Know the Best Uses for Permanent Markers (DIY)

Ever since permanent markers first came on the scene in 1953 in the form of the Magic Marker, they’ve been a staple of the American stationary arsenal. You’d be hard-pressed to find a classroom, workplace, or home office without them.

But permanent markers can be used for a lot more than schoolwork and office work. With a huge range of colors and sizes, permanent markers are an awesome choice for art and DIY projects of all types.

If you feel like getting creative with a marker but are in need of some ideas, look no further. Here are 8 awesome ways to think outside the box with permanent markers.

1. Custom T-Shirt

Custom T-Shirt Design

There are a lot of t-shirt designs out there, but what if none of them are exactly what you’re looking for? Getting a one-off design printed can be expensive, and not everyone has the technical know-how to even make that happen. That’s where permanent markers come in.

These days, there are permanent markers that are designed specifically for fabric. Fabric markers are built to withstand the wash cycle, that way your t-shirt doesn’t fade after a few wears.

This is a great option for kids looking to stretch their creative legs. Set them up at the table and let them go to town! Being able to wear a design they created can be an awesome confidence boost for a youngster.

It’s also a great option if you’re looking to do a small number of custom shirts for an event. Cost-effective, fun, and efficient. Can’t beat that combo.

2. Home Decor

Home Decor

Believe it or not, permanent markers are a great way to add a personal touch to your home. Where paint fails, markers succeed.

One reason they’re so well suited to this job is that they’re perfect for fine detail work. While painting details takes experience and skill, doing so with a marker is an entry-level job.

You can create custom wallpaper designs, decorate furniture, or even adorn your pillows with your art. No matter what you choose to use them for, they’ll add a unique personality to your home that no one will be able to replicate.

3. Unique Dinnerware


While you’re sprucing up your walls and furniture, why not liven up your plates? Permanent markers are an awesome way to insert some life into dinner time.

The process is quite simple. Use any standard permanent marker to customize your dinnerware to your liking. Use any array of colors and patterns you see fit. The more creative, the better!

Making the designs wash-proof and permanent is simple. Set your oven to 350 degrees and put your dinnerware in there for about 30 minutes. This will set the oil-based inks and infuse them permanently into your plates, bowls, mugs, etc.

4. Gift Wrap

Gift Wrap

Holiday gift wrap is festive and fun. Unfortunately, it’s also a bit generic and played out. Permanent markers are a great way to fix that.

To start, buy any solid colored gift wrap you prefer. From there, the world is your oyster. Instead of showing up to the party with the same old wrapping paper, you’ll have one of a kind designs that set your gifts apart from the crowd.

Metallic markers are a great candidate for this. Especially around the holidays, that extra sparkle is an awesome way to inject some magic into your gift wrapping. There’s nothing like seeing colored lights reflecting off your shining, hand-designed packages.

5. Custom Phone Cases

DIY Marker

The phone case market can be a drab one. Even with tons of options, it seems many of the best-made cases don’t offer up much in the way of creative flair. Customizing your own can be a great way to dodge that pitfall.

While mall kiosks offer colorful designs, their quality is often lacking. Instead of sacrificing protection for looks, invest in a simple but sturdy case. After that, it’s just a matter of putting your own touches on it.

Whether it’s a colorful design, a custom logo, or some interesting patterns, it’s a good way to make sure you never mistake your phone for anyone else’s.

6. Art on Shoes

Marker Paint on Shoes

Shoes have long been a way for people to express themselves. The problem is that it’s hard to express uniqueness in a pair of shoes thousands of other people also own.

If you want to stand out in a crowd, customizing your sneakers with permanent markers is a great way to do it. All it takes is a pair of white canvas sneakers, some permanent markers, and imagination.

White canvas sneakers are the best option because they take the ink best and leave the most room for creativity. Essentially, you’re working with a blank canvas, so the sky is the limit. Add designs, lettering, logos, or anything else you can think of to make a truly one of a kind pair of kicks.

7. Nail Art

Nail Art
Image Credit:

If you’re into custom designs, why stop at what you wear or decorate your house with? Customize your body too.

It’s no secret that getting your nails done is expensive. The more detailed the job, the more it’s going to run you. Permanent markers are an awesome alternative.

Lay down a base coat of whatever color you prefer. The rest is up to you. Add polka dots, French tips, or anything else you can imagine with nothing besides a permanent marker and your imagination.

8. Visual Art

Last but certainly not least, you can use permanent markers to make awesome visual-art. Though they were first invented for more professional purposes, markers are now a viable and respected medium of visual art.

Vibrant and versatile, your boundaries are determined only by your mind when it comes to permanent marker. Whether you’re adding pops of color to a sketch or doing an entire piece with nothing but markers, you’ll find no shortage of creative ways to use markers in your artwork.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can We Use Permanent Marker on Body?

Permanent markers are best known as a tool for labeling and writing on surfaces, but they can do so much more than that. However, it is best to not use permanent markers on your skin, as they are designed to be extremely long-lasting and may cause irritation.

Permanent markers contain solvents and chemicals that can be harmful if it goes into your body. That’s why experts suggest you avoid using permanent markers on your body.

Q: How Long Does a Permanent Marker Last?

Permanent markers are built to last, so you can expect them to stay put and remain vibrant for a long time. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t wear out or fade over time. As with most art supplies, the best way to ensure your permanent markers are in tip-top shape is by taking good care of them!

But if I go specific, permanent marker marks can last up to four years indoors and up to two years outdoors, depending on the quality of the marker used.

Q: Does Permanent Marker Fade in the Sun?

Though permanent markers are designed to be long-lasting, they can fade in direct sunlight. UV rays from the sun cause permanent marker ink to break down over time, so it’s best to protect your artwork by displaying it away from direct sunlight or protecting it with a layer of varnish or acrylic sealer.

Permanent marker ink is also susceptible to water damage, so it’s best to keep your artwork away from areas in the home that are prone to high humidity such as bathrooms or basements.

Q: Why Do Surgeons Use Sharpies?

Surgeons use Sharpies and other types of permanent markers to make sure they remember which area of the body needs to be operated on or marked for further examination. This helps reduce the risk of a mistake being made during surgery. Though it is not recommended to use permanent markers on body but during surgery, this is an important way to reduce the risk of medical error.

​Permanent Markers for Every Occasion

Now that you know how many uses there are for permanent markers, all that’s left to do is try some of these ideas yourself. Before long, you’ll be walking around with the freshest sneakers and the coolest wallpaper on the block!

If you want to get creative in a less permanent way, there are other markers that still let you get weird without the commitment. Read on to learn about some of the best quality dry erase markers out there.

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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