably means nothing to you but let me tell you how I got there. I’ve been using Copic markers for over ten years. I like them. They’re good markers and you can refill them with fresh ink when they run dry so they last a long time.

Recently Copic made their refill inks half the size they used to be, 12mL instead of 25mL, for the same price so I started buying some Dick Blick markers. Blick refill inks are 30mL for the same price as Copics 12mL. But I still like my Copics and I have a lot of refill ink to go before I use it all up so I’m not abandoning them.

You can also replace the nibs on Copic markers. I keep a few extra nibs around in case some go bad so I can replace them and keep on using the markers. Coipics could theoretically last forever except for one major flaw with the markers. The caps. They wear out easily.

A marker cap has to be airtight. It has to go onto the marker with a satisfying “Click” or your marker is sure to dry out. This is true of any brand of marker. I’m not sure how marker cap technology works but since the caps are only plastic that technology sure doesn’t work forever. I even recently purchased a Copic marker where the cap wasn’t airtight to begin with. Poor quality control.

It’s easy to tell when a cap isn’t fitting properly. Besides the fact that it doesn’t go on with a click the cap also has some side to side play in it. It wiggles. Copic markers have two tips on them so there is a cap on the top and the bottom of the marker. If you grab both caps with your fingertips and twist them slightly the caps shouldn’t move. If the do move, or pop right off, then you’ve got a bad seal. No matter how often you refill them they’ll dry out quickly.

Copic markers cost around $7 a piece. So when a cap goes bad it costs that much to replace the marker. That’s really annoying. Especially when three or four of them go at once. Well, maybe not at once but over a period of a month. That’s how long I usually wait to put in an art supply order so five new markers can add up to $35. That drives the price of an order up a lot. But it gets worse.

Back in 2012 Copic came out with a 25th Anniversary marker set. Thirty six colors, some of them new colors, with the marker barrels in black. Copic markers usually come with white barrels so it was cool to see them in black. I forget how much I paid for the set but I think it was around $150. No small amount but it served me well. But then the caps started to go bad.

I liked the 25th Anniversary set. I found the black barrels to be fun. So when a cap went bad and I had to replace the marker with a white barreled one I was always disappointed. But I never threw the bad markers out. I just put them in a bag a tucked them away. I really wanted that complete set of black barreled markers and figured, someday, I might be able to figure out how to fix and revive them.

That day is finally here, ten or so years later. I don’t know why it popped into my head but I had the thought that I might be able to fix the caps with teflon tape. That’s tape that plumber’s use. If you’ve got one water pipe that threads onto another water pipe and you want to make sure the connection is waterproof then you wrap the threads of the pipe with Teflon tape. It’s really thin and makes a seal. The thought came into my head that watertight means airtight so it might be what I need.

I ordered some Teflon tape that’s about a half an inch wide. Since the Copic markers have a cap on either end it’s usually only one side that goes bad. At that point I’d often tape that cap on and only use the other side. That works for a while but often the second cap goes bad soon after. But still I had some with only one bad cap so I tried to fix one of those.

Teflon tape may look like tape but it’s not really sticky. It feels like a really thin and pliable ribbon. It doesn’t stick to the barrel of the marker but it sticks to itself. Or it kind of mushes into itself and stays there. Almost like clay. I cut a piece about four inches long and wrap about half of it on the barrel and the other half goes up a bit on the point so it will be under the cap. Then I mush the under the cap part into itself. It ends up wrapping around the marker a couple of times.

The first few I tested it on seemed to work. The cap didn’t click on like it used to but I could tell it sealed and stayed in place. I’m not sure how durable the Teflon tape will be in the long run but in the short run it seems to work.

I mentioned the tape in one of the art supply hauls I posted on my YouTube channel and one of my viewers mentioned that he (and others) use teflon tape to repair fountain pens. This gave me confidence in the idea that my Copic markers could be fixed.

The next thing I tried to do was to revive one of the totally dried out markers. Copics are alcohol based markers so I got some rubbing alcohol to soak the marker in. I used a snack sized Ziplock bag, poured some alcohol in it, and then put the marker in the bag. I also pulled the two tips off the markers and dropped them in the bag. I pulled the tips off (which is how you refill the markers) so the alcohol could go in the barrel of the marker easier. I even ended up using the marker like a straw to draw some of the alcohol into the barrel of the marker.

So far it’s been working pretty well. I’ve got around 30 dried out markers and some are coming back easily and some are more of a struggle. It might take a few refills over time to get the extra alcohol out of the sponge inside the marker but I’m okay with that. I look forward to seeing the whole 25th Anniversary set reunited again.