Chalk Marker Pigment Powder shown dispensed from a screw top container

Secret world of the chalk marker exposed by our application analyst here at Cohas Chalkboard Systems.

The explosion of Chalkart used in Restaurants, Bars, Shops and even homes has Chalk Marker use growing at an exponential rate.  Often shop owners and artists will use what may be at hand.  Using the correct Chalk Marker can make the difference between a good display and a great one.  Not as simple as classroom chalk made from limestone, chalk markers come in several specific types.

Chalk Marker Pigment Powder shown dispensed from a screw top containerThe one thing all chalk markers do have in common, regardless of who manufactures the marker is the fact that they use pigment based ink.  Fine ground powder suspended in liquid solution makes pigment ink.  When dry this chalk liquid provides the characteristic look of chalk markers, resembling the look of chalk.  Pigment is good for many reasons, the greatest, but unseen one is that pigment is resistant to UV light.  For this reason they do not fade as fast as dye based markers.  Dye based markers include the classic whiteboard marker and permanent Sharpie brand marker.  Both work well for indoor applications they are intended for, they will fade quickly when exposed to the sun.

This pigment also makes the chalk marker ink very opaque resulting in a good covering over any color background including black.  In reality the fluid in the marker is closer to the paint family of products than the technology related to ink.

Chalk Marker Slang

Ever notice how when you give a nickname to someone it often sticks?  Over the years chalk markers have had this problem too!

Paint Marker, Chalk Ink, Chalk Pen, Bistro Marker, Paint Pen, Craft Marker, Poster Marker, Glass Pen, Liquid Chalk and of course Chalk Marker. The term “Chalk Marker” is a misnomer, not filled with chalk, it does make chalk like marks.  Regardless of the name you use you will see them in use everywhere!  A Manchester, New Hampshire company, “Adored” has even developed an app that pushes out local chalkboards to subscribers all across the country.   In a survey commissioned by this company they found Chalk Art motivated consumers to visit a business 46% more than print and 10% more than photos!

Our customers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have known this for years!  Visit these stores and you will find chalk art  beckoning you to your next culinary delicacy.  In most of those environments they use waterproof chalk markers, let’s find out why.

Waterproof Chalk Marker

These markers are most often used outdoors, as they will not come off in the rain. Use them on car windows, on the painted part of a car, plastic, glass, aluminum, steel and stone; any surface that is not porous will accept the marker. They work well on chalkboards and look like chalk when dry.

Windex used to remove waterproof semi-permanent Chalk MarkersEven though they make a strong bold mark, waterproof chalk markers are semi-permanent removed with Windex. The marks made are resistant to UV light, so they will not fade.  Both the Zig Posterman Waterproof and Markal Pro-Wash D (detergent) remove with high pH cleaners.  Though our testing has found that the Markal products, as industrial level markers tend to take a bit more effort to remove.

Typical Applications

  • Store Window Signs
  • A-Frame Signs
  • Sidewalk Signs
  • Police Markers (for parking violations or Marking a disabled car)
  • Decorating Car Windows or the Car
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Marking Glass or Ceramics
  • Home Decor
  • Fast Pitch Signs
  • Chalk Board Art
  • White Board for semi-permanent application
  • Skateboard Art Excellent on Grip Tape
  • Helmets, Headphones, Computers and Footwear
  • Canvas and Fine Art

The waterproof marker will not “lift” when you re-coat after drying. The same color or different colors are used next to each other with no bleeding or streaking. Just let the liquid chalk dry for 1-2 minutes before adding the next color.

On paper, canvas, cloth or other porous surfaces, the marker leaves a nice matte finish; an opaque mark that is permanent and light-fast. Artists will find they can create giant size calligraphy with the larger markers.

This type of marker only removes with Windex, many kitchen cleaners, Zig Posterman Cleaner, Cohas Cleaning Solution or most whiteboard cleaners. The Windex must have ammonia to work. The chemical properties needed in the cleaner for removal is a pH of 10 or higher.

They are compatible with dry erase and wet erase markers on the same board. When removing the dry erase marker with an eraser, the waterproof mark will not remove.

Shop Waterproof Chalk Markers and Chalk Paint Pots


Used on glass, plastic, blackboards, stone, whiteboards and any non-porous surface, these markers will always come off with a damp cloth or sponge.

Wet-Wipe Broad Chisel 6mm Tip Marker The 27 available Colors in a Circle showing the tips

Click to Shop Wet-Wipe Markers

Often used for menus in restaurants or special boards, they are easy to change. Just wash away the item you would like to change.  The Zig Posterman Wet-Wipe and Markal Pro-Wash W (water) are removed with a damp cloth or wet sponge.

The marks on your board can not be removed by brushing or rubbing.  You must use water to remove the text or artwork on the board.

The majority of Chalk Markers on the market today will be Wet-Wipe style markers that are removed with water.  If you are in a situation where your chalk marker is being affected by nearby water spray, food or beverage contact, or rain outdoors, select the waterproof semi-permanent marker when ordering.

On porous items wet-wipe markers will be permanent.  Always test your surface and consider the application before use.

Typical Applications

  • Store Signs
  • POP displays
  • Table, Counter or Bar Top displays
  • Arts and Crafts on non-porous items when easy removal is required
  • Arts and Crafts on porous items when permanent marks are needed
  • Child artwork on counters or glass
  • Chalk Board Art
  • White Board for easy to use, “erase when dry” applications
  • Menu Boards
  • Wedding and Function Message Boards
  • Kitchen Menu Boards
  • Family Calendar and Activity Board

Most Wet-Wipe chalk markers will apply wet, then dry in about 1-2 minutes.  When dry they can not be rubbed off, this works well for many inside applications.

Shop Wet-Wipe Chalk Markers

Wet-Wipe UV Chalk Markers

Illumigraph is the same ink type as Wet-Wipe in how it functions. The colors will be very fluorescent, especially under black-light, lights at night and on LED boards. Dark surfaces look best with this product. The appearance can be described as a true neon line when on a lighted board like a back-lit menu board or a LED Flashing Board.

These chalk markers will not damage your acrylic menu board surface and are removed by rubbing with a soft cloth.  If the board has scratches or micro scratching, stubborn marks can be removed with a damp sponge or cloth.  With a very smooth surface Illumigraph markers will remove very well with a dry eraser made for use on a white board.  This is different than the Zig Posterman Wet-Wipe, Markal Pro-Wash W and most other brand Wet-Wipe markers.

Zig Illumigraph 15mm Chalk Markers in all 8 colors

When used on your boards, there’s no need to take them down to change them. Unlike the inexpensive markers, these high quality paint markers will not run when you load the tip. No more dripping and dribbling down the board!  If your LED Flashing board came with markers, you will not believe the performance of the Zig Illumigraph markers when you replace them. Not only are the marks cleaner and brighter, they are also available in wider sizes allowing for big bold messages!

Typical Applications

  • Blacklight Environments
  • LED Flashing Boards
  • Table, Counter or Bar Top displays on Black Backgrounds
  • Chalk Board Art
  • Blackboard Chalk Marker for Easy to Use, “Erase When Dry” Applications
  • Menu Boards
  • Wedding and Function Message Boards Super Bright on Dark Surfaces
  • Nightclub, Hotel, Restaurant and Lounge Displays

Once dry, the marks are easy to change; perfect for price changes or changing the special of the day on your message board.

Zig Illumigraph Markers should not be used outdoors, they will come off in the rain. Use care around energized electronic devices. Unplug your LED Flashing or Light Board before use and allow ink to dry. Follow the manufactures recommendation on your writing surfaces.

Shop Bright Ultra Violet Receptive Wet-Wipe Chalk Markers

Permanent Pigment Chalk Markers

While not often used for Chalk Markers the Markal Pro-Line made here in America has some unique features.  For chalkboard applications we find them useful for stone, glass, tile, metal and other outdoor installations.  Available in smaller extra fine and fine tips the Pro-Max is similar to the Zig Posterman 15mm Big and Bold marker.  The Pro-Max has a 14mm tip size.14mm Pro-Max Markal Permanent Chalk (Paint) Marker Shown just after priming and use. Chalk Marker is on a Cohas Chalkboard Systems ChalkFlex Eco Board

It is very important before you start your project to know your intended use and needs. Permanent Liquid Chalk, also called Liquid Paint Markers, can not be removed with water, Windex or detergent.  You may be able to remove them with a solvent.  It is important to note removal is not always possible even with a solvent.

Contact us to order Permanent Chalk Markers

Solid Markers

While not used as Chalk Markers, often we see our customers searching for information on this type of marker.  Solid Paint Markers are more like very large crayons than pens.  The modern ones like the Markal Quick Stick and Quick Stick Mini come in plastic containers that dispense the solid paint.  Some solid markers use a paper cover that is pealed off like a china marker exposing the solid ink.

Solid yellow Markal Paint Marker with an open cap on a Cohas Chalkboard Systems Eco Board

Solid markers provide a long lasting mark that is UV resistant, they can be used on wet surfaces.  Something not possible for most chalk markers.  Typical use is in metal fabrication, automotive marking, construction, welding and shipping applications.

Contact us to order Solid Chalk Markers

Marker Safety

Kuretake (Zig Brand) Manufactured Products

The water based pigment solution, has no odor, no VOC’s and are non-toxic.  The markers conform to EU product safety regulations for children.

Zig Posterman and Zig Illumigraph markers carry the AP Seal, all markers conform to ASTM D4236. This means that the products bearing the AP Approved Product Seal of ACMI are certified in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medic expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans or to cause acute or chronic health problems.  This program is reviewed by ACMI’s Toxicological Advisory Board. These products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D 4236 and federal law, P.L. 100-695.  In addition, there is no physical hazard as defined within the 29 CFR part 1910.1200 (c).

All markers have the CE mark and comply with the CE legislation. This means that the products bearing the CE mark meet the Toy Safety regulation, EN-71, in the European Community for Standardization.

The marker caps also comply with the UK Safety Standard BS7272.  This relates to the design practices of caps to reduce the risk of asphyxiation to children.

As one of the largest stocking distributors in the world, we import the Kuretake Zig markers from Japan for individual sale and integration into our made in the USA Cohas Chalkboard Systems products.

LA-CO Industries (Markal Brand) Manufactured Products

All Markal products use Xylene-free paint reduces user health risks and eliminates California Proposition 65, EPA HAPS and SARA 313 concerns in the U.S.A..  Markal products not recommended in home environments, primarily designed and tested for industrial use.

Markal markers, made right here in America.  Sold individually here on Cohas Chalkboard Systems and integrated into our made in the USA products.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

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