my top ten pens for lettering

One thing that’s taken a lot of experimentation and time is finding my favourite pens for various lettering projects. From paper to wood, to glass, to chalkboard - every pen works different on different materials!

Until you try, you never really know how a pen will work. Will I like the bend of this brush pen? Will this white paint pen be permanent on glass? Will this pen be opaque in one layer or will I need to do many layers? Will this gold pen be metallic enough?

Today, I’m removing all the testing and questions for you and sharing my favourite pens for various uses, and how well they stay on various materials!

Hopefully obvious disclaimer: I haven’t tried every pen out there. For years I’ve been just buying various pens I come across online and at my local craft store and finding the ones that work best for my purposes! I recommend you do this too - you never know what gem you’ll find! But here’s a lil quick start list for you with my tried and tested faves!

My favourite pens for calligraphy + lettering projects

Brush Pens

Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pen

This one has a really large brush pen on one end and a bullet tip on the other. I find the brush too big for most final projects - but if you need a larger scale brush this one is perfect. I use this pen mostly for packaging online orders, using the large brush for writing the purchaser’s name and then flipping the pen over and using the bullet tip .
Ideal for paper projects.

Tombow Fudenosuke - Hard and Soft Tip

These are my favourite regular brush pens. Perfect bend to the brush and great ink flow.
Ideal for paper projects.


Chalk Pens

Bistro Chalk Marker

They are available in multiple sizes and many colours and have great opacity. They’re the only ones I use! It’s even available in a metallic gold!
Ideal for chalkboard projects, also works as a non-permanent option on glass/acrylic!

Paint Pens

Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens

These are super permanent and super opaque and available in so many colours besides white.
Ideal for wood and acyrlic/glass.

Pilot Super Color Permanent White

These are available in a super fine tip which I’ve found helpful in replacement for the sharpie oil based pens because sometime I need a really fine tip for writing on glass or acrylic. Don’t make a mistake though because these are not forgiving!
Ideal for glass and acrylic.

Molotow Acrylic Paint Pen

With these being acrylic based, they’re not permanent on materials like glass or acyrlic, but super opaque with a great flow for materials like wood and canvas. They still work on glass or acyrlic if they don’t need to be permanent long-term!
Ideal for wood and canvas.


Gold Paint Pens

Sakura Pen-Touch Gold

This one is super fine tip and really beautifully metallic. It has my favourite gold of all these pens. It’s looked great on canvas or on tiles for place cards.
Works for most materials.

Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pen

These are super permanent and super opaque and available in so many colours besides gold! Also available in many different tip sizes.
Ideal for wood and acrylic/glass.

Zebra Brush Pen

I haven’t found many gold brush pens that work well, so finding this one has been great! It’s water-based so it won’t be permanent on non-porous materials, but a great option if you’re working on paper or canvas!
Ideal for paper and canvas.

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