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Writing on slate signs?

FireFire Posts: 17,116
edited September 2021 in Tools and techniques
I have some slate signs for the community garden. The medium for writing on them would need to be semi-permanent. Someone recommended white Artline Decorite pens, but these are water-based and wash off fairly easily. A pen would be easier than a paint brush - neat letter of any fashion really not my forte. I don't know what cafes and pubs etc use for there chalk boards. If I use acrylics paint, I imagine these would wash off also, after, say, six months, unless varnished. (I have the slate and the metal crooks and want to use these, not another method).

Thoughts welcome.



  • I'll have a look for my chalk pen tomorrow so I can tell you what brand it is (may take me some time, tidiness not being a strength!). I intended it for the opposite purpose- so I could clean it off easily and reuse my markers, but it's a bugger to remove so could be ideal for you!
  • Also just thought though, my pen comes off more easily soon after writing, but needs extreme scrubbing once it's dried on for a while, especially in sunshine. Might be worth testing your pen marks in a week or so to see if they're more resilient than they appear.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Lol. Is your for outside use? Water-based? Thanks @CharlotteF

    The Decorite pen seems almost chalk-based.
  • I think the pump-action acrylic paint pens are your best bet.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,655
    If chalk is wet when you put it on and it dries properly, it's relatively (not absolutely) stable  - which is I think what pubs often do. It's basically paint, I suppose. Charlotte's pen may be chalk in a slightly more stable liquid than water, but same principle.
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • It doesn't smell so I assume it's water based, and yes chalky. As raisingirl says it is basically chalky paint, so I think what happens is there are enough chalk particles to form a solid mass, rather than just the mark you'd get from a stick of chalk, if that makes sense. I suspect that's why it gets more impossible to remove when it gets baked on too! I can't remember if it specifically said it was for outside use but it certainly works for that.
  • I agree with @BobTheGardener. Posca pens are quite good for this. 
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Thanks for your thoughts. Brush applied acrylic paint, if unvarnished, tends to flake off in around six months outside (tested in the last two years in the community garden). Is the Posca acylic paint pen likely to be better for the job?
  • pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 2,221
    edited September 2021
    Mine has lasted for over a year (and still looking good) on smooth plastic labels. Can’t guarantee it will work the same on slate, but it should. Anyone else using these pens? Maybe, @Dovefromabove?
  • OH uses chalk pens for sign writing. He wrote ‘thank yous’ on our wheelie bins at the start of the first lockdown (his dad was a sign writer) . They’ve been out in all wind and weather and been hauled around by the bin men etc and still the writing looks good.

     I’ll check with him which brand he used. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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