Love acrylic painting but dread the mess? Pick up a set of acrylic paint markers, which allow you to lay down controlled, neat lines that look just like paint and are generally more opaque than those made by solvent-based markers. Acrylic paint markers can be used on paper and canvas, of course, but they also perform well on other surfaces such as glass, wood, and ceramics. You can use them alongside traditional acrylic paint, particularly for highlights, fine lines, and other detail work. And they come in a variety of nib sizes so you can vary your lines with ease—no brushes or water necessary. Most use water-based inks that are easy to clean up when wet and are water resistant when dry. Find the best set of paint markers for your projects below.
Uni-Posca Paint Markers and Sets
Our favorite paint markers strike the right balance between price, consistency, and ease of use. They seamlessly lay down ultra-opaque, incredibly pigmented paint that is water-soluble while wet and water-resistant when fully dried to a matte finish. This happens quite quickly when the paint is left alone, which makes the markers ideal for layering. They leave temporary marks on nonporous surfaces and are permanent on porous materials such as wood or paper. Suitable for users of all ages, Posca’s markers are sold individually in 29 colors or in sets, with seven tip sizes to choose from—from 0.7 millimeters to 2.5 millimeters. Don’t forget to shake before use and apply pressure to the nib to release uniform, even lines.
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Pebeo Acrylic Markers and Sets
If you find Posca’s color palette too limiting, consider Pebeo’s water-based product, which is more of a fine-art marker. You have 47 colors to choose from—sold individually or in curated sets such as blues, primaries, or “precious colors”—and each has an excellent lightfastness rating. While the nib selection is smaller than Posca’s, with just three sizes, we like the nice, big, four-millimeter option. These markers dispense paint with control—thanks to a built-in pump mechanism that produces an optimum flow—so it’s easy to achieve precision. This paint is compatible with a wide range of surfaces including metal, plastic, canvas, and wood. It can be cleaned up with water while wet and is permanent when dry. Note that the drying time is relatively long: It can take 10 to 30 minutes to be dry to the touch, and up to 12 hours to be fully cured.
Montana Acrylic Markers and Sets
Another excellent fine art option, Montana’s lightfast, matte paint markers are available in 36 colors. As with our other selections, the ink in these markers is easy to clean up with soap and water when wet. Seal it with Montana varnish after its dry for a water- and abrasion-proof finish. The markers are available in some unique hues such as Sahara Beige, Malachite Light, Shock Kent Blood Red, and Shock Lilac, so you might want to check out Montana if you like uncommon shades. Like Pebeo’s markers, these feature a pump valve system that regulates the liquid contents to help achieve accurate application. Since the tips are highly responsive, you can vary your pressure to create different effects. Montana’s markers are also great for the eco-conscious as you can replace their nibs; however, they are available in only two sizes: extra-fine (0.7 millimeters) and fine (2 millimeters).
Elmer’s Painters Opaque Paint Markers, Set of 28
Best used for crafts (they’re a popular choice for rock painting), Elmer’s acrylic markers feature a short, thick, rounded tip that is well suited for all kinds of lines. Once dry, the paint is virtually permanent and leaves a shimmery finish. It delivers opaque coverage, but a perfect, even flow can be slightly more challenging to achieve than with higher-priced brands, requiring users to give the nib just the right amount of pressure. If you don’t mind some subtle streaking, these markers are a good budget-friendly and kid-friendly pick since they are washable when wet, quick-drying, and nontoxic. You also have to prime them just once, which helps to cut down on mess. This set of 28 markers offers a range of colors and tips so you can freely experiment.
Molotow One4All Acrylic Paint Marker Set
The priciest marker on our list, Molotow’s tool offers the most outstanding pigmentation and vibrancy. Like some of its competition, these acrylic markers feature pump valves that help to ensure a continuous, even flow. But the opacity is unparalleled: Just one pass is all you need to produce a crisp and dense line. In addition to offering top-notch performance, these markers are well balanced and long lasting. The paint goes a long way, and because each marker is refillable, you can feel good about replenishing your tool while cutting down on waste. Though the paint is water-based, it dries almost instantly, so you’ll need to be a bit more careful with these markers than with some of our other choices. This basic set of 10 colors will get you started.