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What kind of marker will stay on glass?

When looking to decorate or label glass surfaces, using the right type of marker is crucial for ensuring your designs and writing stay put. Not all markers are created equal when it comes to adhesion on smooth, non-porous surfaces like glass. The key is finding markers that are formulated specifically for use on glass and similar materials.

Permanent Markers

For a long-lasting mark on glass that resists fading and rubbing off, permanent markers are the best option. Here are some of the top permanent marker choices for glass:

  • Sharpie Permanent Markers – Sharpie markers are known for their longevity on most surfaces. Theirpermanent marker range contains inks that bond tightly to smooth surfaces like glass.
  • Crayola Broad Line Markers – The classic Crayola brand offers bold permanent markers that work great on glass jars, vases, mirrors and more.
  • Elmers Paint Markers – Elmer’s paint markers can create permanent lines and designs in a variety of colors. The paint tip allows both broad and fine tip markings.
  • Posca Paint Pens – These paint pens from Posca are designed for glass, metal, plastic and other non-porous materials. They come in a range of tip sizes and opacity.

Oil-Based Paint Markers

In addition to permanent markers, oil-based paint markers can also create lasting marks on glass. Here are some top options:

  • Krink K-42 Paint Marker – These high quality paint markers contain durable oil-based ink designed specifically for glass.
  • Molotow One4All Acrylic Paint Marker – Provides all-surface coverage, including glass. Has a medium tip size.
  • Montana Paint Marker – Montana’s paint markers allow bold graphics on glass and metal. Comes in a range of tip sizes.
  • Sakura Mista Paint Marker – Contains a valve action oil-based paint formula that adheres to glass long-term.

Enamel Glass Markers

For coloring and detailing glassware or other glass crafts, enamel glass markers are a good option. Here are some top picks:

  • Pilot Enamel Paint Markers – Excellent for painting and detailing glass. Provides opaque, glossy color.
  • Marvy DecoColor Paint Markers – Specializes in glass and ceramic decorating. Features built-in blending nibs.
  • Sharpie Enamel Paint Markers – Sharpie’s enamel markers are ideal for long lasting colors on glass, tile, wood, and more.
  • Craftolate Paint Markers – Creamy porcelain paint formula adheres to glass and ceramics. Provides vibrant colors.

Considerations When Marking Glass

When selecting any marker for use on glass, keep these key tips in mind:

  • Surface Prep – Make sure the glass surface is clean and dry before marking. Wipe down with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils or residue.
  • Test First – Try out any new marker on a small, inconspicuous area of glass to ensure it adheres well and provides the desired effect.
  • Cure Time – Some paint markers require up to 72 hours cure time before being washable or scratch resistant.
  • Heat Setting – For added permanency, bake or heat set painted glassware according to the marker manufacturer’s instructions.

Comparing Popular Glass Markers

To help compare the most popular marker options for long-lasting marks on glass, refer to this comparison table:

Marker Key Features Pros Cons
Sharpie Permanent Marker – Oil-based ink
– Fine or ultra fine tips
– Dries quickly
– Easy to find
– Can wear off with heavy cleaning
Posca Paint Pens – Acrylic-based paint
– Variety of tip sizes
– Bright opaque colors
– Water resistant when dry
– Can take 24-48 hours to fully cure
Montana Paint Marker – Oil-based paint
– Multiple nib sizes
– All-surface formula
– Lots of color options
– More expensive than other markers
Pilot Enamel Marker – Porcelain enamel ink
– Medium tip
– Glossy finish
– Easy to blend
– Limited color selection

Tips for Using Markers on Glass

Follow these tips when using either permanent markers, paint pens, or enamel markers on glass surfaces:

  • Shake the marker well before use to fully mix the ink or paint.
  • Apply in smooth, even strokes and avoid going over the same area multiple times.
  • Let each layer dry fully before adding another layer.
  • Store markers flat or tip down when not in use to prevent tips from drying out.
  • Test on an inconspicuous spot first, as marker can be hard to remove from some glass finishes.
  • Allow project to cure for the full recommended time before exposing to any washing or abrasion.

Removing Marker from Glass

Although quality markers are designed to bond permanently to glass, marker can sometimes be removed if necessary. Here are some options:

  • Alcohol – For quick cleanup of fresh markings, rub with isopropyl alcohol using a soft cloth or cotton ball.
  • Acetone nail polish remover – The acetone can help break down stubborn permanent marker stains.
  • Magic eraser – Try carefully rubbing with a magic eraser sponge to lift off marks.
  • Baking soda and vinegar – Make a paste with baking soda and vinegar and gently scrub stained glass.
  • Glass cleaner – For hard-to-remove paint pen or enamel marker stains, try spraying and wiping with a glass cleaner.

Test removal methods in small areas first, as harsh chemicals can damage some glass finishes. Avoid abrasive scrubbing. Getting marker stains off glass takes patience, but is often possible with the right cleaner and some elbow grease.


Marking and decorating glass requires markers specifically designed to adhere to slick, non-porous surfaces. For permanent drawing and labeling, oil-based permanent markers are best. For long-lasting painting and coloring, paint pens and enamel markers formulated for glass provide vivid results. Prepare the glass properly, allow adequate drying time, and test markers first before committing to a project. With the right supplies and techniques, crafters can create stunning marker designs on glass that stand the test of time.