Best Marker for Metal

Best Marker for Metal – Finding and Using Permanent Markers for Metal

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.


Not all markers will work on metal, some will simply wipe off. If you want to mark metal with a permanent mark you will need to use the correct metal marker. This will be required especially in particular industries where marking metal is a daily occurrence. A permanent marker for metal can be used on a variety of different surfaces, not just metal. This article goes into deals about paint markers for metal.



Why Use a Permanent Marker for Metal?

Markers are used throughout the home and in businesses as they can be used on an assortment of surfaces such as clay, metal, terracotta, fabric, stones and rocks, pottery, wood, and plastic. A paint pen dries quickly is simple to use and goes on smoothly. The majority of permanent markers made for metal products are made up of a non-toxic formula and are available in an array of bright colors, while also being resistant to water, abrasions, and fading. They are great to have for arts and crafts projects and are ideal for artists to use to tackle an assortment of projects. A lot of industries require a pen that can write on metal so that they can mark components and do general labeling. You will require a decent metal marker to label things such as bolts, metal pipes, and even car parts.

Metal Marking Pen

You can use a paint marker for metal to mark and label tolls to ensure they do not get stolen or lost too easily. Most metal paint markers are contained toluene and xylene and are oil-based all of which are toxic this means they give off VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and need to be handled carefully. Markers have different features, particularly those used in industrial industries. Certain ones are made to be water-resistant; others are designed to be able to be removed with water and soap. Some have been specifically designed to withstand high temperatures, others are made to work on non-porous surfaces, while some have been designed to be solvent-resistant, to mention just a few.

It is best to know what you require so you can determine which type of marker you will require.



Types of Paint Markers for Metal

There are three main categories in terms of paint markers which are permanent markers, oil-based paint markers, and acrylic-based markers. Each category of markers has basic standard ingredients that help deliver the ink or paint to the surface.

Sharpie Metal Marker


Permanent Markers

The word permanent can be misleading as certain markers which are called permanent are not lightfast, rather it should state that the marker will not fade (that it is archival). A permanent marker is made with an air-tight hollow plastic pen, with a length of porous material inside that sticks out of one end of the marker. The material which is a sponge-type texture is soaked in ink when the tip is exposed and the ink evaporates more than pulls up to the tip. There are three components to the ink being resin, pigment or color, and solvent. You can use permanent markers on an assortment of different surfaces, one of them being metal, and they are water-resistant.

The majority of permanent markers are actually non-toxic and do not give off any unpleasant smells.


Paint Markers for Metal

These markers are made up of paint and contain resin, solvent, and pigment compounds. The pigment fluid is kept in the marker with the aid of the solvent, the paint can bond to the surface thanks to the resin, and the pigment gives the color. There are a variety of different types of nibs and various sizes of tips you can buy your paint markers with. A polyester tip is best if you are working with a metal surface, while if you are working with a rough surface then an acrylic nib is the best option. If you have a non-porous surface such as rocks or metal then a paint marker is your best choice, but they can also be used on canvas or paper. The majority of paint pens have toxic components that dive off a very distinct smell. In comparison to a permanent ink marker, a paint marker takes a little bit longer to dry.

Pen to Write on Metal

If you wish to remove paint marker marks you can use either acetone or paint thinner. Artists enjoy working with paint pens as they can use them for layering colors and blending which is something you are not able to do with a permanent ink marker. You get two types of paint markers, namely being oil-based paint markers and water-based or acrylic markers. An acrylic paint marker has a pigment that has been dissolved in water and once put to the surface will no longer be waterproof so if you marked something like a rock you would have to apply a sealant. We recommend you use acrylic-based markers on plastics, t-shirts, ceramics, glass, and lighter colored surfaces as they will give a stunning shiny finish when they dry. When working on paper and textiles your marker will dry permanently on the porous surfaces.

If you are using them on a surface like ceramics you can set the paint by placing them in the oven. This is a particularly safe paint marker to use and is great to use when children are around. An oil-based paint marker has the oil in which the pigment is suspended is the ideal option when selecting a marker to apply to metals, they can be used on other materials such as ceramics and plastic. The markers are hard to remove when they have dried and are water-resistant.

As an oil-based marker, you have to activate them as they are thicker so before using the pen you will have to shake it first. You do not have to seal an oil-based marker.



Selecting the Best Marker for Metal

There are a variety of marker pens available so you will need to know which is the best one for your needs so you purchase the correct one. Before making your purchase consider the following.

Colored Metal Marker


Materials Used

For metal, a paint marker is your best option, as mentioned a paint marker comes in two forms being oil-based and water-based. It is easy to work with water-based paint pens, they have a finer tip and do not give off any smell. You will need to allow them to dry completely so that they do not smudge, but they are easy to remove.

Oil-based paint pens are the go-to choice for writing on metal surfaces but can be difficult to use, they have amazing resistance to smudging and adhere well to the surface but do give off an odor.


How Permanent Is the Marker?

How long-lasting a metal permanent marker differs from brand to brand. Some are resistant to fading and water and will dry fast while other options offer permanence. If you wish to be able to remove the marking later there are options available that are not as permanent.

Colored Paint Makers for Metal


Color of the Metal Marker

You can buy a set of markers in a variety of colors which is amazing if you plan to use all the pens, then you can buy them where you have only black, white, or yellow which is great if you will be using the pens for labeling purposes.

There are even metallic colors available to buy which are stunning to use for calligraphy or use for doing work on art pieces.


Weather-Resistant Markers

You may have a project that will be located outside and will be exposed to rain and sunlight so you would then want to select a marker that will withstand these types of conditions. An example would be wanting to mark the metal on a bicycle you would require a marker that can last in outside conditions. You would also ideally like a marker that will not smudge and dry quickly to avoid any potential mess.

Colored Pen to Write on Metal


Metal Marker Prices

The price is an important aspect to consider when selecting a paint marker. A more permanent ink pen paint marker is normally more expensive but you can look at them as an investment.

Think of it as spending a little more to have a long-lasting item that will therefore save you money in the long run.



Best Marker for Metal

You want to use a marker that is right for your needs, will you require an assortment of colors, do you need something that you can’t wipe off and is durable? What follows are a few recommended products.

Permanent Marker for Metal


Best to Use on Stainless Steel: FORNEY Paint Marker

This is an oil-based marker that can be used on a number of materials including wood, metal, plastic, glass, ceramics, cement, and so many more. It provides color which is very visible and does not fade even when exposed to weather conditions. the markers can be purchased in sets of colors, or individually. Some users have experienced the nib falling out so ensure that the cap is definitely on before you shake them.

FORNEY Paint Marker
  • The oil-based markers are permanent and long-lasting
  • The highly visible ink is quick-drying, providing intense color
  • The ink is water and weather resistant
View on Amazon


  • You have good control over the volume of paint used
  • Available in visible and vibrant colors
  • Can be used outside as can withstand various weather conditions


  • As a first-timer, you may struggle using it
  • Nib is loose
  • Can be pricier than other paint markers available


Best Option for a White Acrylic Paint Marker: FLYMAX White Paint Marker

This marker is safe to use and dries very fast offering you long-lasting color that can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as wood, metal, ceramics, glass, leather, and plastic. It is a lightfast marker that is also odorless and water-resistant and has a fine tip which is great for more detailed work.

FLYMAX White Paint Pen
  • Suitable for many surfaces, including metal, ceramic, and wood
  • Dries quickly and provides long-lasting and vibrant coloring
  • The ink is safe for use and contains no harmful chemicals
View on Amazon


  • Non-toxic
  • Dries fast
  • Smooth application that is simple to use
  • Last for long


  • You might not require a fine tip
  • Will not produce good results when used on an uneven surface


Best Affordable Craft Markers: SHARPIE Oil-Based Paint Markers

These oil-based markers will last long without fading and are water-resistant. Sharpie is a well know brand thanks to its affordable products and consistent high quality. The formula of the markers means they can be applied to an assortment of surfaces and that they are non-toxic. You can buy the markers in an assortment of sizes from medium and bold to super fine and the application is always smooth. This particular set is made up of five markers, white, res, yellow, blue, and black and they are ideal for lettering and shading.

SHARPIE Paint Markers
  • The set includes five basic colors, including red, black, and white
  • Versatile ink works on wood, metal, and glass surfaces
  • The oil-based ink runs smoothly out of the medium width tip
View on Amazon


  • Well priced
  • Available in vibrant colors
  • Long-lasting
  • Formula is non-toxic
  • Fade and water-resistant


  • May give off a slight odor
  • Before using the marker, you will need to activate it



How to Use Paint Markers for Metal

You can mark metal through etching, using a laser, or of course with a marker. There are also an assortment of metal markers and the majority of them are as easy to use as a simple pen. Paint markers do however require a little more effort as the substance inside them needs to be activated as it is quite thick. Most products should come with instructions on how to handle and use the marker, either on the marker themselves or in the packaging, or both.

Paint Markers for Metal

Before using your marker, you will need to activate it by shaking it, make sure the cap is on when you shake it, this is particularly important if you have not used the marker for some time. When shaking it you should hear the ball that is inside moving around which causes the pigment to dissolve. Next, you can remove the cap, and while holding the marker in an upright position, press the nib of the marker down with the back of the cap or your finger. Doing this will allow any trapped air to escape, you can then place the cap back on and shake the marker once again. Then remove the cap and placing the tip onto a piece of paper, pump the marker up and down until the color begins to filter into the nib. The marker is ready to use when the flow is constant with no gaps in the drawing.

Always test out the marker on a scrap of paper before using it on your actual project to ensure no uneven or overflow application.

When you have finished applying the marker give it a few minutes to dry to ensure no smudging. You can choose from several colors or simply stick to the basic white or black. When you have finished using the marker remember to replace the cap and ensure you hear it click into place. To help with future re-mixing of the pigment store your metal marking pens horizontally. Do not under any circumstances store your marker with the tip facing downwards as the pigment will all accumulate by the valve and this can lead to clogging.


Stopping Your Paint Markers From Clogging

Paint markers for metal are fun to use and so versatile. You can buy them in an assortment of colors and a variety of brands but sadly the majority of them will show clogging problems. They will not last as long as you want if you do not take care of them. What follows are a few guidelines to help you maintain your markers.

  • Ensure your markers are stored flat or horizontally in a container. If you have to store them in a cup make sure they are standing with their caps facing upwards.
  • Ensure the tip is cleaned. When you have finished working with the marker take a spare piece of paper and run the marker along it to dislodge anything that may have been stuck to the nib. You can also do this occasionally while you are working as it ensures that any dried paint that may be stuck to the nib is then removed.

Metal Marker Tip

  • Extreme Temperatures. If your marker is stored in an environment that is too cold or hot it can cause clogging of the material can become runny. Store them in a place that is cool, dark, and dry.
  • If the marker is not in use ensure that the cap is securely placed back on it.
  • The tip dries out. If your tip does dry out and it is an oil-based marker you can wipe the tip with a solvent, and if it is a water-based marker just wipe the tip with a bit of water. Be patient and careful when doing this as you do not want to pump the marker excessively.



Our Top Tips and Tricks for Using Metal Marker

You should follow the correct process when using your paint markers for metal to ensure you achieve the best results. Here are a few tips that can help you achieve stunning results.

  • Before using, shake the marker. You should shake it for roughly one minute.
  • Do not over-pump the ink. When you pump the ink out on paper do it gently as you do not want overflow or for the paint to come out too quickly.
  • Layer your colors. As long as you allow the paint to dry you will be able to layer your colors.
  • Too much paint can cause a small puddle. If this happens you can use a torn-off piece of paper towel to soak it up. While it is still wet carefully dab at the excess paint.
  • Keep your tip clean. You can do this by dabbing and swiping the tip onto an extra piece of paper.

Pen to Write on Metal Nibs

  • Filling in the larger areas. Using a medium tip marker work from one side to the other and you can fill in the larger areas, keep your marker wet while you are working.
  • Use the correct pressure. Practice the pressure you apply to ensure you achieve a consistent flow of product from the pen.
  • Make sure your pens are stored away from sunlight and that they are stored in a horizontal position.
  • Take care of the nib. If your nib is dry or dirty it might be time to replace it.
  • Remove any dry material. You can use a razor blade to remove any material which has dried that you do not want to keep.
  • Do not try to add liquid. Do not attempt to open the marker and try and add liquid, rather just buy a new marker.


Metal marking pens are some of the most useful and versatile markers available. These paint markers for metal are suitable for marking metal and a range of other materials. Once you know what you are looking for, you can easily find the best marker for metal to suit your needs. With our top tips and tricks, you can get the most out of your metal marker. 



Frequently Asked Questions


How Long Does a Paint Marker Last?

When you have opened and used your paint marker, as long as you look after it, an acrylic paint marker can last from one to two years.


Why Use a Paint Marker for Metal?

Metal markers are great then can be used on an assortment of surfaces from plastic to metal and glass and so many more. They provide you with resistance to weather, water, and fading and can be used in several projects, not just for labeling.


My Paint Maker Has Dried Up, What Should I Do?

You can try soaking the tip in thinners or alcohol overnight, in the morning wipe it off and see if it works again. If you do not have success, then sadly it is time to buy a new one.


How Must I Look After My Paint Markers?

It is simple to look after your paint markers, make sure to replace the cap as soon as you have finished using them so that the tip does not dry out. Ensure they are stored lying flat, horizontally in a dark, cool, dry place.


To You Have to Use Paint Markers a Certain Way?

You can use the marker just like you would a pen but remember that it does need to be activated first. You need to activate it to ensure the pigment has been mixed correctly. You can activate the marker by simply shaking it.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *