Monday, October 24, 2016

The Perfect Paint Pen for Rocks

I finally found a pen to use on rocks that doesn't blur with sealer!

For awhile I've been searching for the perfect paint pen (marker) to use on rocks. The problem has been the ink smears and blurs when a sealer is applied and the nib has been too thick for a nice, thin line.

It's been suggested I try a Posca pen so I purchased a brown Uni Posca Extra Fine Marker. I was looking specifically for a pen which could make a thin line in a brown color. (Most Posca pens I've seen come in sets of various colors and I didn't want to spend money on an entire set until I knew how they would perform on rocks and stones.)
Note: When you click on certain links in this post, I may receive a commission for the purchase of products.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I watched this helpful YouTube video to learn about my Posca pen before using it - "Getting Started with Posca Pens - Part 1":

This is what the tip of my Posca extra fine marker looks like:

To test the pen, I painted a small, slightly pitted stone with acrylic paint. I then used the brown Posca marker to draw some simple facial features on the rock.

So far so good. I was happy with the light brown color and the thin lines the marker created.

Next, I brushed on Mod Podge as a first coat of sealer and the Posca marker lines held up beautifully on the rock - no blurring/smearing.

(Note: I prefer to use Mod Podge as a first coat sealer because there seems to be less of a reaction with paints. The Mod Podge is then followed up with Americana DuraClear Satin Varnish. Click here to learn more about how I seal my painted rocks.)

I then experimented by using the pen to add lettering to a rock. Because I'm a left-handed writer, I push the pen rather than pull it across the rock. The result was little dots of ink where the nib "dragged" against the rock. However, I was able to paint over the ink dots and sealed the stone with no adverse effects.

Another experiment involved using the Posca pen on a polished stone. Usually paint and pens will not adhere to polished stones, however, the Posca marker performed beautifully and did not smear with the application of Americana DuraClear Satin Varnish.

I'm hoping the Posca marker is the answer to my search for the perfect paint pen (marker) for rocks. However, using the Posca pen on three stones is not enough to declare it a success. I question how long the pen will last, will it leak, will the texture of rocks and stones affect the nib.

As I continue to use the Posca pen, I will update this post with any additional positive or negative aspects about the marker.

11/12/18 Update: Yes, Posca pens are wonderful to use on rocks. In fact, Posca pens and mandalas are meant for each other.

Note: When you click on certain links in this post, I may receive a commission for the purchase of products. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Please leave a comment with any tips, praises or problems you've had with Posca pens. I'd love to hear what you think about this product.

Helpful Links:
Posca Instructions for Use
Brown Extra Fine Point Posca Pen
Individual Posca Pens for Sale in Various Colors
Set of 12 Extra Fine Point Posca Pens in Various Colors
Use Paint Pens Instead of a Brush for Detailing

Note: When you click on certain links in this post, I may receive a commission for the purchase of products. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks


  1. I love the Posca pens! I bought them September 2015, a set of 15 medium-point & a set of 12 fine-point. I have done close to 100 rocks, and other projects, and the only one I've had to replace is the med. black. I was actually just on Amazon ordering a "natural" set and thought I'd come to your awesome site to see what you recommended (just found your site last night and LOVE it!) and, voila. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for commenting, AnnieFannieTX, and letting me know your Posca pens lasted through many rock paintings and other projects. I haven't purchased a complete set yet but it's definitely on my "wish list." I'm happy to hear you love my site. I'm constantly learning new things about rock painting and enjoy sharing them with the world.

  2. Hi, I use sharpies and posca pens for my stones. I then coat with a plasticity varnish which goes on and on!
    The only issue with posca is that I find some aren't 'light proof' - Cant think of the word. But anyway, they fade! Other than that, they are the perfect pen for me,
    Wish they were a tad cheaper! I leave my painted stones around the village I live in, and hospital waiting rooms,they aren't for profit so I need value for money.

    1. Hello. Thank you for commenting about your Posca pen experience. I only possess the one mentioned in this blog post and wasn't aware they fade. I agree and wish they were cheaper.

  3. I love that you focus on Rock Painting/Drawing, especially with the Kindness Rocks movement spreading. I have been slowly experimenting, as well, and look forward to trying the Uni Post marker. In a review I saw, I read,
    "Question: Does this pen actually have the little metal looking tip on it (as shown) or is it a pointed white tip?
    Answer: As I researched also on that, it seems like the pc-1MR has the metal tip and a little more expensive and usually available from UK and other parts of Europe while the Pc-1M has the white tip only without metal which is cheaper and usually available from Japan. Both says has .7mm."

    I wonder if this makes a big difference and if the price is a big difference, as well.
    I found tis great comparison video, but alas, it references paper not rock. ;-)

    1. Hurley, I can only comment about the pen mentioned in this blog post which is the PC-1M. As illustrated in my post, it worked beautifully for me on rocks. I did watch the video and it is a great comparison for using the pens on paper. I would think the more expensive, plastic (or metal) nib could become damaged when used against the rough surface of a rock. Of course, if your rock is super smooth, I don't think that would be a problem for the PC-1MR tip.

  4. Hi- I’m fairly new to the rock painting scene, and I love it! My only issue has been that sometimes, the pen marks used for outlining, do smear when sealed. The first time it happened it took me totally by surprise, and was on a “raw” rock, no acrylic paint underneath. I switched from a spray sealer to brush on, this worked for a while, but every now and again (after I’m confident it won’t happen to me again) I get a surprise smearing, which is very annoying after spending so much time on a piece. Going to try some of your tips, the Posca pens and glue as a first coat. Do you have any suggestions for a super “deep” sealed look? Almost lie a -covered in glass- look? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jody. How long do you allow your rocks to "cure" before sealing? Marker smearing may be avoided if your rocks are completely dry before sealing. To achieve a "deep" sealed appearance similar to glass, some rock painters have used resin to coat their stones. Do a search for "art resin" and you should find some tutorials on how to use it. (I personally find it too messy but the results are beautiful.)