How to write on metal & the best markers for metal.
Quick introduction …
Working on metal can seem intimidating whether you’re writing labels, recording measurements, drawing or modifying artistic handicraft. Let’s find all of the best products on the market so you can make your mark on metal.
In this article we cover the popular methods below:
- Markers (best marker for metal depending on the use) – Skip straight to Markers
- Engraving – Skip straight to Engraving
- Lasers – Skip straight to Lasers
- Letter Punching – Skip straight to Letter Punching
Starting off with Markers …
Best Marker for Metal
It is recommended to use a good quality marker when writing on metal surfaces. Are you looking for something durable without wiping it off? What colors do you need? Several options are provided for different types of applications. From identifying automotive parts to making colorful gifts, these markers will be useful.
When evaluating paint markers, three categories usually come up.
- Oil-based markers
- Acrylic-based markers
- Permanent markers
The oil-based paint markers for metal are usually considered the most reliable and offer a good range of color options. The acrylic-based paints colors in most cases are more vibrant, but they don’t last as long as the oil-based paints do. On the other hand, permanent pens work great for writing and drawing precise details and will last for a good amount of time.
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How to write on metal | Marker reviews:
1. BIC Intensity Colored Markers
- Permanent Markers
- Assorted Colors / Bright Colors
- Bulk Pack of 18
- Fine Point
- Suitable For Adults, Kids, Women & Men.
The BIC Intensity Colored Markers are great for a variety of projects. The low-odor ink marks on almost any surface from glass and metal to photos and foils so are perfect for a variety of decorative projects and have practical uses around the home, office/workplace too.
Plus, these markers come in a variety of vibrant colors that are sure to get your creative juices flowing! They’re made to be permanent markers and they come in 18 different colors. The color selection is really nice, it has some pastel colors but also some more vibrant ones as well. The markers have a thin marker tip and their body is silver with a rubber grip for comfort and control.
I’ve used these markers for various projects over the years- coloring, drawing, art- and they have always worked well. I was able to create bolder strokes with these more than other markers in my collection! Highly recommend them!
2. Arteza Acrylic Paint Markers
- Set of 40 (other pack sizes available)
- Assorted Color Pens
- Replaceable Tips
The Arteza Acrylic Paint Markers, Set of 40 Assorted Color Pens are the perfect tool for writing and drawing. The pack includes a range of different colors and is great to use on various materials such as metal, wood, paper, and glass.
If you’re drawing on wine glasses, mugs, or other ceramics which can withstand heat, your artwork can be heated in an oven to allow your design to affix permanently.
One of the best things about these Arteza pens is that you do not have to worry about any toxic smell which makes them perfect for kids who can use them safely.
When writing and drawing, they really glide smoothly along metal surfaces and even other types of surfaces, leaving no spills or mess. They dried quickly and lasted well too.
3. Posca Acrylic Paint Marker Set
- 16-piece POSCA marker set
- Suitable for over 50 surfaces, including wood, glass, metal, plastic, ceramic, leather and more
- Water-based paint is ACMI-certified non-toxic
- Vibrant, opaque, matte & lightfast
- Medium, 1.8mm-2.5mm bullet-shaped nibs
I am a professional artist and I have been using the Posca for years. My favorite thing about these is that they’re water-based. The water-based paint is certified non-toxic by ACMI, which means it’s safe to use with kids too. The colors are vibrant, opaque, matte, & lightfast with 1.8mm to 2.5mm bullet shaped nibs which are perfect for detailed lines.
It also features a mixable feature which is awesome if you want to do blending or gradiations of color. This works so well because as long as the paint is wet, you can mix colors on the work surface with the tip or a brush to create nice blends of color without ruining your marker.
For me, Posca is the front runner when it comes to Acrylic Markers! I’ve tried cheaper brands and they simply don’t match the same quality of the Posca brand.
I love these so much I’ve written a more in-depth article all about Posca Pens here.
4. ARTISTRO Acrylic Paint Metal Pens
- Paint Pens
- For Metal Painting & Writing
- Also used for Stone, Ceramic, Glass, Wood, Canvas.
- Set of 12 Acrylic Paint Markers
- Extra-fine Tip
I love these paint pens for metal because they are just the right size and shape to do detailed work on the surface. They don’t drip or smudge, and the metal stays shiny. The colors are vibrant and there is a wide variety so you can do very detailed work. I would recommend these paint pens for all kind of surfaces-glass, metal, ceramic, wood, canvas etc.
The paint is water-based so it dries quickly and has a glossy finish. They are perfect for doing fine detail and writing words or shapes on the surface. All in all – an excellent set.
5. Pilot Gold and Silver Metallic Permanent Paint Markers
- Extra Fine Point
- 2 Packs Each with a set of 2 Markers (4 Markers in total)
- Gold and Silver
- Point Type – Extra Fine Tip
The Pilot Gold and Silver Metallic Permanent Paint Markers are perfect for writing on metal. The Extra Fine Point is just the right thing to create fine lines and are perfect for adding finishing touches to your art pieces. I find that these markers work best on high glosses such as metal and glass.
The ink is permanent, delivered by pressing the nib to charge it with the ink as with most pens. They’re not great for bold letters as they have a fine tip, so that’s something to consider.
Rather than being available in a range of colors, they are limited to just Silver and Gold – which I guess is fine, if that’s all you need!
6. Super Met-Al Paint Markers
- Available in a good range of colors
- Ideal for all surfaces including metal, glass, wood, rubber and plastic
- Water-resistant, weather-resistant mark
- Squeeze action
- Metal tip
- Color reviewed – Green (other colors avaialbe)
The squeeze action paint marker is probably one of the best paint markers for metal. They are preferred pens for the manufacturing industry and have many uses as they write on any surface. It is commonly used in machines and tools on virtually all kinds of surfaces including glass and rubber among many others.
This marker is resistant to different weather conditions and water too, which is ideal for indoor or outdoor projects.
The squeeze action takes a little getting used to but after a short time, it’s not hard to use. It lets you control the paint flow with ease and there are no drips or spills when using the markers.
Although these pens are available in a range of colors, one drawback is that they seem to be only supplied separately, rather than in multi-color packs, so buying in lots of colors would work out expensive.
7. Steelwriter Marker Pen
- Designed specifially for writing on Steel and other Metals
- Wet Erase Removable
The Steelwriter color paint marker uses a non-toxic water-based ink that is easily washed off with a damp or moist cloth. It produces an amazingly bright color which is perfect for showing visible and readable marks like measurements, labels, or cut outlines. It glides perfectly smooth in writing.
It also provides for effortless applications with high-density ink. It leaves no residues or other symptoms of ghosting. It is offered in large numbers of bright colors but the one I tested was brown.
Steelwriters are probably among the best writing pens that write on steel and other metals and they come in at a great price as well.
8. AKARUED Store Paint Markers Pens
- Metallic Marker Paint Pens Sets
- Glitter Color Pen Kit
- For Metal, Art Rock Painting, Fabric, Black Paper, Wine, Ceramic, Craft, Coloring, Card Making
- Suitable for Adults & Kids
- Set of 12
AKARUED has created a fun set of versatile quick drying metallic / glitter acrylic pens. They write and draw really well when applied onto metal and even on other surfaces such as walls, ceramic, wood, plastic fabrics and canvas.
It’s a perfect writing device or a design tool for artists and art enthusiasts who specialize in bespoke craftwork, personalized gifts, and those who create their own designs.
The ink contains no toxic fume smells which are a benefit of this non harmful ink. Adults and children alike have the freedom to use their equipment in various creative projects besides their own metal marking projects.
Great set, great price, fun to use!
9. Dixon Industrial Paint Markers – Oil-based paint markers for metal
- Permanent, opaque color
- Black, Blue, Green, Orange, Red, White, Yellow
- Work on most surfaces including metal surfaces
- Oil based formula maintains color regardless of application surface
- Light and weather resistant
Dixon’s Painting markers come in several permanent opaque colors. Rather than the packs having a range of colors in each box, you typically get 12 of the same colors in each box. This is great from a business “bulk buy” point of view, but as an artist, I like a range of colors to work with for my projects. This type of paint pen marker is primarily intended for industrial usage so this will not be a problem for most.
The ink is oil-based and as such is waterproof and will last a long time, so they are suitable indoors and out, not only for writing projects but also for technical work.
The pens are made with a steel barrel so are robust and the ink has a good paint flow and are easy to use with no mess. For certain industries, writing on metal will be a breeze with these pens, they are highly recommended, a great product.
10. DYKEM Brite-Mark paint markers – oil based paint markers for metal
- 12 Dykem Brite Mark
- medium tip
- WHITE (other colors available)
- industrial paint marker for metal surfaces
- Great price
The oil-based paint markers for metal are manufactured to be fade resistant even from exposure to changing environmental conditions. The BRITE-MARK paint marks can last a long time and still perform well.
Although a range of colours are available, as with the Dixon markers above they are only available in same color bulk packs. The ink has a dry time of 25 to 35 seconds which is fantastic as it avoids smudging and accidental mess.
The pens can be used on many different surfaces so they are handy for a range of uses around the workplace. For example, they can be used for inventory, assemblies, tools, and finished products that need to be marked.
A box of 12 WHITE DYKEM markers worked out a little cheaper than the same equivalent in the Dixon brand.
11. Sharpie Oil-based paint markers – Black and White
- Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Marker For Metal
- Water-resistant Sharpie oils
- Fade resistant
- Simple to apply on various surfaces
- Black and White Set (other colors available)
- All Sizes, Includes Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, and Bold
Sharpie is one of the leading brands and with good reason – they produce high-quality pens and have a huge fan base as a result. This has to be nominated for the award of best marker for metal.
This particular set is brilliant as it comes with both black and white markers, in ALL of the marker tips available, from extra-fine through to the bold tips. With this in mind, they are suitable for a whole range of uses and as they are oil-based, they will paint, write and draw on metal without a problem. The ink will remain fixed for a long long time.
Best Affordable Craft Markers – these packs are not ridiculously priced and as a top brand you know you can rely on consistent quality every time.
12. Sharpie Oil-based paint markers – Fashion Colors
- Colorful ink
- Available in 4 versatile tip sizes—extra fine, fine, medium and bold
- Orange, Purple, Pink, Lime Green and Aqua Blue Sharpie paint pens
- Perfect for metal art, rock painting, creating scrapbooks, posters and window art
- Quick drying
- Oil based ink
- Resists fading
- No smearing
- Water resistant
Have I saved the best until last? Depending on your reason for wanting to write on metal and how you wish to do so, maybe so. These are AMAZING for artists and crafters and come highly recommended for a whole host of projects.
If you are a crafter or an artist that is interested in creating works of art on metals then these Sharpie paint pens will make your life so much easier. These paint pens come in a range of colors and give crisp, clear lines that stand out on dark, light or reflective surfaces.
The ink resists fading and smearing and quick drying means you can get to decorating your work straight away. The set comes in four different-sized tips depending on which set you choose. The larger nibs being perfect for projects that require large areas to be covered or bolder strokes, with the finer markers being more suited to detailed work as you’d expect.
How to write on metal – Marker for Metals Buying Guide
If you are looking for the best permanent marker to write on metal, glass, and other surfaces, then this article will be of ultimate help. It is always highly recommended to use only quality permanent markers for writing on metal. Once you’ve read the tips, reviews, and pointers outlined in this guide, you should not be confused about what kind of marker you need for marking any surface like stainless steel, aluminum, brass, and other metals.
Ideally, you should also select markers that dry quickly yet do not fade and are weather-resistant if you want those marks to last an extended period. A lot of metal markers available in sets come in various colors and even metallic glitters but some offer only white or black.
A paint pen for metal can be considered a useful investment, but even if you are working to a budget there are options out there for you.
The top of the range are usually priced higher, however, the quality and will be better and the pens will last longer without drying up too. Once applied the ink will stay in place longer with the better quality pens.
How to write on metal – Other important factors to consider
Factors to consider when making a purchase:
- Which type will be best suited to your project – oil, acrylic or permanent ink?
- What colors will you be using the most?
- Do you need to buy in bulk for the workplace?
- How much money will you be willing to spend?
- The type of surface you are working on: porous, uncoated, or coated metals
- How long do you want it to last?
- Who is using the marker? – look for non-toxic, safe ink especially if children are using the pens.
- Is this project a one-time occasion or will you be using it for multiple purposes?
- Will the project be exposed to any extreme conditions such as rain or high humidity
What should I look for when buying metal markers?
Oil paint is common choice for writing on metal because it is thicker and more visible on glossy surfaces like metal. Oil Based Metal markers generally stick to metal better and will last the longest even in extreme conditions – therefore they work well in industrial settings.
If you wish to erase markings like in a metal project, you should get something less permanent – acrylic works well for crafting and art projects. These metal markers can come in a variety of colors although some offer them in basic colors such as black and white.
What to look for when buying a metal marker
Several of the markers featured in this article are specifically formulated for metal surfaces. These are proven and tested for use on metal in particular so are a safe bet for this use.
If possible look for non-toxic ink and those that are environmentally friendly. You can use water-based metal markers for temporary outlines. The color range available in the set is important especially if it’s for a craft project or piece of artwork. Permanent markers are great for writing on signs for example or for labeling.
How do I use paint markers for metal?
Metal markers are as easy to use as any other. Paint Markers require a pressing action to charge the nib with the ink initially. Always shake the marker (before removing the cap!!) especially if the pen has not been used for some time.
Store metal marking pens horizontally so they don’t leak or dry out the nib.
Why do people use permanent markers for metal?
There are many reasons why people use permanent markers for metal.
# These are generally the cheapest type of marker for metal.
# Permanent markers work on other glossy surfaces so offer versatility
# Permanent markers have a lot of color options
# Perfect for a variety of projects
# They are permanent so once you make your mark, it will be there to stay.
Types of paint markers for metal
The components included for each of these markers help to bring color onto the surface of the object. It comprises the oil-based paint markers, acrylic-based and permanent markers. Each marker is made up of different elements.
How to write on metal summary
Obviously don’t use regular pens – they don’t work because the ink is water-based and nonpermanent, so will simply wash away.
Instead, you can simply choose oil, acrylic, or permanent markers to work on metals such as stainless steel.
Sharpie and Pilot are leading brands in metal marker pens – however other brands such as DYKEM and Dixon are well known in certain industries.
Use colorful acrylics for most art and craft projects, and oil for outdoor work or designs that need to be more robust.
Acrylic markers are the easiest to clean up.
Other ways to Write on Metal:
Engraving tools are used to write on metal by creating an inscription that is deeper than the surface. The engraving tools have a diamond-pointed tip with which they are used to form grooves in the metal. The various depths of the grooves depend on the type of tool and thickness of the metal. Engravings can be made using a variety of different methods, such as, rubbing, scratching and biting.
I personally use the Dremel below for the art designs that need to be engraved …
Dremel Engraver Rotary Tool with Stencils
- Crafting Machine
- Perfect for DIY Personalizing and Engraving Leather, Metal, Glass, and Wood
When I first tried out the Dremel Engraver, I was excited to see how I could use it in my art and design projects and commissions.
The handle is easy to grip and control and the lightweight makes it easy to move around and control. There are five different stroke adjustments that are perfect for the type of engravings that I do.
Since this tool has a 7200 RPM motor, it can work with various types of materials and engravings. For example, it can work with all types of metal, glass, stone, and wood. It also provides precision by having the option for both a diamond point or carbide point. Plus, there’s also an included number and letter template that’s perfect for personalizing valuables.
In addition to this, I also love the fact that there’s a two-year warranty included with the Dremel Engraver. This gives me the peace of mind in knowing that if anything goes wrong with it I can easily send it back and get another one quickly.
I would definitely recommend this for anyone who’s looking to start engraving their own art, crafts, or even if you just want to personalize your belongings.
Lasers are a more expensive way to write on metal and are typically over budget for a DIY or hobby user. For smaller or one-off uses, it is better to hire a local company to use their laser, rather than invest in one yourself. That being said, they are great to use and there are so many great ways to use these in art and personalised work.
For the purpose of this review, I had the joy of using the laser below, and I was not disappointed:
ATOMSTACK A5 Pro Laser Engraver
- 40W Laser Engraving Cutting Machine
- For Metal and Wood
- 5.5W Output Power
I think that the ATOMSTACK A5 Pro Laser Engraver is a great product because it can do so many things and engrave with such precision. It gives a far more professional finish than using a handheld engraver.
I also like it because it’s not as expensive as some of the other engraving machines. I purchased this product when I saw that it does a lot of things and is also very affordable. It was about $300 which is cheap compared to some of the other laser engravers on the market today which can go into the $1000’s.
All you need is a hammer and metal letters which are available like the set below. This often comes in certain sizes.
Here is a great example
36Pcs Metal Letter and Number Stamps Punch Set
- Material: Carbon Steel.
- alphabet letter number
- 0-9 numbers
- Perfect for stamping leather, gold, silver, copper & wood.
- It’s easy and fun to stamp designs in metal & leather with these tools.
I hope that this article has helped you figure out the best option for your own personal metal writing tasks! There are so many ways and reasons to write on metal and I hope that I’ve managed to cover all the options.
If you have any questions, you can always get in touch and a member of our team will be able to help you further.
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Written By Adam Rushton
Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.
His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.