Let’s just admit it—chalkboards are great. Whether you’re using one to teach in the classroom, advertise your café’s specials, or point wedding guests in the right direction, these versatile surfaces are a nostalgic favorite. But what is the best utensil to write with? Traditional chalk? Or modern wet chalk pens? When it comes to chalk vs. liquid chalk markers, what’s the difference?
We’re here to tell you. Below, we’ll weigh the options by learning the difference between chalk and liquid chalk markers.
First and foremost, the primary difference between chalk and liquid chalk markers is the texture. Formulated from gypsum or calcite, traditional chalk has a dry, dusty, and chalky texture. Chalk markers, on the other hand, feature a smooth, liquid texture made from pigment-based ink.
Traditional chalk comes in the form of sticks, be it small cylinders perfect for the classroom or chunkier blocks ideal for the sidewalk. Depending on the way they’re held, chalk can be messy, tricky to use, and even unsettling. Have you ever had your fingernail caught in a piece of chalk or stuck between chalk and the chalkboard? It’s awful just to think about!
Chalk markers, on the other hand, take all the unpleasantries of traditional chalk out of the equation. Wet chalk pens feature a marker-like container that’s easy to use, and because of their liquid form, they glide onto chalkboards smoothly.
Traditional chalk offers a soft and nostalgic look. Due to its gypsum or calcite formulation, chalk leaves a porous trail. In addition, because it is a powder, chalk sticks create marks that are not as vibrant.
Chalk markers create lines that are more solid and brilliant than regular chalk. This is where that pigment-based ink comes in handy.
Thanks to their powder-based construction, chalk sticks are easy to erase. They may leave a cloudy, dusty trail, but chalk lines are still a breeze to remove. Chalk pens, on the other hand, are trickier to remove. This is due to their liquid formulation. Because chalk pens go on wet and dry while on the chalkboard, the pigments are more difficult to erase. This makes chalk pens great for signage.
One of the greatest differences between traditional chalk and chalk markers is the surfaces you can use them on. For example, chalk sticks only work on chalkboards—be it full-sized blackboards, chalkboard contact paper, or chalkboard paint.
Chalk markers can be used on all chalkboard surfaces in addition to non-porous (or sealed) surfaces, including: