How to Keep Deco Paint Markers From Clogging

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Keeping Deco paint markers from clogging involves replacing the cap tightly over the marker, storing it flat, wiping the tip with a bit of paint solvent before using again and shaking it thoroughly to remix the paint. Understand how paint markers clog up in order to unclog them with information from an art store general manager in this free video on art supplies.

Part of the Video Series: Paint Markers
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Next question is an excellent one, is how to keep a paint marker from clogging. One needs to understand how a paint marker works before we go into that. Paint marker, unlike a regular marker, has paint in the barrel which needs to be mixed like any other can of paint that sits for a while. It needs to be shook throughly, the solvent and the pigment tend to separate. You need to shake it really well. And then, after you shake it really well, you pump the tip until you get paint. After you've used a paint marker, you have paint in the tip of the marker now. And here's where a lot of people go wrong. So, they put the cap back on. First is, you want to put the cap on well, hear it snap. The second thing is, it's probably a good idea to just store the marker flat, not up or down. Some people say it's better to do it this way, upside down or right side up, better to just keep it flat. Obviously, like any can of paint, the longer you let it sit and you pull that lid off of a can of paint, there's going to be a skin on the surface of that can of paint. In a can of paint, it's very easy just to peel that little layer off and go ahead and work. Now, not so with a paint marker. And, what happens with paint marker is that, after you've used that paint marker and then you come back a couple weeks, a couple of months later, the tip will dry out. And so, you'll try to work and you won't get anything to come out and you shake it up and start pumping the tip again and all of a sudden, paint floods out. Well, you need to understand is paint has dried in the tip which was before very porous. The best thing that you can do, get a little paint thinner, you can wipe the tip off before you start. But, before you start using the marker again, you want to shake it very throughly because it's going to be separated and you only want to pump it once. You don't want to go overboard. If you go overboard and pump it when there's paint in here, you're going to get, it's going to start to drip like that. And you need to understand there's nowhere for the paint to go. When this tip was normally very porous, now it's clogged with paint so you have to slowly introduce paint in here. Pump it once. A marker that has been sitting for a long time may want to run like that. You need to get a paper towel and just wipe it off a little bit; let the solvent soak back into the tip to basically take it from the hard to soft again so it can operate properly. You need to understand that this is a porous tip in here and if everything's dried in there, it needs to have solvent introduced back so it'll operate properly. And, it's a very common problem with paint markers is that tip dries in there and then people try to use it and everything drips and gets ugly. Patience is the key. If you have paint thinner and it's a solvent-based paint marker, wipe it off with that. If it's a water-based paint marker, try to wipe your tip off with that. Pump it once and let the solvent reintroduce. It may have to sit for a few minutes but it won't work the same as a brand new one. After there's paint in there and it dries in there, it will have a tendency not to act the same and you have to go a little bit slower. But, once you get solvent introduced back in there, it should be fine in a few minutes. Most people don't wait and they start pumping like crazy and then they start leaking all over the place and I'm going to demonstrate that right now. And the marker's working great but if the tip's all clogged and you paint and you go again, you're going to get that result right there, which is a very undesired result of course. You can even go as far as pulling the tip out and soaking it in paint thinner if it's an oil-based or solvent-based marker.

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