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Vendor Spotlight: Sharpie

Reported by Katie Renz

Who doesn’t have a Sharpie of one shape, size, or color in their household. I’m no connoisseur, but there has always been a black Sharpie in the junk drawer and it was usually the go to pen. The first pen I am going to talk about is the new Stainless Steel Sharpie and according to their website, celebs love it!

The nice thing about this pen is that the outer casing is for the long haul. Buy it once and when the ink runs dry, just purchase a refill. Those of us that are environmentally-friendly will like this option.

So what I did was use the pen on some different papers I have around in my craft area. Overall the pen is very nice, but the size of the barrel was a bit large for me. I personally prefer a smaller pen. I also felt the tip of the pen wasn’t quite as smooth as some other sharpies that I’ve used in the past. I don’t do a lot of autograph signing, in fact I do none, but when I make to the big time, maybe I’ll have a different opinion.

The ink does feather though, and it does depend on the quality of paper too. The ink bleeds through if you let the point rest on your surface and it definitely shows on the backside.

Overall, the Stainless Steel Pen is very aesthetically pleasing and unique and does what we expect Sharpies to do.


Now onto my other samples. I received a couple of examples of Sharpie Paint Pens. I had never even heard of these or seen them before so it was all new to me. The paint pens are divided into water-based paint and oil-based paints, and come in a variety of sized tips from extra fine, to broad and chiseled. I received one large tip and several medium tips.

I have read that lots of artists use Sharpie brand pens to sketch, draw, and paint with, but since that isn’t my field, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do. So, what I basically did was play with them on different surfaces that I had in my craft room and I did figure out a cute little project to make.

Both the water-based and oil-based paint markers need to be primed. If you haven’t used them before, or are unfamiliar with them, they have a ball inside them that you can hear when you shake just like cans of spray paint. I must admit, it’s kind of neat to shake them.

If you are familiar with some of the liquid glue adhesives out there, these pens are like that in that the nib is empty until you press it down and let the liquid travel down the pen.

I used the oil-based on some clear acetate that I had on hand. It went on super smooth, and what I liked about it was that it looked like paint. Same result with some glossy cardstock that I had on hand too. Plus, both oil-based and water-based were quite quick to dry.

If you notice in the background, there is a piece of 12×12 cardstock that I used the black oil-based marker on. It worked quite well and had excellent coverage. You could see the design from the back, but it didn’t bleed through and that was with good coverage.

The glossy cardstock is shown in the picture below. The brown is the oil based and the purple is the water based paint marker.

Now, how about a wood sample. I just happened to have a wood birdhouse laying around with no purpose so I thought I’d test the bottom. The BROWN is oil based and the PURPLE is water based. The only real difference I noticed was that the water based feathered more than the oil based. What I liked about “painting” with the markers was the amount of control I had while “coloring.” You could do a lot of detail work that would be fun.


So, what would a paper crafter use Sharpie Paint Markers for? Well, this is what I did with mine. I did some altering of a clear can. This particular can used to house sateen flowers that I purchased at Michaels. I removed the paper label and washed the can. I decided I wanted to paint stripes on my clear can so I masked it to create my stripes.

I would recommend using painters tape, but I couldn’t find mine so I had to use my Eclipse Tape (gasp). My eclipse tape didn’t create the seal that I wanted, but it worked alright for my purposes. After it was all painted, I did have to do a little “clean up”, but I was able to remove the excess paint that seeped underneath my tape edges.

Here is my finished project after I added some extra stamping and decoration. I made this to house some doggy treats for my Mom’s little doggy Daisy.

So in conclusion, I would have to say that I have always been a fan of Sharpie markers and will continue to be so. Can I live without the new sleek Stainless Steel pen? Yes. I will probably stick with my basic black Sharpie markers. My personal favorite is the pen with the fine point on one end and the medium tip on the other.

I did very much enjoy the Sharpie paint markers, both the oil- and water-based. These would work great for smaller projects, but are clearly not made for any large surfaces in terms of painting that is. If the need arises, I would definitely get myself some. They were fun.

Pros:

  • Very little odor
  • Pretty good variety of colors and tip sizes
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Nice flow and coverage

Cons:

  • The overall size of the stainless was bit too big for me
  • None really for the poster paints

Lots of retailers both brick and mortar as well as online carry Sharpie markers, but here are 3 online sources of the Stainless Steel Pen:

Three sources for Sharpie Paint Markers:

Retail value for the Stainless Steel pen is $8.64 (but this varies by pennies depending on which site you visit) and sale prices vary even more.

Retail value for the poster paints for both oil and water based markers depends on the size of the tip as well as if you want to purchase individually or in a package. Range being from $3.37 – $4.84 and again, sale prices all over the board.

I thought the pens (all of them) were very easy to use and did what they are supposed to do. I feel that they might be expensive initially and can’t really say how long they will last, but so far so good. From what I have gathered, artists enjoy sketching and drawing with them, but as a papercrafter, I tend to see these pens slightly differently,but I DO see lots of potential uses now that I have some experience with them and realize that they are out there.

I would rate the stainless steel marker a 6 out of 10 and the paint markers a 9 out of 10.

We’d love to hear from some of you mixed media artists or how about any illustrators out there. What do you think of the pens and how do you use them?

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!

Vendor Spotlight: Sharpie

We’re thrilled to bring you an in-depth look at an old-school favorite! Actually, it’s not so old school, since Sharpie’s been changing it up recently… over the next three days, check out the new stuff Sharpie has to offer!

Reported by
Kristine Fowler

Whether or not they are part of your craft arsenal, you have no doubt heard of Sharpie markers. After all, the Sanford Ink Company introduced the very first Sharpie in 1964 (The Sharpie Fine Point Black Marker). Now a division of Newell Rubbermaid, Sanford has through the years expanded the Sharpie product line. Currently available are various tip sizes and styles, a ton of colour options beyond basic black, and ink options that include not only Permanent Markers, but Industrial Permanent Markers, Highlighters & Everyday Writing Instruments.

Recently I was lucky enough to play around with what is probably the coolest member of the Sharpie family, the Sharpie Paint Markers! My package from Sharpie included 5 pens – 2 Water-Based, and 3 Oil-Based.

I’ll start first with some basic info:

  • 2 different types of Paint Markers: Water-Based and Oil-Based
  • Both types offer a variety of tip size/style options: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium and Bold
  • Each type is available in variety of colours, but not every tip size/style is available in all colours.
  • Both lay opaque colour and can be used on light or dark surfaces
  • Both are water and fade resistant
  • Cap color matches the ink color
  • Virtually odorless

In addition to some of the items already mentioned, the Sharpie Water-Based Paint Markers are:

  • Acid Free & Archival Quality (which is important to scrapbookers of course!)
  • Child-Friendly

And, the Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers are:

  • Permanent
  • Opaque & Glossy
  • Quick-Drying
  • Abrasion, fade & water resistant
  • AP Certified and Xylene Free (for more details on AP Ceritification click here.)

Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers: My Experience
The first thing I did with the Oil-Based Paint Markers wasn’t really a project at all – it was more of a necessity. You see, my son was getting ready for Sports Day at school, and we needed to put his name on his plastic water bottle. Admittedly, I had it in my mind to reach for my trusty Sharpie Fine Point Black Permanent Marker to do the job, but as luck would have it, the Red oil-based Paint Marker was handier – so I thought, what the heck?
When I first opened the cap of my Medium Point Red Paint marker, I saw this…a white tip. Then after reading the instructions on the barrel, I gave it a shake, and saturated the tip easily by depressing the marker point several times on a piece of paper. Next, I very quickly wrote his name – twice in fact, one of each side of the bottle. The marker wrote smoothly, laying nice even color. Since I had a limited amount of time available before the school bus arrived, I was initially concerned about how long the paint would take to dry, but I was pleasantly surprised when it had indeed dried completely to a nice glossy finish in just a few minutes. Phew!

I snapped a pic of the bottle just minutes after writing on it. I see now it’s a bit blurry, and for that I apologize, but I was in a hurry as I mentioned. That photo is on the left below. The picture on the right was taken about 3 weeks later after the bottle being used pretty much daily. You can see in the photo that the paint did suffer a bit with a few minor abrasions, but overall I think it has held up pretty well. This is one of those items that takes a lot of handling, so minor damage was to be expected — but what better way to test the the staying power of the paint!

(left: newly painted, right: used & abused)

Now, because this is of course a crafty blog – I figured I ought to also play with the Oil-Based paint markers a bit more and actually make something creative! Here’s what I came up with:
My altered stapler (come on admit it….it’s cute right?):

And this simple custom plant pot (sticking with the swirls and dots theme but this time using the Swirly Vine template from The Crafter’s Workshop instead of free-hand)


You might be surprised to hear that on each of these projects, I used the same Sharpie Fine Point Oil-Based Paint Marker in Lime Green. As you can see in the pictures it seems that the color of the object to which you are applying color affects the appearance of the paint once it dries. I think this is more a case of contrast (and our eyes kind of playing tricks on us) than anything else, but the way I see it, the Lime Green paint applied to the robin’s egg blue plastic plant pot appears almost yellow – whereas on the teal blue stapler, it looks Lime. Regardless of the ‘why’ behind it, I would definately test your paint on a hidden area of your project before you begin just to make sure it is going to look the way you want it to.

The one thing that I unfortunately didn’t have on hand to experiment with was an acrylic scrapbook album. Based on my experience though with the plastic plant pot above I think these pens would be absolutely perfect to use on a project like that!

Sharpie Water-Based Paint Markers: My Experience

These are seriously fun to play with! I absolutely LOVE everything about them. They lay color evenly & beautifully. They dry to an almost chalky appearance on cardstock just like regular paint and they are incredibly opaque – even on black.

Here’s a super duper quick layout that I pulled together to demonstrate the opacity of these pens. Again I used the Crafter’s Workshop Swirly Vines template, and this is the Sharpie Fine Point Blue Water-Based Marker:

There has been so many times that I have wanted to add color, or text to a dark background and aside from using pigment inks or gel pens, I just couldn’t do it. Now I have yet another option…… and I love to have options! I will definately be getting myself more of these!

As a side note: If you look closely at the button on the above layout, you’ll see it is 2-toned green. I used the Lime Green Oil-Based paint marker to paint the rim of the button just to make it a bit more interesting. Using the oil-based paint pen, the creative possibilities for altering metal and plastic embellishments is seriously limitless.

What about Tip Sizes?

My sample pack from Sharpie included two Fine tip and two Medium tip pens (one each in Oil, and one each in the water-based variety). After playing with them for a bit, my personal preference is the Fine point – although I stress that this is a personal preference. I’m not much of a free-hand doodler and prefer instead to use templates, so the Fine Point offered me greater flexibility. In some instances, the medium tip was just too large to use. I was initially concerned that coloring larger areas with the fine point might prove difficult, but that wasn’t the case. So when I buy, I will buy the fine point.

The sample pack also included a White Oil-Based marker and I was initially super excited about this. After playing for a bit though, while I wasn’t disappointed with the opacity of the paint (it rocks!), I was disappointed with the bold point tip as I found it very difficult to manage. I most certainly couldn’t stencil with it, and as I said before, free-hand is definitely not my thing. The barrel of this marker is also about an inch around, so I found it more cumbersome in general to work with. It would probably work great if you were looking to make a big sign or something though – or drawing something quite large that didn’t require a lot of detail work.

So what’s the bottom line?

With the exception of the Bold Point (for the reasons I discussed above), I give the Sharpie Paint Markers an 8 out of 10. My rating would have been higher absolutely it weren’t for the fact that I have been unsuccessful in finding a Canadian distributor (please correct me if I’m wrong on this point as I’m in the market to buy) and if they were a little bit less expensive.

You can pick them up south of the (Canadian) border at various locations for around $4 (US) or less. If you would like to shop online, you can try artstuff.net or markingpendepot.com, both of whom seem to have reasonable pricing.

So have you tried the Sharpie Paint Markers and have an opinion to share? Leave us a comment and let us know.
BONUS Review: Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker
Also included in my Sharpie sample pack was the NEW Stainless Steel Permanent Marker. Here is Sharpie’s description of the product:
  • Stainless steel barrel design with Sharpie logo laser etched on barrel
  • Unscrew ink cartridge to replace with Sharpie ink refill cartridge
  • Fine point tip size for marking and writing
  • Marks on most surfaces
  • Fade- and water-resistant ink encourages multiple project uses
  • Quick drying, AP Certified Nontoxic formula

And in my opinion what a stylish and classy looking pen this is. It is much more elegant than your standard Sharpie. Thinking back to my wedding 12 years ago, I wish I had had the Stainless Steel Sharpie on the table with our guest book and signature frame. It would have been well-suited for the task.

After playing around with it for a bit, and writing on various surfaces and types of paper – I can’t say there was anything that put me over the moon about it, but it was nice for sure. Aside from the asthetics, there are other upsides – it is refillable (thus eco-friendly), and it is fine point and thus made for ‘signing’. It is still definately more of a marker than it is a pen in my opinion and I probably wouldn’t want to write an essay with it, but that wasn’t what it was made for anyway.

One of the neat things that Sharpie did when designing this pen was that while the threads on the ink cartridge refills are made of plastic, the threads in the barrel (where the refill screws in) are made of metal. This was smart thinking on their part. I would guess that making the refill threads plastic keep their cost down (currently $1.67 on Amazon.com which is very affordable), but making the barrel threads metal – protects you from stripping the threads by preventing you from overtightening and ruining your new premium stainless steel pen. I know from experience that it is relatively simple to strip plastic threads on a pen when you’re refilling. Not a pleasant thought when you’re paying around $6 for a writing implement. (Currently the Stainless Steel Sharpie is retailing on Amazon for $5.99).

Missing from the Stainless Steel version of the marker though is some indiciation on the barrel (while capped) as to the color of the ink. Although it is currently only available in black, the Sharpie standard has always been that the cap color matched the ink color. While I can appreciate that asthetically this wouldn’t ‘fit’ with the image or style of the Stainless Steel marker, I can’t help but wonder what change they will make when and if they expand the Stainless line to include more than just the basic black.The Stainless Steel Sharpie debuted at the Oscars and apparently the celebs love it – do you? Let us know what you think.

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!