Furniture Stains From Old Permanent Markers

Introduction: Furniture Stains From Old Permanent Markers

About: I am a Maker and Artist who experiments with a variety of mediums and projects. I also try to repurpose and repair as much as I can. Check out my instagram page @mitzsea_makes.

I like to take apart my old permanent markers that don’t write very well anymore and extract every last bit of pigment I can from them. There is still a lot of colour left in the felt core.

Once I get the pigment processed I use it as stains for wood, or to pigment my clear furniture wax.


  • Old permanent markers in whatever colour you want.
  • Rubbing or grain alcohol (preferred)
  • Dish you don’t mind getting stained.
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Transparent wax finish
  • Paint brushes
  • Empty glass jar(s)

Step 1: Extracting the Pigment

1. Cut open the marker and pull out the felt core.

2. Cut down the side of the core exposing the felt.

3. Pour grain alcohol over the felt core releasing the pigment.

4. Pour enough grain alcohol over the felt until it turns pale.

5. Store in glass jar to keep for your future projects.

Step 2: How to Use the Stain

I find that the pigment mixes well with transparent wax which I used on this stool. It also works well as a straight stain to apply directly to the wood object.

In this case I needed to refurbish a stool I waxed several years ago.

  • In one jar I mixed enough red permanent marker solution to get a dark pink wax.
  • In another jar I mixed enough orange permanent marker solution to get a peachy-orange wax.
  • Then I applied thin layers of the pigmented wax until I reached the desired shades of pink and orange.
  • I let the wax dry between each coat.

That’s it! It’s that simple. I use up my markers completely and have an inexpensive way to decorate my wood furniture.

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    2 years ago on Step 2

    Great job! I especially like the picture of the doggy!

    Mitzsea Makes
    Mitzsea Makes

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! I felt like he approved of the stool. Lol.

    Uncle Kudzu
    Uncle Kudzu

    2 years ago

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing! This is the kind of thing that makes me wonder how on earth it occurred to you to try it :)

    I wish ethanol wasn't so expensive. The darned liquor store is the only place I know to get it pure.

    Mitzsea Makes
    Mitzsea Makes

    Reply 2 years ago

    I am not certain where you live, but I go to a discount grocery store here that has large bottles for good prices. Basically, I am saying the cheap stuff is out there, it just may take some research to find it.

    Of course if you use rubbing alcohol in a well ventilated area, it works too.