Using Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens on Polymer Clay

Sharpie Oil Based Pens on Polymer ClayVideo #474: After a year and a half, this product does pass compatibility testing.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Testing Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pen on Baked Polymer Clay (Premo Brand).
  • Test sample start date was May 21, 2012 (1.5 years ago).
  • No compatibility issues.
  • No stickiness over time.
  • Paint is durable and can not be scratched off with fingernail.
  • Paint did not chip or flake when sample was bent.
  • Surprised that the oil based pen was compatible with the baked polymer clay since it is generally thought that oil based paints will react with cured polymer clay. Need to do more testing with oil based products and polymer clay to test that theory.
  • Pens need to be shaken to get free flowing.
  • Paint can be heat set with a embossing gun or air dried.
  • Not mentioned in video, but the Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pen can be easily removed when wet or dry, with Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol).

Question of the Day:

Have you tried any paint pens with polymer clay? And did they work or didn’t they? I’d love to hear your answers in the comment section below.

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Lavedia E, 14 January, 2014

    I have not used oil pens but I have used oil base paint and it worked well. The only issue was it did burn a little though. So if you could help me with this that would be great.

  2. Cindy Lietz, 14 January, 2014

    Hi Lavedia, I am not sure what you mean by, ‘it burned a little’. Did you add the oil paint before baking it or after? I have only used these oil pens on baked polymer clay, not raw.

  3. Dixie Ann, 14 January, 2014

    I have seen these in Michaels and had wished at the time it would be nice if they were compatible with PC. Thanks so much for testing these Cindy, now I have more things to add to my arsenal and try. LOL

  4. Cindy Lietz, 16 January, 2014

    You’re welcome Dixie Ann!

  5. Dixie Ann, 16 January, 2014

    SALE at Michaels on Sharpie Paint Pens going on now! 30% off.

  6. Jane Rieck, 17 January, 2014

    I was watching your piece re: oil based pens on polymer clay and wanted to point out that YEARS ago people I know (in the polymer community) were adding oil paint to polymer clay and Doreen Kassel paints all her pieces with oil paint with no adverse effects.

  7. Pam Sig, 18 January, 2014

    Just wanted to mention that the size tip you demonstrated is the FINE.
    (To me it seems the size I would think of as a medium tip, and you can not open them to look before purchasing)
    I like using their EXTRA FINE tipped pens. It is what I use to draw on my glass ornaments. They work really well most of the time- do not leave them uncapped because the ink will dry quickly and sometimes I need to use a thin needle to open the tip up again.
    Thank you for your tests Cindy,

  8. Joanne H, 24 January, 2014


    Are you able to do a video on making round beads using a square cane as im struggling?

    Thanks jo

  9. Cindy Lietz, 24 January, 2014

    Hi Joanne,

    I show a really cool way of making round beads from a square cane in the second video in the Vol-20 Back Issue.

    The second video in this Vol-20 Back Issue is titled “Heart Shaped Beads” which is just one thing you will learn (…just in time for Valentines Day ;-).

    As it turned out though, the most popular part of the lesson was where I demonstrated a super simple way to solve the exact problem you have described.

    I know this video will help you a lot. Here is the link if you want to add the Vol-20 back issue to your library collection…
    Making round shaped beads using a square cane

    Related Video: Reducing Square Polymer Clay Canes

  10. Cherie V, 26 January, 2014

    Does anyone just use regular sharpies on PC? I assumed it was fine but now I’m not sure. The best uses I can think for this would be, for example, drawing on faces and such. Easier to control than even the finest of paint brushes. Thoughts? Has anyone used them?

  11. Dixie Ann, 26 January, 2014

    Hi Cherie I have used regular sharpies on baked clay but always used a resin. I don’t know about using a sealer. Did you check the search engine on using sharpies? I do know that if you don’t seal it, it will wear off after time. Maybe you could spray it with PYMII, I would test it first to make sure.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 28 January, 2014

    Hi Cherie, Shari is compatible with polymer clay, but it can bleed a little over time if used directly on the clay. I think I used a fine liner sharpie over a layer of PYMII with no bleeding but that was so long ago that I can’t be sure of that. Do need to do a test lab on the subject.

  13. Cherie V, 31 January, 2014

    Thank you Dixie Ann and Cindy.

    I think that if there’s a chance of it bleeding (or if it will for sure) then I would be best off staying away from it. I would be interested to know if you do a test lab with the PYMII. I actually just ordered a bottle of it from Shades of Clay myself. I came across the official website of the product and clicked on the polymer clay section and lo and behold there was an endorsement by Cindy! That was enough to sell me and I was very glad to see a spray sealer that wouldn’t react with clay. After I get it I may very well do a test myself and post results. :)

  14. Mary M, 07 May, 2014


    I was wondering what kind of glaze I can use over the Sharpie Oil Based Pen, if I wanted a shiny finish.

    Thanks, Mary

  15. Cindy Lietz, 12 May, 2014

    Hi Mary, I haven’t tested which glazes will go over Sharpie yet. Sounds like a good one for the PcT Test Lab!

  16. Bhavani Y, 05 September, 2015

    Hi, I acquired a gold colored polymer clay jewellery several years ago and it turned dark. I got a gold colored oil based marker pen and colored it. The restoration was stunning, but the paint is coming off in my hand even after 2 weeks.. Is there anything I can do to dry it or seal it?
    Thank you

  17. Cindy Lietz, 07 September, 2015

    Hi Bhavani, not all oil based pens will work on polymer clay. Many of the solvents in the pens will eat at the polymer clay and make it sticky or will peel off. Maybe the brand you used is not compatible with the brand of polymer clay you have?

  18. Grace S, 08 October, 2015

    Hi Cindy,

    For many years I have been using colored pencil on cured polymer clay and have yet to find a good, permanent sealer, even using PYMII the color eventually fades. Any suggestions?
    Also I want to draw with graphite pencil directly onto cured, light colored clay but again do not know how it can be sealed without changing or distorting the drawing. I have searched the internet for tutorials or products that might work but have come up empty. Any ideas or places to go for more info?

    You do a great job and offer a wonderful service to the PC community!

    Thank you.

  19. Vanessa C, 10 October, 2015

    Grace, have you considered using a thin layer of resin as a coating over your coloured pencil? It should be compatible. The only downside I can think of right now would be that it would result in a super-shiny finish. That’s great if that’s what you want but could be less good if you wanted a more matte surface. One other upside with resin is durability.

  20. Grace S, 14 October, 2015

    I thought of that but I do not want a shiny surface. My work is pretty unglitsy.

  21. Linda Patrick, 14 October, 2015

    Have you tried the Duraclear by DecoArt? It comes in Gloss, Matte, Satin. I use the liquid and handpaint paper beads. I have used this for over four years. Check out their website. Decoart. They also make all the Americana paints. This is my go-to sealant. It is non-yellowing, nontoxic, and waterproof. No fumes! Hope this helps. I order mine direct online but sometimes you can find it in Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 13 October, 2015

    Hi Grace, what pencils are you using? Perhaps the pigments in the pencils that you are using are not actually lightfast? Many paints, pencils and other art materials contain pigments that will fade over time. I was watching a YouTube video the other day (posted just below), that was talking about the lightfast ratings for the different pencils and even the different colors with in the lines. What I am saying it may not be the coating that is the issue here, but the actual pencils themselves.

  23. Grace S, 14 October, 2015

    That is a very good possibility that I have not considered. I am using mostly Prismacolor pencils and some colors do seem to fade easier than others so you might have something there. Going to look into that further. Thank you.

  24. Grace S, 14 October, 2015

    Cindy,think you are really onto something here…… thank you so much for pointing me in this direction.

  25. Cindy Lietz, 14 October, 2015

    You’re welcome. Sometimes the reason something is having an issue is because of a reason, that isn’t as obvious as we think. I am trying really hard to learn as much about as many materials as I can, so that I can be a better problem solver. (Besides I just love learning about art supplies and tools, so it is a real pleasure absorbing as much info as I can.)

    Before watching that video I did know about the light fastness of paints but it didn’t occur to me that the same could be true for pencils. Now that I do know that… I bet the same is true for many other art materials as well. Now we have a new piece of knowledge that will help us in projects in the future, like in this case. Isn’t it so cool to learn something new?

  26. Emma W, 08 November, 2015

    HI! Would anyone know if you can use Artline 900xf silver or gold metallic pens on polymer clay? I’ve tried googling this but can’t find an answer. I can’t see clearly on the product if it is oil or acrylic based. Otherwise, can anyone recommend a good silver metallic paint pen or paint?

  27. Cindy Lietz, 08 November, 2015

    Hi Emma, I’m sorry but I haven’t tested those pens yet so I don’t have any useful information for you. I also do not have a good suggestion for a replacement metallic pen either. Maybe someone else here knows what will work for you?

  28. Chrissy White, 03 August, 2018

    Hi Cindy!

    For whatever reason, this question popped in my head and I couldn’t decide if it made sense or if it was completely stupid. I thought you might be the best person to ask. :)

    I have used alcohol inks (Tim Holtz or Ranger or whatever brand it is haha) on polymer clay without any issue whatsoever and think they work fantastic. Do you think that alcohol based markers (like Copic or any of those others) would work similarly? I like the idea of having more control (that the nibs would give) in certain situations rather than the awesome random splatter/flow that the alcohol inks provide.

    I haven’t given it a try yet, thought I would ask someone more knowledgeable before I unknowingly blew my face up or whatever, doing something that was a super bad idea.


  29. Cindy Lietz, 06 August, 2018

    Hi Chrissy, yes you can definitely use the alcohol ink that you fine in markers like Copic, Prismacolor and Sharpie Pens, with your polymer clay. The concentration of the pigments/dyes are lower than what you would find in a bottle of alcohol ink and some brands and/or colors can fade over time in certain conditions like heat and light. Then you can also have the issue of clay gunking up the nibs. Play around with the idea though because there are some great ways to use alcohol ink pens with polymer clay. I use them in an unique way in the Foxgloves and Raindrops Tutorial.

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