Over the last 12 months, we’ve been increasing our range of retail signage and ticketing options, in particular blackboard signage. If you’ve ever used them in your retail space, you’ll know that an integral part of effective blackboard signage is having a decent range of liquid chalk pens to write on them. Wipeable and waterproof. It would seem pretty simple and obvious to differentiate between the two, but you might be surprised. There is an art to it. To help you make your decisions on which pens to use, here are 10 Steps to Perfect Chalk Board Signs.
Liquid chalk is easier to use and more versatile than traditional chalk, even on traditional chalkboards. Pure chalk comes from a natural resource created by microplankton in the world’s seas and oceans. It’s used in agriculture, manufacturing, medicine, and art. It’s pressed and compacted into sticks to make it easier to use – which is great! But it’s still prone to crumbling – which is not so great. Liquid chalk on the other hand, is made from chalk but with an extra magical ingredient. Ethanol. Or alcohol to you and me. The alcohol mixed with chalk allows it to flow freely instead of crumbling, and transfers to many surfaces with effortless ease.
Very importantly, a liquid chalk pen takes a little while to get going, so a bit of patience is required at the outset. Give your pen a shake, take the lid off and place the nib on the board. Gently press the pen nib up and down a few times. Repeat the process and eventually you will see the liquid chalk coming through the felt nib.
Washable ink pens are designed to be used on signage that you plan to display inside. Ideally it is used for regularly changing messages of prices where you simply want to wipe off with a damp cloth and start again. Some people use them to write on larger blackboard displays, but it’s the smaller retail ticketing where it comes into it’s own. After all, small is much easier to change and re-write on a regular basis.
Choosing waterproof or washable chalkboard pens
Where your message or price will be kept more longer term or is outside, waterproof pens should be used.
Waterproof pens are not permanent. Blackboards that have been written on with waterproof chalk markers can be cleaned off with a cloth and the special liquid chalk marker cleaner spray we sell.
Waterproof pens will also write on glass or clear plastic and can be washed off using the spray cleaner.
This is not a sales pitch, but apparently, most readily available household spray cleaners will not clean the waterproof chalk off easily. The special spray we sell here really is specially designed to do job. If you know of anything else that does the job just as well, do let us know in the comments section below.
Nib it in the bud!
The thickness of the nib you choose is important. The medium sized nib is 2-6mm and the most versatile for small and medium sized boards. The tip is angled allowing you to opt for 2mm for smaller text and 6mm for larger or for colouring in areas. The larger 7-15mm pens are designed for use on pavement boards, large wall boards and windows.
Most of our blackboard signage is now made from a composite material that wipes clean every time. You won’t find that problem of “ghosting” that often happens with cheaper products on the market. It is not true that liquid chalk leaves permanent marks on chalkboard’s as long as you clean it properly.
It’s not as easy as it looks to write neatly on signage. Often there will be someone you know with lovely handwriting and you can press gang them into helping. Failing that, we do offer some stencils that can be used and are very effective. Just remember to fill in the gaps though once the stencil is removed!