Craft Product Review: Spectrum Noir Markers from Crafter’s Companion

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I need to admit up front that I am an alcohol marker virgin.  Yes, that’s right.  While everyone else has been playing with those *other* brands – you know what they are – I’ve been sitting here happily coloring with my watercolor crayons and pencils.  But I’ve still been wanting to know what the buzz was about, wanting to try these fascinating markers that everyone seems to love so much…and I do love to color!  So I was pretty excited when I was sent a package of the new Spectrum Noir alcohol based markers – the 24 pack of “Brights” – to try out!

Spectrum Noir markers are made by Crafter’s Companion, and are distributed by Crafter’s Companion in the United Kingdom, and by Crafter’s Companion and Darice here in the United States.

As you can see, the ends of the Spectrum Noir markers are colored and marked with a letter/number combo.

Being completely new to alcohol markers, I figured that had something to do with the colors and values, but since I wasn’t really certain, I went on a hunt to get my answer…which was easy to find.  On Crafter’s Companion’s website, they have a great chart  showing all of the color families, what each letter combination stands for, and how the number represents the value of the color – with 1 being the lights and 11 being the darkest (and not every color family has all 11 values).  There are currently 168 colors available in all.

The marker barrels have a sort of square shape to them, and there are two ends.  Each end is colored, and each end is labeled, so that you can easily identify the marker.  One of each marker has a chisel-type tip, for coloring large areas, and the other has a small bullet-type tip, for more detailed areas.  I noted that the markers have a grey band on the bullet-tipped end, which makes it really easy for grabbing the right end of the marker quickly when coloring.

I tried out just a bit of scribbling t0 see what kinds of lines you can get with the two different nibs, and this is what I got.

One of the big questions everyone seems to have about alcohol markers is how well they can blend with each other.  So I stamped a large flower (how silly of me…it took forever to color in!), and started coloring with the lightest color I’d chosen.  I then went back and added medium and then darker tones, and finally, went back in with my original color and blended them out.  I was pleased with the results…especially being a total beginner.

This is mid-way through  You can see that I’ve already shaded the lower right part of the flower.

This was the finished image.  I realize it’s rather bright…that’s because I hadn’t found the color chart yet and didn’t realize that I was using the “fluorescent” colors.  Sigh…I told you…virgin alcohol marker user!!  None the less, I did feel like the blending went well!

I did want to mention that I had picked up a pack of the Crafter’s Companion card stock at my local scrapbook store…and that’s what I used for all of my coloring and testing, unless specifically mentioned otherwise.

Of course, the Spectrum Noir markers can also be used in all the ways other alcohol markers can be used.  Because they are alcohol markers, they work great on non-porous surfaces.  Here I changed the color of a little adhesive pearl:

Here I stamped on a piece of transparency and used the Spectrum Noir markers to color on the other side of the transparency:

You could also alter the color of metal objects, plastic buttons…pretty much anything you can think of that is non-porous!  Talk about opening up a world of possibilities!

There are some other special things about the Spectrum Noir markers though.  The nibs on both ends can be changed out if they become dull or damaged over time, and the markers are very easily refillable…which means these markers are designed to last you a lifetime!  So not only are these markers less expensive to start with, but they are designed to last!  (Plus, the refills are in dropper bottles…which has me thinking of ALL KINDS of other possibilities…like using the ink for other purposes!!)

Here’s one last completed tag I did, after I stamped the flower/bottle image onto the card stock and colored it in using the Spectrum Noir markers.  I love the effect I was able to get on the bottle using the markers!!

So let’s get to the nitty gritty on the price details…because I think you’re going to LOVE this part!  Spectrum Noir markers are sold in sets…you can buy a set of 6 in a color family, for $11.99 (that’s only $2 a marker – compare to the other brand at about $5-6/marker!!).  Or you can buy a set of 24 in Brights, Pastels, Lights, or Darks, for $49.95.  Again, that comes out to $2/marker. (Of note, none of the packs will repeat colors – so you aren’t going to end up with 3 BT3′s if you get the Blues, and the Turquoises, and the Brights.)  AND, there are places you can even find them for less!  The refills run $5.95 each if you purchase them individually, or you can purchase them in bundles like the markers, and the price varies a bit.  You get 6-8 refills though from ONE bottle of refill ink!!  Wow!

So, I know I’m new to alcohol markers…but I’m impressed.  What about you?  I wonder if they’ll be adding to the colors, because I know that’s one area where people will be complaining…but for the price, I don’t know how you can beat it!  Especially if you are just joining the alcohol marker movement!  Talk to me…what do YOU think?

Disclosure: Sample Provided for Review from ConsumerCrafts.com

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About Jennifer

Jen is married and the homeschooling mother of 3 children. She blogs about art journaling, mixed media, other crafts, family, homeschooling, special needs, disability, and other randomness at My Crafty Friend Jen.

View all posts by Jennifer

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19 Responses to “Craft Product Review: Spectrum Noir Markers from Crafter’s Companion”

  1. Kelly Says:

    This is such a helpful review….thank you! I’m also sitting on the fence and haven’t bought alcohol markers….yet. But the price of these is pretty convincing.

  2. Doris Sands Says:

    So far this is my opinion of these markers.
    They are great markers for the low end pricing.
    They are comparative to color to the Copic.
    From what I can understand about them. The
    Copic is a better marker.
    Copic is higher in cost and hard for some to afford.
    I am still waiting for the rest of these to arrive.
    I will then begin my testing.

  3. Jenny Says:

    Thanks for chiming it. But I have to ask, what makes Copics “better?” I’ve compared Copics to Prisma Color and Leteraset, and I find them all pretty comparable in quality, color, and blendability.

  4. Dawn Woolf Says:

    Thanks for the review and being an enabler! :) Hehehe
    I’ve been wondering about alcohol markers too. And I noticed these were a lot cheaper than the others. Now I really want these! LOL You did a great job for your first time! You made it look so easy too!

    I’m off to order some!
    Dawn

  5. julie Says:

    so refreshing to read a review from an alcohol ink newbie. the experts tend to focus on blendability, which isn’t my goal. i have 4 copics i bought to decide if i liked the sketch or ciao better. they are nice but i cannot justify the cost of a big set of them. you created really cool looks with the noir. think i will get a set and see what happens.

  6. kathy/NorthCarolina Says:

    I am also new to alcohol markers…but I did get a beautiful set of these Spectrum Noir from my hubby for Christmas. I am tickled at how easy they are to use. They actually have a pretty big range of colors (the basic set is like…72 markers, I think) and they have just expanded with brights, darks, pastels and florescent. They are a great value for the money! Look at PaperWishes.com…they have excellent prices for the sets. And right now, they have a 15% off your largest order coupon as a Mother’s Day special.

  7. Jenny Says:

    Kathy- thanks for sharing. I noticed, though, that Consumer Crafts has them for $34.99 /set… PW is $44.99! Happy shopping!

  8. M-C Graves Says:

    I just love how you colored the bottleand butterfly.Can you tell me the numbers of the pens you used? Thanks!

  9. Sharon Gullikson Says:

    I loved your review–it seems pretty thorough. I tried these out at the Scrapbook Expo, and liked them. I REALLY liked their numbering system–so much better than Copics.

  10. B. Poteraj Says:

    I’m going to check out the prices on the internet so I can try them. Thanks for your review. You did a great job coloring, especially on the bottle.

  11. Jeannie Says:

    I love alcohol markers! I have the complete Copic collection, so that is what I use. I, too, used to use water color crayons but really haven’t much since getting into Copics. I’m still learning, but I love to use them and the blending is awesome!

  12. Amie Says:

    The Noir markers are also sold at JoAnn’s. If you use one of your coupons you can get a discount.

  13. Lavette Says:

    I just seen Acmoore ad for a pack of these for 7.88. Thanks to this review I’m on my way to get a few packs!

  14. Shellie Says:

    Hi there ,, I have these pens and was wondering can you use them on wood??

  15. Jenny Says:

    Shelly- you can indeed use them on wood. The effect will be more of a stain than a paint ( you won’t getopaque coverage. ) Have fun!

  16. Sheila Says:

    Thank you so much for the review. I haven’t bought any alchohol pens yet, but enjoy seeing the finished product when I watch the demos. These are so reasonably priced at on the Hallmark site I’ve had them in my cart for a week and keep going back and forth with purchasing them. ($229.99 for the full 168 set)

    My fear was the demonstrations show the results an experienced user gets with the markers. I was concerned the cost may be a waste for a newbie into the world of alchohol markers. Thank you so much for your review and sharing your first coloring samples! It really encouraged me to purchase these markers! Great job!

  17. CRYSTAL Says:

    Thanks for the review. Guess I’m out of the loop; I didn’t know there were other alcohol markers out there besides copic.

  18. Rachel Says:

    I’ve been on the fence, wanting some Copics, and buying some of these instead. The one thing that doesn’t compare is that the Copic Sketch markers (specifically the Sketch set) have a nice brush tip that these don’t have. I think a brush tip would be a nice feature. But at this massive price difference, I’ll definitely begin experimenting with these (and my Prismacolors).

  19. Deb Bradley Says:

    Just a quick reply to Rachel about the tips of the pens crafter compaion do sell a brush tip so you can inter change to your hearts content you don’t have to stick with the tips supplied I’m not sure if they are available in the us yet check out the many you tube videos ,I’m just starting out with the pens and got the DVD teaching the techniques please so far stated with promarkers but feel the colours give a much nice finish x

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