Editor’s Note: This post is an updated version of the post titled “Permanent Fixtures: Reviewing the Sharpie” that was published on The Pensive Penner on September 13, 2016. This version addresses a number of updates recommended by the advisor for this project including references, consistency of reviews, consistency of font styles, and more clarity regarding the nature of this post.
The Sanford Ink Company introduced the Sharpie Fine Point black ink marker in 1964 and immediately revolutionized writing utensils. The Sharpie could write on nearly every surface, including glass, plastic, and wood.
The Sharpie line continued throughout the 20th century, expanding with the Extra Fine Point and Ultra Fine Point markers and eventually highlighters (sharpie.com).
While Sharpies may have changed the name of the game, they’re not always the best choice, depending on the application. To prove this, I tested a number of Sharpies on various surfaces, and then tested what else Sharpies can be used for, other than writing.
- Sharpie Fine Point
- Sharpie Ultra Fine Point
- Sharpie Pen Fine Point
- Sharpie Highlighter
- Sharpie Silver Metallic
- Plastic (hard)
- Plastic (soft)
- Leather (baseball)
The Sharpie Fine Point marker performed excellently on all surfaces. The clear, bold lettering left an imprint on every surface tested. There was a slight bleeding issue on the paper and cardboard, but that can be expected with a marker.
The Sharpie Ultra Fine Point performed quite well on most surfaces. It wrote excellently on the paper, cardboard, hard plastic, and baseball. It ran into problems with the styrofoam due to the sharp nib digging into the surface while writing, making it difficult to use. The nib glossed over both the soft plastic and glass, slipping occasionally, making it difficult to write with.
Being a pen, not a marker, the Sharpie Pen Fine Point was slightly less easy to use than the previous two. It wrote smoothly only on the paper, cardboard, and leather but all other surfaces caused trouble.
The Sharpie Highlighter was by far the poorest writing tool of them all, an obvious outcome, but it was able to highlight on most surfaces.
The Sharpie Silver Metallic possessed the largest nib of all, making it difficult to write with on almost every surface. It did turn out somewhat legible on both the paper and cardboard.
It became obvious that the Fine Point, the original, is the all-around best Sharpie to use with the Ultra Fine Point placing in a close second. The Pen, Highlighter, and Metallic are all usable, just for somewhat different applications.
While Sharpies might write on an incredibly diverse types of surfaces, their uses go beyond simple dictation and penmanship. In fact, they’re quite useful for a number of cranial applications.
After careful research, I found that Sharpie caps can be used as hair clips and “clip-on” earrings. If you don’t believe me, see the photo gallery below.
The Sharpie Fine Point, Ultra Fine Point, and Pen Fine Point caps work as excellent hair clips. That being said, multiple survey respondents said that the Ultra Fine Point was the optimal clip, offering the maximum clamping power without drawing too much attention.
The Ultra Fine Point also won out in competition with the Pen Fine Point for best clip-on earring. It was able to grasp the earlobe with enough force to remain in place and not pinch, while the Pen Fine Point stayed on, but caused pain from pinching.
If you’re asking why you would ever use a Sharpie cap as a hair clip or earring, I have answers for you.
I have witnessed many cases of someone using a Sharpie and their hair falls into their face, obstructing their view of what they are doing with the pen. The cap isn’t being used so it makes sense to use it to hold back those pesky hairs.
I have also witnessed times when someone arrives to a function and sees that the setting calls for earrings. With none on your person and Sharpies in your bag, taking out the caps to two of your Ultra Fine Point (or Pen Fine Point in a pinch, literally) markers and clamping them on your earlobes is a completely acceptable solution.
Sharpie caps can also be used as earrings for those without pierced ears as the cap simply clamps on, requiring no piercing.
If you’ve made it this far and think that I’m ridiculous for suggesting the use of a Sharpie cap as a hair clip or earring, think again. The majority of Sharpie caps are black, and black goes with everything, so there’s no excuse for this incredibly convenient device not working with any given outfit.
If you have any questions about writing, drawing, or decorating yourself with Sharpies, please feel free to comment here, or reach out to me on Twitter, @pensivepenner, or Instagram, @thepensivepenner. My Pinterest board can also be found under ThePensivePenner.