Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Prevent "Sharpie" Permanent Markers from Blurring When Sealed


After I found my perfect paint pen for rocks (which did not blur when sealed), I received a blog post comment which suggested "applying a layer of Elmer's Glue on the Sharpie Art, allowing to dry, before applying spray sealant."

I decided to try this out for myself but instead of using a spray sealer, I used two of my preferred brush-on sealers.

My first test used a Sharpie ultra fine point black permanent marker. I printed the words "Sharpie test" on my stone and followed it with a thin coat of white glue. After the glue dried, I applied a thin coat of Delta Ceramcoat brush-on sealer.

White glue applied over a Sharpie marker before Delta Ceramcoat sealer
Result: Neither the glue nor my sealer blurred the words written on the stone with a Sharpie permanent marker pen.

For my second test, I used colored Sharpie permanent markers and drew a simple design on a pitted stone. Once again, a first coat of white glue was thinly brushed over the design. Then after the glue dried, I used Americana Duraclear brush-on sealer.

White glue applied over Sharpie markers before Duraclear Satin Varnish
Result: Neither the glue nor my sealer blurred the design drawn on the stone with various colors of Sharpie permanent marker pens.

I'm happy to report that white glue (e.g., Elmer's) used over Sharpie permanent marker pens did indeed prevent blurs when applied prior to both formulas of my clear sealers. (Note: I used this trick on small stones and cannot say how well it works with large painted rocks.)

Give this tip a try for yourself and let me know what you think.

White Glue over Sharpies Prevents Blurring by Cindy Thomas

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for doing the rock bottom basics for us ;-] I suppose you would have to make sure those rocks don't go outside and get wet.

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    1. You're welcome, Bon. If the rocks had a couple coats of sealer, I think they could go outside. But weather is harsh and eventually more sealer would have to be applied. Maybe testing the glue/sealer combo is an experiment you or I should try. :-)

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  2. A coat of Mod Podge works as well.

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Sherry. Mod Podge has occasionally turned certain of my Sharpies an orange color and has been unpredictable for me.

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  3. Want to get started. Where do I buy or get rocks

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    1. If you're close to a river, check along the riverbeds. Take a walk and look at the ground. If you're in an area without a lot of rocks in the environment, check out a landscaping supply store or home improvement store. You can purchase rocks online from Amazon. Here's my blog post with a bit more info about where to find rocks: http://paintingrocks.blogspot.com/2014/06/where-can-i-find-rocks-for-painting.html

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  4. Thank you for all these wonderful tips. I am a newbie to rock painting and really enjoy reading all this great stuff. BTW I found my first rock today!!! It was a smiley face done with a ballpoint pen. Maybe a child did it with moms pen, or someone rushing to work quickly left a smile for someone (me),or who knows who it was. It sure put a smile on my face. Simple but love it.

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    1. Welcome to the fun world of rock painting, Bobbie. I'm happy to hear you appreciate the tips I share. I've been painting rocks since 2007 and like to share what has worked for me.

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  5. Do you need to seal the rock with something before writing or painting with sharpies?

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    1. I did not seal the rocks I used for this experiment with anything before writing on them with the pens. In general, the smoother the rock, the easier it will be to write onto. I do not paint my rocks with pens so I can't answer if it's necessary to pre-seal a rock when the entire thing is covered by a paint pen.

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    2. Hello Cindy
      My daughter used clear nail polish to seal hers. Brushes smoothly and dry fast. Thank you for your idea I will pass it on to her..

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    3. Hi Amber. Thanks for letting me know clear nail polish works for your daughter. Anything that doesn't smear the design is a good choice.

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  6. thanks for all these wonderful tips i am a newbie to rock painting and appreciate your tips and ideas. I have (lol) had several disasters thus far, so again thanks

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    1. You're welcome, Naomi. Thanks for letting me know you appreciate the tips and ideas. Consider your disasters learning experiences. Many of my tips are the result of experimentation.

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  7. I have the posca paint pens and love them. But wish they had even thinner ones. I tried a real thin oil based ones and it smeared when I applied the sealer. What's the best sealer for oil based?

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    1. I wrote a blog post about a Sharpie oil-based paint pen which I sealed with no problem using Delta Ceramcoat brush-on sealer.
      http://paintingrocks.blogspot.com/2013/06/rock-painting-tip-use-paint-pens.html

      Since the time of that blog post, I believe Delta has changed the formula of that particular sealer. So, I cannot give you good advice about the best sealer for oil-based paint pens other than to experiment for yourself. I wish I had a better answer for you. In my experience, sometimes the pens smear and sometimes they don't no matter what type of sealer I've used.

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  8. I just wanted to let you know that The Elmer's brand Painters sold at Walmart & Hobby Lobby have Ultra Fine tips now. My local store carries them in black, white, silver & gold. They work exceptionally well for detailing & are definitely smaller points than the fine. Good read..thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Shawna. I've been wanting a white pen for detailing and these sound perfect!

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  9. I tried painting my first rock. I spray painted the entire rock with acrylic paint. Then I used oil based markers/pens to write on it. I let it dry for at least 12 hours. Then I tried to seal with modern odge our door sealer. My rainbow totally ran. I had read directions online and followed the instructions that I now realize did not work. Is there a spray sealer for outdoor that would work?

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    1. Sorry to hear your artwork blurred when you applied a sealer, Kathy. Markers and pens are notorious for doing that. Your comment doesn't mention if you applied white glue over the markers before sealing the rock. In my experiment described in this post, that's what worked for me. I don't use spray sealers much and the majority of my rocks stay indoors so I can't advise you on a spray sealer for outdoor rocks. I would suggest visiting a home improvement store for sealer advice since many of their products are meant for an outdoor environment.

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    2. Cindy, I also painted my first set of rocks with acrylic paint & Sharpie markers, applied Modge Podge & some of the Sharpie markers ran & some didn't. Can't figure it out. I will try not to use sharpies if I can. :(

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    3. I read your suggestions but forget - which fine tip markers are recommended that won't run? And I have trouble getting the paint pens to start & then unexpectedly it starts to pour out. Is there a tip to getting them to flow easily?

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    4. Peaceangel - Unfortunately, Sharpies are notorious for smearing when sealed. The only pen I've found which does not smear is the Posca paint pen. They're a little more expensive but worth it. Here's a link to my blog post describing them: http://paintingrocks.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-perfect-paint-pen-for-rocks.html

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    5. Peaceangel - To answer your 2nd question, I do not have a tip to get the pen to flow easily other than to use them on scrap paper before applying to the stone. (I only use pens for minor detailing so I don't have extensive experience with them.)

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