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Vendor Spotlight : Sharpie

Reported by Melissa Norris

One of the first real crafts I remember doing is using paint pens and Sharpies to alter items. Picture frames, book covers, and more, I left my trace on it all. When I went to college, my markers went with me. I decorated the front of mix CDs, labeled anything I didn’t want a roommate to eat, and made gifts for my sorority sisters. Due to my long history with these crafting staples, I jumped at the chance to review the paint pen options from Sharpie and as well as the new Stainless Steel marker.

Due to a recent move, I only have access to a few other craft supplies (my husband thought furniture was more important…what was he thinking!), so I decided to go with tests for this review. Here are a few things to note, I received the water-based paint pens, oil-based paint pens, and the Stainless Steel Sharpie.


I started with black cardstock. The first four are the water based pens and the green is the oil-based. As you can see, the oil-based didn’t fare so well. The others did alright. I think especially after using them a bit, the ink will thicken up a bit and flow a bit more smoothly. The oil based ink immediately faded and has actually gotten lighter since taking the picture.


Next, smooth, white cardstock. All all of the pens did well. The blue and bottom black are the water-based paint and left a rich, opaque color. The first black is the regular Sharpie and gives a finer line than the black paint pen even though they are both the standard fine-point. The paint pens, green, oil-based especially, did that thing on paper, where the bristles in the nib sometimes hang and give you that splatter effect. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. I think it was mostly due to the larger nib size on the oil-based pen.


I had high hopes for the Hambly overlay. The top black is the regular Sharpie marker, which worked well as far as staying power goes. You do see more of the brush strokes and if you don’t go over multiple times, you get that purple-black color. The green, oil-based pen dried a bit shinier than the water-based, but scratched off easily. None of the paint pens held up to a simple scratch of my fingernail, so only use these if it will be something that isn’t handled regularly.

Sharpies of any time are a great idea to dress up simple sheer flowers. The regular, black Sharpie held up well to my scratching, but pooled a bit more and has that purple-black color again. The black, water-based pen scratched off very easily, and the green, oil-based pen stayed a bit better. Again, not a good choice if you will be handling this a lot. And this flower was textured as compared to the smooth Hambly overlay.


Glossy paper had interesting results, and it’s hard to tell from the photo, so I apologize. The blue, and bottom black, water-based pens looked great going, but when I came back I noticed that they had crackled. This is great if that’s the effect you are going for, but I wasn’t. The green, oil-based did well and maintained that shiny look it has when it dries. The standard Sharpie also did well (first black).


A great use for any Sharpie marker or pen is to dress up those boring buttons. The oil-based pen and regular Sharpie (black through the middle) did great. They couldn’t be scratched and left a smooth, bright look. The black on the right, the water-based, scratched off easily.

I decided to put my oil-based, green paint pen to work to add a little color to this boring flower pot. The color went on smooth and I haven’t been able to scratch it off. The thing to remember about paint pens, is that you have to keep pumping or priming the nib to ensure the flow of paint. But always remember to do this on scratch paper instead of your project! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made that mistake the past.
Pros:
  • Stainless Steel Sharpie: Sleek design, refillable, the envy of my husband and easy to find when he steals it; what more could a woman want.
  • Sharpie Oil-Based paint pens: Similar to the rest of the paint pen market out there, but has the name Sharpie to back it up. I feel more comfortable with that if I have any problems with my product. Also, works great on those non-porous surfaces.
  • Sharpie Water-Based paint pens: I love the acid-free and water-based qualities and does great on porous surfaces. I can definitely see myself using these on posters and layouts. Great when you want that bold, opaque color that markers can’t provide.

Cons:

  • Stainless Steel Sharpie: More colors please!!
  • Sharpie Oil-Based paint pens: I wish they are more widely available on the market, I don’t see them often at my local craft store.
  • Sharpie Water-Based paint pens: Same thing, I wish they were more widely available. I also wish they worked better on non-porous surfaces.
Overall, I love all of these products and am happy to add them to my craft supply, for completely different reasons for each. I’ve also become a huge fan of the water-based pens simply for use on paper because I’m a big fan of that opaque color and think they would look great on journaling or for making great titles.
Have you used any of these products? 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!

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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!

Vendor Spotlight: Sharpie

Reported by Suzy Haghighi

Since 1964 Sharpie Markers by Sanford Corp have been a staple in homes and offices around the world. Moms use them to label children’s clothing and backpacks, students scribble with them on countless CDs, even celebs use them to sign autographs. President Bush used Sharpies personalized with his signature exclusively in the White House.

Sharpies now come in 39 colors and seven varieties, ranging in tip size from Ultra Fine to Magnum. Rather than messing with the success of what goes into their flagship product, the Permanent Marker, Sharpie has designed a sleek, modern and ultra cool casing for their utilitarian fine tip marker. The Stainless Steel Sharpie has it’s name and logo engraved onto the body, has a great comfortable grip despite the larger size, and is so pretty you won’t want to hide it in the tool drawer. It retails for about $7 US as opposed to the $1.79 for the regular Sharpie. I took this pretty pen on a craft spin to see how I would like it.

Cards made with Magnolia Stamps using Sharpie Permanent and Water Based Markers

I discovered that my favorite ways to use the Permanent markers are for outlining or coloring on acetate. Sharpie Permanent Markers adhere to most surfaces and contains pigments and dyes that are almost impossible to remove (depending upon the surface written on). Glossy surfaces are notorious for not allowing ink to stick to it – it either beads or wipes away. Not with these babies.

The permanent nature of the pen and the wonderful way it bonds to surfaces makes it hard to shade and blend in coloring. Sharpie knows and capitalizes on this in their advertising: The strong, bold ink serves as muse for the company’s slogan Write Out Loud.

While I use Copic Alcohol Markers to color, I love using Sharpies on my cards when I want a really strong, bold ink for accenting. I used the Ultra Fine Tip to create faux stitching on one card, and the Stainless Steel Sharpie with its traditional fine tip to create polka dots on an acetate card, red pencils, and a painted wooden ladybug. The marker was also used over my Copics to color in the polka dots. The ink looks great on all of my projects; the ultra fine did not bleed into my paper or slip on the paint or pencils. It dried quickly on the acetate and the pencil coating; it did however pool a bit on the acetate (see pic below).

Please note a fine tip is rather wide for card making purposes. It could not be used for journaling or writing small letters, however, the Ultra Fine could. The solvent in Sharpie Permanent Markers does contain Propanol so they are not considered acid-free. While I would not use these for archival craft work such as scrapbooking, I have no problem using them on cards.

The Sharpie Water Based Extra Fine Paint Pens in White is also great for accenting over my Copic Marker work and is archival quality and acid-free. I used it here to highlight hair and the ladybug’s face. White is an almost impossible color to formulate without using pigment (as opposed to dye-based inks). These skip less than my white gel pens while remaining about 50% opaque (see picture above). The white is bright which makes them great for accent work or dotting snow on cards, but you do have to be careful of the valve-action tip. While the point is extra fine, the ink is rather watery and seeps out of the valve-action tip when pressed. To avoid problems I press and release the valve over copy paper then do my accenting.

I am not sure if Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens are acid-free, but they do state that they are xylene-free. They are more opaque than the Water Based Paint Pens, write better, and can be used on any surface. The ink was not watery at all and the color seemed bolder to me.

Besides being useful, Sharpies are also economical and long lasting: someone did a rather scientific measurement to see how long a Sharpie lasts and estimated the total writing distance to be 1800 feet, which is quite impressive. That person is much more organized than I am — I can honestly say I have never run out of ink on my own before I lose them. They need to make a Sharpie with GPS.

Pros:

  • Economical
  • Long lasting
  • Strong, bold ink color
  • Writes on many surfaces
  • Multipurpose types for all craft needs
  • Great for use with acetate or other smooth surfaces

Cons:

  • Limited color variety
  • Bold, strong ink is not good for blending, line marks
  • The lids do not really match the inks so it is best to make a color chart
  • Tips tend to dry quickly
  • Permanent marker bleeds through thin and fibrous papers, fabrics and cloth
  • Paint Marker ink clogs a bit or leaks from valve, can also “spit” ink onto your work

Where to Buy:
Wal-Mart (Sharpie Permanent Marker in assorted colors for $14.88 US)
Office Supply Stores such as Office Depot (12 pack of Permanent Fine Point Black for $7.79)
Amazon.com (Stainless Steel Sharpie Permanent Marker for $5.99)
Wallack’s (Sharpie Paint Extra Fine Oil Based Marker in White for $3.47)

In conclusion I give the Sharpie Permanent Markers a 9/10 and Sharpie Paint Markers a 7/10 overall. As a card maker, Sharpies will not replace my beloved (and much more expensive) Copics, but they are fantastic for certain uses on my cards that make them an indispensable tool that belongs in everyone’s craft room. They are fantastic on acetate or plastic products – the color stays bright and bold, and does not budge once put on a surface. On paper they are bad for blending, but great for pops of permanent color. How do YOU use Sharpies in the craft room?

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!