Are you worrying about running the risk of breaking your Copic marker while refilling it? Are you fretting over the thought that you might spill permanent ink on your furniture?
Here, I will teach you how to refill Copic markers without damaging a nib or spilling your precious ink. Copics are meant for long-term use precisely because the inks and nibs are refillable and replaceable.
Whether it’s your first time refilling the ink or just looking for another way to do it, you’ve come to the right place!
What You Need
Copic ink refills
Copic sells its refills, which you can find in many art supply stores and online shops. Be sure to buy the exact ink that you’ve used up from your marker. You can check the cap to see the color code. Rest assured, the ink quality is the same!
Recently, the manufacturer has come up with a new design for the ink bottle. The old refill bottle has a short and broad nozzle, which you can see in the photo above. Meanwhile, the new one has a slim and long applicator. I’ll share the directions for the old and new bottles in this tutorial.
A pair of tweezers
You can use a tweezer you got from Copic or a regular tweezer that you got from any shop to remove the nib. Art is Fun recommends against pulling out the brush nib unless you are planning to replace it. That’s because the tweezers can deform the shape of the brush. However, you can use it to remove the chisel nib.
I prefer dripping the ink onto the nib even if it takes longer. Pulling the tip and putting it back on several times can damage it.
Copic refill booster needles
Booster needles are made specifically to help artists refill the ink into the marker’s reservoir. Upon checking Copic’s websites, it seems like the manufacturer has phased out their booster needles but you can still find other e-commerce sites selling these.
I’m not a fan of these needles because I need to clean them up after refilling the ink to use them with a different color. Each pack contains 3 booster needles but I still think it’s a hassle.
Scrap papers or old newspapers
Although the new ink bottle is designed to prevent leaking and spilling, I would still advise you to cover your work area with scrap papers or old newspapers. After all, accidents can still happen even though we are extremely careful.
Gloves are optional. It is not hard to remove marker ink from the skin but it saves you from the trouble of doing so.
How to Refill your Copic Markers
How to tell when your Copic marker needs a refill
- One way to determine if your Copic marker is due for refill is to check if the nib appears lighter. In some cases, it would appear whiter.
- Another sign that indicates a need for refill is when the tip produces a squeaking sound.
- Your Copic marker’s brush nib feels a little dry and you need to press harder to release the ink. When you apply more pressure to the nib than necessary, you may run the risk of fraying it.
- When you try to shade or draw lines, it appears streaky instead of a solid color.
- Even if you don’t use your Copic marker as often, you will need to refill it in the third year. Generally speaking, Copics tend to have a 3-year shelf life, according to The Curiously Creative.
Refilling without removing the nib
- Prepare your work area by covering the table with scrap papers or old newspapers.
- Remove the cap of the marker’s chisel side and uncap the ink refill bottle. This procedure applies to both the old and the new version of Copic’s ink refill bottle.
- Add a few drops of ink onto the nib as demonstrated in this video by The Art Gear Guide Youtube. Allow the nib to absorb the ink completely and then add a few more drops. The ink will flow into the reservoir.
- Repeat the process until you have filled enough ink in the reservoir. This Art is Fun article suggests 20 drops to fill the marker, but it can take about 30 drops in some cases.
- Once you’re done, recap both the marker and the ink bottle.
Using the new ink bottle
- Make sure to have your tweezers, marker, and refill bottle ready in your work area. Don’t forget to cover your table to prevent ink splotches!
- Using the tweezers, pull out the chisel nib gently. I strongly suggest that you place it on the part of the table where it will not easily fall off. You check this video by Cathy Zielske on how to remove the nib with the help of a pair of tweezers.
- Uncap the ink bottle and place the nozzle inside the reservoir. Note that you need to squeeze the bottle to pour the ink.
- Take the chisel nib using the tweezers and put it back onto the marker.
Pro tip: Copic refill inks come in clear plastic bottles. They have markings that indicate the quantity of the ink that it contains. Since Copic markers do not have transparent bodies, you can check how much you have poured into the reservoir by looking at these markings.
Using Copic booster needle and old ink bottle
- Cover your work area with old newspapers or scrap papers. Wear your gloves and gather all the materials you need. This includes the marker, refill ink bottle, tweezers, and booster needles.
- Pull out the chisel nib using the tweezers and place them on the table.
- Retrieve the booster needle from the packaging and uncap the ink bottle. Place the booster needle onto the ink bottle as shown in this illustration by Wikihow.
- Thrust the needle into the opening of the marker. Hold the ink bottle above the marker then start squeezing it gently to pour the ink into the reservoir.
- Check the ink bottle’s marking that indicates the ink quantity as you refill. Ideally, you need to pour 1.5 to 2 cc of ink.
- Using the tweezers, insert the nib back into the marker’s opening. Make sure that it is securely fastened to the marker.
- On scrap paper or card stock, test your marker to see if its ink flows smoothly on both chisel and brush nibs.
- Copic recommends storing the markers horizontally to prevent the ink from concentrating on one side of the nib. Ensure that the area is cool and not expose the markers directly to sunlight or UV as it will damage the body and cause the ink to fade.
How do you find this tutorial on refilling Copic markers? Some of you probably still own one of those old ink bottles. Those who have yet to buy refills may find only the new versions in their local art supplies shops.
Either way, I discussed all the methods to decide which one is more convenient for you. Taking my advised steps to keep your markers in good shape will save you money from buying new ones and help you achieve your desired results.
As always, I’m open to hearing your thoughts. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. If you know anyone who can benefit from this tutorial, feel free to share this article.
I am a former art teacher, so it is evident to me the importance of art in educating the new generation. We also want to help parents who plan to teach their children and desire the best tools and tips for them.