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How Long Do Acrylic Paint Pens Last?

Acrylic paints are one of my favorite types of paint out there. They’re super versatile, affordable, and come in so many colors! But now, many artists are using acrylic paint in another form to create artwork.

Acrylic paint pens have become extremely popular in the art field. It’s basically acrylic paint, but in a pen form. You can now create even more detailed art, and there’s no need to prepare and modify your paint.

There are many questions surrounding these cool and convenient paint pens, like how long do they actually last. Once opened, acrylic paint pens will usually last 1-2 years, with proper care and storage. It also depends how frequently you use them.

In this article I answer a few of the most-asked questions about acrylic paint pens, and give you a few tips on how to get the most mileage out of them. Let’s read on!

Are Acrylic Paint Pens Permanent?

While acrylic paint pens (also called Acrylic markers) are sold to you with the promise of permanence, this is not 100% true. The longevity of what you create is going to depend on the medium on which you create it. My top pick for acrylic paint pens is this set from Arteza. It comes with 48 colors, and they’re non-toxic too!

If you are using acrylic paint pens on a matte or a porous surface, then it will pretty much be permanent. Examples of this kind of surface include:

While these surfaces can hold your artistry quite well, if you are using your acrylic paint pen on a glass, metal, or otherwise non-porous surface, once it dries there is a chance that it can crack or succumb to chipping. For curing and setting your acrylic paint on glass, check out one of my other articles here. It goes over how to paint, bake and seal your acrylic painted glass or ceramics.

How Do You Store Acrylic Paint Pens?

While markers are often stored vertically in a handy bin or even a large cup, this is not the recommended way to store acrylic paint pens. Instead, it is recommended that you store them horizontally. The reasoning behind this is, is that it makes it easier to re-mix the colors inside and it also helps avoid potential clogging that can occur when the pen is stored nib-down. 

How Long Do Acrylic Paint Pens Take to Dry?

Acrylic paints pens will dry at a rate commensurate with the thickness of the film. With thin applications, your work is dry in about 10 to 20 minutes on average. With thicker applications it can be 1 or 2 hours. 

Regular acrylic paint will sometimes dry on your canvas before you are even done with your painting. Acrylic paint pens are somewhat similar, in that they tend to dry rather quickly.

The nice thing about this is that the drying-time allows the artist to do a few tricks, such as blending the colors and then once they are dry, adding in layers. Acrylic paint pens are quite versatile and so it’s easy to understand their popularity. 

Being a water-based paint, acrylic pens are very popular amongst all ages – especially children (though they are generally not recommended for those under the age of 3). The pens offer an excellent trade-off between being permanent (discussed in the next section) while still being able to be washed off your hands with some soapy water.

For child safe acrylic paint pens, I recommend this set here. This set is also non-toxic and perfect for younger children.

It is a good idea, especially for younger children, to wear an apron to guard against any paint getting on their clothes as once the paint is dry it will be permanent.

It’s also important to remember that when using acrylic paint pens on items that you wish to consume food or drink from, to check if the paint is food-safe. Most paint pens on the market are intended for decorative purposes only.

Also, remember to cure and seal your project so that the paint never actually touches your food. I recommend this Krylon acrylic paint sealer. It’s always my number one choice for sealing all of my projects.

Do Acrylic Paint Pens Wash Off Glass?

This other article here, talks about using acrylic paint on glass, and how to bake and seal it so it’s safe to eat/drink out of. It’s definitely worth a read if you plan on using your acrylic paints on cups or dishes that you intend to eat off of later on.

The same goes for being dishwasher safe. Some manufacturers will claim that it is perfectly safe to put your decorative work through a dishwasher. Acrylic paint that has been properly sealed can be dishwasher safe, but only on a cold wash, and light drying.

If your item is special or sentimental to you, I wouldn’t recommend putting it in the dishwasher. Sometimes things can get scratched or tossed around in there, and the last thing you want is to have your project ruined.

When painting on ceramic or glass, once the paint has dried you can place in the oven. This is a very popular way of curing paint. Not only does it give your colors more vibrancy, but it allows the paint to set and become permanent. Before doing this, always check that the glass or ceramic you are using is oven-safe.

If you wish to preserve your decorated work on these surfaces, you can easily seal it with a varnish gloss, such as this one, to make the paint more permanent and protect it against cracking or chipping.

If young children want to seal their acrylic paint, I recommend that the glossing of varnish be carried out by an adult, or at the very least under adult supervision. If you are using a spray varnish, make sure you are outdoors, or in a well ventilated area.

It goes without saying that the effectiveness of any acrylic paint is only as good as the quality of the paint itself, and the pigment levels it contains. I always use and recommend Arteza Acrylic Paints, for all of my projects. They’re a top brand with so many colors and styles to choose from!

How to Get the Most Out of Your Acrylic Paint Pens

A little bit of care and a few easy rules can really extend the lifetime and the overall quality of your acrylic paint pens. Here are a few tips to help you to get the most out of your acrylics:

  • Shake Before Serving – You can’t tell by looking at it, but your acrylic paint pen employs a pump valve and ball system to keep the paint flowing at an optimal level. Shaking up your pen a bit before using it helps to ensure that you have a balanced and level mix before you start your work.
  • Stock Up on Spare Nibs – Nibs can get a bit of wear and tear quickly, or suffer a bit from dried paints. Replacing one is a breeze and it really makes a difference in the look and the feel on your next application. So keep a few spare nibs around and swap them out from time to time. They’re actually quite easy to change out.
  • Rinse and Repeat – You don’t always have to replace those nibs right away, because you can wash them. (yay!) If you’ve been getting a bit of mileage with your acrylic paint pen, then this is a good habit to get into. Take the nibs out, rinse them well, and you’ll notice an improvement on your next use. 
  • Pressure Increases the Paint – If you are getting sudden blots of acrylic paint, then pay a little mind to the pressure you are applying to the pen. What is happening is that the pressure is pumping the nib, increasing the paint flow, so with a little less pressure you can increase precision, save paint, and even take advantage of the nib-pump technique when you actually need it.

Final Thoughts

Today we have talked about how long you can expect acrylic paint pens to last as well as some of the most common questions about these super fun and creative pens. Take good care of your acrylics and don’t forget to stock up on those nibs. A little preparation makes a world of difference as you’ll soon see for yourself!

Don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your acrylic painting needs. Happy painting!

Annick

Annick's passion has been painting with acrylics since her youth. She has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects, from simple acrylic painting to advanced techniques like acrylic pouring.

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