Are Sharpie Markers Archival Safe?

By Anya Marcot ; Updated September 15, 2017

Sharpies have been around for decades and are used for everything from labeling to illustrating. Permanent markers are versatile and highly useful but contain various chemicals that make you wonder if they are safe for documents or photos to be preserved.

What Kind of Markers Are Sharpie Markers?

Sharpie markers are solvent based. Solvent-based inks should not be used on archival paper since it will soak through and damage the paper over time. There are no guidelines for what products are archival safe, but it is important to note that archival documents can be damaged by solvents.

What May Sharpies Be Used For?

According to the Sharpie FAQS, Sharpies may be used on CDs and solid, nonporous surfaces. Sharpies may be used on boxes and materials that are not to be preserved. Sharpies are not recommended for letter writing or cloth, since they are solvent based.

Sharpies for Scrapbooking and Art

There is no information as to whether Sharpies deteriorate materials, but limited use is recommended since they are solvent based. Many artists use Sharpies for artwork without knowing how long the work will last; using them for scrapbooking and art is at your own risk.

About the Author

Anya Marcot is a freelance writer for eHow and Answerbag and has been writing since 2008. Marcot has worked as a makeup artist since 1999 and now fuels her creativity with her oil paintings, watercolor paintings and writing. Marcot studied visual art at Suffolk Community College. She is attuned to level II reiki and is well-versed on many metaphysical and paranormal topics.