Here's a random question - Where the heck can I find a silver pen that sticks to glossy prints?!

Here's a random question - Where the heck can I find a silver pen that sticks to glossy prints?!

(Jesse Smith) #1

You wouldn’t believe the amount of time and money I’ve spent looking for a single pen that will dry onto glossy paper on top of the ink itself. I’ve tried paint markers, sharpie’s, etc.

No matter how many articles online I read that say a certain pen sticks to glossy, it NEVER works.

Anyone around here that has a solution for me? Thank you. Link would appreciated if you can find something online I can easily order.

Have a good one everyone!

(Patricia Brundage, MNEC) #2

Try Michaels or an art store near you. I have one called Pen-Touch in Silver and another in gold that’s just marked “Metallic”.

(Jesse Smith) #3

Yeah I’ve tried local shops and they don’t have anything that I haven’t tried from online. Plus the lack of knowledge in this area by every art store is frustrating, to say the least.

Thank you for your input Patricia! I truly believe signing glossy prints is a myth at this point haha.

(Anil Rao) #4

Hi Jessie,

Just thought this blog article may be worth checking out, i.e. if you haven’t done so already.

Best Marker / Pen for Signing Photographic Prints

The article has a link to an Amazon page for the suggested marker but there are plenty of negative reviews there. The interesting thing, however, is that the author of the blog article mentions that he did not experience any of those issues.

BTW, do you have better luck signing on the white border, i.e. not on the actual printed surface? Perhaps your problem has to do with incompatibility with the inks you are using.


(Jesse Smith) #5

Yeah, that article is 100% incorrect. I’ve tried that one :frowning: thanks though!

And I have tried both surfaces, ink and plain paper. It’s unreal how difficult this is to figure out. Really appreciate your time though!

What’s wild is that I trust Jim Harmer. I don’t know what happened for that info to be incorrect.

(Anil Rao) #6

Sorry I couldn’t be of help and I hope you find a solution that works soon.

I don’t have this issue since I print on cotton rag and sign with a pencil on the white border. :slight_smile:

(Jesse Smith) #7

No worries, appreciate you taking the time to try and help!

I have a couple that I use for cotton now, since I’ve ordered so many in attempts to get glossy to work, haha. I don’t print on Matte/cotton a whole lot. I need to find more photos that will work well on cotton rag because I do love the paper.

(FritzImages) #8

Hi Jesse,

Why silver ink ?

I have several fine art prints that were signed with Black Pigma® Micron® Archival Black Ink Pen .05. Prints are on Epson Exhibition fiber and some are Epson UltraPremiumPhotoLuster. (A. Briot Print paper review

Maybe you can DM Alain for suggestions, I think he is a NPN member.

(Hank Pennington) #9

Check with B&H. My wife used pens (not just silver, but black, gold and white) for signing her large prints in the studio. She had (still has in fact) an imprinting machine that did heat transfers from special foil on all her unmounted prints 11x14 and smaller, but it wasn’t usable on anything large and mounted.

She got all her pens and the special foil from Calumet back in the day, but they’re no longer around, with Ritz Camera featured prominently in googles of the name. The notable thing is, in 20 years of doing it she never once complained about the pens or the results. I can’t imagine that they disappeared from the market along with Calumet.

EDIT; I just did a fast check of the B&H site and found a promising option, though not the same as those used by my wife:

Polaroid Metallic Marker Set

Amazon has another option.

Here’s yet another from Amazon.

(Jesse Smith) #10

Only reason I say silver is because I want to sign over the ink vs on the white paper. I would like to start leaving a small border but matting gets tougher to deal with at that point.

That is a beast of an article! I’d love to get to that point in terms of printing.

Thank you!

(Jesse Smith) #11

Thank you so much Hank, these do look promising. I’ll take a look and give them a try. Really appreciate you and everyone taking the time to help!

(Hank Pennington) #12

You bet Jesse. I wish I could be more specific on what my wife used. We sold the studio 5 years ago and are enjoying the proceeds in sunny Florida, which means the pens are back home in an Alaskan drawer. She can’t remember the brand, and at our age I dare not press the memory issue. She’s too well acquainted with “Turnabout is fair play!” :smile:

(Hank Pennington) #13

There’s another VERY good reason for signing and noting copyright directly on the print. In our studio we had trouble with folks buying a single print at our retail price, then taking it to the nearest print shop for cheap reproductions to spread through their family tree rather than buying additionals from us:

With the signature and copyright notice, any credible print shop will recognize professional work and refuse to dupe it.

That’s more than a concern for nature photographers too. I complimented friends on a landscape photo on their wall and they said “My mom bought it from the photographer. We all liked it so much she took it to Walmart and had copies made for all her kids and grandkids, so we all have it on our walls. Kind of a family signature now.”

I don’t mean to point fingers at Walmart. In fact it is company policy NOT TO duplicate any signed and copyrighted photo without written permission from the photographer. They’ll go so far as asking for the photog’s phone # if the permission is not on letterhead.

(David Kingham) #14

I’ve used this on glossy prints (directly on the print) with great success, they are archival safe.

(Jesse Smith) #15

Thank you all! All the pen suggestions are on their way! I knew you’d have an answer :slight_smile:

Appreciate all of you!

I’ll report back what worked best for me. I forgot to mention I also emailed canson to see what they had to say but may not need their answer at this point.

Have a great day all!

(Hank Pennington) #16

"Them’s the ones! " Or more proper words to that effect. I showed this to my wife and she hoisted both thumbs into the ether.

(Sandy Richards-Brown) #17

Jesse - I use these on both shiny prints and metal prints, without any problems.
Got them at Michael’s.
Banford Archival SIlver coat (or Gold Coat) slim tip Metallic Marker. I forget if there were other colours.
Please report on your testing and preferences !
Good luck -


(Kathy Snead) #18

I use Pentel “Sunburst” metallic medium gel silver. Works great.

(Bob Falcone) #19

Sorry I’m a little late to this, but this is the pen I use. Writes on ANYTHING. I got mine at Meningers in Colorado Springs.