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The Best Low-Mess Paint Markers

Little girl, a 3 year old girl, with a ponytail hairstyle in a multi-colored colorful striped jacket on a light background at the table draws multicolored markers and smiles

Children love to paint, but traditional liquid paints can be a messy endeavor. Whether you’re an art teacher or a parent, there’s nothing fun about trying to quickly clean up paint spills before the color sets in and permanently stains something. Enter the paint marker. These tools are better at containing messes, and often only require that you wash little hands after the project is over. Check out our top picks for the best kids’ paint marker set.

As is common with acrylic kids’ paint marker sets, this pick can work on glass, wood, fabric, canvas, plastic and more surfaces. Note that these are medium-tipped markers.

This kids’ paint marker set uses washable ink that dries quickly after it has been applied to paper, making the chances of a mess even lower. Youngsters will gain fine motor skills as they learn to properly hold markers.

This acrylic kids’ paint marker set is compatible with a wide range of surfaces including canvas, paper, glass, ceramic, metal and even wood. These markers are also water-based.

Children will love that this oversized kids’ paint marker set features markers that are easier to grasp. Parents and teachers will appreciate that the paints are washable.

This kids’ paint marker set includes medium tips and dries quickly. The clear barrel also lets you see when it’s time to replace them. These markers are waterproof and work on many surfaces, including ceramics, rocks and wood.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can paint markers teach children?

Learning to make art can be a big step for kids, especially with the limitless possibilities a blank canvas holds. Giving kids a way to ease into the world of art can help them take things one step at a time, gradually building excitement and curiosity. Paint markers can be the first stepping stone for kids by letting them interact with vibrant colors in a fun and interesting way. Paint markers can help teach children how to use colors, from learning what colors complement one another to how colors mix. Paint markers also have the added control that regular paint lacks, so kids can learn to paint with a little more confidence in their control and a little less mess.

How can paint markers be used to teach?

Bringing an extra splash of fun to the classroom is a great way for teachers to keep their students engaged and ready to learn. By bringing paint markers into the classroom, teachers can be one step closer to accomplishing that. Teachers can make all sorts of fun lessons out of paint markers. They can have their children draw their own unique pictures, teaching them about colors while giving each student an extra layer of interest. Paint markers can also be used to draw color wheels, teaching kids how colors play with each other while keeping the lesson interactive. By using paint markers to guide artistic lessons, teachers can keep their students locked in and eager to keep learning.

Buying Guide

There are a lot of different paint marker sets out there for kids to enjoy. With the number of options to choose from, picking just one can be tough. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, finding the perfect fit for your children is key to their learning. To narrow down your options, keep these factors in mind while you weigh out each set.

There are sets of paint markers that offer a wide variety of colors to make art with, while others have more limited selections. Based on the needs of your children, both at home and in the classroom, consider which type of set suits them best. There are also paint markers with different tips, opening the door to a whole new world of creative possibilities. There are markers with basic felt tips, giving kids an easy way to control the lines they put down to make their ideas come to life. Others have specialized tips, from chisel tips to brush tips. These specialized markers help kids advance their techniques and tap into their vast imaginations. Thinking about how each set helps your children learn and grow will guide you to the best option for their learning goals.

Expert Commentary

Paint markers can be used like markers, but they provide the rich opacity of paint without all the mess. These make them great art materials for children. Paint markers are highly recommended for art teachers or for parents of small children exploring their creativity.

Our Expert Consultant

Melissa Spurling

Melissa holds a doctorate in pharmacy and is a home educator, co-teaching a high school chemistry class and a primary school class. Having taught two of her own children to read, write and traverse Singapore Math, Melissa has spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours researching and testing curriculum.


About The Author

Dorian Smith-Garcia

Dorian Smith-Garcia is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. She is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, consumer goods, and tech. When Dorian’s not writing she’s collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.


The Scripps National Spelling Bee receives a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.