Creating art can be therapeutic and fun. But you know what’s not fun? Trying to get all those marker stains off your child’s clothes or, even worse, your new white couch. While, yes, kids are usually the ones making the mess, adults too can get a little crazy with all those intricate coloring pages. That’s why the best washable markers come in a size and style to suit the artist using them, from non-toxic washable markers for toddlers to washable watercolor markers for advanced artists. This list has something for everyone, even those who work with fabric.
Not only do alcohol-based permanent markers stain skin and other surfaces, but they’re also usually laden with chemicals. This is bad news for children and adults. According to Jessica Kiss, DO, Family Physician, “Whenever possible with markers or other art supplies, you want to use something water-based. Typically [they] contain fewer chemicals harmful to children [so you] Also, be sure to always choose markers labeled non-toxic. Permanent markers may contain harmful solvents which may be toxic to young children [and adults].”
And those smelly markers? You can also cross them off the list. Kiss says “I hate to be a buzzkill, but scented markers shouldn’t be used with young children. Yes, these seem fun and harmless, but you teach the child the habit of sniffing markers to see what they smell It can be quite dangerous and hard not to teach.
For more experienced artists, it is also important to pay attention to the type of tip. Finer, chiseled tips will allow for the targeted coloring involved in adult coloring books, while wider tips can be useful for creating bold lines and broad strokes. For ultimate versatility, opt for a set of dual-ended markers so you always have the right tool for the job.
As you can see, choosing the right marker for the job is important. Ahead are the 11 best washable markers for every artist.
Best Washable Markers for Toddlers and Kids
1. These ultra-clean washable markers from Crayola
Crayola is a leader in the world of children’s art supplies, so of course these wide line washable markers are on the list. Since they’re thick, they’re perfect for those little hands. And if they accidentally end up in your child’s mouth, which is highly likely, you won’t have to worry because they’re also non-toxic and water-based. Designed for ages 3 and up, this pack contains 12 fun colors that will make your little one feel like a real artist!
Useful review: “Amazing! My son has colored everything from the coffee table to the floor and they wash every time!”
2. A few washable stitch markers for mess-free creations
Toddlers who are still mastering their fine motor skills will love being able to dab while creating their own work of art with these washable Dot A Dot paint markers. And parents will appreciate this hassle-free paint that requires no water or brushes – not to mention it’s non-toxic and latex and gluten-free! The washable six-pack is designed for kids ages 3 and up, though several Amazon reviewers have mentioned that their two-year-olds can use them too.
Useful review: “This is a great way to introduce arts and crafts to a young toddler. I have young twins and this product was easy to use and created little mess! There are also lots of activities on Pinterest to use as they get a bit older. Easy to grip, washable, super easy to use! Highly recommend this product.”
3. These triangular markers for a better grip
The triangular design of these Crayola My First Tripod Washable Markers is perfect for promoting proper grip for toddlers learning to draw and write. In addition, the shape prevents them from rolling off the table. All in all, there is less frustration and more pleasure. Non-toxic and all the colors of the rainbow (plus some!) make this 8-pack a great choice for beginning artists as young as 24 months old.
Useful review: “Super easy to clean off all surfaces baby has drawn on (like walls, floors and furniture). All I need is water. Baby loves these markers too. Definitely recommended !!!”
4. A set of washable chalk markers that work on everything from mirrors to blackboards
These water-based chalk markers are ideal for creating that chalk effect without all the cleanup. They are also great for indoor use and those with sensory issues. They are washable, reversible (choose from chiseled or rounded tips) and can be used on a variety of surfaces like windows, whiteboards, chalkboards, etc. The non-toxic set includes eight bright colors, and since it’s designed for ages 6 and up, it’s a great choice for your budding school-aged artist.
Useful review: “This product worked well with the first day of school chalkboard I purchased. The product was easy to remove and dried fast enough not to make a mess.
5. A pack of 36 washable markers delivered in a nice travel box
If you have a real Picasso in the works, this set of washable markers includes 36 colors. Plus, water-based markers have a unique tip design that allows for fine, medium, or bold strokes. The artistic possibilities are endless. Designed for ages 3 and up, the markers have a chunky base that little hands can grasp easily. Even better? The non-toxic markers come in an adorable storage box that’s perfect for travel.
Useful review: “Beautiful watercolors…perfect box container.” I had ordered a set and the girls loved them. […]Very nice colors – washable!
6. These washable dry-erase markers
Gone are the days of old-school blackboards from our childhood! Walk into just about any classroom today and you’ll find that whiteboards have replaced them. These Crayola Dry Erase washable markers are versatile enough for teachers, kids, and even the boardroom. With a non-toxic formula, they’re safe for children 36 months and older, but since they feature finer tips, they’re probably best suited for slightly older children.
Useful review: “I bought this to give as a gift. The reason I bought the Crayola brand is mainly because it washes clothes and hands! Young children sometimes like to draw on their arms and/or legs , and they usually end up with marks on their clothes.Also I have found that all Crayola brand markers don’t dry as fast as other brands if not used regularly, another big plus !
Best Washable Watercolor Markers
7. A set of blendable markers for watercolor masterpieces
Watercolor painting is not an easy skill to learn, but these watercolor markers make it even easier. Brush tips give new watercolorists more control, while the included water brush makes blending easy. And since they’re water-based, washing them off clothes isn’t a problem. The brand says the washable, non-toxic markers are for artists of all ages.
Useful review: “The tip of the brush is really nice; it seems easier to mix colors with. The colors are very vibrant and attach very easily without leaving streaks or wet marks. The tip is very sharp and is excellent for projects ranging from calligraphy to graphic work.
Best Dual Tip Washable Markers
8. This complete set of double-ended markers
If you’re looking for the convenience of two markers in one, this set is for you! One side has a broad tip that’s great for drawing, while the opposite fine tip is great for outlining and even journaling. And the generous 36 colors are a huge plus. No specific age recommendation is provided for this set, but the markers are water-based and washable.
Useful review: “I really love them! Great for coloring or journaling or scrapbooking! Would really recommend them!”
9. A Super Versatile Set of Washable Fabric Markers
In a handy pack of 20, this set of washable fabric markers is perhaps the most versatile set on this list. You can use them on fabric and paper, and because the markers are double-sided – with one side having a thinner tip, the other a thicker one – you can really customize your art. Although no specific age range is specified by the brand, the formula promises to completely disappear after a hot wash cycle.
Useful review: “These washable fabric markers are so much fun. And they seriously wash up in the washer. So no worries if the kids have it in their clothes.
Best Bulk Washable Markers
10. A bulk order of classic Crayolas for prolific artists and classrooms
If you’re the mother of an art-loving child (or a few) or just want a year’s worth of markers to never run out of at that crucial moment when your child insists on drawing you a self-portrait, then you’ll want to buy this set of 12 boxes of 10 Crayola Ultra-Clean washable markers. They feature the same reliable, non-toxic formula you love, and they’re even washable off skin and walls.
Useful review: “My child uses a LOT of markers so it makes sense to buy them in bulk. Not much cheaper than buying the same number in a store, but it saves me a trip and inventory uncertainty. Works for me .”
11. An even bigger order of markers for schools and parties
Need even more? These can’t be individually wrapped like the bulk Crayolas above, but 240 bulk markers in 12 classic colors are perfect for classrooms or hosting your own artsy party! The markers are designed for ages 3 and up and feature a washable formula.
Useful review: “A nice variety of colors, lots and lots of markers. Given as a gift. Was appreciated for her art class. Good value for the number of washable markers you get.
Expert: Jessica Kiss, DO, at Palos Verdes Medical Group