What To Use (And Not Use) When You’re Doing Lettering On Acrylic!

PSA: Be REALLY careful you don’t scratch your acrylic!

Lettering on acrylic is a great way to practice your calligraphy and lettering skills and get you geared up for windows and other display signage. So this week, I want to delve into what TO use and what NOT to use when working with this medium!

Before we get started, I just want to note that although it’s ok to use a Stabilo Aquarellable Pencil when marking up a mirror or other glass surface, I’m going to say it again, acrylic scratches suuuuuper easily.

First things first…

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Prefer to watch than read? Feel free to skip right to the video and see these in real-time! ??

NOTE: this next part is going to assume that you know your calligraphy basic strokes. IF YOU DON’T, you need to watch THIS VIDEO right away…. seriously. Stop this video right now and watch this one first!!!!

Now let’s get started!

You’ll notice in the images below, as we get down to the last one, the letters go from really opaque to barely opaque at all.

In order of easiest removal, we have:

The Bistro Chalk Marker
The Sharpie Water-Based Paint Pen
The Posca Paint Pen
The Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Pen
The Molotow One4All Acrylic Paint Pen

Now for the removal process!

The easiest to remove is, of course, the chalk marker, and you can easily remove it with a simple dry paper towel wrapped around your finger. Just swipe across and voila!

A great option when your client wants to reuse their acrylic!
The next durable options are water-based and the Posca pen. A little extra pressure is needed here in order to remove.

Spray a little Windex…

…and the top three are going, going, gone!

The oil and acrylic, however, need a liiitttllllee more elbow grease, which is great if you are looking for more permanent display options!

Now if you make a mistake or for some reason need to remove either of these two, good ol’ acetone does the trick!

It’s super easy and quick to remove with acetone, as you can see, although not the most eco-friendly option.

If you are looking for a less stinky, more eco-friendly option, coconut oil works to remove these last two as well. It does take a bit more time, but it will come off!

Once you’re acrylic is sans calligraphy, spray a little more Windex on it and it’s as good as new again!

Hopefully, that was helpful for you and gives you some clarity on what pens are best to use on acrylic depending on your project!

And if you’re someone who is interested in making lots of lettering signs for any types of events – chalkboards, wood, glass…acrylic – I have a brand new course called:

Signing Up!

Get it…SIGNing Up…like signs. But also, you should sign up…

This course is ALL about signs, with all of my tips and tricks and lots of different resources in there. Go to www.signingupcourse.com and check it out!


  1. Hi,
    I bought Sharpie oil based gold metallic paint pens in extra fine for my first acrylic project, and I’m finding that the paint sort of bleeds a little, which is making it difficult to get those delicate lines on my calligraphy. I’m using 3″ acrylic hexagons to do names, so I don’t think going up to a fine point will be possible. It doesn’t look like that happens when you’re writing here. Is it an issue with metallic ink? Is there a way to sort of prep the surface to prevent this from happening?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hmmm. I haven’t had that happen. Be sure the tip is clear, and the paint pen is well mixed with a consistent ink flow.

    2. This was really helpful. I am looking for options for my acrylic calendar. However the chalk markers are too thick. Do you think the posca paint pen will be ok to be used to mark events and cleaned off monthly? I won’t scratch the acrylic trying to remove it each month?

  2. Hi. I’m trying to use the pens used on this item. Any suggestions?

    I can’t attach a picture. Can you email me and I can attach a picture for your advice? Thanks!

  3. I really appreciated this blog!! Made things clear. However…

    I’m getting married this June and am wanting to use plexiglass for signs. Also hoping to wash it off afterwards, so I’ve been researching the best way to clean acrylic with no scratching for about a week.

    I found the site below that says NOT to use acetone or Windex to clean plexiglass….. I really trust what you have here but am left confused after seeing this site. I do recognize that the site below is for general cleaning, not art cleaning, but still. I’m borrowing some plexiglass so I want to be sure.

    My vision is to paint one side of the plexiglass with generic acrylic paint (lightly paintbrush, or sponging) and the other side having lettering on it. I have a pack of POSCA pens for that. But I still want both sides to be cleaned with no scratches.

    Do you have any recommendations, and can you explain why this other site mentioned not using Windex/acetone? I’ve also seen using a mixture of ammonia and white vinegar.

    Thank you for your help! Again, I really appreciate this post.

    1. Definitely check out the ammonia-free windex – it’s kind of purple instead of blue. since acrylic scratches so easily, using the regular windex, which contains ammonia, is harsh enough to scratch it!!

    2. Windex contains ammonia, which will eat into the acrylic that plexiglass is made out of — the more you use it to clean the surface, the cloudier it’ll look. Because the ammonia is eating into the acrylic, its structural integrity will also be compromised, becoming brittle and prone to breaking easily.

  4. Hi! I’m going to try out sign making on clear acrylic (Perspex) and was wondering which one would be the best so that it’s easy to write on and doesn’t scratch off? TIA x

  5. Windex has alcohol in it. Alcohol can cause acrylic sheet to craze over time. It might not show on black as much, but you shouldn’t use alcohol based cleaning products to wipe anything off of acrylic sheet.

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