Odds are that you’ve noticed your local Main Street or favorite shopping district getting a lot more colorful over the last few years. Eye-catching chalkboard marquee signs with bright, vibrant lettering are popping up in front of restaurants and shops everywhere. But where is the chalk dust? Where are the eraser marks? Don’t be fooled by the vintage look. The secret behind this emerging trend is a modern wonder: Liquid Chalk Markers.
A Dazzling Look You’ll Remember for Days
Through the magic of liquid chalk markers, today’s businesses are discovering the special appeal of customized signs. Glowing in neon colors, playful lettering and hand-drawn illustrations seem to jump off the simple blackboard background, grabbing your attention and leaving a lasting impression in your mind. These signs are a great conversation starter, too—most often, conversations that begin with, “How’d they do that??”
Liquid chalk markers also provide great fun for the whole family at home. Artists are finding new uses for these amazing tools every day. Specialty stores carry chalk markers, but unless you’re lucky enough to live down the street from an art supply shop, you’ll likely be purchasing your markers online, where you won’t have access to expert advice. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice.
All Chalk Markers Are Not Created Equal! Look for Signs of Quality
Brilliant colors and a crisp, clean look lie at the heart of the attraction of liquid chalk markers. Imagine how disappointed you’ll be if you sink money into chalk markers that don’t deliver these features. To help you avoid that frustration, here is our list of the Top Five Crucial Qualities You Want in liquid chalk markers.
1. Reversible Tip
Markers of all kinds have a variety of tips. The two most common tip types are a bullet (rounded) point, which is great for unleashing big, luscious bursts of color, and a chisel (beveled) point, which is perfect for creating clean, sharp edges. Reversible tip markers offer the best of both worlds. With a simple “flip of the tip,” you can outline and then fill in your work, all without changing markers.
2. Color Selection and Quality
Most liquid chalk marker kits offer four to 12 different colors. As nice as it is to have variety, the number of different colors is not the most important factor for you to consider. Don’t assume that more is always better! If you are writing on a good quality slate or porcelain steel chalkboard, the colors of the best chalk markers will stand out dramatically, allowing you to make even a three-color drawing shimmer like a rainbow. Not all manufacturers follow the same quality standards in their formulations of colors, however. Look for markers that are known for color that is intense and vibrant. In most cases, eight different colors will be more than enough to create a great menu board or keep your children’s creative juices flowing for months.
3. Reputation of the Company
Huge retail websites like Amazon have opened their doors to sellers from all over the world. The result is an amazing selection of products at affordable prices, but there is a downside. Any company can wow you with fancy pictures and big claims about “amazing,” “awesome” and “incredible” products. Distinguishing between the companies that live up to those claims and the shady businesses that are just out to make a quick buck off the latest trend is not easy. Before spending your hard-earned money, do some research about companies that sell liquid chalk markers. Do they sell other products? If so, do they specialize in art supplies, or do they just offer one box of chalk markers amidst a giant product line that includes flannel shirts and dog collars? Companies that specialize are for more likely to deliver a top-quality product, especially when it comes to a product as unique as a liquid chalk marker. Make sure to visit the website of any company you are considering. A professional look, clear categories, easy navigation, a thorough description of the product you wish to purchase, and sensible suggestions about similar products that may be of interest to you are all signs of a solid company that is in it for the long haul.
4. Glowing Customer Reviews
Customer reviews can be a powerful tool for gathering information on a product. As you read through reviews of liquid chalk markers, take a few notes. There will be some common themes, such as disappointingly dull colors, poor quality tips that fray easily, or “ghosting,” which occurs when markers leave a residue and don’t erase completely. (Note, however, that ghosting is often caused by the surface on which the markers are used, not by the markers themselves.) Pay special attention to any comments on tip quality. It is crucial to have a good point on your liquid chalk markers to get the kind of sharp lines you’ve been admiring on those great café signs. Remember, however, that some reviewers were actually compensated for their time with free merchandise. Seek out honest reviews from customers who took the time to share their thoughts without anything to gain.
5. A Product Guarantee and Easy Warranty Fulfillment
The most important of all the advice we can offer on purchasing liquid chalk markers is to choose a seller that offers a guarantee. Manufacturing a product as sophisticated as a liquid chalk marker is a complex process. Even at the very best factory run by the very best company, a defective marker will slip through the quality control cracks on rare occasions. That’s why top companies offer a satisfaction guarantee and make it easy for you to collect on that guarantee if you experience any problems with your markers. Liquid chalk markers are affordable, but they are not free. Make sure you buy from a company that stands behind its products.
A Few Great Ideas for Putting Your Liquid Chalk Markers to Use
Now that you know how to find the best liquid chalk markers, it’s time to unleash the fun with some creative projects.
Around the house. These vibrant markers can be used to label jars, leave notes for the family that your kids will actually read(!), or create a stunning “Welcome Home” or “Happy Birthday” sign.
Around the town. A neon-bright sign that shows real personality will be a great draw for your small business. Signs displaying tired, overused catchphrases in block lettering might as well say, “Welcome to Yawnsville.” Fun, eye-catching artwork and lettering with a personal touch are the keys to capturing the attention of today’s shoppers.
One great idea is to get a large A-frame chalkboard that can be placed outside of your restaurant or shop and folded up at the end of each day. List today’s specials or sale items and add attention-grabbing artwork or a clever one liner (“Keys made here; excuses for losing yours sold separately”). With a dazzling drawing or a witty wisecrack, your sign might just go viral on social media!
Choose Them Wisely, Use Them Wisely
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the top five crucial qualities you want in liquid chalk markers. But remember, it’s just as important to make good choices when using your markers as when buying them. Unless you want your creation to be permanent, chalk markers should only be used on non-porous surfaces such as glass, metal, and slate or porcelain steel chalkboards. When used on the right surface, a high-quality liquid chalk marker will wipe right off with a damp cloth. Say goodbye to dusty fingers and messy chalkboard erasers, and hello to a more creative you!