Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Metallic Pens: Part 2

For a detailed discussion of metallic pen brands and use, please read the second half of this post. If you're just interested in the cards, I've put them first. 

Yesterday's metallic pen post showed one way to use straight lines in a design, while today's post will show cards with a single metallic line that creates a simple border on a card.

Stamps: Hero Arts You're So Lovely. Ink: Memento Luxe
pear tart, rich cocoa. Paper: Papertrey white. Accessories:
rhinestones, Prismacolor metallic pen

Stamps: Hero Arts You're So Lovely. Ink: Hero Arts soft sky,
Memento Luxe black. Paper: Papertrey white. Accessories:
rhinestones, Prismacolor silver marker

To make these cards, I masked off the top of the card with post-it notes. To get the mask totally straight, just place a quilting ruler 1.5" up from the bottom of the card, making sure the bottom edge of the paper is perfectly aligned with the grid on the quilting ruler. Then, place the post-its' sticky edges right up against the quilting ruler. Works great!

After setting the masks in place, I randomly stamped the images. (Side note: I'm a lot happier with the random placement of the leaves than the flowers!) After removing the masks, I lined up a metal ruler with a felt bottom over the stamped part, with just a bit of the stamped images peeking out from the ruler's edge. If you make sure there's an even amount of the stamped image peeking out, your marked line will be as straight as the mask was. Then, making sure the pen was fully primed (see below), I drew the line against the ruler.

Note that if your stamped edge at the mask is a little ragged looking, the opaque metallic ink will cover it up, which is super!

Discussion of Metallic Pen Brands, Widths, and Use
First up, silver pens. In my experience, there's very little difference in color or quality between these three brands: Pilot, Prismacolor, and Sakura Pen-Touch. All three are silver ink pens (as opposed to paint pens), and all three give essentially the same pretty silver color and opaque coverage.

Note that the Sakura silver pen is a calligraphy pen. It has an extremely wide nib for very large lettering. I bought it to experiment but haven't really played with it yet.

Now, the gold pens. The top one is a Pilot paint marker with an extra-fine nib, the middle is a medium point Sakura Pen-Touch, and the bottom is a Prismacolor broad-tip pen.

I have found more variability in the gold ink colors. Below, you can see a huge difference in the paint pen (far right)...it's just not as shiny (although I may not have shaken it quite enough...it's new). The left pen is the Prismacolor, which is slightly lighter and brighter than the Sakura ink. Note also that between brands, labels like "medium" and "broad" are meaningless. The broad Prismacolor line is narrower than the medium Sakura. On the whole, the Prismacolor works a bit better for me, but the Sakura is perfectly acceptable. Not so much the paint pen.

Take a closer look at the nibs.

Upon first opening, all three nibs require priming (pushing up and down on scrap paper to load the ink into the fibrous nib) . Once the ink is fully loaded into the nib, additional priming is occasionally necessary. I typically push the nib into the pen a few times before each use, just to keep the ink flowing well. If you don't get a smooth line of ink, you can always go back over it after priming it a bit. Just don't move your ruler until you're satisfied!

Metallic inks tend to separate when they sit, so ALWAYS vigorously shake your metallic pens before using. There's a bead inside each barrel to stir the ink, so just shake the pen so you hear the bead clacking around inside for a bit.

Several people have reported that their nibs frayed. I've never had this happen, but trimming with a small, sharp pair of scissors would probably fix the problem.

I hope my babbling on this subject helps you dive right in and start playing with these fabulous, inexpensive, and gloriously pretty pens!

Feel free to share your experiences, questions, comments with these or other metallic pen brands in the comments!


  1. I love the look of these pens. I tried the paint pens a few years ago and didn't really like my results. You make me want to revisit the concept with some of these. Your cards are beautifully elegant.

  2. I also played with the paint pens years ago as that's all that was available. They are finicky at best with not-so-great colors.
    Thank you, Susan, for this mini-series and all its really pertinent information. Will be looking for some new pens to use!
    Love, love, love Everything about these two cards.

  3. Great tips and analysis on the silver and gold metallic pens. Have you used the other colors: copper, bronze, and others?

    1. I've used a copper one. It's awesome but after about 15 years, it's finally drying out. I'm struggling finding a replacement.


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