Crayola Gel Markers Review

I was so, so, so excited to see these markers while scrolling through Instagram the other day!  Crayola making gel markers that are perfect for dark papers – yes please!  I ordered them from Amazon for less than $10 (another win in my book!) and they were on my doorstep in two days.  You all can’t imagine how excited I was for naptime to arrive.  I grabbed my markers and some paper and snuggled into my office chair. 

This is where this story takes a turn… and not for the best.  The markers I received were absolutely terrible.  Chalky, invisible, just not what I want to write with.  So, before writing a terrible review, I called Crayola and asked their customer service if I was using these wrong or if they had a paper recommendation.  I spoke with the kindest, calmest customer service representative on the planet and she offered to refund me or send me another pack of markers.  Obviously, I picked new markers and they arrived.  These are BETTER than the first set.  So, below is my experience with the second set of markers and it is an honest opinion.  

My first test was on plain white HP LaserJet Smooth paper.  I wanted to get a feel for the nibs of the pens and get used to holding the larger barrels.  On a side note, you can TOTALLY use Crayola large markers for hand lettering – it is just a heavy pressure marker!  Anyways, the colors flowed smoothly and most of them were very bright.  The blue and pink nibs were especially juicy.  The nibs bounced back from the heavy pressure and gave a nice thin line.  But, as they dried, I noticed that all of the colors had a whitish, cloudy tint and the colors just weren’t popping like I wanted.  Plus, there were sharp color bleeds with the pressure changes and where my downstrokes were, there were dark lines on their side.  And, the gray was much more blue than gray.  On a side note, I have a hard time distinguishing color – but my husband has super color eyes and sees ALL the colors (it is part of his job at work) – so, if I can tell the color is off, it is REALLY off!

I chalked all of these things up to using white paper instead of the black it recommends on the front of the packaging.  So, I grabbed a sheet of black cardstock from my scrapbook stash.  I used Hobby Lobby’s store brand Paper Studio black cardstock.  It isn’t super smooth, but I definitely wouldn’t consider it to be as rough as regular copy paper.  They barely showed up.  Really, barely. They are almost invisible.  Also, in my first set, the white pen nib picked up the black pigment from the paper and discolored the nib.  I feel that if it had sat there for any period of time, the pen would probably be permanently discolored (again, just my personal feeling).  However, my new set did not have this problem.

I grabbed a different black paper that is a little smoother.  It is a black paper notebook I got in New York last spring.  The only name on the back is Shizen Design and it cost me less than $5.  On this second paper, most of the colors performed remarkably better.  However, when I turned the pen on the end to just use the fine tip, several were hard to see clearly again. 

I also gave them a spin of kraft paper.  Some of the colors really popped on the paper – especially the purple and blue, but others were nearly invisible.  The upstrokes on the white pen are non existent and the gray looks black.  But, my biggest issues is that the color didn’t finish evenly.  Some places are splotchy and others are smooth. 

Overall, I was really disappointed in these pens.  I was especially hopeful because it is hard to find markers to write on dark papers that aren’t metallic.  I would not recommend them if you are interested in consistent performance on paper.  I was hoping to be able to use them to letter on invitations and other stationary, but they are not consistent enough to do beautiful work.

Another thing that bothers me… and this is super nit-picky, but I hate that the box opens on the side rather than the top.  What the heck Crayola?  Don’t you have like 100 other marker boxes that open on the top!?! They are fine to play around with and I will probably donate them to my little one, but it definitely a disappointment to use in lettering. 

I have a video of the pens in real time, so you can see drying and coloring time.

Have you used these pens? I am curious to hear about other people’s experiences with them!

Get your letter on,


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