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What Are Washable Markers?

By K T Solis
Updated May 16, 2024
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Washable markers are drawing tools that are ideal for young children who may accidentally mark their clothes or body with marks. Marks from washable markers can be easily removed from clothes, skin, and walls just by wiping a wet sponge across the surface. Since washable markers do not permanently stain a surface, they are perfect for home and classroom use.

Young artists enjoy using markers because it isn't necessary to exhibit a great deal of pressure in order to make shapes and bold marks. It allows them to be creative, making a bolder color than marks made by a typical crayon. Washable markers are made by a variety of companies and can be found in homes and classrooms where children create artwork. Some markers are scented as well.

When drawing with a marker, children should use heavy pieces of paper such as manila or newsprint. The paper can be attached to an easel if desired. Other children may choose to use the markers to color in a coloring book; however, since most pages of a coloring book are thin, the marker often bleeds through to the other side of the page.

One disadvantage of using a marker is the fact that it can quickly dry out if the child loses the marker's top. If a washable marker dries out because it was exposed to air for a long period of time, a parent can purchase washable paint in order to recycle the marker. The child dips the dried-out marker in the washable paint and can use the marker in order to draw.

To make homemade markers, thoroughly clean an empty shoe polish bottle or roll-on deodorant bottle. Next, fill the bottle with washable paint. The child can use the tool to draw and paint using this homemade version of a marker.

Washable markers are the ideal choices for children because they are non-toxic and do not permanently stain clothing, skin, or walls. They can be purchased through online merchants, supermarkets, discount stores, and any other place that sells craft items for children. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and are sold at different prices. Drawing with these markers is one way that kids can create their own artwork with bold colors and interesting shapes. Children can express their creativity by using markers, and parents can be confident that kids won't destroy the house if they decide to create a masterpiece on the walls.

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Discussion Comments
By poppyseed — On Jul 13, 2011

I think washable markers are really great, just like any mother with a brain in her head. But I have to say that there was one time when I really regretted that that was what my daughter’s class used.

She had spent a good deal of time drawing me a picture. My little Picasso had done a bang up job; or at least I think she had.

You see, she had used all washable markers, and on the way home the paper got wet. Most of the drawing was smeared and the colors were really muted.

Of course, it still got pride of place front and center on the fridge anyway, but I really wish I could have seen what my baby girl had worked so hard on just for me.

By Agni3 — On Jul 12, 2011

I have two little ones, so naturally I think that washable markers are the best things since sliced bread. However, I find that one of the most amazing and fun ways to use them is probably not how the creators had envisioned.

I got the idea when I turned my back on my two year old son for about ninety seconds and turned back around to find him covered from head to toe with ballpoint pen from my purse which he had quietly ransacked.

I thought to myself, “You know what, self, he loves drawing on himself. Why not make it okay? You’ll feel better and he’ll feel better; heck, we’ll all feel lots better.”

So I gathered him and my preschool age daughter together and we had a drawing party in the front yard. (That way nobody escaped and drew on stuff that would stress mommy out.)

It was awesome, and a memory I don’t think any of us will ever forget!

By cafe41 — On Jul 12, 2011

@SurfNturf- I love those markers too and you can really teach different drawing and shading techniques with these markers.

If you use the side of the marker, you can create thicker lines while using the tip creates thinner lines. This also helps if you have a big picture that you are looking to color in.

By using the side of the marker the child can color in the picture faster. They can also create different designs. I always try to wait until they office supply stores offer the rock bottom sales during the back to school season.

I usually purchase a bunch of the Crayola markers as well as the water based markers. They usually offer a buy one get one free special and even the toy stores offer big deals on these supplies around late August too. That is when I stock up.

By surfNturf — On Jul 11, 2011

That sounds like such a great idea. I have to say that I love washable markers because you really don’t have the stress of worrying about how you are going to get the marker stains off. Water based markers are also great for kid’s school supplies. As a matter of fact, my children have to have washable markers for that same reason.

I also always try to have a box full of art supplies like this in a little box and keep in the car for long car trips. It is really a life saver because my kids love to draw with these markers and they don't worry about when we are going to get to our destination.

By orangey03 — On Jul 11, 2011

I was babysitting two young children when I had an experience that made me grateful for washable markers. They may have saved my reputation as a good babysitter.

This family had a dog with white fur. The only other color found in her fur was in the black freckles found on her underside.

I had been washing dishes when the children went into the other room. They had been gone awhile when I heard faint giggling explode into laughter. The dog ran into the kitchen, her formerly white coat covered with neon pink and green polka dots.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that the markers they had used were washable. I made them help me give the dog a bath, and I told them that I wouldn't tell their parents if they didn't tell them. So, they didn't get in trouble, and I kept my reputation as a watchful babysitter.

By seag47 — On Jul 10, 2011

I know how much fun kids have when drawing on walls, and I wanted to use this to my advantage for a craft project at Vacation Bible School. Our church had a large piece of drywall stored away from when they had remodeled the building, and I got permission to use it.

I bought some washable markers for kids and told them I needed them to each illustrate a different story from the Bible on the wall. At first, they looked at me quizzically as if to say, "Are you sure it's okay?" I assured them that the marks they made would be totally removable.

The project was a hit, and I decided to do it every year. The markers washed off the drywall easily, though I made sure to wait until the children were gone to dissolve their art.

By StarJo — On Jul 10, 2011

This article reminds me of a story involving my friend and his three-year-old daughter. He was in the process of painting the exterior of the house, and he also had to keep an eye on his child.

Well, like any kid around paint, she couldn't resist. While her dad wasn't looking, she picked up a brush, dipped it in the paint, and started painting his car.

After a few minutes, she said, "Look Daddy, I'm helping!" At first, he just nodded and thought nothing of it, but then he realized what she might be helping him do. He looked down to find his metallic blue car stroked with beige paint.

He went out the next day and bought her some washable paint markers. He really wished he had done that before she refinished his Buick.

By Perdido — On Jul 09, 2011

While I was getting some Crayola washable markers for my little sister, I noticed that Crayola also makes washable crayons. What a great idea! Kids are always drawing on walls with whatever they have in their hands, and my sister usually carries a crayon around more than she does a marker. She will go straight from the coloring book to the wall if we don't watch her closely.

In her room, there is a section of the wall that she scribbled mysterious doodles on with crayons. My mom covered the area up by pushing her bed against the wall. These crayons may be the solution to our little spontaneous art problem.

By animegal — On Jul 09, 2011

Does anyone know if bathtub washable crayons really come off of surfaces as easily as as they are advertised? I am familiar with washable markers but am wondering if the same principles apply. Or if washable crayons are entirely different.

I babysit a three-year old and am always looking for new crafty things to do with her and would really like to get some of the washable crayons you can take into the bath so she can draw on the walls and have fun. Getting her into the tub can be a bit of a pain so I am hoping that letting her doing something artsy while she is getting clean will help the situation go more smoothly.

By Sara007 — On Jul 08, 2011

Washable markers are a great choice if you have kids, as nothing is worse than trying to get ink out of clothes. I always make sure to pick up the washable variety when I am getting the young ones ready for the school year. You can usually get large packages on sale just before the prior school year ends, so that can be a good time to pick some up.

If you are looking for something fun getting the scented markers can make their art sessions even more enjoyable. There are a variety of package scents available such as tropical or summer fruits. I also love that the scented markers reflect the colors of the fruits themselves.

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