Craft Product Review: Elmer’s Painters Paint Markers


Acrylic Paint in a marker form

I hate to admit that I’ve never before used paint markers- must be something to do with the fact that I was never in a sorority! However, my world has opened up to paint markers, and I’m glad.

Elmer’s Painters, in particular, are opaque colors in a convenient marker form. To get them started, you need to shake the pen, then depress the felt marker tip until it recedes back into the tube. The paint will begin to flow through the tip, and then you’re ready to go!

For my review, I decided to try it on plastic, glass, metal and wood/paper, although the packaging says you can use it on clay, fabric, foam core, and terra cotta, as well.

I decided to start off trying it on plastic- my good friend told me that back in the day, she and her sorority sisters used paint markers to write their Greek letters on everything, including plastic tumblers. I couldn’t imagine that acrylic paint could stick to such a smooth surface, but I was wrong! I added some silly decoration to a retainer case, and it adhered well. Once it was dry, I could scratch it with a fingernail, so it might need a sealer coat to make it permanent.

For the next project, I decided to try it on glass and glazed ceramic. I love the idea of being able to decorate mugs or votives for the holidays and seasons. Again, I was surprised how well the paint glided on the surface and it’s nice opacity. Here’s how it the Elmer’s Painters performed on glass:

Elmers’ Painters perfomed well on glass and ceramic!

One note about the mug, though: I did run it through the dishwasher about a week later, and all of the paint came right off. The upside of this is that you could have guests decorate wine glasses or mugs for a party, and then wash them clean for the next one!

I also thought to try them out on some metal bits (this one is from an old vegetable steamer I’m going to use in some altered art- again, it covered well. There were a few places where it got a little streaky, and I found that it was better to wait until the piece was completely dry before adding a second coat. If the paint is damp, it will lift off when then marker tip runs over it again.

Elmer’s Painters are wonderfully opaque!

I also gave the markers to my littlest one (she’s 5) and let her decorate some craft sticks with the markers. Sadly, I didn’t get pictures of her creations, but she used them just the way she uses kid-type markers. I think the colors dulled a little on the raw wood, but I have a feeling if you primed the wood (or paper mache) first, the colors would really pop! I can also see my elementary-school-age son using these for school projects.

So, I really enjoyed the markers and feel like they’d be a great addition to your crafting tool box. I played with the primary and neon colors, but I’d love to see how the Pearlescent and Metal Leafing colors perform!

Some fast facts from the manufacturer:

  • Opaque acrylic paint markers.
  • Ideal for use on wood, plastic, clay, glass, metal, foam board, fabric, and terra cotta.
  • Permanent & streak free.
  • Non-toxic and acid free.
  • Available in Ultra Fine, Fine, and Medium point.
  • Available in sets and open stock.
  • Sets retail for $10-11.50 (ish)

Do you have some of these? Love them? Let me know!

Please support CTD by using our affiliate links if you are going to purchase this product:

FTC Disclosure

About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.


  1. Lisa K says

    These look great! I’ve never tried them myself either – but, I bet for the kids it would be good crafting w/o all the clean up. We are supposed to decorate flower pots in two weeks. I’m going to get some of these to make life much easier!!!

  2. Liz F says

    I will have to get some of these. I used another brand and it was difficult to get the results I wanted. Thanks for reviewing them

  3. Thea White says

    kinda scary since i make mistakes but that means room for embellishment, right???

  4. says

    Courtney, no scratching so far- however, I AM going to hit it with a coat of Krylon triple-thick just to make sure- it may end up as jewelry, and I want to make sure!

  5. MiMi says

    does ANYONE know how I can keep this paint (Elmers painters) on these glasses? I just finshed painting them and now I read that it may come off in DW. What is I did not put them in DW, but handwashed???? Would it stay on?….HELP! I want the people I’m giving to, to be able to drink out of them when they get them.

    Thanks for any help!

  6. Koby says

    I use these quite a bit, and I love them. I am a college student and customize shoes for extra money. These are the only thing I have found so far that I can use on the rubber mid-sole. Other paints would crack and flake off, but this seems to hold well.

    I was wondering if you have done any posts on iron-on transfers? I searched the site but didn’t find it. I’ve never used them before and I was hoping to figure out what the best one would be for canvas shoes. Any help would be appreciated beyond belief.

  7. says

    Thanks for the info. I paint glass and need a dishwasher safe paint pen.

    These markers flow great, but the peblo ones for glass that are dishwasher save cover very poorly.

    If the peblo markers covered like the elmers that would be perfect for what I do! Thanks for saving me from potential disaster as I custom paint “dishwasher safe” glassware. I wasnt sure if the elmers would come off…. Now I know its not for me.

  8. says

    I use Elmer’s Opaque Black Paint Pens to outline all the hand painted yard art that I make. It is easy, and is compatible with the clear Polyurethane that I spray over the entire piece to protect it from weather and sunfading. It adds eye-popping details to my work.

  9. Debi says

    Can Elmer’s paint pen be used on canvas? Do thye cover canvas like a paint brush and acrlic paint. I have a hard time painting a straight line. If this doesn’t work does anyone know of a acrylic paint pen for canvas?

  10. says

    Debi- ABSOLUTELY! They are a marker with a bullet tip, but yes- you can color in on canvas just fine! : )

  11. Sam says

    I found a website that did this, except after they used the Elmer’s paint markers and let their cups dry. Once dry they put them in the oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Could this work to help the paint stay on longer?

  12. says

    Heat-setting can help paint adhere to glass better and/or quicken it’s cure time. I’d go back to the manufacturer-Elmer’s- and check what’s on the website. Or contact them & ask for the right temp/cure time/cooling method. You don’t want to be shattering glass!

  13. Candice says

    I wrote Elmer’s about baking and food safety regarding this product. The following the the reply.

    It can be force dried @ 225 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. These were not designed for any ceramic or glass surfaces that will be subjected to detergent washing.  Many of the colors are “permanent” insofar as lightfastness is concerned. Adding a clear coat of acrylic can help with the longevity of the paint.

    Not food safe

  14. Barb says

    Candice, thanks so much. I keep seeing that you can cure the paint pens, but couldn’t find any info. on the packaging. I’ll try curing them and see how it goes.

  15. kaja says

    if you use these markers on a wine glass, can you seal them with something to make them glossy?

  16. says

    Kaja- these will not be permanent on glass. I’d suggest using an enamel pen for that. I’d use the Enamel Paint Marker from DecoArt for glass. Good luck!

  17. says

    I am an artist and I use these on canvas board to paint sports and celebrity portraits and cityscapes. I love them.

  18. Sherry says

    I am painting plastic mugs with lids like the kids do for sorority party for my grand kids to take to Disney. I am using paint pens but the ones I have done in the past have washed off even in the sink. Do I need to sand the cups a little before I start? And what is the best sealer to use.

  19. says

    Sherry- I’m not sure if sanding will give you the desired effect- it will rough up your surface and create an uneven surface. Since each plastic is different, you’ll just have to try them out and let them air-dry thoroughly. The paint pens are still holding tight to my retainer case, but I only wash it gently by hand in the sink. I don’t recommend using a sealer, as the addition of an additional plastic coating adds one more layer to flake off (not to mention the extra worry about the reaction on plastics.) Good luck!

  20. says

    I realize I’m about 3 years late, but I love, love, love these paint markers. We have a small business where we paint canvas shoes. ( I use these markers a ton on shoes. We seal them, and they hold up wonderfully.

  21. KP says

    If you bake the mug at 300 for 30 minutes, the paint from the painters stays on though the dishwasher!

  22. Melissa says

    wondering if you could use mod podge to seal the wine glasses when using the paint markers

  23. says

    No, you cannot. The Mod Podge will leave a wavy look on the glass, and it too will peel off. You must use an enamel paint pen that is indicated for GLASS and CERAMICS if you want it to last.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>