Regular readers know that we’re big fans of Sharpies – I even carry a Sharpie mini on my keychain – so it was with some disappointment that we recently came across a blog post explaining how transient that supposedly permanent ink can be. Although after carrying out some more research we found that regular Sharpies are indeed notorious for fading but not all Sharpies fade easily. They have brought out an extreme fade-resistant marker and also their oil-based paint markers are very resilient, making them ideal for surfaces such as wood and ceramic mugs.
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1. Sharpies Can Fade
Shellie Lewis wrote on her art blog that she discovered work she had done years ago as a student had faded from crisp black to a sickly green-brown. She was surprised and curious enough that she went straight to the company for more information.
I spoke with Beth at Newell Rubbermaid Office Products [800-346-3278] the parent company of Sharpie markers in Oak Brook, Illinois. She advised me that Sharpies are alcohol based and are not archival in any way. The same is true for the oil-based Sharpie paint pens; those will rapidly decay and discolor also.
Unfortunately, Shellie’s experience seems to be the norm. Scrapbookers have also discovered that Sharpies aren’t made for preserving memories. And, as Shellie lamented in her post, apparently sports memorabilia collectors have had the same problems with Sharpie autographs (which is a shame, since many celebs and athletes use Sharpies).
One common complaint is that as the Sharpie ink fades, it develops an ugly yellowish ‘halo’ around it.
Azizah, over at Gourmet Pens, also received a shock earlier this year when she was seeking advice on the best pens or markers for signing wedding guestbooks. A commenter pointed out to her that Sharpies fade over time, estimating they can become illegible in as little as five years.
That’s really too bad because Sharpies are so versatile and available in such a wide range of colors – at least 40 – that they would otherwise seem perfect for…well, everything. Guess the lesson here is that if you are creating something for the relatively short-term, feel free to use Sharpies. But if you want it to last a lifetime, look for something a little more permanent.
2. Sharpie Extreme Fade Resistant Markers
Since first writing, this post Sharpie has now brought out the Sharpie Extreme Fade Resistant Marker. It has a very strong durable tip with quick-drying ink. Sharpie says that it is extremely resistant to wet and dry outdoor elements as well as UV light from the sun. They have excellent reviews on Amazon with over 850 people giving them a 5-star rating so they could be well worth taking a look at.
3. Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers
Compared to normal Sharpie their oil-based paint markers are a lot more resilient to fading and work on a lot of surfaces such as glass metal pottery plastic rubber stone and wood.
Again, they are highly rated on Amazon with nearly a 5-star rating by over 3,000 reviewers. From the reviews, it seems that they are excellent for using on Wood. With a lot of people drawing designs on mugs and some are even baking them in the oven to make them even more permanent.
4. Sharpie Frequently Asked Questions
We have done a roundup of some of the most frequently asked questions about Sharpie Markers. Please bear in mind that we don’t make them and created this list to help people with some general advice.
It is up to you how you act on it and we cannot be held responsible for any outcome. If you are unsure of anything or need more detailed/specific advice, then please contact Sharpie Customer Services.
How to Prevent Sharpie From Fading?
Unless you are using Sharpie Extreme Fade Resistant Markers then Sharpies like nearly all other alcohol/ based markers will fade over time. Keeping them out of direct sunlight can slow this down to some extent.
Is there a Non-Fading Sharpie Marker?
Absolutely The Sharpie Extreme Fade Resistant Marker is extremely resistant to wet and dry outdoor elements as well as UV light from the sun.
Do Sharpies Fade in the Sun?
Yes, they are an alcohol-based marker and like all alcohol-based markers, they fade quite quickly when exposed to sunlight.
Do Sharpies Fade Over Time?
Yes, their ink is not of archival quality therefore they will fade over time.
Will Sharpie Fade on a Shirt?
Yes, Sharpies will fade on a shirt if you want to write on a shirt use a proper fabric marker it will last longer. Don’t wash your shirt if you can help it and if you really must turn it inside out and use cold water.
Will Sharpie Fade on Fabric?
Yes, it is the same advice as for a shirt. use a proper fabric marker it will last longer. Don’t wash your shirt if you can help it and if you really must turn it inside out and use cold water.
Will Sharpies Fade on Wood?
Normal Sharpies will fade on wood as they are alcohol-based. The best markers for wood are paint markers and the Sharpie 37371PP Oil-Based Paint Markers are highly recommended for marking wooden surfaces.
How to Keep a Sharpie Autograph from Fading?
You can’t If you already have an autograph done with a normal Sharpie or another general-purpose marker. Your best bet for autographs is to use a paint marker and keep it out of the light.
How to Keep Sharpie from Fading on Skin?
Sharpies are not designed to leave a permanent mark on your skin so they can’t replace tattoos long term and I am not convinced that you should be using them in the first place. Once they start to fade and get a little fuzzy they take a bit of removing. Uni-Posca markers are non-toxic and can be removed quite easily. However, they have not been tested or approved against cosmetics or dermatology standards.