Tag Archives: markers

Marker Love

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I’m a marker girl. I own a box of pastels, a couple sets of colored pencils and a carousel of gel pens, but markers are my medium of choice – and I have A LOT of them in water-based, permanent, and alcohol inks. Unfortunately, my VERY favorite set (a nondescript package of generic alcohol markers purchased for half price from Hobby Lobby) are running out of ink, and what is doubly unfortunate is that the store doesn’t have them anymore. (Imagine the outcry of indignation and sorrow!) Thus, I set out to find an affordable set of double tip markers to replace my beloved coloring companions. After looking at plenty of markers in local arts and crafts stores, I settled on a set of 72 Bianyo 8606 markers from Amazon.

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These arrived in a soft sided case for $39.99, which works out to about 56 cents a marker – a bargain for sure. (My former favorites were 69 cents each on sale.)

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I immediately liked the squarish shape of the barrel which made the markers easy to manipulate and comfortable to hold. Since I have arthritis, the fatter barrels are much easier on my hands.

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Each marker has a fine and broad tip along with the color number on both ends, so it is visible in the case no matter which end is up. I’m always happier when the company puts a number on the pen so I don’t have to!

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Whenever I get a new set of markers, I always start by creating a set of color swatches because I just don’t trust the hues on the caps. A set of swatches allows me to choose the exact color I want (or quickly see that I’ll need to blend a couple of shades to get it). Since the markers were not separated by color in the case,  I sorted them into color groups and arranged them by number before creating the swatches.

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Each swatch consists of two passes with the chisel tip and the color number written with the fine tip of the marker. These pages get stapled together and stored with the markers so the swatches are easily accessible whenever I use the pens. (I used to put all of the swatches into a three-ring binder, but found it too cumbersome over time.) This set is listed as “classic colors” and has a nice variety of both cool and warm grays, blues, yellows, greens, and reds along with a sable and a blending pen.

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After creating the swatches, I put the pens back into the case by color (sort of), which brings me to my only complaint about the set – the case. In the ordering photo, the markers appear to be in a stiff-sided case that holds them upright and in order. (Okay, I’m probably OCD about these things, but I like my pens sorted by color and number.) However, the case is unstructured so the markers don’t go in rows (which would make them easier to organize) and they start to fall over when several are removed at a time.

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That said, I liked them every bit as much as my “old favorites.” The colors dried quickly, and once dry they did not bleed when touched by a new color / wet ink (which is one of my pet peeves with water-based markers). In addition, the fine tip easily managed the small spaces on this coloring page from Creative Cats by Marjorie Sarnat (Dover: Mineola, New York) and the chisel tip filled in the backgrounds without streaking. (I tend to turn the page and color in different directions, so the fact that the ink blends into itself is a real plus.) I would give these pens a five star rating for color variety, value, and feel. But, I’d only give the case two stars, because I find it unwieldy and annoying. It provides basic storage, but it doesn’t help me organize the markers or quickly find the one I’m looking for. If that doesn’t bother you, I would definitely recommend these markers.

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Easy Desk Accessories

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Easy Desk Accessories

I really love the idea of upcycling because I enjoy turning trash into treasure (to be trite) and making something useful for little or no money. Tonight’s project fits the bill on all accounts. I’m always looking for a way to store pencils, markers, scissors, erasers, and all sorts of other little doodads. I like having them easily accessible, but out of the way. So,  pretty cup-style holders make sense to organize my creative space.

I started with a couple of empty cans. One is a larger vegetable can, and the other is a cat food can. The bigger one is perfect for an assortment of markers, while the smaller is just the right size for paper clips, erasers, or pencil grips. I simply washed them out and removed the labels, which usually come off easily and provide a template for the decorations.

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Next, I grabbed a completed coloring page. (This one is from Creative Cats by Marjorie Sarnat.) I chose it because I think the cat surrounded by paint tubes and brushes is a good decorative touch for my drawing table. Since I wanted the cat’s face to be a focal point, I cut across the picture and pieced the strips together to make a new “label” for the larger can. I left my strip a little longer than the original to make sure I had plenty of overlap. (You can always cut some off, but it’s difficult to add it back on!)

Next, I repeated the process with another coloring page since there wasn’t enough left of the first one to cover the small can, too. (This page is from Flower Art and was drawn by Susan Bloomenstein.) I wanted the flowers to be right side up, so I (again) cut across the sheet and glued the two pieces together.

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The final step is to simply wrap the new labels around the can and glue them in place. I put some glue on the back of the paper in several places to help secure it, and then just glued down the overlapping edges. Voila! The cans are ready to serve as colorful organizers for my desk.

You could construct a whole set from coordinating coloring pages. Choose a theme that fits your style. A group of these along with some colored pens, etc. to fill the cans would make a nice teacher gift, too. (Trust me, teachers can never have too many containers!)

Remember, use what you have to make the world a little brighter! Happy coloring!