8 Best Permanent Markers for Plastic in 2023

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

Artists and crafters are probably the only ones who care about ink and surface compatibility. Of course, I’m painting broad strokes in writing that statement. But how many times have you grabbed all the markers on your desk and tested each one to see which ink sticks?

The best permanent marker for plastic are not that hard to find. Before buying, start by looking for these features:

Type of ink

While some modern alcohol-based markers can work on sleek surfaces, ordinary Sharpie markers won’t. Smearing and fading have nothing to do with the quality. Rather, it is mainly because the ink composition is incompatible with the surface you are writing.

Before you start writing or decorating a plastic surface, check whether the marker contains acrylic and oil-based inks, as they adhere to plastic, metal, and glass a lot better. This information can be found on the marker’s body or its packaging.

Nibs

Marker brands typically offer bullet and chisel tips in different sizes. Thinner marker tip sizes, which measure upward of 0.03 mm, are great for writing in tighter spaces and drawing details.

By contrast, the broader nibs can measure up to 50 mm, which is suitable for coloring bigger areas, as well as writing reminders or labels that you can read from afar.

Color options

Don’t jump the gun and buy 100-piece marker sets because they are on sale. Most of them would take up a lot of shelf space and dry up without even seeing the light of day. Instead, choose individual markers or sets of a few colors that you actually need.

3 Premium-Rated Picks

sharpie-Chisel-Tip-permanent-markers

 

Sharpie 38250PP

Will Sharpie stay on plastic? The packaging of this particular set says that it “marks…

waterproof-markers

 

TFive Paint Markers

I’m surprised that not many popular Youtubers have not featured nor reviewed TFive…

 

Shuttle Art ‎CPM30 30

Shuttle Art permanent markers give me everything that I need for my mixed media art…

Top 8 permanent markers for plastic

sharpie-Chisel-Tip-permanent-markers

1. Sharpie 38250PP Permanent Markers

  • Tip: Chisel tip
  • Ink type: Permanent ink
  • Count: 8 assorted markers
  • Colors: Multicolor
  • Application: Multiple surfaces

Check price on Amazon

Will Sharpie stay on plastic? The packaging of this particular set says that it “marks on most surfaces,” and I’m here to confirm that it’s true!

Some may argue that Sharpie Extreme permanent markers are more long-lasting, but this variant does not offer other hues besides black. I use this pack of 8 assorted colored markers to write or draw on items that I keep indoors.

Aside from its color-resistant qualities, I love how lightfast the ink is, ensuring the artwork doesn’t lose its vibrancy.

Moreover, I tested this Sharpie on plastic, glassware, and different kinds of paper, and the colors appeared consistently bright on all these surfaces. After all, Sharpie permanent markers’ vibrant colors are comparable to my favorite Arteza permanent markers.

Whether at home or the office, these markers help me color-code and jazz up Ziploc packets, jars, bins, and other containers to better organize my stuff. If the kids need to make art projects for school, I let them use this set as well! Their artworks are neat thanks to the Sharpie markers’ smooth-flowing fast-drying ink.

By holding the marker at different angles, its chisel tip enables me to create finer or thicker lines, making them perfect for surfaces of any size. I like using them to write in bold letters so everyone can see the text on the flip charts, folders, or jars from a distance.

My only gripe is that the caps are a tad too tight. Removing them requires a bit of force.

PROS

  • 8 assorted colored markers to help color-code items
  • Colors appear consistently bright on all surfaces
  • Suitable for art projects
  • Lightfast and water-resistant pigments
  • Smooth-flowing fast-drying ink
  • Creates fine and thick lines

CONS

  • Removing the caps requires a bit of force.
waterproof-markers

2. TFive Paint Markers

  • Tip: 5 mm Bullet tip (creates 2 mm lines)
  • Ink: Oil-based ink
  • Count: 12 assorted markers
  • Colors: Multicolor
  • Application: Most surfaces

Check price on Amazon

I’m surprised that not many popular Youtubers have not featured nor reviewed TFive plastic paint markers. For me, it’s one of the hidden gems I found in an online art supply retailer.

The pack of 12 contains standard marker colors. The great appeal is that it includes silver and gold that gives off a gorgeous metallic sheen. My favorite is the white permanent marker, as it contrasts beautifully on dark surfaces.

Another noteworthy feature is that the hard-wearing nib can retain its shape, allowing me to create neat lines. Although I utilize the markers mostly for my creative hobbies like journaling and rock painting, their water-resistant ink is also useful for minor paint touch-ups or labeling plastic cups permanently.

Whenever I make mistakes, I simply wash off plastic using alcohol or mineral turpentine. Best of all, the oil-based permanent marker non-toxic and toluene-free ink is safe for children. In fact, these markers are compliant with the European union-ROSH directive. Plus, their smear-proof quality makes crafts with youngsters less messy.

Overall, these are excellent markers for plastic and many other surfaces—porous or otherwise. Just keep in mind that the ink bleeds a bit through fabrics. Also, I found some incidences of exploding inks were reported in the product’s user reviews. In my case, I managed to keep permanent marker inks from squirting by pumping the bullet tip once and letting the marker excrete some of the paint before pumping it again.

PROS

  • The nib doesn’t fray with heavy use
  • Water-resistant and non-toxic inks
  • Smear-proof quality makes crafts with youngsters less messy
  • Compliant with the European union-ROSH directive
  • Can be cleaned with alcohol or mineral turpentine

CONS

  • Ink might seep through the fabric
  • Incidences of exploding inks
markers-for-plastic

3. Shuttle Art ‎CPM30 30 Colors Permanent Markers

  • Tip: Fine tip
  • Ink: Acid-free permanent ink
  • Count: 30 assorted markers
  • Colors: Multicolor
  • Application: Paper, plastic, metals, ceramic mugs, and Easter eggs

Check price on Amazon

Shuttle Art permanent markers give me everything that I need for my mixed media art projects. As an affordable marker brand, it sets a price point that I can’t say no to.

Getting 30 markers in one pack is quite a treat for a hobbyist like me as it offers dark, light, and mid-tones of warm and cool hues in addition to the standard black marker. Besides its quick-drying and smudge-proof properties, the smooth ink flow allows me to work non-stop—no shaking needed! Plus, the vibrant ink is incredibly lightfast.

Featuring durable fine tips, these waterproof markers easily became my top choice for working on an adult coloring book, adding details to my doodles with clean lines, and writing on a smaller plastic surface. They also work on other slick objects like metals, ceramic mugs, easter eggs, and many more.

Since this is an odor-free, acid-free, and non-toxic permanent marker set, it’s child-friendly. I don’t mind letting the kids borrow them for their school projects.

But there are some drawbacks. Firstly, because the colors of the ink are inconsistent with the caps, I need to take an extra minute to test them before I start working. Secondly, some colors are less vibrant on slick surfaces. Still, it’s not a big deal–their strengths outweigh their weaknesses.

PROS

  • Affordable price point
  • Provides dark, light, and mid-tones of warm and cool hues
  • Quick-drying, smudge-proof, and lightfast ink
  • Has a durable fine tip
  • Child-friendly due to its non-toxic ink

CONS

  • The colors are not consistent with the cap
  • Less vibrant on slick surfaces

4. FLYMAX White Paint Pen

  • Tip: 0.7mm extra-fine tip
  • Ink: Acid-free, waterproof ink
  • Count: 6 markers
  • Colors: White
  • Application: Paper, plastic, metal, and more

Check price on Amazon

Flymax is one of the most impressive white marker that writes on plastic. Considering that the vibrancy of its acrylic ink can match Zig’s cartoonist ink, I can decorate, upcycle, and draw on vinyl and a slew of other items.

Only a handful of plastic permanent markers can reliably produce solid opacity. I’m impressed that Flymax’s water-based acrylic-pigmented ink formula stands out against a complex background or dark-colored object. Plus, its fade-resistant properties enable the color to stay a brilliant white for a long time.

The permanent paint markers’ extra-fine point tip enables me to add highlights and details to my sketches with great precision. For best results, I start by shaking the pen with the lid on. Next, I would remove the cap and pump the nib on scrap paper twice to activate the ink. That’s when I start working. It’s pretty easy to use!

Even better, the durable tip keeps my hand stable, and it does not fray despite having been used for months. I have so many uses for them, I’m glad that this set offers six permanent markers for plastic!

One aspect I love about this marker set is how the pens never leak, even if I forget to close the cap tightly. And because the ink is certified to be non-toxic, I feel safe giving the markers to my children.

However, the ink residue tends to dry and get stuck on the tip. Because of that, I have to stop sketching to wipe the nib clean every now and then.

PROS

  • Extra-fine tip for precision when adding highlights and details
  • Stands out against a complex background or dark-colored object
  • Non-toxic and lightfast ink
  • Keeps the hand stable when writing
  • Doesn’t leak

CONS

  • Residue tends to dry and get stuck on the tip

5. Avery ‎17888 Marks-a-lot Permanent Marker

  • Tip: Medium tip, chisel
  • Ink: Water-based ink
  • Count: 1 marker
  • Colors: Black
  • Application: Most plastic surfaces, concrete, cardboard boxes, ceramic, PVC

Check price on Amazon

Out of all the permanent markers for plastic reviews, Avery is the one that got a near-perfect rating. Seeing this, I immediately bought one to test. Boy, was I impressed!

Its main highlight is the rich permanent black ink that renders a consistent vibrant color on most surfaces. I would use it to label my sports gear, footwear, and storage before heading out and meeting friends to avoid accidentally swapping identical items. Since it dries fast, the permanent marker ink does not transfer to the other stuff in my bag.

Although it is not advertised as an outdoor permanent marker, I take advantage of its water- and fade-resistant ink to mark a handful of tools I keep in my garden. Using the versatile chisel nib, I can create bold lettering. However, thin lines can be produced by gripping the marker at a different angle.

Amazingly, the ink does not dry up when I store these permanent markers without their caps on. I’m not saying that you can do this habitually, but I’m confident this fool-proof feature is worth mentioning.

Forgive me for nitpicking, but the lack of color variety makes me want to contact the customer rep to ask them to come up with more hues. For me, it’s the best permanent marker, and I want to use them for my projects. But in Avery’s defense, it is an office supplies brand, not an arts and crafts shop.

PROS

  • Rich permanent black ink
  • Water- and fade-resistant
  • Versatile chisel tip
  • Fast-drying ink to prevent smudges
  • Does not dry up when stored without the cap on

CONS

  • Lack of color variety

6. AmazonBasics ‎PY100200BK Fine Point Tip Permanent Markers

  • Tip: Fine tip
  • Ink: Non-toxic permanent ink
  • Count: 24 markers
  • Colors: Black
  • Application: Metal, paper, plastic, photographs, and stone

Check price on Amazon

If you have relied on Amazon for your online shopping, you most likely know that it has ventured into manufacturing and selling nearly everything under its brand, including writing instruments. The question is, are their permanent marker pens waterproof and fade-resistant?

In short, yes, at least based on my experience! For general home, school, and office applications, this tech giant’s black permanent markers are pretty decent. I don’t have to carefully lift my hand off the plastic object to prevent smudging since the ink dries fast. On top of the water-resistant formula, the ink adheres to textured and smooth surfaces.

The fine point nib is ideal for my notebooks, journals, and sketchbooks. At the same time, I use it for marking palm-sized Ziplocks and plastic containers. On top of that, I can attach the marker securely to my bag’s pockets since its cap includes clips.

Most permanent markers that are sold in bulk tend to hit and miss. Some even dried up before I could use them. Thankfully, the quality of the permanent inks in all 24 pens in the box is consistent. Needless to say, I’m very impressed, especially given how affordable these pens are.

Nevertheless, let me set expectations and emphasize that these are not acrylic paint pens for plastic. In my experience, I need to apply a second coating to increase its opacity and vibrancy.

PROS

  • Ink dries quickly
  • Adheres to textured and smooth surfaces
  • Affordable price
  • Attaches securely to pockets thanks to the cap’s clip
  • The quality of the permanent inks in all 24 pens is consistent

CONS

  • Needs a second coating to increase opacity and vibrance

7. Overseas Permanent Paint Pens

  • Tip: Medium bullet tip (approx. 2.0mm-2.8mm)
  • Ink: Oil-based ink
  • Count: 2 markers
  • Colors: White
  • Application: Metal, paper, plastic, photographs, and stone

Check price on Amazon

Boasting a high-quality ink formula, these white permanent markers for plastic make writing a breeze! I’m including them on my list simply because I was amazed by the results when I tested them on stone, cardboard, metal, rocks, and other types of surfaces.

Free from toxic chemicals and nasty odors, these permanent markers are suitable for the young ones, so they and I can work on art and craft projects together. Aside from how they don’t give off unpleasant fumes, I’m happy to know that these pens contain ink that poses no threat to the environment.

If I want to make corrections, I can easily erase the ink with turpentine. After shaking the pen, the paint flows smoothly out of the nib and dries the moment it settles on the plastic. I love how the permanent ink doesn’t smear, even if it gets wet, making the pen suitable for outdoor use.

The medium-sized bullet nib is apt for coloring, creating bold outlines, and legible hand-lettering. Furthermore, the tip can maintain its shape despite heavy-duty use due to its firmness. This allows me to draw lines with consistent thickness.

But as the old saying goes, “Different folks, different strokes.” I see a lot of users giving these permanent markers a thumbs-up, but for me, its fade-resistant ink lacks opacity. I need to re-trace some lines to make them more solid. Also, there’s not enough ink inside the barrel. Luckily, it is sold in a pack of two at a reasonable price, so I got more!

PROS

  • Ink flows smoothly out of the nib
  • No smear even if the object gets wet
  • Free from toxic chemicals and nasty odors
  • Draws lines with consistent thickness
  • Durable nib that doesn’t fray or get deformed

CONS

  • It lacks opacity
  • Not enough ink

8. STAEDTLER Permanent Outdoor Marker Pen

  • Tip: 1.0 mm
  • Ink: Oil-based ink
  • Count: 1 marker
  • Colors: Black
  • Application: Outdoor surfaces

Check price on Amazon

Staedtler is one of the brands I check first whenever I’m in the market for a permanent marker for vinyl tags, plastic T-type signs, as well as aluminum or metal pots. This leads me to discover the UV-resistant Lumocolor garden pen, an indispensable tool for gardeners and farmers.

Because most of my plant tags are colored, I like that the rich black ink contrasts well against them. Its ability to dry in an instant prevents smudging. For labeling purposes, the medium-sized tip makes my writing legible from afar. Although the price is not cheap, I’m happy that the marker is incredibly juicy, so I can use it for a long time.

I’m quite stunned that the color has not faded after months or years on end since not all permanent markers can do that! Mind you, I have watered my plants and placed them under the sun without removing the tags. Using this same marker, I have written Ziploc bags to organize food in the freezer. I only had to re-touch a few lines, but that task didn’t even use up a lot of ink.

Sadly, the tip frays after constant use. Admittedly, it’s partly due to my firm grip thinking that it’s the strongest permanent marker I have. Anyway, I’ll remember not to push it too hard when scribbling.

PROS

  • The medium-sized tip makes writing legible from afar
  • A juicy ink cartridge that allows the pen to be used for a long time
  • Rich black ink contrasts well against colored tags
  • The color has not faded after months or years
  • UV-resistant ink that is suitable for outdoor use

CONS

  • The tip frays after constant use

What to Look for When Buying Permanent Marker for Plastic Surfaces

marker-that-writes-on-plastic

Ink flow

In order for you to write neatly, the pen should discharge the ink smoothly. Although most markers and pens that write on plastic permanently claim to have impeccable ink flow, the only way to find out is to test them to see if the ink skips or sprays on scrap paper.

If the shop provides test products, try it out first. The last thing you want is to re-trace your writing or clean up ink splatters.

Lightfast and waterproof

Lightfastness refers to the ink’s ability to resist fading. Permanent marker inks are not as indelible as you think. With prolonged exposure to UV or moisture, the color can become dull over time.

If you want your writing or artwork to last longer, use writing instruments that are labeled with the following keywords “waterproof,” “lightfast,” “acid-free,” or “fade-resistant” on the pen’s sticker or packaging.

Durable nibwaterproof

Whether it’s a chisel, bullet, or brush tip, high-quality markers have nibs that can retain their original form for a long time. Remember, pens’ tips release the ink, and its shape influences the thickness of the lines you draw. As such, worn-down nibs can mess up your sketches and writing.

When buying permanent markers for plastic, check the product’s reviews to see what the users have to say about the tips.

Can Permanent Markers Be Removed From Plastic? How to?

Yes! Here’s how to remove permanent markers’ ink on plastic:

  1. Go over the permanent ink markings with a dry-erase marker, then leave it for a minute.
  2. Delicately scrub it off using a microfiber towel to lift most of the permanent ink. Repeat Steps 1 & 2 to erase the remnants.
  3. For stubborn residue, soak a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe the bits of ink.

How Can I Prevent Permanent Markers From Smudging on Plastic?

Permanent markers don’t smudge on plastic objects if you sand the glossy surfaces before sketching and spray a top coat over the finished artwork. Follow these steps:

  1. Prep the plastic by wiping it with a damp cloth, then wipe it dry with another rag. Next, soak a cotton ball with isopropyl alcohol, rub it on the surface, and leave it to dry.

Don’t skip this step since markers do not work on wet and oily surfaces.

  1. Sand the drawing surface with 120-grit sandpaper and wipe off the dust with a rag. Then, start sketching with your permanent marker!
  2. After drawing, allow the ink to fully dry before applying the sealing spray. Here is my recommended drying time for each type of sealer:
  3. Mod Podge acrylic sealer: Overnight
  4. Aleene’s matte acrylic sealer: A few hours
  5. If you’re using Aleene, protect yourself from the fumes by putting on a respirator and gloves, and work in a well-ventilated space.

For both Mod Podge and Aleene users, hold the sealer about 8 inches away and spray a thin layer over the artwork. Both products take up to 2 days to dry.

How Long Does It Take for Permanent Markers to Dry on Plastic Surfaces?

It depends on the type of ink. Other permanent marker inks can set on the surface instantly, as pointed out in the review.

However, a paint-based pen that can write on plastic takes a couple of hours to dry on a sanded surface. But for best results, I recommend leaving them overnight.

Tips for Using Permanent Markers on Plastic

  • Tip #1: To make your artwork more long-lasting, sand your drawing area to create some tooth on the surface, as instructed above.

Even if you are using the right permanent marker, this crucial step should not be skipped, as textures help the ink stick to the plastic object better.

  • Tip #2: Skipping and splattering ink can mess up your artwork. So, always check if the ink flows smoothly on a spare plastic before sketching.

While at it, try spraying the sealer to see if the ink smears so you can switch brands of sealers and markers before you finalize your design.

  • Tip #3: Use sealers for decors and artwork. Not only does it preserve color, but it also protects the sanded surfaces against UV and dirt.

Where Can I Purchase the Top-rated Permanent Marker for Plastic?

Major permanent marker brands like Avery, Staedtler, and Sharpie have websites that either sell online or direct customers to their official distributors.

Don’t forget to check out art and supplies shops like Cult Pens, Jet Pens, Blick, and Michaels, as they carry many of the best permanent markers.

How Long Do Permanent Markers Last on Plastic?

Lightfast ink can last several months or years. The length of time varies depending on their exposure to the elements or if the surface is primed and sealed.

Conclusion

All the products I included in the list of best permanent marker for plastic can also work on other types of surfaces. Even if you’re not dabbling in arts and crafts, having them around will come in handy for children’s school projects, labeling plants, organizing your supplies, and many more!

5/5 - (2 votes)
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