Sharpie (marker)

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Subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid
Industry Stationery
Genre Marker
Founded Sanford Manufacturing Company (1857)
Sharpie marker (launched in 1964)
Founder Frederick W. Redington,
Tom Sharp
William H. Sanford, Jr.
(Sanford Manufacturing Company)
Headquarters Downers Grove, Illinois, United States
Area served
North America, Europe, South America
Products Marker pens
Parent Newell Rubbermaid

Sharpie is an American manufacturer of writing instruments (mainly marker pens) whose products are sold in over 20 countries. Originally a name designating a single permanent marker, the Sharpie brand has been widely expanded and can now be found on a variety of previously unrelated permanent and non-permanent pens and markers formerly marketed under other brands.


"Sharpie" was originally a name designating a permanent marker launched in 1964 by the Sanford Ink Company. The Sharpie also became the first pen-style permanent marker.[1][2]

In 1990 Sharpie was acquired by The Newell Companies (later Newell Rubbermaid) as part of Sanford, a leading manufacturer and marketer of writing instruments.[3]

In 2006, Sharpie released a new line of markers that had a button activated retractable tip rather than a cap. Sharpie Paint markers were also introduced. In 2005, the company's popular Accent highlighter brand was repositioned under the Sharpie brand name. A new version of Sharpie called Sharpie Mini was launched, which are markers half the size of a normal Sharpie and feature a clip to attach the Sharpie to a keychain or lanyard. As of 2002, 200 million Sharpies had been sold worldwide. Sharpie markers are manufactured in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico; Maryville, TN, and with numerous off-shore partners globally.


Sharpie sponsored the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500, a popular night-time race at Bristol Motor Speedway, from 2001 through 2009.[2] For the 2010 season, Newell Rubbermaid switched the sponsorship for this race to its Irwin Tools brand. Sharpie sponsored the Nationwide Series Sharpie Mini 300 race from 2004 to 2008. Prior to 2006, they sponsored Kurt Busch, who was the 2004 Sprint Cup champion. Sharpie also sponsored Jamie McMurray in the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

In recent years, Sharpie commercials have followed the slogan "Write Out Loud". These advertisements depict people using Sharpies in bad situations, such as using the marker to touch up a car and a college woman highlighting words in a book to notify a male student that his fly was open. Also, a middle aged woman trying to think of what to write for her resignation letter, writes "I QUIT" with a red Sharpie. David Beckham is sponsored by Sharpie and appears in a commercial signing autographs with a Sharpie and trying to steal them.[4]

Removal and safety[edit]

A variety of Sharpie types.

Though Sharpie ink will become permanent after setting, it can be erased. 3 or 4 strokes of a dry erase marker will remove Sharpie ink. WD-40 will work moderately well on recent markings if dry-erase markers are not available. Crayola's "Color Wonder" mess-free markers have also been effective in removing Sharpie ink that has been dried for several days.

Sharpie ink that has dried for more than several hours can be removed with acetone and other ketones and esters, such as ethyl acetate, but acetone and other organic solvents may damage the surface of the material written upon. Isopropyl alcohol works well and is less damaging to some surfaces; rubbing alcohol is the dilute form, so works more slowly. On some surfaces, the ink can be removed by coloring over the ink with a dry erase marker (since this marker's ink contains organic solvents) and then removing the Sharpie ink and dry erase marker ink with a dry cloth. Steam cleaning has proved effective, as have rubber erasers. Magic Eraser has also proven somewhat effective on hard surfaces such as brick and very effective on wood furniture.[5]

There are no warning labels on Sharpie markers. They bear the new AP (Approved Product) certification symbol of The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI). According to the organization:

"The new AP (Approved Product) Seal, with or without Performance Certification, identifies art materials that are safe and that are certified in a toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, including children, or to cause acute or chronic health problems. (Sandford LP became a member of ACMI in 1986) However, this does not mean that materials are not irritants or allergens. Such products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D 4236, and the U.S. Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA)."

Sharpie Twin Tip

They are considered non-toxic for "normal uses", meaning writing on posters, soccer balls and such. Sharpie is not meant for skin but is not dangerous with incidental exposure.

Some products have been reported to be able to remove this product from the skin, such as rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, nail polish remover, facial cleaning pads, toothpaste, and even deodorant.[6] Tabasco sauce or any vinegar based product is also particularly effective at removing the ink from skin. However, the ink wears off on its own within approximately two days as the ink is on skin cells that are constantly being shed.

Popular culture[edit]

Special Camp David Sharpies were made.[7]

Singer/Songwriter Kimya Dawson mentions the Sharpie brand in the lyrics of her song "Loose Lips", which featured in the soundtrack of 2007's Oscar-winning Juno.

In the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Scott (Michael Cera) wears a T-shirt with the Sharpie logo in a few scenes.

During a National Football League Monday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks on October 14, 2002, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens pulled a black Sharpie marker out of his sock to sign the football he caught to score a touchdown and then gave the ball to his financial adviser, who was in the stands. The touchdown celebration would bring a resurrgence to the NFL for new and innovative ways to celebrate touchdowns. It has commonly been referred to by sports fans as "The Sharpie Incident" or "The Sharpie Touchdown".

In the movie Date Night, Claire Foster (Tina Fey) notices a chicken nugget that has been stabbed with a Sharpie in the Felton's apartment. She exclaims, "They stabbed a chicken nugget with a Sharpie. These are bad people!".

In the 2011 film, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the character of The Renter writes notes with a Sharpie marker.

Sharpie markers are favored by illustrator Adam Hughes for inking large areas in his convention sketches.[8][9]

Sharpies are the writing utensil of choice by astronauts aboard the International Space Station because of their usability in zero-gravity. According to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who commanded the International Space Station in 2012-2013, "you can hold it any which way and it still works".[10]


Fine and Ultra Fine[edit]

Original Tones[edit]

Sharpie markers have come in many colors since 1964, which marks the time the Black sharpie was released. In 1979, all the classic colors were released (other than black).

Colors include: Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, Purple, Red, and Yellow. This increases the number of colors to 8.

In 2002, Sharpie released four new colors, including Aqua, Berry, Lime, and Turquoise. This increases the number of colors to 12.

Tropical Tones[edit]

Sharpie released two colors, Magenta and Tangerine. There is a 4 pack of tropical colors, also including Lilac and Turquoise, which can be found in other packs. The release date is unknown. Turquoise was already released, and Lilac has not been released yet (as of 2003). This increases the number of colors to 14.

Earth Tones[edit]

In 2003, Sharpie released 5 new colors called Earth tones, which come in a 5 pack. All of these colors are now discontinued except for Navy.

Colors include: Burgundy, Marigold, Navy, Olive, and Plum. This increases the number of colors to 19.


Sharpie released 5 new colors called Pastels, which come in a 5 pack. The release date is unknown.

Colors include: Lilac, Mint, Peach, Pink, and Sky Blue. This increases the number of colors to 24.

Nature Tones[edit]

Sharpie released 5 new colors called Nature Tones, which come in a 5 pack. All of these are now discontinued except for Slate Gray. The release date is unknown.

Colors include: Brick Red, Dandelion, Ocean Blue, Slate Gray, and Spruce Green. This increases the number of colors to 29.

Summer Splash[edit]

Sharpie released 5 new colors called Summer Splash, which come in a 5 pack. The only color that is now discontinued is Kiwi. The release date is unknown.

Colors include: Almond, Blue Ice, Boysenberry, Kiwi, and Pink Lemonade. This increases the number of colors to 34.


In 2006, Sharpie released 5 new colors called Wildflowers, which come in a 5 pack. These are all now discontinued.

Colors include: Clover, Pumpkin, Rain Shower, Rose, and Violet. This increases the number of colors to 39.

Cafe Colors[edit]

In 2008, Sharpie released 5 new colors called Cafe Colors, which come in a 5 pack. These are all now discontinued.

Colors include: Blueberry, Earl Gray, Hibiscus Tea, Mocha, and Pomegranate. This increases the number of colors to 44.

Caribbean Colors[edit]

In 2009, Sharpie released 5 new colors Called Caribbean Colors, which come in a 5 pack. These are all now discontinued except for Surf.

Colors include: Coconut, Flamingo, Lime Daiquiri, Stingray, and Surf. This increases the number of colors to 49.

80's Glam[edit]

In 2012, Sharpie released 5 new colors called 80's glam, which come in a 5 pack.

Colors include: Argyle Green, Banana Clip Yellow, Jellie Pink, Leg Warmer Orange, and Valley Girl Violet. This increases the number of colors to 54.


In 2013, Sharpie released a 5 pack of Cheeseburger sharpies and a 2 pack of french fry colors for a limited time in April. Sadly the set was a April fools prank.

Colors included: Beefy Brown, Buns Beige, Catsup Red, Cheddar Orange, and Pickle Green, and the two French Fry sharpies. This increased the number of colors to 60.

Electro Pop[edit]

In 2015, Sharpie released 5 new colors called Electro Pop, which come in a 5 pack.

Colors include: Electric Pink, Nano Blue, Optic Orange, Techno Blue, Ultra Violet. This increases the number of colors to 65.


Sharpie released a mystery Blue marker. The release date is unknown.

In 2011, Sharpie released a color, Pink Ribbon. It has a pink ribbon on the marker.

This increases the number of colors to 67.


In 2002, Sharpie released Silver and Gold sharpies, which makes two metallic colors. In 2011, Sharpie released the Bronze marker, increasing the number of metallic colors to 3.


In 2013, Sharpie released a 5 pack of Neons.

Colors include (all Neon): Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, and Yellow.


  1. ^ "Sharpie History". 2014-01-30. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  2. ^ a b Freeth, Nick (2005). Made in America. MBI Publishing. p. 246. ISBN 0-7603-2270-8. 
  3. ^ "Sharpie in Newell Rubbermaid page". Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  4. ^ "David Beckham Signs With Sharpie - OAK BROOK, Illinois, March 6 /PR Newswire UK/". OAK BROOK, Illinois: 2008-02-28. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  5. ^ Removing Sharpie Marks
  6. ^ "Removing Sharpie Marker Off Skin". Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  7. ^ Paul Bedard. "Washington Whispers - Better Make It a Sharpie-or Else" U.S. News & World Report, September 17, 2006. (archived 2013)
  8. ^ Coulson, Steve. "Adam Hughes - Anatomy of a sketch, Pt2 - The Process" YouTube; May 15, 2006; Accessed September 8, 2010
  9. ^ Coulson, Steve. "Adam Hughes - Anatomy of a sketch, Pt3 - The Tools" YouTube; May 15, 2006; Accessed September 8, 2010
  10. ^ Hadfield, Chris (2013). An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. London: Macmillan. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-4472-5751-6. 

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