Project Life Tuesday: The Write Stuff – Pens to Use

Project Life Tuesday

One of the usual questions we receive from our followers is, “What pens can be used to write on the Project Life cards?” So, today I’m sharing information on pens and markers the three of us on the Life Documented Manila (LDM) Team have tried or used in our own projects.


Since LDM’s primary market are people who live in the Philippines, I will focus more on the products that are readily available at local stores. Most of these pens, unless otherwise noted may be found at National Book Store (NBS), although stocks may vary per branch.

I’m so happy that more pens are being brought in by respective distributors to the Philippines.  Here are pens that are now easy to find around Metro Manila (I’m not so sure if these reach provincial stores, so if you’re not from Metro Manila, please do leave a comment if you find any of these or at stores in your area)

Pens - local


A note about archival and acid-free materials: when buying writing materials, and scrapbook materials such as patterned paper, you may notice markings on the product such as “ARCHIVAL QUALITY,” and “ACID-FREE.” In scrapbooking and photography, it’s encouraged to use archival and acid-free products, because acid in products may discolor or fade your work over time. At times, such products cost a bit more, and may not be readily available. If it’s not easy to get such materials, I would suggest using what is available. I think what’s also important is getting your stories told no matter the materials used.


1. Sharpie Fine Point marker (Php 50+)

Sharpie Fine Point

I like using the Fine Point Sharpies for titles or headings, or text that need to be bolder and more noticeable than regular text.

Believe me, I must have done a happy dance when I first spotted the trio of metallic Sharpies at NBS. In the past, aside from the basic colors (red, blue, black) a silver or gold marker would be available once in a while. Now, gold metallic, bronze metallic, silver are all available.

Sharpie metallic


I prefer pens with a finer point for journal writing, but for those who don’t, here’s how it looks when used for longer text:

Sharpie Fine Point 2

Sharpie Fine Point markers now come in a rainbow of colors and more! I was able to purchase a set of Neon markers last year from the Sharpie booth at the Manila International Book Fair.

 * On the Sharpie website, the Fine Point markers ink are described as “fade and water resistant,” and “quick-drying ink AP certified non-toxic formula.”


2. Sharpie Ultra Fine Point marker (usually Php42.75+) and Muji Double Ended Hybrid Hexagonal Pen (around Php45/each)

Pens - Sharpie, Muji

Like the Sharpie Fine Point markers, the Ultra Fine Point markers come in a rainbow of colors. I have it in basic black, but I chose a bright color for the sample above. This is one of my favorite pens for writing on Project Life cards, although sometimes I worry that the ink might blot if I press down and write too hard.

Muji used to be a special treat when visiting our Asian neighbors (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore) for vacation. I used to hoard their pens and notebooks, and friends also brought home stuff for me. I was happy when they finally opened in Manila because it was now easier to stock up on the writing essentials that I loved. The Double Ended Hybrid Hexagonal Pen come in different colors and look pretty when put all together. I like how it writes! I wasn’t able to show it in my sample above, but the pen has two ends, with two different tips: fine, and bold.

 * On the Sharpie website, the Ultra Fine Point markers ink are described as “fade and water resistant,” and “quick-drying ink AP certified non-toxic formula.” 


3. Pilot Frixion (Php70+) and Staedtler Triplus Fineliner (Php39.25)

Pens - Frixion and Staedtler

As mentioned above, I’m not the biggest fan of Pilot Frixion pens, only because the ink is usually a bit more faint/faded than I prefer. I do like the concept of being able to erase what has been written. From a memory-keeping standpoint, I wonder how long the written text will last and how long before it will fade?

The Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens are one of my favorites. Sadly, I don’t think they’re well-stocked at the NBS branches I visit, but the pens come in various colors.

Pens - Staedtler

4. Pilot G-Tec (Php 70+)

Pilot G-Tec

The Pilot G-Tec was one of my favorite pens to use for taking notes in school, and writing in general. It remains a favorite, even if the price of the pen itself and the ink refills have increased over the years. Use what you have — sometimes I don’t like having to look for a specific pen if I need to write something for my Project Life album; using this pen makes the writing easy and natural for me. If it’s difficult for you to write on a card, why not use a pen that you frequently use?


5. Uniball Signo (Php68.75)

The Uniball Signo pen in white is a common favorite among scrapbookers. There is a version with a broad trip, and last December I found a display at NBS with the white pen – fine/regular tip, and more colors! Here’s a pen test made at the store for the available colors:

Pens - Signo


Next, here are pens which are not readily available at local stores. These may be purchased from various online retailers.


American Crafts released the Precision Pens a while back, and it comes with three tips (0.1, 0.3., 0.5). When Becky Higgins’ Project Life (PL) brand partnered with American Crafts, the same pens were released with the PL brand. It’s still the same pens, with just a different brand.

While Sakura Micron pens have also been spotted at local shops, I think stocks are still limited. This line of pens may be more suited for those who do hand lettering, but scrapbookers also like it because it’s available with different tips, and as seen on the pen, it is archival ink and acid-free.

Here’s a look at how the Precision Pens/PL pens and Sharpie Pen are used:
Pens 2

When I started my own Project Life album, I took out my set of Precision Pens. My favorite was the one with 0.3 tip because it wasn’t too thin, and too thick. I always prefer something in between. The Sharpie Pen tip is similar, and I like how both pens feel when writing.

* Precision Pens are archival quality. and acid-free.

On the Sharpie website, the Sharpie Pen (Fine) ink is described as “AP certified non-toxic formula,” and “archival quality and acid-free ink for office and school work.”

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