Please, help me mark my markers!
February 22, 2016 12:49 AM   Subscribe

How do I permanently (or at least with some degree of durability) write on the bodies of my coloured markers?

I love colouring. I love pens and pencils and markers and I am gathering quite a collection, along with a number of colouring books. However I'm getting frustrated with the way the text rubs off the body of the marker.

I have a little book where I record the brand, colour number and a sample of the colour itself. Which is great, until I look at the markers and find the colour number has rubbed off.

I've tried putting stickers on, but they just come off almost immediately. I did think about wrapping a fabric bandaid around and then writing on that, but they're double ended markers (Tombow, if it makes a difference) and I'm not sure if that would change how I hold the markers. Also, it's not a very pretty solution! Googling has been tried, but I obviously don't have the right search terms because the results were less than successful...

Any suggestions? I can't be the only person out there that this bothers, can I?
posted by eloeth-starr to Media & Arts (20 answers total)
I haven't tried this, but could you try using two layers of clear tape? Apply tape, write number on tape, then apply a second layer of tape over the number so you don't smear off the ink. If you wrap the strips of tape all the way around the body, perhaps they will lie flat enough to avoid coming off like the stickers.
posted by cdefgfeadgagfe at 1:25 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

What about painting the bodies of the markers with clear nail polish or a similar hard-wearing finish?

Reading fail. What about writing the color number on in non-clear nail polish?
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:31 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I use masking tape for jobs like this.
posted by Coaticass at 1:31 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kind of the more expensive option, but I have a label printer, the labels of which have so far survived multiple trips through the dishwasher on tupperware.

Writing on a regular label then covering that in clear tape would probably work just as well though.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:33 AM on February 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

To reduce the need to label the markers after the text come off, try putting scotch tape or clear packing tape over the text when the markers are new.
posted by rsclark at 2:47 AM on February 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

For my kids' drink bottles, I use a label printer, and then a layer of outdoor Mod Podge over the labels so that the labels don't peel off when we wash them.

The Mod Podge trick ought to work over anything - masking tape, marker pen, whatever.
posted by pipeski at 3:31 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Clear heat shrink tubing.
posted by Bruce H. at 5:27 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Clear heat shrink would work.

I'd engrave them, or take pictures of them when new next to the sample colour.
posted by scruss at 5:38 AM on February 22, 2016

I draw using disposable drafting pens and sometimes rank in-use identical ones by labeling around the CAP. I write a number on a tiny square of sticky Post-It and tape it in place with clear packing tape. Works a charm (tested on 6 continents).
posted by maya at 5:41 AM on February 22, 2016

A diamond etcher? (Or something less strong if they are just plastic, but basically use something to scratch the writing into them rather than trying to stick something on?)
posted by Tandem Affinity at 5:58 AM on February 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Label printer should do what you want and many of them have nice fonts and colors of their own.However I might go lateral for this and just use a digital camera to take a photo of the pen (showing label) and the name of the color and then you can reference it forever that way and not have to mark up your pen at all.
posted by jessamyn at 6:40 AM on February 22, 2016

Perhaps the manufacturer of the markers would know? See if you can find a contact form or twitter account and let them know that the labeling is wearing off their product. It's possible that this is common problem with an easy solution. It's also possible that your particular markers are defective and if there customer service is any good they might make it right.
posted by arcolz at 6:57 AM on February 22, 2016

2nding diamond etcher, aka security pen/pencil. Basically a metal pencil with an industrial diamond tip for marking stereo equipment, jewelry, etc in case of theft. Works great on plastic and doesn't leave any sticky residue.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:05 AM on February 22, 2016

I find that for brands that have labelled ends, the number on the endcap stays very clear even when the body is getting faded. Unless you habitually get your caps mixed up, that might be a good location for marking (finepoint sharpie-type pen, drop of clear nail polish over.)
posted by aimedwander at 7:54 AM on February 22, 2016

I label pens and whatnot with a piece of paper held on with packing tape.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:45 AM on February 22, 2016

I use clear shipping tape for this. The small Scotch one, usually. You have to do it when they're new, obviously.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:28 AM on February 22, 2016

A department where I work is constantly losing their pens, and they put their name on them by applying a regular return address size label and then packing tape over the label.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:58 AM on February 22, 2016

Get an engraving tool at the hardware store, they have a little tungsten-carbide point on them and cost about $5. Scratch your desired label into the plastic of the marker, then write on the scratches with an "industrial" Sharpie. The sharpie ink that gets into the scratches will stay there pretty much forever.

In a former life, I used to do this as a way of field-labeling microcentrifuge tubes when I needed to make sure that the labeling would absolutely not get rubbed or washed off, no matter what. It worked well.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:44 PM on February 22, 2016

If you number them with Roman numerals, you can easily do it with a pocketknife.

(Oggham for extra credit.)
posted by clew at 6:10 PM on February 22, 2016

Response by poster: Ahh, you guys are awesome. And I lack imagination! So many good answers, I can't mark 'best'. I have several things to try now.

Thanks all!
posted by eloeth-starr at 8:41 PM on February 22, 2016

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