How To Seal Sharpie On Wood!

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Due to the massive amount of versatility offered by the Sharpie marker range, more and more people have been reaching out to ask about the different things that they are able to use their Sharpies for. With the Sharpie marker range usually performing well on wood, we have noticed more and more people reaching out to ask how to seal Sharpie on wood to ensure that their artwork is able to last for as long as possible.

Due to there being a number of ways that you are able to seal your Sharpie markers onto wood we wanted to publish a dedicated article going over some of the more popular methods. This allows us to go over the advantages and disadvantages for our readers for multiple products to try and help you find the best option for you rather than focus on a single option that may not meed the needs of all people.

Please note, if your artwork is on wood that will be kept indoors or is otherwise protected from the elements by other means then it is much easier to find a sealant option to protect it that is budget-friendly. If your woodwork will be outside and exposed to the elements then the suitable sealants tend to be around double the price but should still fit into the budgets of most of our readers.

Will Sharpie Stay On Wood?

Although Sharpie ink will usually stay on wood directly out of the marker, the real question is, how long will it stay on the wood while keeping its color and detail and this is where a few variables come into play. Most of the markers from the Sharpie range will tend to fade over time unless you use a sealant that offers UV protection to prevent the UV light taking its toll on the ink.

Although these sealants can work very well, they do tend to offer less overall protection against wind and rain so there is a trade off in the over all performance. We have seen people use multiple sealants on various types of artwork to try and compound the benefits of both sealants but this is usually overkill for the majority of people.

If this is something that you may want to consider, the usual practice is to let your Sharpie artwork dry fully, usually wait at least 24 hours, then apply your UV protective sealant directly on top of your Sharpie and wait another 24 hours. Then you apply your heavy duty sealant as the outer coat to ensure that it has the best possible protection against the elements.

How To Seal Sharpie On Wood!

The majority of people will be able to seal their Sharpie artwork on wood with a decent sealant and ensure that the Sharpie ink lasts for years if not decades depending on the specific sealant used. As different sealants use different delivery methods, we would always recommend that you read the instructions for your specific sealant but the majority of them go something like this.

After you complete your Sharpie based artwork, wait at least 24 hours to apply your sealant to ensure that the Sharpie ink is dry and has been absorbed into the wood as best as possible. This simple step is overlooked so often that it has given some perfectly fine sealants a bad reputation due to people applying them on top of their Sharpie ink way too soon.

You then hold the sealant around 30cm away from your Sharpie art and spray it to apply an even coat of the sealant over all of the wood and then leave it to dry 24 hours before putting your wood outside. This is another common mistake as people tend to accidentally apply an uneven coat or leave some areas out completely. Some sealants do need two coats to be applied to offer optimal protection tough so always read the label for the specific requirements for your sealant of choice.

Can You Varnish Over Sharpie On Wood?

Many people do varnish over Sharpie on wood and end up with mixed results due to there being a number of different variables involved in the process. Although it can work with surprisingly good results, you do have to try it out one some test wood prior to going through the process on your main piece of wood to see how your exact combination will turn out.

Black Sharpies do tend to perform better with more varnish-based products on wood but some of the lighter varnishes can work with color Sharpies too allowing you to open up the artwork that you are able apply varnish too. When it comes to the varnish side of things, due to different varnish solvent formulas having different chemicals and ratios, some will totally ruin your artwork once applied while others with slightly affect it while a small number will have a very small effect if any at all.

As there are so many varnish products on the market, we can’t go over every single one as each one has their own formula. This is why we recommend that you get some spare wood, use your Sharpies on it, let them dry, then apply some varnish as a test to see how it works or just go with a different sealant that has the proven ability to work with Sharpies on wood.

Can You Mod Podge Over Sharpie On Wood?

Mod Podge can work as a way to seal your Sharpie on wood but you do have to use this specific Mod Podge with the white tub, yellow label, and red text. The red, blue, and orange label Mod Podge tends to be inconsistent when used with Sharpies and tends not to be worth using but the yellow label formula can work well.

The main mistake that people make when applying Mod Podge to Sharpie on any surface is that they apply far too much and it ends up causing problems. You only require a very thin layer of Mod Podge over your Sharpie for it to seal correctly and maintain good visibility without causing any negative effects so you have to keep this in mind when applying it.

Even when people know that they should be applying a very thin layer of Mod Podge, they still tend to over do it and apply too much. You should not be able to see any of the white residues from the Mod Podge at all when applying it with the Mod Podge being so thin that it just looks like a thin, translucent layer over the top of the wood. Due to the process being a little complicated, most people would just be better off going with an easier spray sealant instead of Mod Podge though.


That brings our article going over how to seal sharpie on wood to a close. Although the process can be very simple, so many people either over complicate it, use the wrong product, or apply the correct product incorrectly making a mess of their Sharpie based artwork on their wood. If you are using a simple spray on sealant then always check its specific instructions for how you apply it directly to the wood as each product does tend to have slightly different application instructions for optimal performance.