Want to do a little painting without a lot of mess? Try a paint marker! Unlike regular markers, which are filled with various kinds of ink, or watercolor markers, paint markers or pens lay down opaque colors that sit up on surfaces like paint. The paint marker was first patented in 1926, as a “fountain paintbrush” with a sponge tip and a reservoir filled with paint. Nowadays, paint pens take the form of a marker with a felt tip available in a variety of widths and a barrel containing either oil- or water-based paint. Paint markers are great for using on paper, of course, as well as glass, wood, stone, plastic, and ceramics. Most of these pens require activation by first shaking them and then pressing the tip to paper to make the ink flow. The best set of paint markers for your next project is probably listed below.
1. ARTEZA Acrylic Paint Markers
Arteza’s set of 20 acrylic paint markers are great for marking on rocks, glass, pottery, plastic, and canvas. The smooth, water-based paint is opaque, and the fine-point tip on the reversible nib is ideal for precision detailing and painting. Available in a full range of colors, the low-odor, nontoxic, acid-free ink is quick-drying and waterproof. The set also comes with 20 replacement nibs, each with a fine and a chisel point, and a set of tweezers; just change them when they wear out and continue using the pens until the paint runs out.
2. Penguin Art Supplies Dual Tip Acrylic Paint Pens
With this set of paint pens, you get twice the options. While one end of the double-ended markers has a 5mm tip for making bold lines, the other has a 3mm chiseled tip for precision work. The acrylic paint is both water- and UV-resistant, as well as nontoxic and opaque. Included with this set are 28 pens in a range of vibrant colors and a convenient nylon zip pouch in which to store them all.
3. Artistro Acrylic Paint Pens
These medium-tip acrylic paint markers are perfect for glass, ceramic, porcelain, wood, canvas, metal, plastic, stone, and paper. Water-based and quick-drying, the ink goes on opaque and glossy. Unlike other paint markers that leave streaks, this paint in these pens goes on smoothly in true-to-color pigments. Our pick includes 28 assorted colors as well as extras in white and black. Your purchase also includes a tutorial e-book with step-by-step instructions on rainy-day or class rock painting projects. Be sure to pump the tip to start ink flow before you take off.
4. Sakura Pen-Touch Paint Marker
The only oil-based paint marker in our roundup, this 1.0mm fine-tip pen leaves raised, bright color on just about any surface, including metal, wood, glass, plastic, paper, and stone. The odor- and Xylene-free paint dries quickly, so smearing is not an issue. The pens are ideal for signing or marking on glossy photographs, tear sheets, or postcards—their waterproof, fade-proof ink will ensure your signature, message, or doodle will survive. Be warned that these markers are extremely difficult to remove from most surfaces except glass or ceramic. This 7-piece set includes yellow, red, purple, green, blue, white, and black markers. Replacement nibs are available if you want a finer or bolder line. Shake well to mix the pigments and start creating!
5. Posca Paint Marker Set
These felt-tip markers lay down ultra-opaque paint that’s removable from nonporous surfaces like glass and mirror and permanent on porous materials such as wood and paper. With this set you get pens that have a medium-sized nib ideal for coffee shop or restaurant signs, or for any other application that requires lettering. Unlike the ink in most paint pens, the ink in these markers is matte instead of glossy. Our pick includes 20 pens in all shades of the spectrum, seven markers in “natural” colors like Sky Blue and Coral Pink, and one each of metallic silver and gold. Although the paint takes a bit longer to dry than the paint in other markers, the final result can’t be beat. If you are ready to upgrade, splurge on this premium set.