by kairos SH LSC ABS from Custom Color Paint Pens

So, you're bored of the same old medium blue Uni-Paint PX-30? You've
had enough of your light green Deco with a tip that could work as a
makeshift sewing needle? Fret no more -- you can make your own custom
colors much like the painters of years past did! teal? no problem!
navy blue? violet? sure! Mmmm, my mouth waters just dreaming of
these colors flowing from a thick 1-inch tip.

This article assumes you're already sick of the drab manufactured
colors.. if you're still a graffiti neophyte, don't bother with this
article now.. just go have fun with colors invented by stuffy
businessmen with stuffy ideas and a pile of four-color glossies.

First off, we're not going to use any paints that weren't made
explicitly for paint markers, for while a true paint-mixing expert can
probably tell you what works and what dissolves your pens from the
inside out, we can get almost all their colors without titrating,
counts of the cesium atom, or mass spectrometers.

As far as we're concerned, there are two different kind of markers:
storage markers (paint markers whose ink wells can be easily accessed)
and disposable markers (the rest). Unfortunately, most markers are
the latter. There is a table of popular markers and their
'classification' at the end of this article.. it may be worthwhile to
look it over now if you're acting out this fantasy.

Now, the first decision you need to make is the tip width for your
storage marker, which can be 7/8" (Pentouches) or 5/16" (PX-30s and
POSCAs). The storage marker will be your 'finished product', and tip
width is a religious matter, so i will attempt to stay aloof, but for
ease of explanation, let's assume you went with the 5/16" PX-30. This
marker has what's called a "one-way reservoir," which is sleek-sounding
jargon for a marker which you can put paint in but not easily get out,
unless you considering tagging easy.

Next, we get to choose a color for our storage pen. This has a
deceptively wide range of options, because unlike regular markers,
these inks AREN'T transparent. In other words, blending lots of
colors won't always lead to that intolerable mushy shit brown color,
because in the world of opaque inks, dark colors aren't more
dominating than light colors (think housepaints). So, if we wanted
to make Krylon's violet (one of my favorite colors), we can combine the
colors in a traditional white PX-30 and perhaps a disposable
purple-pink Berol. In fact, fuck perhaps, it works great!

Okay, so now i'm going to pause to give you time to rush down to your
local art supply store, obtain one of each variety (storage and
disposable), and lay out newspaper all over your workspace like a good
little boy so you won't get permanent ink all over the place. "What's
next?," you ask.

Well, get a small container with a lid, preferably a clear one so you
can see how much ink you've used and how much is left. You're also
going to also need an eyedropper and some sort of scissors or pliers
(not ones you value!), and just in case you missed it before,

Now, with your container ready, slice through the disposable marker
somewhere within the first 1/2 inch of the ink-reservoir (this means
towards the TIP end) so you can see all that nice ink inside the
marker. There's gonna be an actuator in there too (the thing that
pumps the ink to the tip) so be careful not to startle it or it may
decide to get back at you. Hold the marker upside down over the
container and when you've milked it for all it's worth, dispose of the
marker and seal up the lid on that container tight!

A word or two on mixing colors: the precise color you're going to get
in the end is going to depend on how much of the disposable's ink made
it into the container (if you're wearing any of the ink, consider it
a rite of passage), and how full the storage marker (PX-30) was to start
with. However, if you buy the markers new, you should be able to get
the same mixed colors over and over.

Anyway, take the Uni-Paint and while holding it VERTICALLY UPRIGHT
unscrew the plastic portion of the marker from the metal base. When
you open it up, you'll be confronted with the actuator. The actuator
itself is the 1/4" diameter circular object protruding about 3/8" from
the rest of the marker (if the marker has not been used, this will be
light blue in color). The important part of this whole mess is the
1/8" gap between the outer edge of the actuator and the clear washer
which lies on the other side of the moat. This is where you're going
to want to pump in the ink. (IMPORTANT: do NOT put the ink in the
very center hole (the hole in the middle of the actuator) -- this will
NOT work!!)

Take the lid off your fresh supply of ink, get an eyedropper full, and
CAREFULLY insert it in that circular chasm I was talking about between
the washer and the actuator. When you see the paint starting to rise
up like it's gonna overflow out of the marker, push the actuator down
a few times and the paint will be suctioned into the marker -- it's
as easy as that. When you've put in about 10 eyedroppers worth of ink,
you may want to check out what your current color looks like. To do
this, screw back on the cap of your PX-30 and press the head of the
marker in repeatedly until the new color begins to flow to the tip.

If you are still unhappy with the color, keep adding more of the
disposable's color in. Remember, you can have as many colors as you
want, so just keep filling that marker up!

With regard to the POSCA and the Pentouch:
The only difference between the POSCA and the PX-30 is the size of the
reservoir -- that is, since the POSCA is a smaller marker (if you've
never seen one, it's about half the length of the PX-30) it neither
comes with nor holds as much ink as its big brother, so consider
yourself warned!

NOW! For those who want the broad 7/8" tip of a Sakura Pentouch,
trust me when I say the silver and gold colors are HORRIBLE. I mean,
even with tender loving care, the inks in these markers refuse to
cooperate.. so unless you're a pro at this you should not try to blend
using the silver or gold as one of the colors. Fear not though,
because unlike the PX-30s, these do not have a one-way reservoir.
Simply (CAREFULLY, now!) unscrew the plastic part from the metal part
of a marker and do what you want with the gold or silver that came
with the marker.

Since there's no ink in the storage marker, we're obviously going to
have to supply it all ourselves through disposables. There is however
an advantage to this, for while it is more expensive, you can mix the
inks to the color you want in a clear container outside the marker,
and when you get the color you want, pour it in.

Now, these markers do have a downside.. because they lack a good
actuator, they don't write nearly as well as the PX-30s and they
consume a great deal more ink. They also have a tendency to explode
and leak all over the place, so, once again, exercise caution!

One last thing before you go: the tips on all of the storage markers
when new are horrible. To quickly "age" the tips, i advise brushing
them (with moderate force) over a piece of sandpaper a few times --
this should even out and loosen the fibers in the tips.

Don't be afraid to experiment, and have fun!
kairos SH LSC ABS

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Faber Castell UNI-PAINT PX-30
colors: white, red, blue, black, yellow, gold, silver

Faber Castell POSCA PC-85F
(fluorescent) colors: yellow, pink, green, orange, red

Sakura Pentouch (medium & broad sizes)
colors: silver gold


Faber Castell UNI-PAINT PX-20
colors: black, red, blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, brown,
light blue, light green, pink, gray, white, silver, gold

Faber Castell POSCA PC-55F and PC-5M
colors: white, black, gray, purple, dark blue, light blue, pink,
red, dark green, light green, dark orange, yellow
(fluorescent) colors: yellow, pink, green, orange, red

Marvy Decocolor 300
colors: white, gold, silver, copper, black, red, blue, green,
yellow, brown, orange, purple, pink, light blue,
light green

Berol Prismacolor (broad line has enough paint)
(metallic) colors: lavender, green, blue, gold, silver

Sakura Paint Marker XPMK
colors: red, purple, sky blue, yellow-green, green, black, white

Sakura PenTouch (medium size only)
colors: silver, gold

** note: this table was collected from vendor product catalogs from
1993-1994. some of these markers may no longer be available.