Uses for Spent Markers

Posted on June 13, 2008 by Allie

Asthma Mom asked about ways to reuse dried out old markers. Here are a few ideas.

First up, make sure the markers are really done for. Try reviving dried out markers by pulling the ends off and adding a few drops of water or water mixed with vinegar to the marker. If you can’t get the end off, try soaking the tip for a few minutes.

Jumping Monkeys uses the leftover color in old marker wicks in cups of water to teach her kids about colors and how colors change when mixed together.

I did a little brainstorming and think that, if taken apart and cut carefully (by an adult), plastic marker tubes could be made into beads for making necklaces and other crafts. They could be painted or used as is.

You could also string the tubes together and add some handles to either end to make a jump rope.

Glue the markers to a cardboard cut out to make a picture frame, or around an empty, cleaned out juice concentrate tube to make a pencil holder.

Take the insides out and thread some sparkly streamers or bits of yarn through an old marker to make a magic wand.

Or even just give them to your kids and ask them to brain storm. Maybe a bunch of marker tubes will get tied together and become a raft or other tub toy. Maybe they’ll make great supports for a tiny tee pee or tent. Or something even more fabulous!

And when you’re replacing old markers, look for an eco-friendly option, like these markers from Natural Collection. The tubes are made from wax paper and they are free of icky solvents. Sadly, they aren’t in stock at the moment, but hopefully, they will be soon.

Or, make your own. Science Buddies has instructions to make markers at home. It’s a little complex, but it might be fun.

If you’re using markers for fabric crafts, etc., check out these, which can be refilled with your choice of dye indefinitely.

No Comments +

  1. I love these ideas!

    June 13th, 2008 at 4:57 pm
    Comment by Kristen
  2. Ooo … you could glue them together, around a lamp base for some themed decorating!

    June 13th, 2008 at 5:56 pm
    Comment by Sally
  3. Kristin — thanks!

    Sally — that’s an awesome idea — would be so cute in a kid’s room or craft corner!

    June 13th, 2008 at 7:01 pm
    Comment by Allie
  4. Wow! What fun ideas! It makes me wish my son was old enough to play with markers!

    June 13th, 2008 at 9:17 pm
    Comment by Jessica
  5. I love the bead idea and especially the jump rope idea. I remember the plastic jump ropes as a kids, boy did they hurt when they it you.

    Would you know the best way to cut the old markers?

    June 14th, 2008 at 6:08 am
    Comment by Allison
  6. This bag has been made with the tubes of felt tip markers. I have no idea about the technique, but it looks really great:

    June 14th, 2008 at 5:43 pm
    Comment by ana
  7. cool ideas! I am environmentally guilt-laden…try to turn off lights, etc and do my best. Now I know where to come for inspiration!

    June 16th, 2008 at 1:47 am
    Comment by manager mom
  8. [...] markers, and when she uses them up I’m stuck with that empty plastic tube. I asked Allie for suggestions, and she had some really creative ideas I haven’t tried yet. Go check them [...]

    June 16th, 2008 at 2:13 pm
    Pingback by Asthma Mom » Kids, Their Stuff, and Sustainability
  9. SWEET.

    Thanks! I bet craftier people than me could turn those cut-up markers into things like Christmas ornaments and garlands, too.

    June 16th, 2008 at 2:17 pm
    Comment by Amy

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