Best pens for writing on the back of shiny cards?

Have you ever spent ages picking out the perfect card, and thinking about the amazing things you are going to write, only to have the shiny backing keep making your ballpoint pen stop working? :pensive:

It’s just happened to me, and it was so frustrating. Every few letters I had to scribble on a piece of blank piece of paper to get the ink flowing again. :roll_eyes: I pity the poor recipient of my ugly writing. I hope they can read it! :wink:

So my question is, what kind of pen would you use for shiny backed cards? :pen:


Sharpie works ok. Sadly they are all too thick to use.


Sharpie “ultra-fines” are what I normally use, I don’t think they are too fine! They are harder to find than the normal “fine” grade, but are becoming more available in Europe I think.

Pens designed for permanent marking on overhead transparancies (Stabilo OHP as one example) are amazingly still available (does anyone use overhead transparancies anymore?) and are also an option. They take a little more time to dry than Sharpies and are available in fewer colors, and for that reason are a second choice for me, but they do work.


Ultra Fine Point by Sharpie. Comes in loads of colors and equivalent to a 0.3mm in width. I’ve never had a problem with it on glossy paper.


Ooh, thanks @ColorfulCourtney I didn’t know that Sharpie made an “ultra-fine” version. Also, OHP pens is a good idea. :slight_smile:

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I love using Micron pens, as far as I know they should be fine for shiny backs, though it may take a while to dry and they may smudge if you’re not careful.


I love most Faber castell multimark size S with the eraser on the back, works for glass, metal etc.

No trouble in writing and dries out immediately


Some of my go-to pens for shiny backs have already been mentioned: Sakura Pigma Microns and Ultra Fine Sharpies.

My other favorites are Pilot Precise V5 rollerball pens and U Brands Catalina felt tip pens–the latter especially, for some reason, are very shiny-back-friendly and dry relatively quickly (about the same as the Microns).


I agree with everyone above about using Sharpies. Sharpies aren’t my overall preferred pen, but they dry fast compared to some of the other pens. I can be a little clumsy or might get distracted by something and end up smudging the ink if I don’t set it aside quickly enough.

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The Sakura Microperm works better on glossy paper than the “normal” Sakura Pigma Micron.


Exactly! The Sharpie Ultra Fine Point compared to a Sakura Pigma Micron 003 (the finest point I have come across so far):


Ooh that Sakura looks lovely. I’m after a really fine line pen. I’ve ordered the Sharpie already, but I’ll put the Sakura to my future wishlist :+1:


I sold writing instruments for a number of years, representing Pilot Pen. Back in the 1980s, their smash product was thew Razor Point. Then Roller-Balls came along and then the Precise line (I preferred the bolder V7). Sharpie makes fine products, but don’t overlook Uniball. Today I use Precise by Pilot and Uniball.


Out of interest are the sharpie and micron waterproof?

@AstroBee Yes, the Sharpie ultra fine is so waterproof that a postcard of mine was delivered to Ireland after 82 days, possibly submerged at some point, with no stamps left and no picture side, with only the Sharpie address and greeting left intact.

My artist daughter assures me that Micron pens are waterproof and will survive being drawn over with Copic markers.


I use this oil-based Zebra mackee care marker! They have two tips.

They come in 12 colours, but I only use the black one.


I use Dong-A Fine Tech and Pilot Juice. Somehow I really enjoy the slipperiness. :relieved:

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When I want to use ballpoint pens on glossy paper, I go for Pilot BP-S pens. They always slide so smoothly…

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I’ve seen your card on the forum I think!
Thanks for the tips :blush:

I would recommend Microns with caveats.

As positives (in my experience) they have a finer point size and once they are dry they are waterproof. As cautions (again in my experience), they tend to “smash” more easily than Sharpies, which can be a problem if you have a heavier hand writing, they take a little longer to dry and will smear if you lay your hand on them or rub against them before they dry, they are more expensive, and they come in fewer colors.

Copics dry (once more in my experience) a little more quickly than Microns but have even fewer colors. They are also more expensive than Sharpies, at least where I buy them.

If you are a careful writer and want a very fine point, I would think Microns and Copics would both be fine.

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