A common question I’m asked often is how to change Copic nibs – when do you do it? What’s the process? And how do you refill Copic markers? Today’s very short video will talk about both! Watch the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube.
In case it didn’t come through clearly enough in the video: do NOT use rubbing alcohol in place of Colorless blender except in cleaning functions only. If you soak your caps, 99% alcohol works great. It’s super for putting on a rag or paper towel and wiping off ink around the nib. But do NOT mix it with color inside your pen or touch it to the nib. You don’t want to mix that with the Copic ink. Use colorless blender if you want to do things like mix custom colors, etc.
How to refill Copic markers
I recommend only purchasing refill bottles for colors as you use them; you may THINK you’re going to use a color a lot, but wait until you find out if you actually do. You’ll get many refills out of one bottle; so don’t get too worried by the price, it’s a great deal. I’ve posted a list of my most-refilled markers HERE – that means that they’re the colors I use the most!
Signs that a marker needs refilling:
- inconsistent coloring
- “dragging” of the nib while coloring; sometimes with a squeaky sound
- whitish nib
Refill from the chisel side, especially if you use my technique (removing the chisel nib, dripping ink directly into the marker) or the Booster System. I’m going to make a wild guess and say that most people who make videos – including Copic – must not use the booster needle, because I couldn’t find any how-t0-refill videos showing it! ha. I’ve tried it before and it works, it’s just easier to put the drops in directly. Some folks use the measurement notches on the bottle and figure out how many cc’s to put in; I hold the bottle above the marker and drip ink into it, and just count drops.
Once you think you’ve got enough ink in the pen, be sure to test it. If ink is dribbling out of the brush nib – you’re over full!
If your marker still isn’t quite right….a Copic hack!
I’ve had a few markers over the years that weren’t coloring quite right even after refilling. They were a little “gummy” on the surface of the nib – if you end up with that kind of nib, you’ll know it.
The trick with the bag shown in the video worked BRILLIANTLY on the marker I used it on this week. I was so excited to see that! In the past I had just changed those nibs…so from now on when I get a gummy marker, I’m going to mess with it more before giving it up. Just put a little Colorless Blender into a plastic bag, and massage it into the nib for about 30 seconds or so. Scribble off color – it should be lighter and thinner ink at first, as the blender solution wears off. You may need to add more ink to get it to color properly.
And if that doesn’t work – try changing the nib.
How to change Copic nibs
I replace nibs most often when the nib breaks down; that means either the tip develops a little “tail” that flips around as I color (agh! Frustrating!)…and sometimes the sides of a nib break down and develop what looks like pilling. If it still colors fine and you aren’t bothered by it, though, don’t change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
How to change Copic nibs: Pull out the nib with Copic tweezers. It’s an inexpensive item, so go ahead and pick one up, honestly. It’ll keep your fingers clean when changing nibs or refilling – and it’ll make pulling out a brush nib WAY easier. I tried replacing a nib and using my regular makeup tweezers to pull out the nib – and only the foam part came off, and I had to do crazy things to remove the rest….it’s easier to just use the Copic one.
Pop a new nib into the empty marker, then wait for the ink to wick down to the end. Super easy. You may need to add more ink, but wait til the ink wicks out to the end first.
The “hack” I showed with the bag isn’t mine, though I had always wondered if it would work. So happy that marker is back to working well instead of needing a new nib! Here are two ladies with blogs that are jam packed with great info:
- Debbie Olson – the plastic bag trick
- Sharon Harnist
- Copic’s site: How to refill markers – shows the booster system
- Copic’s site: How to replace nibs
My most reinked colors
At long last, after SO many requests….I’ve updated my favorite products page. At least with a few of the basics! I have more to add, but…here you go!My favorite products
I hope this post was helpful in learning how to change Copic nibs and refill your markers!