We’ve all been there: You need a magic marker in a particular color. You overturn the huge Tupperware from under the bed, in which you find dozens of markers in every shade this side of the rainbow, but not the one you’re looking for.
Or here’s another terrifying scenario: You, along with your fellow grade school classmate, are splitting a box of markers as you desperately attempt to transfer your respective artistic geniuses onto paper. But after waiting the 10 suspenseful minutes for your peer/rival to put down the blue marker—which they’d been monopolizing to color in, of all things, the sky—you pick it up, only to find it dry. Desiccated. While pondering whether to use purple instead for your illustration of cotton candy, you silently curse the naïve fool who invented “sharing.”
The aforementioned situations—and others like them—are now avoidable thanks to the CrayolaMarker Maker. The kit comes with all the tools kids ages 8 and up need to make their own color markers, and the process itself is easy and fun. The Marker Maker includes 16 markers’ worth of components, including plastic barrels, absorbent cores, and sticky labels. It also comes with red, blue, and yellow inks, as well as a handy guide that tells you how many drops of each color to use.
During my demo, I followed the steps for an orange-red that required nine and six drops of red and yellow, respectively. The inks went into one of the kit’s measuring tubes, which then had a marker core dropped into it. Next came transferring the core to a marker tube, and then placing the finished marker aside for a minute or so, during which time the ink distributed throughout the core. Then came the step involving the Marker Maker itself—a large, plastic unit featuring a lever that clamps a lid down on each marker, creating a satisfying snapping noise every time. The unit also has a detachable mixing table, and the clear plastic shell butterflies out to provide space for markers-in-progress.
Now, as important as being a convenient, all-in-one package is, the kit also produces pretty good magic markers: I took my new orange-red pal for a tour of a sheet of plain paper, and he was still going strong after half a page of vigorous scrawling. The Marker Maker does have the potential to create inky messes, and younger ones may need help assembling the unit. But other than that, it’s a great arts and crafts toy that kids of all ages can use to create coloring tools as they need them, meaning the big Tupperware under the bed can be saved for more important things (for example, Crayola Marker Maker Refill Packs).