Vendor Spotlight: Sharpie

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk

As a long time fan (and collector) of Sharpie Markers by Sanford, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review three new products: poster paint, oil-based paint and stainless steel markers.

Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker is a high end version of a fine point black Sharpie Marker. It features a high end stainless steel barrel with a laser etched Sharpie emblem. When I showed my husband and neighbors at a picnic everyone was impressed by its sleek styling. It is currently available in black only and it is refillable. Inside it is the same black permanent marker that can be used to label possessions, boxes and address labels. This was by far my favorite product for this review. In the future more colors will be available and I hope an ultra fine tip version.

As you can see in the photo, the oil-based paint marker dried
with a very gloppy and uneven surface and will need to be sealed prior to handling.

I also received two oil based opaque paint markers: medium point black and fine point blue. The blue pen provided more consistent ink coverage. For testing, I “colored” a binder clip, tin foil, matte cardstock, an acrylic shape and a metal embellishment and brads. After an hour of drying time, I tried to scratch the tin foil with a fingernail and the blue ink stayed put but the black smeared and flaked off the foil. The coverage on the acrylic star was gloppy and uneven, as you can see from my photo. The metal frame and brads fared better, but they needed to be sealed.

This is how the gold and red poster paint markers look on a black photo matte board.

I also received a red and a gold Poster Paint Sharpie Markers, both with medium points. After shaking them and priming the tips to release the flow of ink, I tried them on a variety of surfaces. Despite numerous attempts to increase the flow of ink, the markers seemed dry at times and pooled ink at other times. I doodled with them on card stock and on a black photo matte. As you can see, neither pen showed up well on the black background. Perhaps if the markers had been fine point, I would have been happier with them. These are labeled as poster paint, and they seem better suited for sign making and the like. Since this ink is water-based, it might need to be sealed as well.


  • Stainless steel pen is very attractive and refillable
  • Stainless steel version has permanent ink
  • Oil-based and poster paint markers available in 15+ colors and points ranging from fine to extra bold
  • Labeled as safe for scrapbooking


  • Projects created with oil-based and poster paint inks might need to be sealed
  • Oil-based and poster paint inks are gloppy and don’t apply smoothly
  • Oil-based and poster paint markers are not as widely available as classic permanent ink Sharpie markers and might need to be special ordered

Sharpie Stainless Steel markers list for $6.99 (refills for $1.99)
Sharpie Oil-based markers list from $3.37 (fine point) to $4.84 (bold point)
Sharpie Poster-Paint markers list from $3.37 (fine point) to $7.76 (extra bold point)

These Sharpie Markers are available from these online retailers:

The major US office supply stores carry the Stainless Steel Sharpie markers and their refills. Specialty Sharpies such as the poster paint and oil-based are available from independent art supply dealers.

As a long time Sharpie Marker aficionado, I’ll stick with the basic permanent markers and the stainless steel version. The stainless steel Sharpie Marker rates a 10 for its sleek design and because it can be refilled (and was the envy of my neighbors). The oil-based and poster paint markers had inconsistent ink flow and projects needed to be sealed, despite labeling to the contrary, so I rate them both a 6.

Have you tried these Sharpie Markers? Do Sharpie paint markers compare with other brands of paint markers? Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Follow up: There was a comment in one of our articles about the Sharpie Water Based pens no longer being available. I am happy to announce from our contact with Sharpie that they are continuing to be made, there was only a packaging change. So go get some today!!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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25 Responses to Vendor Spotlight: Sharpie

  1. Avatar
    Gail C June 18, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Thanks for all the sound advice- I too usually LOVE the sharpie product.
    I cannot wait to get a stainless steel one-maybe I ought to etch MY name in it so I don’t lose it!

  2. Avatar
    Rebecca June 18, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    I’d “autograph” EVERYTHING that leaves our house! Lunch boxes, bags, CD’s etc. Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. Avatar
    Jingle June 18, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Thanks for the info! That stainless one has me drooling! DH just bought me a great set of colored sharpies this week!!

  4. Avatar
    Jill June 18, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Ooooohhhh, more Sharpie choices! i would autograph everything with this new Sharpie….lunches, teacher notes, notes to my kids…of course, I will have to hide it from my teenage daughter who has been a Sharpie collector since 5th grade!

  5. Avatar
    Chookarooni June 18, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Would love the stainless steel sharpie – looks like a winner to me!

  6. Avatar
    Gwen P. June 18, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    I think I’d use it for my craft tools…everything gets my initials on it…I don’t want to lose anything! I use my black sharpie now for this but this one would be great!

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    LadyMissSusan June 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    I’d autograph anything my ‘fans’ asked me to! LOL Seriously, mostly stuff from home and def. my scrap stuff and lo’s and other art endeavors!

  8. Avatar
    Karen June 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    Great info. I’d autograph all my artwork to give it a little more personal that just stamping it. You girls sure have worked hard testing Sharpies. Thanks!

  9. Avatar
    Karen Smith June 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    These new Sharpie’s are AWESOME! I can’t wait to get my hands on one, or some, so I can let the creative juices flow!
    P.S. thanks for doing the foot-work on where to buy them.

  10. Avatar
    Corinna June 18, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    I have always loved Sharpie markers and would love to win one of these. I would autograph all my daughter’s new school supplies for the upcoming school year!


  11. Avatar
    Anonymous June 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    I cannot wait to try the Stainless sharpie. I may save it until I become famous and autograph pictures (he he) but most likely will use it to sign cards for my Dad who is going blind – hopefully it will be something he can see better.

  12. Avatar
    Denise ~ Paper Ponderings June 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    I definitely will add these to my ever growing wish list. These look awesome and, no doubt, I will be personalizing bike helmets!

  13. Avatar
    Renee June 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    Loving the sharpie info….thanks!!!!

  14. Avatar
    shauna June 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    Thanks for your review! I’m a Sharpie user for sure. However, it was a bit confusing in part. Some of the markers are paint, which you stated, but then you kept referring to the “ink” on different surfaces. Paint will react differently sometimes on surfaces than ink. So, I just wanted to clarify that. If you adjust what you use the oil paint and poster paint Sharpies for, knowing they are paint and not ink then you’ll likely have the best success. Of course, the original Sharpie type is ink. I do appreciate the detail with which you share info!

  15. Avatar
    Anna June 18, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    Love all the great ideas. Would love to win one to try it out 🙂

  16. Avatar
    Lois aka katesmum June 18, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    wow… I love coloring but have never seen a stainless steel sharpie…I’d love to try some!

  17. Avatar
    BishopsMommie June 18, 2009 at 11:17 pm #

    did not even know they had paint like pens…cool

  18. Avatar
    Jennifer June 19, 2009 at 12:26 am #

    I’d love to decorate some container/organizers with the new Sharpies. I’m going to have to go looking for them tomorrow.
    Thanks for the great review.

  19. Avatar
    the mustik June 19, 2009 at 5:28 am #

    love these products, I use sharpie on my layouts, for journaling

  20. Avatar
    isabel June 19, 2009 at 5:28 am #

    thanks for sharing
    have a nice week

  21. Avatar
    alexandra June 19, 2009 at 5:28 am #

    I want always more sharpies colors !!!

  22. Avatar
    la zaz June 19, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    I never had enough of these pens
    thanks for the chance to win

  23. Avatar
    vitoria June 19, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    Thanks for all the information you provide
    Love to use these sharpies

  24. Avatar
    Etha June 20, 2009 at 8:21 am #

    great review heather!! I think I may have to get hubby one of the steel pens, he uses the sharpies to label his frisbees (disc golf). Maybe a steel one eh won’t misplace so quickly. Buying the regular ones for him by the BOX!
    I think the paints look pretty good on the black frame.

  25. Avatar
    Barbara June 20, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    I’d take it to my next quilt show and autograph my patterns just on the chance that some day they’ll be worth millions.