Is it worth it to refill your markers?

Hi friends! About 10 years after originally getting my Copics, I finally need to refill a few favorite colors. Let me be totally honest with you, I am not a marker snob and I love trying out different brands. People with fewer markers will likely need to refill them sooner than I did. Since my Copic Sketch markers were such an investment, I decided to order refills when they started to feel dry. You want to refill them before they go totally dry to prevent wear on the tip, especially the brush nib that is costly to replace. I shopped around and found the best prices on Copic Refills at Scrapbook Pal. I ordered some and they shipped the next day and I had my refills in a couple of days. Shipping is free if your order is over $25. I paid $5.29 per refill and I am glad I ordered them there, because they were $10 each at the stamp show! I was so pleased with the service that I became an affiliate, so if you do order after clicking on one of my affiliate links I will make a small commission without costing you more. Thanks!

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I also wanted to mention that Simon Says Stamp is having a 25% off sale on Copics with coupon code MARKERSALE until 6/26 but they are still $2 more than Scrapbook Pal’s normal price. I thought I’d mention it if you were going to place an order there and just needed one or two inks.  Both are great stores!

Here are the refill colors I bought at Scrapbook Pal: Barley Beige – E11, Blush – R20, Buttercup Yellow – Y21, Chartreuse – YG13, Cotton Pearl (Formerly Skin White) – E00, Honey – Y38, Mignonette – YG11, Mint Blue – B01, Pale Yellow – Y11, Robin’s Egg Blue – B02, Sugared Almond Pink – RV02

These colors are all very light. I could tell these were all getting ready to need refilling when I could feel a drag on the paper. You want to refill it before it goes dry so you don’t damage the nibs. I use my markers to color stamped imaged in cardstock usually. The super light colors are my most used, because I use them to achieve the color blends. If a color is hard to blend I prime the area with the lightest color, then add my shadows, then my middle color (by coloring over the dark and into the medium tone area) then I go over about half of the middle value out to the highlight with that pale color. You can see how I use 4 to 6 times more of the lightest colors vs the dark and medium tones. Also, I find if you invest in refillable lighter colors, you can use a cheaper set of basic colors and have a fabulous set at an affordable price. I was going to make a video on how to refill them, but Copic already has a wonderful one so I’ll just post that:)

One of the questions I get all the time is “can you refill these?” anytime I review a new brand of markers. Since I have had the opportunity to review dozens of markers, I have determined that you can refill just about anything without messing them up as long as you can find the appropriate ink or something that matches really closely.

There have been a lot of fabulous markers that have come out in sets at a very low price point recently. The following brands use the ShinHan touch equivalent inks so if a color goes dry you can look at the last 2 digits on the marker and order the refill in the ShinHan Touch range. There are other generic markers on Amazon using this system, but I am only listing ones I have personally tried. Having a refill is awesome because you don’t want to have to rebuy a whole set because you need to replace one or two colors.

  • Ohuhu *I really like these!
  • TouchNew
  • Concept (Jerry’s Artarama)
  • Arteza (these are a bit tricky because they have a 4-5 digit code so look at a Shinhan swatch to be sure you have the right color/number code. I think they plan on offering refills as well as brush tips in the future so you might want to wait and see. I love the case these come in!
  • Arrtix (now with a 168 set!) I love how the bullet and chisel nib’s caps are different and easy to identify.

Do you need a “brush tip”?

I am going to be honest, it is easier to blend with a brush tip, and Copic is the gold standard. I don’t think you need every color in a brush tip if budget is a factor. If you can swing your lighter colors (see my most used color list above) in brush tip markers (in either the Sketch or cheaper Ciao version-ciao – it has the same nibs, it is just a skinnier marker so it holds less in but if you have refills it is not a big deal) then you can totally get by with the affordable chiel/bullet tip markers and have great blending.

Here are some brush marker recommendations:

  • Copic (I’d pick and choose rather and buying a full set)
  • Bianyo (these have very flexible high-quality nibs at 1/4 price of Copic) No refills but you could try matching up to a Copic chart. *If you don’t need a refill this is the best deal!
  • Blick Studio Brush marker (not the seasonal illustrator line) they now sell refills for these. Best budget brush marker if you DO want refills.
  • Prismacolor Brushmarker
  • Windsor & Newton Brush Marker (formally Promarker by Letraset) *These used to have refills when owned by Letraset not sure if they still do tho.
  • ShinHan Touch (the line of refill inks I mentioned above) also has a high rated line of brush tipped markers but I have not tried them personally)

These brush markers are less expensive generally but the tip is less flexible. They blend well but will fray over time especially if they go dry. They aren’t bad but they are more of a disposable option. If you only use markers occasionally they might be the best choice for you.

  • Studio 71  *Most affordable and equivalent to the following brands listed in this section.
  • Ohuhu Brush Markers (available in a couple of weeks)
  • Premiere (AC Moore) *Open stock available in store (I prefer the chisel nib in their original design markers tho)
  • Blick Illustrator
  • Stampin Blends ($4.50 each from a Stampin Up demonstrator)

Spectrum Noir also offers chisel, bullet and brush tip markers in their spectrum noir marker coloring system as well as refill inks. These markers offer all of the options of nib choices and refill inks at a lower price point, and money-saving packs of markers if you are just getting started and want to buy a lot at once. They are not as cheap as the chisel/bullet combos I mentioned above, but you do get more training and support online, such as free downloads on their website. I like this line of markers and I will be posting a review of their innovative TriBlend markers on Saturday.

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Wow, I did not intend to make such a long post! I guess for me it’s worth it to get refills for these markers I am using a lot and depend on (my philosophy with ink pads as well) but there are colors I will never run dry at my level of use. I suggest waiting until you need a few colors and order them at once to minimize shipping costs or get free shipping. Ordering refills is not as exciting as trying a new set of markers but in the long run, it is more cost effective, especially if the markers you are considering trying are duplicate colors to what you already own. What do you think- have you refilled any of your markers before? What is your favorite brand? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

 

 

 

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10 Responses

  1. I love my Copic Sketch markers and have easily refilled a few of them. I have Spectrum Noir but I like the smaller brush nib of my Sketch markers much better. I have tried my friends’ Stampin Up Blends and those nibs fray really fast so I would not recommend those at all.

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    • I find those fely like nins that SU blends have will fray if they get dry, too bad they don’t make a reinker. I did see one lady take her regual SU reinker and add alcohol to it and reink her blends, heck, what is there to lose if you have to toss in anyway, she was happy with the result and it seemed to work fine.

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  2. Wow! Thanks for the awesome reviews and recommendations! I primarily work in watercolor, acrylic, and mixed media and have been wondering if the Copic’s were worth the investment. Have they really lasted 10 years? That’s impressive. As a marker beginner who works primarily in other media, would Copic’s work well with them? I’ve only dabbled with some Arteza markers and while I like them I don’t think they’re giving me the results I think I’m looking for LOL. Thank you so much, you are awesome, and I thoroughly enjoy watching your videos! Can’t wait till your next post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Markers have a learning curve so I’d use what you have first. The arteza markers are going to have just about the same ink as copics. The brush nibs on the copic sketch and Caio markers do make blending and coloring easier but the ink is the same. The palest colors will be the most useful in the brush markers if you like to blend but I would pick and choose your colors. Adding the colors I mentioned just buying refills for with the exception of “honey” because I think that tone is already in the Arteza 60 range anyway will give you the nice “blend out” look if using in conjunction with Arteza. That would be my advice but there is a learning curve with these so watch some tutorials and practice before chasing the perfect marker. They really are so very similar.

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      • Thank you so much! I will do that and save my investment for a later date :-). Thanks for the feedback 🌺

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  3. Great info! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for update. I have many copics and keep adding the refills as I run out. Happy to learn about Scrapbook Pal and the cheaper price. I just ordered from them. Plus they were the only ones that seem to have the tweezers in stock and have been wanting a pair.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love how in depth you went on this. I have some of the Spectrum Noir TriBlend Markers. I have them on AutoShip from hsn, have 2 shipments(6 markers ea. ship.) to go & then I will have the Complete Set. Looking forward to your video on Saturday about these markers. With being New to using Alcohol markers, not sure how to start.
    QUESTION: Do you do Color Swatch w/ your Alcohol Markers like you do w/ your Watercolors??
    Thank You Lindsay for this Review/Comparison of Alcohol Markers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yes. it is very important to swatch markers on the paper you usually use because the caps are rarely a perfect match. I recommend using the method that the tri-blend markers recommend (color everything with light, add dark shadows, add mids and blend over with light again) for the easiest results. It is a very easy marker to use.

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  6. Thanks for the marker recommendations. I have hundreds of Copic markers and always looking for the best site to order refills. I will be using your Scrapbook Pal link to get my order going.

    Liked by 1 person

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