8 Best Paint Markers for Canvas in 2023

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

best paint markers for canvas

Canvas has been long used for traditional painting since the 14th century. Although it’s unclear when artists use markers on canvas sneakers, people started using paint pens for marking, labeling, and poster-making in the late ’50s—a decade after the first marker was invented. These writing tools have improved a lot since then.

While most brands claim to make the best paint markers for canvas, I strongly suggest that you check these features to make sure that you’re getting the right one:

Surface compatibility

There are many multi-surface paint pen sets on the market. Yet not every marker can produce the same effect on a wide variety of canvases, given that each brand creates unique ink formulas.

It might take some trial and error before you can find the right pens and markers that can help you achieve your desired look. However, you can check previous users’ reviews, Youtube, or blogs to see if anyone uploaded photos of how the ink appears on a fabric.

Ink composition

Acrylic types are either chalk-, alcohol-, or water-based paint markers. On canvases, their colors appear lighter. They are quick-drying, but they wash off from the fabric easily. Oil-based paint markers are the opposite. Though they dry slowly, they adhere to the surface longer and produce vibrant colors.

One is not necessarily better than the other, so choose the one that suits your project.

Ink toxicity

Non-toxic inks are not just for kids! Some paint pens for canvas contain chemicals and strong odors that can harm young and old artists. When buying paint markers, avoid products with xylene and toluene.

If you have to use these products, wear gloves and a particulate mask, and work in a well-ventilated area.

If you need help in picking the right nibs and colors for your project, jump to the “Factors to consider when choosing paint markers for canvas” section, where I’ll discuss these features in length. In the meantime, let me explain why I am recommending these eight paint marker sets to you:

3 Premium-Rated Picks

Artistro ‎Paint Set

No. of colors: 12

Point size: 0.7 mm

Ink type: Water-based acrylic

Posca 15 Paint Markers

No. of colors: 15

Point size: 1.8 mm and 2.5mm

Ink type: Water-based acrylic

AROIC PaintPens

No. of colors: 48

Point size: Medium

Ink type: Oil-based acrylic

Top 8 Paint Markers for Canvas

1. Artistro ‎Paint Set of 12 Acrylic Markers

  • No. of colors: 12
  • Point size: 0.7 mm
  • Ink type: Water-based acrylic
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The first product that comes to my mind when looking for art supplies is this set of Artistro non-toxic acrylic pens. Rest assured; it’s the kind of paint for canvas that is safe to use indoors, even with kids around, since it does not give off foul-smelling fumes.

Besides fabrics, it’s formulated for any porous and non-porous surfaces. Needless to say, don’t underestimate the 0.7 mm extra-fine tip! It can retain its shape even if I write on rough surfaces. The nib’s bullet shape makes the pen suitable for labeling plastic containers, designing greeting cards, and decorating tote bags or sneakers.

Because the fast-drying paint flows smoothly, I managed to draw lines with crisp edges. I love how evenly the marker dispenses ink—I never have to retrace my lines and letters. In addition, the colors are so vibrant that my artworks are always vivid and eye-catching.

These acrylic markers are pretty easy to use: just shake the pen, press the nib on a scrap piece of paper to prime the nib, and start drawing.

The only complaint I have with this set is that its markers dry out pretty quickly, even if I never forget to cap the pens tightly.

At any rate, I think this set of Artistro paint pens is a decent entry point for those who want to draw on a canvas. In addition to the white and black pens, I got all the cool and warm hues I needed and two metallic colors to boot!

PROS
  • Non-toxic acrylic paint pens
  • Formulated for porous and non-porous surfaces
  • Tips can retain their shape
  • Draws lines with crisp edges
  • Useful for adding details or making hand lettering
CONS
  • The makers may dry out quickly

2. Posca 15 Paint Markers Reversible Tips

  • No. of colors: 15
  • Point size: 1.8 mm and 2.5 mm (create 0.9-1.3 mm lines)
  • Ink type: Water-based acrylic
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I could not help but feel jealous of the canvas Posca pen art projects artists share on social media, so I got a set to try myself. Since it’s one of the most popular paint marker brands, I’m not surprised that this set surpasses my expectations.

Some of my readers asked me, “Does the paint flow smoothly?” Well, the answer is a resounding yes—these markers never skip! Thanks to the set’s water-soluble formula, I can utilize techniques like layering and blending colors to create interesting illustrations.

Even better, the ink dries almost instantly to help me prevent smudges. Because it’s free from toxic chemicals, I don’t get headaches from nasty smells. Plus, since the ink is waterproof, I don’t have to worry about my artwork getting washed out if coming into contact with water.

After shaking and pumping, the marker pen tip dispenses the paint continuously across my canvas materials, as well as walls, plastic, glass, and metal surfaces, to name a few. Moreover, it does not spatter excess paint!

Beyond that, all 15 pens have reversible bullet tips that let me alternate between 1.8 mm and 2.5 mm simply by pulling them out. In any case, the versatile medium nib is useful for creating bold lines for smaller items like sneakers or detail work on walls.

Is there anything that I don’t like about these Uni Posca paint markers? In my observation, the darker colors are more opaque, while the light-colored acrylic paints require a few coatings. It’s just a minor inconvenience that I can overlook.

PROS
  • Non-toxic water-soluble formula
  • Ink dries almost instantly
  • Dispenses the paint continuously
  • Reversible bullet tips
  • For creating bold lines on smaller items like sneakers or detail work on walls
CONS
  • Light-colored acrylic paints require a few coating

3. AROIC PaintPens-48C Paint Pens

  • No. of colors: 48
  • Point size: Medium
  • Ink type: Oil-based acrylic
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Although advertised primarily for rock painting, AROIC’s paint is best for canvas, or at least in my opinion. Unlike water-based acrylic paint markers that tend to change color when dried, these oil-based paint markers are more vivid and long-lasting by nature.

Inside the pack are four dozen paint pens. I love that the selection includes light and dark tones of every hue. Aside from that, I got four bright and lustrous metallic colors: silver, copper, champagne gold, and gold. I didn’t have to buy another paint pen set for a while since it gives me everything that I need to work on my canvases.

With how opaque these high-quality inks are on dark backgrounds, I never have to apply a second coating unless I want to. I also take advantage of their compatibility with rough and smooth surfaces. For example, I find these pens perfect for decorating my plastic and glass jars in the pantry, as the medium tip can create lines thick enough to read from afar.

Another feature that impresses me is how easy it is to get the ink flowing. Thanks to their consistent ink flow, the pens never skip.

The only challenge I have when using these oil paint pens is that they sometimes release small blobs. It’s not a problem if I’m coloring large surfaces since I can just spread the paint around, but I cannot use them to fine details. Another thing to note is that these pens give off a chemical odor.

PROS
  • More vivid and long-lasting ink
  • Opaque on dark backgrounds
  • Getting the paint flowing consistently is very easy
  • Works on all rough and smooth surfaces
  • Thick lines that can be read from a distance
CONS
  • Releases small ink blobs
  • Gives off a chemical odor

4. NAWOD Acrylic Paint Marker Set

  • No. of colors: 35
  • Point size: Extra fine tip & medium
  • Ink type: Water-based acrylic
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When making paint marker drawings, I like to experiment with different line thicknesses, which is why I like this NAWOD set so much. In a single purchase, I get 20 extra fine tip acrylic paint pens and 15 medium tips.

Both these nib sizes are suitable for line art and coloring. For instance, the 0.7 mm pens are suitable for rendering details and filling tight spaces with hues. While the 2 mm pens can also be used for creating bold lines and coloring larger areas. In any case, the nibs do not easily fray even though I’ve drawn with these pens for hours almost daily.

Best of all, these markers have a nice consistent flow of ink that enables me to color the canvas without streaks. I also notice that the colors give off a gorgeous opaque and glossy finish. I can work neatly since these are the kind of fabric pens that don’t bleed.

What’s more, the inks are water- and fade-resistant, helping me preserve my artwork. Since the inks are made of non-toxic chemicals, I let the kids use them. The ink itself is pretty juicy, so the pens can last for a pretty long time.

My only complaint is that the dark pink acrylic pen has the same color as the light pink. Other than that, I love this set. After all, it offers good paint pens that I can utilize on most coarse and slick surfaces besides fabric!

PROS
  • Suitable for line art and coloring
  • The nibs do not fray easily
  • Can color the canvas without streaks
  • Water- and fade-resistant ink
  • Made of non-toxic chemicals
CONS
  • The dark pink acrylic is almost indistinguishable from the light pink

5. IVSUN Acrylic Paint Marker Pens

  • No. of colors: 24
  • Point size: Extra fine tip
  • Ink type: Water-based acrylic
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Despite its affordable price, this set from IVSUN has a quality that can match most name brands’ professional paint pens. I get a kick out of using these markers to draw on canvas mainly because their inks are suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.

The set offers 24 hues with a good mix of warm and cool colors. They look vibrant, regardless of the type of surface. Because of the pen set’s non-toxic and odor-free formula, I don’t need to wear a mask to work on an art project and work indoors. Plus, I can let my kids borrow them for their schoolwork.

More importantly, the water-based acrylic paint dries incredibly fast, which helps me prevent smearing and messing up my work. The opacity is pretty solid, so I don’t need to add multiple coatings when I’m coloring. And I’m pretty happy to see that the ink doesn’t bleed, even when applied on relatively thin paper.

Although I’m reviewing markers for canvas painting, let me go off-tangent quickly: These inks are oven- and dishwasher-safe in case you want to bake the painted glass or rock. Meanwhile, the 0.7 mm extra fine tip is perfect for coloring small objects and adding details to bigger drawing spaces. As for the ink flow, however, some pens dispense the acrylic more smoothly than otfhers. This means I have to test the pens each time before using them to make sure I get the effect I desire.

PROS
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications
  • A good mix of warm and cool colors
  • Non-toxic and odor-free ink formula
  • Dries incredibly fast to prevent smudging
  • Oven- and dishwasher-safe
CONS
  • Inconsistent ink flow among pens

6. Emooqi ‎EM1 Acrylic Paint Pen

  • No. of colors: 24
  • Point size: Medium
  • Ink type: Water-based acrylic
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What sets the Emooqi waterproof paint pens apart from the rest is that they are likely the easiest to prime. All I have to do is shake the marker vigorously, remove the cap, pump the tip on scrap paper, and start testing it on paper. Doing these steps correctly ensures that the tip dispenses the ink fluidly.

Note that the medium-sized tip creates lines between 2 and 3 mm thick. So far, I have been using them for a couple of months, and I’m happy to report that these pens have helped me make clean and precise illustrations, and I never had to clean up lumps of paint or bleeding ink.

When I use the paint marker on canvas, the color appears bright and crisp, even on dark textiles and other surfaces. With plenty of acrylic inside each pen’s reservoir, I can layer colors without running out of ink quickly. As long as they are dried on the fabric properly, the paint can withstand the elements.

Plus, the manufacturer formulates the paint using non-toxic and smell-free chemicals. The reason I’m not giving these canvas markers a perfect review is that building up layers of acrylic paint gets a bit difficult once the first layer dries. I had to quickly apply the coating while it was fresh. But when done right, the results are akin to Posca artists’ paint pens.

PROS
  • Helps make clean and precise illustrations
  • Bright and crisp even on dark textiles
  • Juicy ink cartridges
  • Lightfast paint that can withstand the elements
  • Non-toxic and smell-free
CONS
  • Layering can be slightly difficult once the first coating dries

7. Betem ‎ACRYLIC-PARENT Dual Tip Acrylic Paint Pens

  • No. of colors: 24
  • Point size: Fine and broad (1mm and 5 mm)
  • Ink type: Water-based acrylic
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Unlike all the artist’s paint pens I reviewed earlier, these markers feature dual tips. On one end, it has a fine nib that draws 1 mm lines, while the other has a broad nib that creates 5 mm lines. And did I mention how durable these nibs are, even when I use too much force when coloring?

Back when I had not owned a large paint pen collection, I would use Betem’s since they are suitable for coloring and sketching any surface I want to turn into “canvas”. If I want to attend sneaker-painting workshops, this set is convenient since I don’t have to bring so many pens just to have fine and broad nibs within reach.

With their acid-free formula, these pens make sure my illustrations stay vivid for a long time. The ink flows very smoothly regardless of which nib is used.

Considering all these features, I’m amazed that the set is still within the affordable range. However, the catch is that I had to coat each color multiple times since the paint is not opaque enough, especially on darker objects.

Lastly, the colors on the cap are not consistent with the ink pigment. Thus, it’s important to swatch all the markers to use on canvas materials before doing the final piece so I don’t have to test them each time I work on a project.

PROS
  • Features one 1-mm tip and one 5-mm tip for versatility
  • Suitable for coloring and sketching any surface
  • Lightfast and acid-free colors
  • The ink flows very smoothly regardless of which nib is used
  • Durable pen nibs
CONS
  • The paint is not opaque enough
  • The colors on the cap are not consistent with the ink color

8. FUMILE Acrylic Paint Pens

  • No. of colors: 35
  • Point size: Medium (2-3 mm)
  • Ink type: Water-based acrylic
Check price on Amazon

FUMILE is another brand that offers premium acrylic paint to use on canvas, ceramics, wood, glass, rocks, and many more. Since I got this set months ago, I’m impressed that the ink flows evenly with no leaks or skips.

For that reason, I find these pens dependable for illustrations that entail drawing lines with precise widths and lengths. Meanwhile, the versatile 2-3-mm nibs are apt for all sorts of tasks. In addition to coloring large spaces faster, they enable me to create bold hand-lettering that catches my attention from a distance.

Besides the standard marker colors, this set provides six metallic hues. The hues stand out regardless of the background, and their weatherproof qualities ensure that my designs can survive the heat, rain, and snow. I think the transparent barrels are a nice touch because it lets me see how much ink is left before it’s time to buy another set.

Perhaps I’m just being picky, but I don’t like that the pens’ barrels are not labeled, which made it hard for me to remember what certain shades look like on the fabric. At any rate, it’s just a minor flaw, so I would recommend this set to beginners who want to learn how to use paint pen on canvas without spending too much money.

PROS
  • Suitable for projects that require precision
  • Creates bold hand-lettering that can be read from afar
  • Lets the user see how much ink is left
  • Weatherproof and lightfast ink
  • Consistent ink flow to ensure no leak or skip
CONS
  • Pens’ barrels are not labeled

Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint Markers for Canvas

markers-for-canvas-painting

Smooth ink flow

Besides choosing a specific type of paint for canvas, you need to ensure that the pen can dispense the ink smoothly, as this can help you make more precise lines.

Skipping, leaking, and discharging lumps of paint can instantly ruin your work. Investing in a reliable set of markers can save you the trouble of having to redo the illustration.

Color options

It’s possible to create an illustration with one paint pen on canvas. Think Timothy Goodman and Keith Haring. On the flip side, it’s also fun to experiment with different tones and shades to create multicolor illustrations like Vicky Vuong.

Ultimately, how many markers in a pack you should get will depend on the style you are going for. If you think you only need a few basic colors, then there’s no point in buying 48 pens, as the paint will inevitably dry up before you even get the chance to use them.

Nib sizes

Though manufacturers tend to have their sizing conventions, most brands offer extra fine (less than 1 mm), fine (1 to 2mm), medium (2 to 3 mm), broad (5 mm), and extra broad (over 5 mm) tips.

Generally speaking, fine tips are great for detail work, whereas bolder nibs are useful for filling large spaces with color. While you can create several designs with medium nibs, having a variety of nib sizes allows you to play with different line widths and create interesting effects.

Can You Blend Paint Markers on Canvas?

extra-fine-tip-acrylic-paint-pens

Besides using the pen for writing on canvas, some brands create water-soluble paint inks to allow artists to blend and layer multiple colors to produce gradients, as well as shadows and highlights. Just keep in mind that these techniques can only be done while the paint is still wet.

Are Paint Markers Waterproof on Canvas?

In short, yes, especially when you primed your canvas. Note that you can also set the ink on the fabric more permanently if you iron them or spray with sealers.

Can Paint Markers Be Used on Other Surfaces Besides Canvas?

It would depend on what types of paint marker you’re talking about; however, in most cases, they can be applied on various surfaces. With acrylic pens, you usually can decorate both porous and non-porous surfaces, including glass and metal.

How Long Do Paint Markers Last on Canvas?

Even without fixatives, paint markers can last permanently on the canvas, but I recommend applying spray varnish or sealer to avoid fading.

How Do You Store Paint Markers to Make Them Last Longer?

For starters, put the cap back on to the marker after use to prevent the ink from drying. However, it is worth noting that manufacturers provide information about the best practices in caring for and maintaining paint markers.

Some brands recommend storing the markers horizontally, while others assure customers can position the pens in any way. It’s best to double-check the packaging or website to learn the storing instructions that are specific to the product you have.

If there’s no instruction to be found, you should store your paint markers horizontally. Keep them in a dark, cool, and dry place. And no matter what you do, remember to cap their lids tightly before putting the markers away to prevent the ink from drying or evaporating.

Should you’ve stored the pens for a long time, you’ll have to shake and re-prime the pens before you can use them as normal.

Conclusion

The best paint markers for canvas are not just for painting your sneakers, shirts, or bags! Since they are mostly made of acrylic or oil-based paints, these paint pens can work on any surface you can think of.

With several colors and nib sizes, you can use them for journaling, rock painting, touching up chipped paints on an ornament, or labeling your organizers. Anything is possible as long as you think creatively!

5/5 - (2 votes)
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