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Watch It! This Eraser is WET!

Updated on March 19, 2011

Handy little things, wet eraser markers are used to print on transparencies, like as those used with an overhead projector. But what are they like quality-wise?  Well, they give a bright, clear picture that does not fade or bubble under the hot heat of the projector lamp, which can be super helpful to presenters. 

These wet erase markers are also referred to as an overhead transparency or markers.


Transparency markers are a combination of ingredients:  water, propylene glycol and dye.  As you might guess, if you have been paying attention, they are water soluble and have no smell. Because of their wide-use in the school system, these markers need to be non-toxic and most are washable as kids can do anything you can imagine with something like a wet erase marker, and will.


chisel tip marker

The wet erase marker. Where did it get it's name, you are asking? Well I'll tell you. It got its name because the ink can be destroyed, or removed, or wiped away, with a damp cloth, in contrast to the dry erase marker, where the ink is wiped away with a dry cloth.

I know personally of many teachers and students alike who prefer to use a spray bottle and paper towels to thoroughly clean the transparency and overhead projector after use. Overhead markers, on the other hand, opposite to the dry erase markers are intended for use on acetate, film or non-porous surfaces.

They contain water-soluble dyes and stains and will go right through the porous surface. Another thing is that wet erase markers will never bead or smush on smooth surfaces.

Most wet eraser markers are endowed with a chisel tip and that means, depending on how you hold your cursor, you can make marks with thin or fat strokes--take your pick.

My observations have led me to deduce that many wet eraser markers are used to fill out charts and scientific looking graphs on transparencies, for which one could say the fine tip is a great tool . For those who prefer it, and I count myself one of them, there are some suppliers of intermediate point overhead markers, for those who don't like extremes perhaps?

Yes, it it's true! There are several suppliers of wet erase markers! The most popular provider is vis-à-Vis, which presents its products by way of many ofice supply stores. This type of markers are created in a rainbow of colors including...wait for it... red, black, blue and green.

Although they are less popular, (poor things) you can also find them in neon colors for those of you still living in the 70's. Board Dudes Direct is one of the few manufacturers of medium-point wet erase markers--you might say they have the market cornered--lucky guys.

Now Listen Carefully to this Part

For you sloppy people--listen up. When not being used, wet erase markers should be stored in a horizontal position, and not only that but with the cap. If stored with the capped end down, and I know there are some lazy-bones out there who will do that, the ink will over saturate the tip. If kept with the capped end upwards--what happens is the tip dries out. And you don't want that you silly thing. So store large markers in a cool, dry place, like in the fridge maybe, or the basement, if it isn't humid down there.

Also, most overhead markers are handily washable. To remove the transparency marker stains,and you know you want to, you should saturate the clothes immediately with stain remover!

But please allow them to pre-soak in a washing machine with OxiClean ® and cold water or you will be eternally sorry. Then just wash as usual and you will be fine.

Remember, you wet eraser marker users--make sure the stain is removed before drying, as this may cause the stain to set, and if anyone sees that, you will never live it down.

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    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      This is great! I am a former teacher, and used them for years, but never knew this much about wet markers ... great info ... thanks!

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