Stop everything! This is big, Big, BIG news!
I have been on a quest. A quest to find or make a white food color marker with a fine tip. They (whoever they are) just don’t make white fine tipped food color markers. Do you ever just want to add a little highlight? Do you want to make killer chalkboard cookies but can’t paint?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then I’m so happy to say that I have discovered how to make your own white food color marker. And it is SO EASY. I’m surprised nobody has done it yet! (Maybe they have and I just don’t know about it, but believe me I googled the topic to death.) I expected to come up with something that was sort of okay. I never expected what I got!
I can’t paint to save my life. I have tried on several occasions to paint on a cookie. I can’t do it; I’m just not Arty McGoo! It’s especially annoying to try to paint words and letters (words and letters you KNOW you can write with a pen); trying to contort and gyrate your hand so that the swoops and the swirls of the letter are just right. And it turns out looking like a caveman painted the cookie.
No painting for me. I had to come up with a marker or pen.
Typical food color markers look like this.
They have a barrel with a core soaked in food coloring. The tip is made of polyester fibers. The dye soaks into the tip and is transferred through the fibers and onto your surface.
The problem is that white food color is not just a liquid dye. It contains solids to make it opaque. Those solids don’t really transfer through the fibers of the regular marker. (That’s probably why in Lila Loa’s method, you don’t get a really bright white unless you dip the marker tip into the white food color.)
But, there is a type of marker that uses opaque pigment. And I have a set of these “chalkboard markers” at my house. This was the inspiration.
The actual marker is called a pump marker. They hold the pigment and when you press down on the tip a little device inside lets a little of the dye flow out and onto the nib of the pen.
After some research, I discovered that they sell EMPTY versions of these at art stores. I bought a bunch of markers and replacement nibs and began my experimentation.
***Here’s the catch. You knew there had to be one right? The company that makes the markers would not say that they were food safe.
However, I didn’t give up so easily. I asked them to send me their Material Safety Data Sheets to find out exactly what the markers were made of. The marker is made of plastics that are normally used in food applications; polyethylene and polypropylene. The metal parts inside are a type of stainless steel (also commonly used in food preparation.) So to make a long story short, this marker isn’t approved for food (which involves a lengthy process with the FDA), but the components are commonly used for food storage and prep. I felt good about thoroughly washing all the pieces and using it. (The paintbrush you have been using is probably not approved for use with food either, just a little food for thought.)
You will, have to make the judgement call for yourself whether you feel good about using the markers.
If you have decided to proceed, then by all means, join us on our…
12-Step White Food Color Marker Program
The good news is that all you have to do is order some stuff online. Then wait for it to arrive. No pliers, rinsing, soaking, gyrating or anything (unless you want to, I won’t judge.)
Here is your shopping list:
Molotow 111Em 2Mm Fine Round-Tip Empty Marker
Montana Acrylic Marker Nib 0.7Mm X-Fine 5/Pk (the tips are interchangeable between these two particular pens.)
You can always try other tips if you would like. They sell thicker tips and they can easily be changed out while you are working. But a word of warning, not all tips are interchangeable.
Wait patiently… then tear open the box…carefully.
Disassemble the marker. Uncap it, screw off the top, remove the nib and pry off the top of the reservoir.
Wash everything really well and let it dry.
Pour white food color (this is amerigel white) into the reservoir. Put the little ball in there and don’t fill it too full.
Put the reservoir cap back on. Replace the 2mm polyester nib (the one it came with) with the 1 mm crossover nib (unless you want to use the thicker 2mm nib.)
Screw the nib cover back on.
Gently push the nib down on a paper towel or another surface. You will have to do this several times after you first fill it.
If excess pigment comes through, dab it off with a paper towel so that it doesn’t glop onto your cookie.
Go to town!
Before I drew on my cookie, I used an extra black cookie to make sure the dye was flowing freely. Or. I tried to draw a little on the back of my hand to make sure the dye came out. You may need to pump it every so often while you use it. (That’s what I was doing when my hand came out of the camera frame in the video.)
If it stops working well, remove the nib and run it under water. Sometimes the icing on the cookie starts to clog up the tip, but it’s super easy to rinse it out and it took a long time before this happened to me. (A toothbrush is handy to really clean it out.) Then dry it off and keep going. (You will need to pump it a few times to get the pigment flowing through it again.)
If you aren’t going to use it for a while, I recommend removing the nib, rinsing it out and storing it so that the food coloring doesn’t dry in the tip.
Do a dance of joy! It can’t be that easy! It just can’t!
What’s that you say?
Yes! Yes it can!
I hope you are excited as I am about this!
If I were truly an informmercial, I would now offer to sell you two for the price of one (you just pay the extra shipping and handling.) But I’m no Ron Popeil, so I will just bid you adieu and good luck!
Let me know how it works out!