SHINAH REVIEWS: The Best Paint Markers for lettering on canvas totes

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I got hired for a kick-ass event recently and they wanted me to do on-site custom lettering on black canvas tote bags. So, naturally, I went out and bought all the paint markers I could get my hands on to see which ones would work best.

THE PROCESS:

  1. I used a regular, thin black canvas tote bag
  2. I inserted a piece of cardboard into the bag, to prevent the markers from bleeding through to the other side
  3. I tested by using just ONE pass of each marker, to see how opaque they would be with one coat.

Here's what I found!

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WHITE PAINT MARKERS

 

1. Molotow Acrylic Marker - RECOMMENDED

This marker worked pretty well, especially if you wait a few minutes then add a couple extra coats.

PROS: These markers are sturdy and the paint flows really nicely. They're also refillable and you can even buy extra tips for them so you don't have to keep purchasing whole new markers.

CONS: They are a bit more expensive than other markers, but higher in quality. The paint takes a few minutes to dry, especially if the marker was really juicy when you wrote with it. 

AVAILABLE: Online or at specialty art stores

RECOMMENDED SIZE: 2mm or 4mm

 

2. CraftSmart Acrylic Marker - NOT RECOMMENDED

These markers may work well on other surfaces, but on this canvas fabric, they just left faint, barely visible marks.

 

3. Sharpie Oil-Based Marker - NOT RECOMMENDED

These are widely available and awesome for writing on glass and mirrors. But, on fabric, the paint just sank right in and left hardly any trace.

 

METALLIC PAINT MARKERS

 

1. CraftSmart Acrylic Markers  - RECOMMENDED

These worked fairly well, and are very inexpensive, making them an awesome choice!

AVAILABLE: at Michaels Arts & Crafts Stores

RECOMMENDED SIZE: Fine Line

 

2. DecoColor Opaque Paint Marker - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

PROS: These left the most visible, opaque marks with just one stroke and it was easy to go back and fil-in the downstrokes using a faux-calligraphy technique!

CONS: Phew! These markers are STINKY. They leave a strong spray-paint like odor that lingers, so it's best to use them in a well-ventilated space.

AVAILABLE: Online or at specialty art stores

RECOMMENDED SIZE: Fine Line

 

3. Sharpie Oil-Based Marker - NOT RECOMMENDED

The metallic versions of these widely-available markers were JUST as disappointing as the white ones. For some reason, this paint just doesn't work well on fabrics.

 THE WINNER! DecoColor Opaque Paint Markers leave a crisp, opaque line with the very first coat

THE WINNER! DecoColor Opaque Paint Markers leave a crisp, opaque line with the very first coat

 THE RUNNER UP! Molotow Acrylic Markers give great results, but only after you spend time adding a few extra coats

THE RUNNER UP! Molotow Acrylic Markers give great results, but only after you spend time adding a few extra coats

Here's a video of me using the Molotow Acrylic Marker, so you can see how many coats it takes to get an opaque look. (Swipe left or click on the right arrow to get to the video). It takes a little more patience, but you can get a really awesome end result!

So go forth! Dig out all those reusable tote bags you have crammed somewhere and see if you can't make them a little more special ;)

Happy Lettering!

WootWoot,

 

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