Show me the writing on the wall
October 20, 2020 11:13 AM   Subscribe

I want to write something, more or less permanently, on a painted interior wall, but also make sure it can be painted over in the future. What product should I use?

I do not want to turn the wall into a whiteboard or chalkboard. I want the writing to stay there until/unless I repaint the room or move out of this house. Ideally the product would be more like a marker than a paint, so I could hold it like a pen and write in something like my regular handwriting, just larger. I'm imagining the letters being about four inches tall. I want it to look handwritten and edgy, not like a decal or calligraphy. I just don't want to curse myself and find I can't cover it in a few years when it's time to repaint the room.

Wall is a medium-dark blue, normal interior latex paint (flat finish) and I'd like the writing to be white, light gray, or metallic gold.
posted by TrixieRamble to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I wouldn't worry too much. Killz primer covers up pretty much anything, so just use that when you're ready to do something else. Since the wall is currently a dark color and your writing will be light, it'll be even less of an issue to cover.

Previous owners of my house painted the room I'm in now with a full-wall animal mural with thick black lines. I used Killz, and the new wall color is light grey and I see no signs of the animals.
posted by jonathanhughes at 11:20 AM on October 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

You could use whatever you like to write (provided you're not radically changing the texture of the wall) and just use a primer like Kilz before you paint next time. This might eliminate the metallic gold.
posted by jquinby at 11:20 AM on October 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

Watercolor Markers

These water color markers are available in a nice range of colors and would work well for a handmade application. If your wall is a water based flat paint, the water color will drop in a bit and look like a fresco. If you want the color to be more intense, you could apply several layers or include a binder layer of gum arabic, which is the binder for water color.

Water color is easy to correct, not toxic to work with, stays workable for a long time, has a corresponding palette available for brush applications, and should be a blast to work with.

Removing the graphic should be relatively easy with a TSP wash, or 409 and a top layer of opaque flat house paint.

I hope this is helpful information and happy painting. Sounds awesome.
posted by effluvia at 11:27 AM on October 20, 2020

Agreed that unless you use something distinctly raised (like...puff paint?), you could absolutely use paint pens, acrylic paint pens, paint and brush, even Sharpies, though I don't know how good the silver/gold ones will do on wall paint.

You could probably also use chalk markers, in all likelihood, on dark blue paint you describe, and it'll cost you $4 and possibly a weird mark low on the wall to test that theory. The upside of those is that they come in lots of marker tips since they're meant to be used larger-scale on windows etc, so you can get something with a wide enough tip to be seen from some steps back with less work.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:28 AM on October 20, 2020

Best answer: Sharpie Paint Pens, water- and oil-based.

Water-based is the usual rec, but this blogger painted over an oil-based pen. (Primer [seconding Kilz] is always the fallback.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:28 AM on October 20, 2020

Best answer: Use a Posca pen. Do not use a Sharpie (I think those Sharpie paint pens linked just above would probably be fine actually) but Posca pens are nice, and we've got some wall handwriting in our office (at work, high traffic space) that looks great and went up real smooth. There are tons of colors and tons of different tip types so you'll get exactly the line you want.
posted by phunniemee at 11:35 AM on October 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm a signwriter. I'm not currently your signwriter, but who knows.

I would go with acrylic-based paint markers; easy to handle, easy to paint over. Please do not use any oil- or alcohol based ink as it will try to bleed through whatever you paint over it. Acrylic will not even think about that.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:47 PM on October 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

I own an art supply store. Just wanted to second phunniemee's recommendation. Posca is definitely the right choice for this project. It's an acrylic marker that is super reliable at laying down smooth marks. The colors are bright, you will be able to paint over it with latex paint (which is a different type of acrylic, basically), and it won't fade over time like a Sharpie will.
posted by roast beef at 6:47 PM on October 20, 2020

I concur on an acrylic paint marker, particularly Posca. (And I also own an art supply store.)
posted by jimw at 10:13 PM on October 21, 2020

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