I promise I'll talk about other things tomorrow, but I have one last topic to cover about refilling before I move on. If you still have questions about refilling please e-mail or download our simple refilling guide from the Copic Library. Note: filling an empty marker is slightly different since it takes a little more ink, but I'll talk about that sometime later.
Refilling with the Booster Needle
The most accurate and quick way to refill markers is with the Copic Booster needle. This is a large needle that attaches over the built-in dropper on a bottle of various ink. Then, you insert this into your marker, squeeze gently until you've added the correct amount of ink.
On a Copic original marker, if you look at the chisel end you will see a little gap between the nib and the plastic barrel. The booster needle fits down into that gap and easily fills the marker. As the needle enters the marker you will feel some slight resistance- this is where it is meeting the sponge reservoir inside. You don't need to jam the needle all the way until it stops, just until you feel the slight resistance.
On a Sketch or Ciao marker you will need to remove the chisel nib (NOT the Brush!) to refill with the booster. Again, push it in until you feel some resistance, then look at the ink level so you can tell how much you need to add. gently squeeze until you've added the correct amount for your marker type.
When pulling the needle out of the marker do so at an angle so the ink doesn't dribble down the side of the needle. Be careful not to squeeze while you are removing the needle as well or you'll be spraying ink all over the place.
Replace the caps and nibs on your marker and let it sit for a while to allow the ink to soak out to the edges. Test it after a few minutes to make sure you haven't overfilled.
Pro- Fast and accurate
Con- You're working with a big needle.
Cleaning out the booster needle
You don't need a different needle for each marker color, but you do need to clean out the needle really well between different colors.
If I need to fill a pale blue marker and a dark blue marker, I would do my light color first, then rather than clean out the needle I can get away with using it directly with my darker blue ink. This is not a good idea if you are switching from red to blue- this would contaminate your marker. When switching color families in particular, rinse out your booster well.
An easy way to clean the needle is to put it into a small cup and add a little rubbing alcohol to rinse it in. Another easy way to clean it is to take an empty various ink bottle, fill it with rubbing alcohol, and squirt it through the needle until the juice flows clear. Either way, be sure that the whole needle is clean inside and out, and the base is clean.
Since this needle is so long and sharp always store it back in the little pastic sleeve it came in. This protects it from getting damaged as well as from damaging other things. Don't store it dirty since it's hard to clean out crusty old ink.
Whenever I have a lot of markers in the same color to fill I use the booster needle. If I am in the middle of a project and just need a quick refill I usually use the drip and dab method. Either way my marker is good as new and I haven't wasted my money. One bottle of ink goes a long way, so you can expect years of coloring out of your investment.