How to Use a China Marker


China markers have many names; the most common include grease pencils and wax pencils, referencing the materials making up the markers. China markers contain no ink; they look more like pencils with very thick, shiny tips. Thick paper wraps around the tip and body of each pencil with a string bound right next to the wax or grease core. The string allows you access to more writing medium. You can use these markers to write on almost anything, including slick surfaces like glass, acetate, smooth plastic and photos. It also wipes away easily without leaving a stain. You could use the many color choices to temporarily decorate windows or to write names on glasses during a party.

Things You'll Need

  • China marker
  • Soft cloth
  • Window cleaning spray or water
  • Firmly grip the string near the tip with your thumb and forefinger and pull it down slowly, tearing through the first coil of paper only. If you tear through more than one or two coils at a time, you expose too much wax and risk breakage.

  • Peel away the torn paper layer, exposing a tip of wax about 1/8 inch long. Hold the marker just as you would a pencil and draw or write on your chosen surface. Do not push too hard; the wax will break and leave ragged edges that don’t write well.

  • Pull the string down one or two coils once the wax tip wears down and continue writing. You can’t sharpen the marker to a point like a graphite pencil; you can only expose more wax. The lines it makes will be thick and dark.

  • Wipe away the markings later with a soft cloth and a tiny bit of window cleaning spray or a little water and some elbow grease.

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  • Photo Credit Multicolors wax crayons image by Igor A. Bondarenko from
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