How to Refill Copic Markers

One of the best things about Copic Markers is that they’re refillable, which means they’ll last for years! If you’ve wondered how to refill Copic markers, I’m going to show you the correct methods for both the new and old Copic ink refill bottles.

New vs. Old Copic Ink Refill Bottles

Before we get to the step-by-step instructions, I’ll quickly explain the differences between the two types of Copic ink refill bottles (affiliate link).

Old vs. New Copic Ink Refill Bottles

In July 2020 Copic released a newly designed refill bottle (called "Copic Ink"), after discontinuing the old bottle design (called "Copic Various Ink") back in June 2019.

The new pen-shaped bottle design features an elongated nozzle that can be inserted into the marker (after the nib has been removed), which offers more control and prevents spillage. The pen-shape design allows for easier storage and also allows you to apply ink directly onto your artwork (as seen on this YouTube video that Copic produced).

The new bottles are smaller than the old ones (12ml vs 25ml), and cheaper (around $5-6). This might actually suit some artists who found that the old bottles were too large and struggled to use up all the ink.

The new bottles can fill a Sketch marker 7 times, a Ciao marker 9 times, and a Classic/Original marker 5 times. That’s certainly a lot more efficient than having to buy a new marker every time it runs out of ink!

Just like the previous model, the new ink refill bottles are available in all 358 colors, and you have the option of buying empty bottles if you want to mix your own colors.

How to refill a marker using Copic Ink (new design)

New Copic Ink Refill Bottle
How to refill a copic marker with ink
  1. The new bottles are designed to prevent spillage, but to be on the safe side you might want to protect your workspace with some scrap paper or newspaper, at least until you’re used to the process.

  2. Uncap both ends of the marker. This just helps equalize the pressure within the marker barrel.

  3. Take some tweezers and gently remove the chisel/broad nib. Never remove the brush nib (unless you're replacing it with a new one) because it's made from several pieces of felt and may come apart. Copic has their own brand of tweezers designed specifically for this task, but any tweezers you own should do the job just fine (see the comparison image below).

  4. Uncap the refill ink pen and insert it into the marker. The nozzle won't easily release ink until you squeeze, but be gentle so that you don't squirt too much out by mistake.

  5. Squeeze the ink bottle to slowly fill the marker. Because the marker is opaque, you can't see how much ink is in the barrel. This is where the measurement tick marks on the bottle come in handy. As you can see in the close-up image below, each line represents 1 milliliter (ml). If you know the marker is empty (because the nib is dry), use the markings on the refill pen to add 1.8ml for Sketch, 1.4ml for Ciao, and 2.5ml for Classic/Original. If the marker isn't completely empty, but you want to top it up, just add 1ml because you don't want to risk overfilling it, which can cause leakage. To judge the amount accurately, make sure you’re holding the bottle vertically.

  6. Now you just need to use your tweezers to gently re-insert the nib back into the marker, and you're done!

Copic tweezers vs. regular tweezers

Copic tweezers vs. regular tweezers

Copic refill bottle measurements

Copic refill bottle measurements

How to refill using Copic Various Ink (old design)

Copic Various Ink Refill Bottle

As you’ll see below, the old design isn’t quite as user friendly because the nozzle is shorter. For this reason, Copic’s recommended method for the old bottle was the drip method, which is slower, but has the advantage of leaving the nib in place.

The drip method using the old design

How to refill copic markers
  1. Protect your workspace. Occasionally you might spill some ink, so always make sure you refill your Copic over a trash bin or lay down some scrap paper or old newspaper. Copic inks are made of dye and they leave a stain that can be very hard to remove – I have a few ink splotches on my wooden art desk that can attest to that!

  2. Uncap both ends of the marker. This just helps equalize the pressure within the marker barrel.

  3. Uncap the refill bottle. Be sure to handle it carefully and only turn it upside-down when you’re ready to drop some ink onto your marker.

  4. Tilt the marker at a 45 degree angle and gently squeeze the refill bottle to apply ink one drop at a time onto the chisel/broad nib. The end of the refill bottle is designed to dispense drops, and the nib happily soaks up the ink. See the above GIF for a demo!

  5. I generally apply about 20 drops of ink, but it can take 30 or more to fully fill the marker.

  6. If ink starts dripping out the other end of the marker, you know it’s full, but I never fill mine that much. I prefer not to make a mess, so I usually under-fill my markers, giving them quick top-ups when needed.

  7. If you accidentally make a mess – for example if you drop too much ink onto the nib too quickly and it overflows, which has happened to me a few times – you can use rubbing alcohol to help clean it up. I personally like the convenience of small, pre-packaged alcohol wipes, which are perfect for cleaning alcohol markers, so I keep a box of them on my desk.

  8. Once you’ve refilled your Copic marker a few times you’ll get good at doing it quite quickly and cleanly. You’ll also gain an intuitive sense for how many drops your marker needs at any given time to bring it back to life.

How to refill copic marker

Another way to refill using the old design

Copic Ink Refill for Copic Markers

You can also use the technique I demonstrated with the new bottle and remove the chisel/broad nib with tweezers to drop the ink directly into the chamber. This isn’t quite as easy with the old bottle because of the shorter nozzle, but as long you’re careful not to make a mess, it works just fine.

Copic used to offer a “booster needle” that screws on to the ink bottle to allow you to more precisely squeeze the ink into the chamber. But Copic no longer mentions this on their website and now only recommends you do the drop method outlined above. Regardless, I found the needle method annoying because you still have to remove the nib and afterwards you’d have to flush and clean the needle so that you don’t mix colors.

Tip: If you do decide to remove your nib to refill your marker, don’t remove the brush marker because it’s more delicate (made from two different pieces of felt) and could be damaged. Only remove the chisel/broad nib for refill purposes.

How I store my Copic Marker Ink Refills

How I store my Copic Marker Ink Refills

Learn more about Copic Markers

If you’d like to learn more about Copics – such as the difference between Classic, Sketch, and Ciao markers – check out my page Copic Markers: A Beginner’s Guide.