Embossing Pen Comparison


Awhile ago, one of my Facebook Page friends asked me if I knew of a product for embossing your handwriting. I immediately shared what I knew- I’d been using the VersaMarker for years. But it got me wondering- what other embossing pens were out there, and how did they stack up? Time to put on my CraftTestDummy cap and get to work!

First, let me define what an Embossing Pen is for the sake of this comparison. I was looking at pens/markers that you could hold in your hand and write with that provided a clear media that could be used for embossing powders, chalks, and mica powders like Pearl-Ex and Perfect Pearls. The reason you need a specific “embossing pen” is that the ink dries slower and tackier than traditional inks, thus allowing you to enough time to sprinkle on powders, chalks, etc. and have them stick.

My research yeilded four contenders, as follows with descriptions.

Versamarker by Tsukineko

  • Sold singly
  • Clear Ink
  • Dual tipped: bullet and brush
  • Designed as a “Watermark” tool, but is co-listed for embossing, chalking, and powders.
  • My cost: $4.70 on Amazon.com


Embossing Pens by Inkssentials (Ranger Industries)

  • Sold in a two-pack
  • One each of clear and black
  • Bullet tips
  • Designed specifically for wet embossing
  • My cost: $6.67 USD on Amazon.com

Inkseentials Embossing Pens (Ranger)

Perfect Medium Pens by Ranger Industries :

  • Clear Ink
  • Comes in a two-pack: bullet tip and brush tip
  • Made specifically for Perfect Pearls, but is co-listed as a watermark pen, chalks, embossing and resist.
  • My cost: $6.67 USD on Amazon.com

Perfect Medium Pens by Ranger

Zig Emboss Pen by EK Success brands.

  • Come dual-tipped
  • Available singly or as a set
  • Blue Ink
  • The one I used was Fine- and Chisel-tipped
  • My cost: $7.48 USD on Amazon.com

Zig Emboss by EK Success

I decided to break down the comparison by material- that is how did they all work head-to-head? I used each pen on both a dark surface (black Core’dinations cardstock, so there is also a little texture) and a standard manilla shipping tag.  I tried each pen with embossing powder, Pearl-Ex powders (no binder), Perfect Pearls (binder built in) and Pebbles Chalks. I also used only the fine/bullet tip for each comparison.

All four on a manila tag. All are clear EXCEPT for Zig, which as a blue tint.

Perfect Pearls

Perfect Pearls breakdown: all worked fine. I thought Zig was least effective on the light background because some of that “blue” tint came through. Also, the point is very stiff in addition to being fine, so there is some “skipping” on the textured black cardstock.Versamark was a little transparent. I thought the Perfect Medium Pen looked the best.

Pearl-Ex by Jacquard

Pearl-Ex breakdown: With this sample, I actually thought the VersaMarker was the least effective. Notice that the color is lighter- it didn’t seem to grab as much of the powder as the other ones. Perfect Medium Pen stands out as the sharpest and clearest.

Pebbles Chalks

Chalk Breakdown: Obviously, the results are very disappointing on the dark cardstock across the board. On the lighter background, Zig Emboss performed the best. The VersaMarker, again, was a little light and didn’t hold the chalks as well as the others. The Emboss pen worked as well as the Perfect Medium Pen on this one!

Embossing Powders: Whispers Black & JudiKins White Diamond

Embossing Breakdown: I really felt that Zig, for being specifically an embossing pen, was the most disappointing. The Perfect Medium pens, though listed for powders and chalks, worked great for embossing powders, too. Also disappointing was the VersaMarker, specifically on the lighter surface. It fared much better on the darker paper. The Embossing Pens also were great.

Now, I mentioned earlier that the Inkessentials Embossing Pens came in both clear and black. So here’s a head-to-head comparison of those two:

Black Embossing Pen on left, Clear on right.

Embossing Pens by Inkssentials Breakdown: I love how the black or clear ink can totally change the way you perceive the interference colors in the Perfect Pearls, and even changes the tones of the Perfect Pearls. Both had great “grab” for the embossing powder, too.

So considering everything, if you were going to get just ONE product, I’d have to recommend the Embossing Pens by Inkssentials (a Ranger Ink, brand.) You can use them easily across all media, are cost effective- under $3.50 a pen, and you get the versatility of having two ink colors.

Of course, they bot have bullet tips- so if you want to use them as brush markers, then you’d probably want to go with my runner-up, the Perfect Medium Pens by Ranger. These, too, work well across all mediums, and you get a bullet AND a brush tip for both for under $7 bucks. Not a bad deal.

SO! Were you as surprised as I was? I’d never even tried the other Embossing Pens to see which one worked best. Now I know!

Disclosure: I purchased all the pens mentioned above. I was not compensated by any company. All opinions are strictly my own. In all things, use what’s best for you.

About Jenny

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


  1. says

    Great review and thank you! I think I know now what that Quickie Glue pen is I bought (Sakura). It has a ball point tip and has light blue glue. It also can be used for tack-it after it dries. Now I need to try the purple PearlEx I bought at the same time. Had no clue they could go together. Got the PearlEx to add to my acrylics for a little shimmer!

  2. says

    Actually, Kat- this review is on Embossing Pens. (Glue pens are a “whole ‘nother animal”, as my Pa used to say.) Embossing pens can be used to adhere powders and chalks, but actually are the sticky binder part of pigment dye pads….but without the pigment. And yes, I have a comparison of GLUE pens coming up soon. -Jenny

  3. says

    Thanks, Jenny! Tried my glue pen. What a mess. I’m just not a card or tag person. I’ll stick to my paints and mediums. I’m safe there. Can’t wait to read the next review! You help us all so much!

  4. says

    Kat- Don’t give up….but make sure you use an Embossing Pen with your Pearl-Ex. Keep the Quickie Glue pen for adding rhinestones, glitter, and flocking. It’s all about finding the right tool for the job. Happy to help, Jenny

  5. Taab says

    Hi Jenny,
    Great review. What are the best powders to use with the embossing pens. Do we always have to use the heat gun with the embossing pens. Many Thnks. Taab

  6. Apple says

    Additional perk of the ranger pen is that they fit into the pen slot of the newer cricuts! If you don’t have good hand writing or want to emboss an outline picture, ranger works great!

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