Picture of Frozen Tornadoes from Used Markers
This instructable will show you how to squeeze the last bits of color out of dried out markers, and make beautiful ice blocks in the process. This is a very kid friendly project that has many teachable moments which are highlighted by text in italics.
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Step 1: STEP 1: Items

Picture of STEP 1: Items
Nothing too sophisticated here:
  1. Some "dried-up" markers. Darker colors work better. Washable markers are safer to use with the little ones.
  2. Pliers
  3. An empty carton or other container (any shape will do).
  4. A clear bowl or jug
  5. Spoon
  6. 2 liters of warm water

Step 2: STEP 2: Remove the Ink Foam

Picture of STEP 2: Remove the Ink Foam
Break the end off the marker with a wrenching motion with the pliers. Pull out the foam and applicator and deposit them in a clear bowl filled with warm water. Many reactions (dissolution and diffusion in this case) are faster at higher temperatures. Just let them soak for 5 minutes. If you are lucky, the ink seeps out of the foam bits and creates cool patterns in the water. Squeeze the remaining ink out of the foam with your fingers or a spoon. You can cut the foam into shorter lengths to speed the diffusion of the ink into the water. Increase of surface area increases the speed of any reactions.
NinjaMidget2 years ago
Great ible. An idea comes to mind. highlighers show up well under uv light (black light). Yellow or green highlighter ink would probably look good if you put some uv light on it. Got some ink in water outside now & checking the results in the morning.
Renard_Bleu (author)  NinjaMidget2 years ago
Great idea, let me know how it turns out.
MartijnD2 years ago
Funny project, what happens if it is on a big flat surface, multiple spots? Multiple colors could be added, multiple layers,... then place it vertical with waterproof LED's, will be a piece of art!
Maybe it also works with food coloring ingredients from Asian "toko" stores, or low-alcohol-percentage liquors, anyone tried this maybe?
Renard_Bleu (author)  MartijnD2 years ago
Great ideas! The shape will be governed by the shape of the freezing front, you could probably create shapes by controlling where the water is losing heat (a little blanket here, a little fan here...). When you are dealing with very flat geometries I would expect tiny imperfections in your container or solution to produce patches; you could control this to some extent by playing with temperature variation. If you were going to try multiple colors, you could apply them after freezing the previous layer. Oh and use this!/ so you don't muddle your lower layers too much. Let me know if you attempt this, I would expect it to be frustratingly imprecise...
I think I have a big plastic container somewhere at home, first freeze 1" of 1 color, wait a day, heighten 1 end of the container with a "block", then add 2nd layer so on the deepest point there is 2" and minimal 1", then move the block to other side, fill minimal 1" to highest point of previous layer and keep repeating this...
That's interesting, it reminds me of a "thing" I saw about making very clear ice for sculptures, the object of course was to REMOVE the impurities, but the technique was very similar.
Renard_Bleu (author)  Dream Dragon2 years ago
There is a very good instructable on making clear ice:!/
They basically use boiled purified water. I figure this has to do with removing any imperfections in the water so that a single crystal will grow (no points for nucleation).
You can use freezing as a purification process (the brine will prefer to stay liquid as we see in the arctic ice sheets). However some nasty stuff might prefer to be in the ice... Thanks for the comment.