I recently bought a gold Sharpie marker (regular Sharpie, not the oil-based ones), but it's writing almost clear. It's not dried up, there's plenty of liquid, but the color is very thinned out and transparent rather than opaque, and shaking it doesn't seem to do anything.

Did I just get a dud, or is there some way to get this marker up and running?

  • 1
    I've had that experience with the gold ones too :( Oddly enough it was never a problem with the silver Sharpies, maybe it's the formula. Have you tried storing it pointing down for a bit before using? Does it go clear immediately or do you get a little bit of "good" lines first?
    – user812786
    May 4, 2017 at 13:16
  • 1
    How much have you written with it? Is it possible that it's just "new" and hasn't really started to flow?
    – Catija
    May 4, 2017 at 15:05
  • I was having this issue the day of purchase, but I did buy it from open stock rather than packaged - it might have gotten 'tested' more than I'd thought.
    – ShinyFox
    Aug 10, 2017 at 1:28
  • Oh! I've been having the same problem with my metallic sharpies that I just opened like, three days ago. Shaking the sharpie definitely helped. Though, it doesn't look as crisp as when I just opened the box and used it.
    – Starryelf
    Sep 5, 2019 at 21:13

3 Answers 3


The thinness you are seeing is that your pen is dispensing more of the inks suspension medium than its pigment particles. The "ink" in metallic Sharpies is made up of particles suspended in a medium. It's the separation of particles from medium that is causing the "transparency" of your inked line. Over time, as the "ink" sits stationary, the heavier particles settle to the bottom and the lighter elements float to the top. Think of it as a paint can that has been sitting for a long time and needs to be stirred before use. In your case it sounds like your pen has been sitting in the same position long enough for the pigments to have separated and settled. Before using your pen try shaking it for a few minutes. The shaking with help re-mix the components and the pen will dispense the right amount of pigment suspended in medium based on the pen's design.

"Shake it like a Polaroid picture" before use.


Marketing copy on the Staples website listing for the silver metallic Sharpies reads (bold mine for emphasis):

Achieve beautiful writing with a metallic sheen when you use Sharpie® Metallic Permanent Markers in silver. The mess-free metallic markers don't require shaking or pumping, since the free-flowing, permanent ink already resides in the fine-point tip. Make sure to store the silver Sharpie® markers tip-down when not in use. Each pack includes 36 metallic pens.

As John stated in his answer, it's a matter of the pigment particles being heavier than the suspension medium. If you store the pens tip up, then the first thing to run into the tip will be suspension medium. Store them tip down, and the pigment will be closest to the point.


My silver sharper marker undergoes the opposite problem. I would store it tip down and shake it well before you use it. Even though it says you don’t need to, I find it works a little bit better if you do. I also let my sharpie run on the paper for a little bit by lightly pressing the tip on paper. This helped it release a little more of a runny ink. I’m not sure if it will work the oth way around, but it’s worth a shot!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .