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There’s no reason chalk drawing should be consigned to a fond, faint childhood memory. After all, the possibilities of an easily washable, blendable drawing tool are too great to ignore. Cue liquid chalk markers: a sophisticated alternative to traditional blackboard chalk, sans the noxious, messy chalk dust. Use chalk markers to decorate photo frames, mirrors, windows, dry-erase boards, and many other nonporous surfaces (when drawing on an actual chalkboard, you’ll need to determine whether or not it is nonporous—we recommend testing first in an inconspicuous place). What you can create with chalk markers is limited only by your imagination—and, of course, the quality of the markers at your disposal. To help you find the best ones for your project, we’ve assembled a list of favorites for artists of all ages and skill levels.
ARTNEWS RECOMMENDSMarvy Uchida Bistro Chalk MarkersThese water-based markers are among the most reliable we’ve used. The flow of ink is smooth and steady, and it erases easily from most surfaces with a damp paper towel or cloth. Colors appear opaque rather than streaky, and they deliver thick and even coverage. The ink is nontoxic and resilient: You can leave your art up for months and the color won’t fade, nor will it smudge if wet. Finally, we like that the Bistro line comes in loads of colors that you can buy individually or purchase in groups of four harmonious colors such as pastels or metallics. Nibs are available in 3-, 6-, or 16-millimeter sizes.
Marvy Uchida Bistro Chalk Markers
EDUCATORS’ CHOICEVersaChalk Liquid Chalk MarkersSlightly less costly than our top pick, these chalk markers are ideal for classrooms. Each is loaded with nontoxic, odorless, and dust -free ink that releases effortlessly after a few shakes and a pump of the tip. These tips are reversible, so you can choose between a bullet and a chisel; we recommend adult supervision for this, as the process can be quite messy. The ink dries in minutes to an opaque finish and wipes off nonporous surfaces with little effort. Not available individually, these are sold in a set of 10 classic colors, sets of 8 in metallic or neon hues, and a 5-piece all-white set. Choose between a 5- and a 3-millimeter tip.
VersaChalk Liquid Chalk Markers
ALSO A GOOD CHOICECraft Smart Fluorescent Medium-Tip Chalk Marker SetThese are super-vibrant chalk markers that provide eye-catching, long-lasting fluorescent-like color. Each marker has a medium-size nib that is durable enough to withstand long-term use and projects that require a lot of coloring. Be sure to shake well and press down for a while to get the ink flowing. This set comes with eight colors, including white, that look particularly striking on dark surfaces. The ink flows well but isn’t runny, and you can go back over your lines without causing streaks.
Craft Smart Fluorescent Medium-Tip Chalk Marker Set
TOP OF THE LINEMolotow Chalk MarkersMolotow markers are expensive, but they are refillable and feature replaceable tips, so if you plan on using chalk markers frequently, you might end up saving in the long run. You can use these German implements on many nonporous surfaces to create temporary marks, but they also show up very well, and permanently, on canvas and other fabrics. The ink is quick-drying, and most colors can be blended without losing their properties. These pens are sold individually, in three nib sizes up to 15 millimeters, or in sets of six colors—choose between basic and neon.
Molotow Chalk Markers
ALSO CONSIDERSharpie Chalk MarkersThis is a good, basic set of everyday chalk markers. Unlike many competing products, they don’t require you to shake or prime them before use. They write smoothly on nonporous surfaces and wash off easily with a wet cloth. The colors are bold and flat, and the palette is limited to primary and secondary colors, so you won’t be overwhelmed when shopping. Purchase them in sets of three or five colors, or buy white markers in sets of two.
Sharpie Chalk Markers