All About Bingo Daubers and Dabbers

Bingo DaubersA lot of you more battle hardened bingo players out there might be surprised to know this, but there are a newer breed of bingo player – and when we say ‘new’ we actually mean people who have been playing for around a decade – who have never used a bingo dauber!

How crazy is that – and how old does it make you feel?

Since technology took bingo from one era to another, there has been less and less need for daubers as paper tickets began to fade into oblivion and the electronic bingo devices (or bingo bees as they are also known) took their place.

They are very much still around though, as most clubs offer players the option of a device or old-fashioned paper tickets, and some clubs even give you a free dauber when you first become a member.

That’s a nice touch, isn’t it?

So this page is dedicated to the dauber; the colourful keeper of numbers and the weapon of choice for many a bingo player past and present.

What is a Bingo Dauber or Dabber?

Bingo Dauber on Bingo TicketSince some readers might not even know what a dauber is, we had better quickly explain.

A dauber is just a special sort of pen that was invented to mark numbers on paper bingo tickets.

It’s just like a felt tip but it has a slightly rounded end the same shape as a jelly tot, so it makes a circle shape when you touch it to paper.

The body is thicker than a regular pen so it can hold plenty of ink, but the middle is also pinched so it is easy to hold and manoeuvre during games.

You see, back in the ancient older days, all bingo was played using paper tickets, and players had to mark off their numbers by themselves in some way – it had to be easy, it had to be quick, and it had to be obviously visible.

The dauber was the ideal solution, because the flat spongy end perfectly covered the numbers with a colourful circle that was also partly transparent, so it was instantly obvious which numbers had been marked, and you could also see them through the colours.

This made the job of tracking your progress super simple, and it was the same for anyone working at the bingo hall who needed to check the ticket once a call was made.

So there you go, that’s a bingo dauber.

Where did Bingo Dabbers and Daubers Come From?

Bingo Ticket with Wooden MarkersFirstly, are dauber and a dabber are exactly the same thing. People use different names (dobber is another option) but they all refer to the ink pen used for marking off numbers.

No one knows exactly when they were first introduced, because how bingo tickets have been marked has changed and developed over time.

People are free to mark their cards however they like really, so long as the numbers can still be read, but daubers have emerged as the favoured method for reasons already explained.

Initially, way back when bingo was called Beano, people would use beans to cover the numbers that had been called, and this progressed so other sorts of markers as time went on, but all had the same issue.

It was easy for someone to knock the table, or for the player to knock one marker when placing another, and things could get confusing. There were probably far more incorrect calls in those days – grumpy old Gladys who always sits at the back would have been fuming!

Other solutions came up, such as manufactured bingo cards with a little window that pulled down to cover the numbers when they were called, but these obviously had limitations in that the ‘cards’ would always be the same.

At points people must just have used pencils and pens to circle or underline their numbers but this wasn’t as effective as a pen that actually highlighted the numbers, so once some bright spark figured this method out the solution was considered found.

Customised Bingo Daubers

Customised Bingo Daubers

Something that is on the rise is customised dabbers.

You can do it yourself of course, but there are companies out there who will make you a dauber to your own specifications.

Do you want a dauber with cats on it, and your name in purple sparkly writing? No problem. What about a dauber in the shape of Miss Piggy? Ok Kermi. Or if you would prefer something more stylish and serene, that’s doable too.

You can also get it made with different shaped nibs so that instead of a regular old circle, you will see a moon/star/sun/apple/whatever when you mark your numbers – there are all sorts of potential options.

You could get one themed around the Christmas holidays to use in December, or you can get an outfit for your dauber, or a novelty top to replace the regular lid.

Not to mention getting them made in larger sizes so they don’t need refilling as often – yes, you can get refillable daubers.

People have become very inventive so really, if you can imagine it, someone out there can make it for you.

Bingo Dauber and Dabber FAQ

There are lots of questions people might have about the old bingo dabber, but the answers are usually quite short and sweet.

With that in mind, it’s probably easiest to run the rest of this page as an FAQ rather than break it down into sections, so here we go.

How Much do Bingo Daubers Cost?

They are really really cheap.

Dabbers are just felt tip pens with a different shaped nib at the end of the day, so you can expect to pay a similar price to those.

They are most often sold in multipacks, and can be picked up for anywhere between £1 for 4 (so 20p each) up to around £15 for 5 (so about £3 each).

We can’t really give definitive prices because there are so many brands and so many different sellers and places to buy them, but it’s safe to say they are more than affordable.

How Long do Bingo Daubers Last?

What size have you bought? How often do you play bingo? How many tickets do you buy when you play? Do you also use electronic devices? Do you put the lids back on your pens properly?

So many questions and so many potential answers.

An average sized bingo dauber could last around 8 sessions before it runs out assuming you use it to mark all your tickets, but again, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it depends on many factors.

They last long enough for some people to get quite attached to them anyway – you might see them being decorated or being treated as lucky mascots.

People love their daubers!

Does Bingo Dauber Ink Stain?

Not only are they perfectly functional but daubers are non-toxic and non-permanent too.

So, without wanting to sound like a Daz commercial, any accidental dabbing on your clothes should come out in just a single wash.

(This is the bit where a crisp white t-shirt is held up to the camera and it sparkles).

The same goes if you accidentally get some ink on your hands, or your nose if you have an itch and forget you are holding your dauber! Just give it a normal wash with soap and water and it will come straight off.

What Colours do Daubers Come in?

We can’t claim to know every bingo dauber or dabber manufacturer in the world, but we have seen them come in the following colours:

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Grey

That’s not to say you won’t find them in other colours too.

We know that there are glitter versions of some of these colours too, so you really can get creative with your daubing in the breaks between games.

Are Bingo Dabbers Refillable?

You can get refillable ones yes, but if that’s what you want then check the product before you buy, because most are disposable and cannot be refilled.

Bingo regulars might choose a refillable dauber so they can personalise it and make their dauber a little bit special, as unique as the player, really turn it into something that represents them.

Some companies will even create custom daubers if you want to go that far. Pens with your name on, or with some sort of elaborate decoration that other players will envy.

So you might not win the bingo, but your dauber will beat any other in a beauty contest.