A marker pen is a type of versatile marking tool that is often used by painters, carpenters, builders, constructors, and a variety of other tradespeople.
These markers are available in many different types and usually come with a tip that draws an ink or paint stored in its body.
Painters often used them to write, mark or paint lines on surfaces like walls, wood, glass, concrete, etc.
Woodworkers use them for precisely cutting a piece of board, and a constructor uses them for marking asphalt, concrete, and other rough surfaces during the course of construction.
Below in this post, I will discuss more on characteristics of marking pens used for different home improvement projects, what parts they have in general, different types, and what to look at when you need to buy them for your project.
So, let’s get into them right here…
Different Parts of a Marker
Generally, all the marker pens for workers have these basic parts:
The tips of marker pens are commonly made up of pressed fibers, such as felt.
It’s meant to make a mark on the work surface you are working on. And it comes in different shapes.
- Bullet tip – These tips come with a fuller round shape to draw thick lines on a surface
- Fine point tip – These are great for drawing accurate lines on surfaces where precision is important
- Chisel tip – These are all-purpose and can draw both thicker as well as thinner lines, with a change in angle at which you use a pen
This is typically a part that you hold when marking.
It’s usually made from plastic or metal and contains an ink reservoir from which the ink is drawn out through the tip.
The plastic used is generally a heavy-duty hard one like ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), resistant to shattering and tough impact.
If it’s a metal body, it’s usually silvery-white aluminum that is resistant to corrosion.
Some marker pen models for painters and plasterers also include a soft non-slip rubber grip on the outside that improves handling.
c) Lid and a Clip:
The lid of a marker pen is simply a plastic or metal cover that protects the tip.
When between uses, you place it to keep the tip from drying. Plus, it protects the surface from getting accidental markings or staining.
In some marker pens, there is also a clip meant to secure the pen to your pocket or a tool belt.
You can use it to stop the pen from falling on the ground and damaging it when not in use.
Different Types of Marker Pens for Painters
Two varieties of marker pens are primarily common among DIYers and professional painters. These include permanent and non-permanent markers.
Both come with a shaped felt tip to draw the ink from an ink reservoir placed inside the body.
However, with changing times, technology, and work requirements, many other markers and pens are available for home builders, plasterers, and painters.
The list is as follows…
1- Permanent markers
These pens come with permanent ink that dries quickly.
The ink in these pens is typically a dye that includes ingredients like propanol, butane, and diacetone alcohol.
Plus, the ink inside these pens is water and smudge resistant to impart a solid line of color on almost any material or work surface.
The only exception is that it does not work so well on wet or oily surfaces.
2- Non-permanent markers
These marker pens also come with quick-drying ink to impart a solid line color.
But, if you want, the ink can be easily wiped away with clean water or a piece of rag.
The ink in these marker pens also uses dies in addition to a chemical like an ethyl alcohol that prevents the ink from adhering to a surface permanently.
These painter’s pens can also be used on most surfaces except wet or oily ones.
3- Solid paint markers
These markers are usually a single piece of solidified paint encased in a thin plastic or paper sleeve.
It is shaped in the form of a stick with solidified paint, much like a crayon.
Solid paint markers are generally used on surfaces like external walls or outdoor wood where you need to mark a thick, bright-colored line that does not quickly fade away with water or other natural elements.
One of the greatest advantages of using these markers is that they can be used on any material and surface with rough, smooth, and rusty textures. You can even use them over wet, icy, or oily surfaces.
It’s not only easy to use but also long-lasting and durable.
But worry not; these can easily be cleaned away from the surfaces as soon as you are done with your project.
4- Liquid paint markers
Liquid paint markers come with a reservoir of paint and a fiber tip, much like a felt tip marker pen.
With very little pressure, you can easily release the paint from the reservoir to impart a bright color marking on a surface.
The ink or paint it contains is fast drying and is also fade and water-resistant.
These jobsite markers work best on hard but smooth surfaces like plastic, perspex, metals, and aluminum.
If you want, you can also use them on cardboard or finished wood with grains or texture.
5- Ball paint markers
These markers work much like a ball-point pen.
They come with a tough plastic body and a metal writing tip that contains a steel ball to flow liquid paint on the surface.
These industrial markers can be used on surfaces where you need to get quick-drying lines or marks that are brightly colored as well as dust and weather-resistant.
In addition to the above, compact versions of the marker pens come with a fine-point felt tip, a lid, and a keyring loop.
You can carry these mini pens to use them wherever you want to get quick-drying and smudge-free solid, thin, permanent lines.
Who makes the best markers for painters, carpenters, and construction workers?
You can find innumerable sellers at online stores like Amazon and HomeDepot.
However, the most popular brands include Sharpie and Milwaukee. They make a variety of different types of markers with varied tips and bodies.
Hiboom, RevMark, Sakura, Artistro, and Dixon are a few others that can be checked and compared when buying.
Choosing the Right Marking Pens for Your Project
When choosing a type of marker pen for your project, it’s essential to look for certain things so you can grab a piece that works flawlessly for you till the end of your project.
Here are a few tips on how to choose suitable paint markers-
1. Decide the purpose of the marker
The first step is deciding what you’ll use your marker for, whether you’re a professional or amateur. Whether you need a pen for wood, glass, plastic, or metal.
Consider the project you’re working on and the surfaces on which you’ll use the pen.
This will help you eliminate a few choices and make it easier to find the perfect marker for your project.
2. Pick the right tip
The next step is to pick the right tip for your project. Paint markers come with various tips like brush, chisel, fine, etc.
Each type of tip is designed for a specific purpose.
For example, brush tips are best for lettering and calligraphy, while chisel tips are ideal for coloring and shading.
3. Consider the ink
Once you’ve decided on the tip, it’s time to consider the ink. Paint markers come with water-based, oil-based, and alcohol-based inks.
Each type of ink has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Water-based inks are great for use on porous surfaces like paper and wood.
Oil-based inks are perfect for use on non-porous surfaces like glass and metal. Alcohol-based inks are the most versatile and can be used on porous and non-porous surfaces.
4. Choose the right colors
With so many brands out there, choosing the right one with the right colors can be tricky.
The colors offered are essential to know before making a purchase.
Some companies expand their selection by offering metallic and pastel colors, giving you more creative freedom with your product.
If you need labels for glass jars, make sure the purchasing options include primary colors like black or white.
If you only need these paint pens for one or two projects, a less expensive set with six to twelve colors will be enough.
A more comprehensive set, on the other hand, would be ideal for professionals or amateurs.
5. Drying time of the marking pen
Writing or creating art is challenging when the paint sits on the surface for a long time.
There’s a big chance you’ll smear the paint and end up all over the surface and your hands.
Choose ones that have an equal consistency but still dry quickly.
If you want to use it on other surfaces, such as porcelain, make sure it doesn’t wash out.
Oil-based paints dry faster and have a longer lifespan than water-based paints.
Can Crayons Be Used in Place of Markers by Painters?
Yes, a crayon will work pretty well as an alternative to permanent or non-permanent marker pens.
As a DIY painter or a woodworker, you can use them on surfaces like timber, concrete, plastic, glass, ceramics, tiles, and metals.
Not only on smooth surfaces, but you can even use them to mark a thick waxy line on oily, wet, slick, or rough materials. That’s the reason it’s also found helpful in plumbing.
A crayon is typically made from a solid non-toxic wax stick that can impart a brightly colored marking or line for high visibility.
The body of a crayon is either round or hexagonal, with a blunt end and a rounded or conical tip.
No matter what you choose, a marker pen or a crayon, make sure you store them in a cool, dry place with their lid on – when these are not in use. This will avoid any fluid leakage and unwanted marking.
The Bottom Line
Painter’s pens, construction markers, pencils, or crayons – whatever you call them- they are essential devices you cannot ignore.
Since marker pens come in many colors and ink types (permanent and non-permanent), you can use them on practically any kind of surface or material.
You must choose the right one based on your work requirement and surface.
Hopefully, the guide above will help you get the set your project needs.
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Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.