How To Waste A Lunchhour

In Five Easy Steps

A few weeks back I discovered a wonderful new (well, new to ME that is) art tool called Copic Sketch Markers. Made in Japan for the past 25 years or so, these refillable alcohol-based pens are incredible to shade with, come in over 300 colours and have dual tips, which is why they're the choice of anime artists the world over. Not that I do a lot of anime, but I have already used them to draw with and in my stamping / cardmaking hobby.

Because of this, of course they are freakishly expensive. Amazingly I have been uncharacteristically prudent and have allowed myself to acquire only a few at a time.

Okay, almost half.

So far.

But when I started purchasing them, I soon realized I needed a proper unit to store them horizontally at my desk to enable me to read the colour names / numbers whilst sitting down. And I didn't want to shell out hundreds of dollars for Copic's large acrylic shelves... not when I could use that same amount to buy.... more markers! Doh!

So being the cheap OCD geek that I am, I thought I would make one. I mean, how hard could it be to make a small black desktop shelving unit? It only took one lunch hour to design what I thought would suffice:

Step 1: Research.

I Googled "Copic marker storage" for ideas on what others were using. I printed off this one but since I couldn't buy it here in Canada, I made notes on its dimensions as mine had to be deep enough so the pens wouldn't fall out, with compartments to separate them by colour group.

(Go ahead. Laugh. I know you want to...)

Step 2: Initial schematics.

I drew what I wanted to create, so I could calculate (Gak! Dreaded Math!) the dimensions of all the parts.

It took a few tries, but I finally figured out what I needed (proving once again that Dreaded Math was not my strong subject in school... I was too busy doodling at the back of class).

Step 3: Create a working model.

Using graph paper, I measured and cut out all the pieces I would need, making score lines for shelves and their supports.

Now that the Dreaded Math was over, it was fun to begin creating. (It also ensured I hadn't screwed up the Dreaded Math after all).

Step 4: Assemble working model.

For the full 3D effect, I taped my creation together.

Coolness! It worked! I must admit I was proud. And quite surprised too.

All I needed now was to shop for the materials; some thin balsa wood, a bit of black paint, glue, a few nails and I could start organizing my pens in no time.

Which is half the fun.

Alright, it is 99.5% of the fun for us OCD types.

Step 5: Shop for supplies.

After work, I stopped off at Michael's for the materials that would transform my design into reality.

So I went over to the balsa wood section.

Only to find

for FIVE measly dollars

premade wooden shelves that worked PERFECTLY to hold my new markers.

Gad. All that Dreaded Math for nothing.

57 People would rather be commenting:

Richard said...

Best laid plans huh? ;)

Kathy said...

Oh, man! You must have laughed your head off when you saw it. But now you know you're way more mathy and creative than maybe you thought. I know you're more creative than me!

Tutus and Choo-Choos said...

All that time and hard work only to find what you needed for cheap! What a laugh!

Mariana said...

Unfortunately here in Brasil this pen is not available to be purchased.
But your post make me laugh a lot.
At list you filled your time into a very nice activity.


Christie, Describe Happy said...

I enjoyed that! At least you had an excuse to try and brush up on your math a bit! (coming from the geeky science/math type) Enjoy your organized markers.. they sound so cool!

FCT said...

haha that's great stuff!

Anonymous said...

aww all that work for nothing D:
buuut your markers look all pretty there :3
ps: i love your blogs layout!
lovee <3

Daisy said...

Well, it was a good mental exercise anyway, right?

Sproglet said...

It all keeps the brain ticking over my dear!

Better than that eternally happy poophead professor who yells 'Good Morning!!' at you when you sit down in the evening to play brain training on the Nintendo DS.

Get yer minutes right Prof! *grumble*

Anonymous said...

You're so funny! ;) But hey - i know the feeling! When i really need something i get too worked up about making it myself, instead of buying it :D


Janet said...

lol Isn't that the way??? I'll go to almost any length to avoid Dreaded Math! I'm terribly impressed with your working model!

Our store just started carrying Copics and they are insanely popular! I am sure I'd have more fun arranging them in rainbow color order than actually using them, though. :-)

Bruce Johnson said...

Lesson #1....always go to Michaels FIRST, then get crafty....not the other way around!

feefifoto said...

Must have been good practice for... something. Right?

ReformingGeek said...

It's good to work the left side of the brain periodically, right?

Anonymous said...

love ur writings....
Its everyday stuff but u manage to add so much humour and creative-ness to it!!

Riz said...

That was funny. I do that sometime as well, try to make my own, only to find one cheaper already made for you. Oh well.


JoJo said...

Maureen, ALWAYS start at the craft store FIRST before wasting a lunch hour doing mathematical calculations! LOL

I covet those pens. But alas, being broke and in a one-income household right now, I settled on the 30 pen fine point markers set from Pentel.

AshPup said...

Maybe when your collection doubles you will need to make a bigger, custom shelf and it will all be worth it :o) Those pens look super fun, they should be displayed!

JD at I Do Things said...

Wow, you're ambitious. I would have thought it'd be fairly easy to find shelves like that.

But now you know how to make 'em if you need to, right?

Brenda Grolle said...

Thanks for making me smile! :)

Someday you're going to find some use for all the work you went through. I really believe that.

Autumn Mist said...

Isn't that just typical?! I bought some water colour pencils, but I will have to use them on watercolour paper, which is frustrating. I didn't think they were very good, so will look for the pens you use. Another excuse to trawl the internet.

Ca88andra said...

Despite the result, you are very clever and creative!

Anonymous said...

I knew u would've liked the toaster pic ;P my BFF sent it 2 me from her iPod touch...oh and THANK YOU soo sooo much 4 being a follower!! I really appreciate it...and BTW if i'm posting a post and i want to add pics 2 it, how do i do it????

L.A. Dale said...

That is soooo sad and definitely something I would do. I have now learnt that craft doesn't pay.
sometimes it's just cheaper to buy the damn thing!

Von said...

Ah! reinvented the wheel huh?It happens.

Holly said...

Ah! That sounds like so much fun! XD I love to build things! :))

Cool markers too... Maybe I might get my mother some for Christmas since she likes to draw so much. (She's a really good artist!) I'd like to see some of your work as well! (:

2416966 said...

ohh wow that must of really sucked
:[ but at least you refreshed your brain

paintnpencil said...

Haha, had to laugh, this is the sort of thing that happens to me all the time. Whats the first thing you see AFTER you have done all the hard work? Every time.

Angie said...

I LOVE Copic markers, although I tend to buy Prismacolor more.

Hilarious that you found what you needed so inexpensively after all that brain work!

Natalie Nell Nickols said...

I really enjoy your blog! Thank you!

Alex Slemp said...

as always, I loved your story
actually I'm only 5 days into the "blog thing" and I'm loving it.
Your so funny
thanks for all the laughs!!!

Kevin said...

Ugh, MATH. You have my sympathy.

Math is so strict. If you don't get the "correct" answer, you are labeled "wrong." It's detrimental to one's self esteem, I say.

jay said...

Hahahaha!! Always look for the cheapo ready made option first! LOL!

These markers sound a lot like Pantones, which I used to use when I was a cartoonist (briefly).

Maureen said...

Richard: You got that right... seems to happen to me all too often. You'd think I'd learn. But no.

Kathy: Yeah. Laughed.... okay, I laughed LATER!

Tutus and Choo-Choos: Yep, that's ME! But I do now own one fantastic paper shelving unit. I wonder what I can store on it????

Mariana e Rafael: I am glad you got a laugh... and yes, these pens are very hard to get up here too.

Gak! I run from the Dreaded Math DescribeHappy! But yes, I shall console myself with more doodling and colouring. Gee, how old am I?

FCT: Merci.

Thank you Tinkerbell! Welcome!

Daisy, I sure don't need to exercise my mental. My mental is is in great shape.

Ha! Sproglet! Daughter won't let me touch her DS.... I doubt I could figure it out anyway.

Marina, you are exactly right. I get so into an idea, I forget to stop and figure out whether it's the right thing to do... sigh.

Janet: Everytime I sort my pens and pencils I think of you and your ROYGBIV. This time I sorted them by Copic's rainbow and numbering system... yep, we're both terribly OCD.

Ha! Bruce you are right. I made the mistake of looking in the pen section for holders; I never thought to go to the wooden doll furniture section. Yep, what ended up being perfect was doll dressers.

Feefifoto: I am still trying to figure that out. Which is why I kept the model....

Reforming Geek: Obviously I need to do it more often.

Aw, thank you Anabella! Welcome!

Yep, Riz very true. Live and learn. I hope.

Jo-Jo: They are great, but terribly expensive. And addictive, if you start "collecting" them, be prepared to "collect" more.

Ashley: I'll tell you a secret... I made sure I bought enough shelves to store all 334 pens. So eventually when I DO get them all; I'm set ;)

JD: You'd THINK that they'd be easy to find but no. The pens aren't round so they don't fit into those regular pen holders. I couldn't find those "X" style holders. And other shelves weren't deep enough; the pens would just fall out. And Copic's smaller holders are simply upright plastic boxes. Cripes.

Thanks Brenda, I hope so... I wonder if I have anything light enough to store on a paper shelf? Hmmmm.

Oh Autumn Mist, if you want to learn more about them, do a You Tube search on Copic. There are some amazing tutorials and demos on there!

Aw, thanks Ca88andra!

Maureen said...

Hi again Steph! Oh adding pics to posts is easy... just click on the picture icon in the editor and search your computer for the photo you want. Blogger will ask you what size you want it, and if you want it left, right or center justified. Play around with it; it is very easy!

Ahahahaha! Poppy, I am going to remember that one. "Craft Doesn't Pay". Yep, that's spot on.

Von: Yep, that's me. Re-inventor extrodinaire!

Aw, thanks Holly! If you click on my black and white image in the sidebar it will take you to my other art blog where you'll see my Copic work.

2416966: Yeah, but I would rather have not wasted my lunchtime on Dreaded Math...

Paintpencil: Glad to hear I am not alone...

Yeah Angie, I couldn't believe it either! Geesh.

No, thank YOU Natalie, for stopping by and commenting. Welcome!

Aw, thanks Alex, welcome to the big wide world of the Blogosphere!

Kevin, you are absolutely correct. And my self esteem does not need further knocking down, thankyouverymuch.

Thanks Loved Ever!

Ooooh Jay... now I shall need to see those cartoons please. Still have them???? I always wanted to be a cartoonist.

Kisma said...

Hate it when that happens, but look at what you accomplished with your math skills;-).

Better then I could have ever done.

Maureen said...

Aw, Kisma, thank you. Yep, give me some paper, scissors and tape, and I am happy. Now that I have my colouring pens, that makes me extra happy. Geez, I sound like I am 5 years old....

JoJo said...

Good lord you weren't kidding about the price!!! I just looked it up! But I did find some good deals on ebay so you might try that venue in the future for your collection.

Dusty Dudley said...

Heheh sorry you had to do all that math for nothing, but since my older daughter is into drawing and Copic markers, I think I'll take the shortcut and look for one of those pre-made organizers at Michael's for her :-)

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Anonymous said...

Just stopping by from sits, I have the same ocd problem when it comes to my "supplies" everything in it's place. And then when I don't have time to actually use the items, I can sit and stare at how pretty they are! anne

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I covet these markers, but alas, my pockets are threadbare.

Anonymous said...

Lol funny as always. I'm surprised you got as far as you did, I would've quit the moment I realized math would be involved.

Jude said...

First time I've come across this blog. Your post tickled me. It sounds like the kind of thing I would do.

Swubird said...


I know there's a big, big lesson hidden in this nice little story, but don't worry, I'm not going to say what it is.

Happy trails.

Liliai said...

I've been dieing to get my hands on a set of the copic markers since I went to anime expo last summer. :)

Maggie Mae said...

This coulda been ME writing! Only I call your Dreaded Math "PPS", the polite version is Pesky Practical Stuff. When it's ticking me off substitute Stuff for Sh..

ART is where it's at, baby!

Homemadegymstuff said...

Erm, nice chest!

No - serously, you've done a great job, I hope your pens enjoy their new home!!!

Come visit Homemadegymstuff for 'makes' or click on something that tickles your fancy ;)

choochoo said...

Hehe. Well, at least your markers are snug and happy. Expensive markers should be happy.

WiseJamaican said...

Your blog is wonderful and very informative glad I came across it.

Cupcake Blonde said...

Don't you feel better knowing you COULD have made it if you wanted to though. :)

Sproglet said...

I've left a little gift for you on my blog Maureen :)

B xx

Emme Toaye said...

Fun stuff, except for the math part of course. Thanks for some chuckles, insight and of course the inspiration to create.

Marla said...

Too funny!

Maureen said...

Jo-Jo: Yeah, but sometimes shipping makes up for the differene. At least I bought a membership (a whole $5 for the year) at my local art store, so I get a discount...

Kael: Good luck! I am surprised how popular they are with artists of all ages... they really are wonderful, expensive but wonderful.

Thank you Pooya!

Anne: You are ONE OF US! (One of us... one of us....) ;)

Jackee: Then don't even start unless you have cash to burn... they are addictive.

Anahid: Yeah, unfortunately guessing the sizes would've been disasterous.

Welcome FairOphelia! Koochee! ;)

Swubird: Oooh, Oooh! I know! I know! The lesson is "Look before you leap", right? Or is it "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched"??? Okay. I admit it; I have no idea....

Abi: Oh yeah, I have seen the Copic displays they use at shows; too awesome to see all those markers up close!

Hahaha Maggie Mae! Love it! Understood...

Thank you Jet!

Thanks Homemadegymstuff... I think... ;)

ChooChoo: Absolutely. Nothing but the best FOR the best, I say.

Aw, you are indeed Wise, WiseJamaican!

Well this is true Vegas Princess... it was fun to see it come together; even if it WAS only in paper.

Oooh Sproglet! Thank you so much! I loves gifts... you are too kind. I shall make sure you have links here; I love your blog and writing!

Ah, Emme, thank you and welcome!

Thanks Marla!

Anonymous said...

i hate math too. especially wasted math haha

Maureen said...

Agreed, Wheelyboy, agreed.

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