Does A Sharpie Work On Metal?

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 11:12 pm

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Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 11:12 pm

Originally referencing a single brand of permanent marker, the Sharpie brand has been widely expanded and can now be found on a variety of previously unrelated permanent and non-permanent pens and markers formerly marketed under other brands. 

This article focuses on the use of a traditional Sharpie on metal surfaces.

Sharpie markers are made with several tips. The most common and popular is the Fine tip. Other tips include Ultra Fine Point, Extra Fine Point, Brush tip, Chisel tip, and Retractable tip. 

Apart from markers and highlighters, Sharpie products include gel and rollerball pens.

Normal Sharpies will write on metal without any difficulty but the ones that will stay on metal the best are oil based. Sharpie pens won’t write as well on metal as a normal Sharpie would either. 

Sharpies can be used on virtually any surface. Sharpies will work on traditional surfaces like paper and canvas and also the unexpected like fabric, plastic, ceramics, glass, wood, stone, and metal.

There are at least three kinds of Sharpies. The common Sharpie you find at an office supply store contains alcohol based ink . Although this type will work on metal, the ink may wear off and fade over time. 

There is also an oil-paint based type Sharpie that works better for painting metal mugs, stainless steel water bottles, and any other type of metal you might need to use it on.

Getting Sharpie ink to stick to metal for the long haul can be tricky, and there are a few things to keep in mind when planning a project like writing with a Sharpie on a metal object.

When a Sharpie marks on wood, the ink of the marker gets embedded into the pores of the wood. Metal that has been polished smooth has fewer “nooks and crannies” in which the ink can get stuck. Metals with rougher, textured surfaces will hold the ink better than smooth metals.

The tiny indentations in textured metal will trap the ink and keep it from rubbing off much better. 

How To Make Sharpie Stay On Metal Longer

If you want your Sharpie to last as long as possible on metal then you need to take a few different steps when writing on it. To make Sharpie marks more permanent on smooth metal, you need to do the following. 

Clean Your Hands

Now this is something you should be doing anyway but cleaning your hands before you handle the metal you will be writing on helps a lot. 

This will help you avoid the transfer of oils, dirt or lotion to the metal surface. 

Clean The Metal

If the metal is covered in dirt or grime the Sharpie might not stay on it very well. To avoid that you will want to clean the metal thoroughly. 

This can be done by using a bit of a cleaning solvent and a clean soft rag. 

Allow The Sharpie To Dry

You should then allow the Sharpie ink to dry completely after applying it before using the metal object on which you have written or drawn. It can take up to 2 days for Sharpie ink to dry on metal because it’s a nonporous surface, so be patient with it. 

You won’t want to mess up your artwork or lettering by moving the metal object too quickly.

Use Varnish

You could also use a clear varnish spray on finish like Rustoleum Clear Coat over the top of the Sharpie ink after it is dry. This will add a protective layer over the Sharpie ink. 

When using a clear varnish spray, apply a very light first coating by misting the surface with it. Remember Sharpie will usually dissolve in alcohol or lacquer thinner, so most finishes you would spray on there could make the ink bleed. 

Hold the spray can of clear coat about a foot away from the surface.. Follow up coats can be applied once the initial spray has dried..

Be very aware that the spraying distance from the metal surface is very important, as spraying it too close may cause the Sharpie ink to run.

Another way to preserve the Sharpie ink on a metal surface is to place a piece of clear tape over the ink.

Sand The Metal 

Sanding the metal surface with steel wool or sandpaper before using the Sharpie is a good way to give the ink something into which to sink.

A light sanding before you start writing will do wonders. 

Sharpie does make a marker specifically for industrial projects. This may work better if you have a large project you are working on.

How Can I Remove Sharpie Ink From Metal?

You may have a metal surface you have been using Sharpie ink on, and maybe you made a mistake in lettering or you decided to change the design of what you are drawing. What do you do then? 

Is there a way to fix or change what you’ve just done?

Don’t be alarmed. There are several ways to remove Sharpie ink from a metal surface. 

You can remove that Sharpie ink from metal with common items around your house. Toothpaste, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, hair spray and a dry erase marker can all help to remove Sharpie ink from metal.

To remove Sharpie ink with rubbing alcohol, use a cotton swab, dab some rubbing alcohol onto the area with the marker stain. Add some water to your cleaning cloth and then dab the same area to remove any remaining rubbing alcohol. 

If the marker is still present after you’ve repeated this process a few times, then repeat step one with nail polish remover.

To remove Sharpie ink with toothpaste, take a generous amount of regular toothpaste, preferably a white one. Apply the paste over the Sharpie ink on the metal and rub it in a circular motion using a soft cloth. 

You can also use a brush for scrubbing. If it’s an unsmooth metal surface with designs on it, then using a brush would actually work better than a cloth.

Hairspray is a commonly used tool to remove ink and permanent marker from objects although some of its effectiveness has waned over the years. To use this method, spray some hairspray onto a cotton ball, then run the cotton ball over the surface of the metal. 

You should notice the ink adhering to the cotton ball. This method may take a little longer than some of the other ways to remove Sharpie ink from metal, but is still effective.

To remove Sharpie ink with baking soda, sprinkle some baking soda on the mark and scrub it with a toothbrush. Repeat this simple process until the stain is fully removed from the metal.

Your Sharpie ink will be more likely to be easily removed from a metal surface that is not porous. Keep this in mind when deciding which method of ink removal to use.

Last updated on September 14th, 2022 at 11:12 pm

Matthew R

Hi, My name is Matt and I am all about toys! When trying to find accurate information online about toys I was finding it difficult so I decided to make this site.

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