A dry-erase marker is an invaluable tool in the classroom. You’ll need it to write notes on a whiteboard so that your students can follow your lesson. Something you might not have thought about before is the size of a marker.
A dry-erase marker measures around 5.6 inches in length and 0.7 inches in diameter. The tip will usually come in two styles—bullet (2 millimeters) and chisel (3 to 5 millimeters).
Now, why does the size of a marker matter? Which marker tip should you get? How long does a dry-erase marker last? I’ll answer these questions and more in the following sections.
Dry-erase Marker Size
A dry-erase marker will come in a wide range of sizes, depending on the manufacturer. The average length of a marker will measure around 5.6 inches and 0.7 inches in diameter, but depending on who made it, you might find longer, wider markers.
When you look at the tip of the marker, you’ll find that they come in two distinct shapes—bullet and chisel.
Bullet tips are those that resemble bullets. They have a wide base that is connected to the end of the marker that tapers down to a fine point. Bullet-tip markers usually produce 2-millimeter-wide lines.
Chisel tips look like triangles. The slant of the tip allows users to write both thick and thin lines by holding the marker at different angles. While the width of the lines will vary between manufacturers, the lines produced by chisel-tip markers range from 3 to 5 millimeters.
Which Marker Tip Is Better?
Chisel-tipped pens are more often used for calligraphy. With a slight twist of your wrist, you can alter the width of the line of your dry-erase marker considerably. Also, by holding the pen at a constant angle and moving your arm to the side, you can produce fancy thin-to-thick lines on whiteboards.
Bullet-tipped pens are the general-purpose pen used specifically for writing on whiteboards. They don’t offer much in terms of creativity, though you can certainly use the pen to draw all sorts of creative objects by holding them at different angles.
In the end, the “better” marker tip is the one you’re more comfortable with.
Why Does Dry-erase Marker Size Matter?
If you take a look at different dry-erase markers made by various companies, you’ll find that they don’t differ much in terms of length. However, it’s the girth of the marker that matters more.
The girth of a marker refers to its diameter and circumference. Basically, dry-erase markers come in narrow and “fat” varieties. The reason there are multiple options is that you might feel more comfortable with one diameter than the other.
Apart from comfort, you should know that the ink capacity of the marker will also vary. Wider markers will typically hold more ink, which reduces how frequently you need to refill the marker. However, the difference between ink capacities is minuscule, though it’s something to consider if you plan on purchasing hundreds of dry-erase markers for your company or school.
How Long Does a Dry-Erase Marker Last?
According to EXPO, one of the more popular dry-erase marker manufacturers, their markers can last between 2 and 3 years. This is only assuming that you store the pen horizontally and keep the cap closed tightly whenever the marker isn’t in use.
As for how frequently you need to refill the marker, it depends on how frequently and how long you use it. Clearly, the longer and more regularly you use a dry-erase marker, the quicker the ink will run out. Thankfully, you don’t have to toss the entire marker away whenever it runs out of ink. Instead, just refill the marker with a syringe of dry-erase ink.
How to Refill a Dry-Erase Marker?
If you turn the dry-erase marker over, you’ll find that on the bottom end is a cap. You can twist and pull the cap off to gain access to the ink barrel inside the dry-erase marker that supplies ink to the tip.
To refill a dry-erase marker, here’s what you have to do.
- Unscrew and bottom cap from the marker while holding the marker tip-side down.
- Carefully pour the dry-erase ink inside the pen or inject it using a syringe.
- Replace the bottom cap of the marker while still holding it tip-side down.
- Hold it in that position for 30 to 60 seconds.
After following these steps, your dry-erase marker should be good to write for another few weeks or so.
How to Revive Dried Markers?
There might come a time when you or a student forgets to close a dry-erase marker with the lid. When this happens, the ink will dry out; sadly, refilling the marker with more ink will not do you any good.
Instead, you can try these two methods to bring your marker back from the dried-out grave.
Method 1. Flip the tip over
- Remove the bottom cap and carefully remove the ink barrel using a pair of thin tweezers.
- Use the tweezers to tug the tip of the marker out.
- Flip the tip over so the outer portion is inside the marker and vice versa.
- Reinsert the ink barrel.
You might need to refill the barrel with about ¼ of the amount of ink you would refill an empty marker. However, if this method doesn’t work, you can try the next one.
Method 2. Soak the marker in the water
- Disassemble the marker by removing the ink barrel and marker tip.
- Place the tip and the ink barrel in a basin or cup filled with blood-warm water (around 100°F).
- Let the tip and barrel soak for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove the tip and barrel from the water and place them on a clean towel.
- Allow the tip and barrel to sit for 24 hours to air-dry.
- Reassemble the marker by inserting the tip and the ink barrel.
- Refill the ink barrel with about half the quantity of ink you would refill an empty marker.
The warm water used to soak the tip and barrel will slowly liquefy the dried ink before it stains the water. If it doesn’t work the first time, try soaking the tip and barrel for 10 to 20 minutes.
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