Every so often, an amazing product comes along in my life that I try for the first time and wonder “how in the world have I survived so long without using this?”. A short list of items like that includes a sink-mounted bottle washer, most quality tools, those bottles of Dawn dish soap that spray in a mist, my gigging keyboard, an electric kettle, and socks that all look the same so that you never have to match them. Acrylic Paint Pens now make this list. I tried them for the first time this week and was absolutely blown away.
For years, other builders in the guitar pedal community have been using Acrylic Paint Pens for their designs and artwork. One of the most famous boutique circuits ever, the Fuzz Factory, used Paint Pens. In particular, Posca Pens are recommended for pedals. These are a little pricey, so we tried a more generic brand from Amazon. Songbirds got these pens for use at one of our community events. There, attendees were invited to paint rocks for the Oviedo Rock Garden at the Library. The rocks turned out great and I couldn’t believe how clean they looked! I painted a guitar pedal enclosure this week and here are my honest thoughts on Acrylic Paint Pens:
1. Incredibly Smooth Application
This is the biggest takeaway for me. I can’t get over how effortlessly the paint is applied to the surface of your work. It’s like using a Sharpie or other quality marker, but the ink is actually paint.
2. Even Saturation
The quality of the paint in the pen is high. I used several weak colors like pastel green, lavender, and white, in addition to bolder options like black and forest green. There was awesome saturation for every color, and nothing required a second coat. I was painting on a dark grey metal box, and the lighter colors had no trouble.
3. Absence of Stroke Marks
There were no lines or streaks where the tip of the pen overlapped with the existing paint. It’s magical.
4. Fast Dry Time
We are all used to Acrylic Paint drying quickly, but the stuff in the Pens dries almost instantly. It must go on extremely thin – which is even more incredible that the pens can achieve such even and consistent saturation.
I haven’t tried to put my guitar pedal or the rocks at the Rock Garden through a tumbler. However, the rocks and the paint survived being jostled about in a bucket, and I didn’t notice any chipping or scuffing. None of the rocks were protected with a clear coat, so we’ll see how they hold up. At first glance, the paint seems to be lasting very well.
I can’t think of anything that I would improve about the pens that I used. It seems that you’re only limited by your own artistic ability (alas, such is life). I did notice that it’s tricky, if not impossible, to remove errant color from the tips if two pens touch by accident. It looks like someone accidentally hit one of the white pens with some red at our event – oops! I’d imagine that the pens dry out relatively quickly without the caps on, but that hasn’t been tested.
I’m amazed by these generic Acrylic Paint Pens and will be ordering myself a set for personal use. There’s a lot more painting in this style in my future. I hope that you can try these and see if they work for you as well – we’ve had them this week at Spring Break camp and the kids love them!
Stay tuned for our next installment of the Knowledge Blog! If you’re looking for more art information, check out our previous post on Acrylic Painting Techniques.
Note: Songbirds is not sponsored or endorsed by the manufacturers of Acrylic Paint Pens in any way. I just really like them! The links on this page are affiliate links, meaning that if you buy a product through this link, we get a teeny, tiny, minuscule, objectively unfair kickback from Amazon. This kickback is not added to your cost. Thanks for helping us in any way with your purchases!