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What is a China Marker and Its Uses

what is a china marker
A china marker is also known as grease pencil, wax pencil, or chinagraph. It is made of hardened colored wax and is water and fade-resistant. It is a writing instrument frequently used on hard, glossy non-porous surfaces such as porcelain, glass, plastic, photograph films, polished surfaces, rock, and metal.

China marker garnered its name for being used to mark porcelain during manufacture. It is also the first writable-erasable marker made of wax. Read on to understand more what is a china marker and its properties.

What It’s Made of

The shiny, thick wax cores of china markers are made of opaque wax such as paraffin, ceresin, carnauba, or beeswax. Pigment or dye is mixed before it hardens. These are non-toxic wax, similar to what’s used for making crayons, so they are safe to use for all ages.

Some manufacturers of china markers make the outer casing out of wood, similar to pencils. These are sharpened the way you would a pencil.

The more famous china markers have casings that are made of paper. There is a string encased along with the core that you can pull to peel away the paper. More people prefer this as there is no need for additional tools to keep it functional.

Recently, they are also manufactured in a propelling form similar to mechanical pencils. These are much slimmer and are refillable.

What are China Markers Used For

There are various ways to use china markers. In addition to labeling glass or marking porcelain in production, china markers were also used to aid in relaying information.

China markers were widely used in the 20th century. It was used to mark the map of the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916. It was also used to write information on clear glass panels in aircraft control centers, aircraft carriers, and military radar defense system stations.

However, with the invention of whiteboards came the fast-drying erasable markers. And soon, the china markers lost popularity in the military scene. But they proved to be resilient as they are still widely used in this modern age of technology.

Today, it is still often used as a handyman’s marking tool and for construction. Its wax core can hardly scratch the surfaces on which it’s used. And since marks made by china markers are moisture-resistant, they are best to use on wet surfaces.

Aside from working as a labeling, writing, or marking tool, china markers can also highlight in drawings or sketches.

Despite the tight competition, some traditional artists today still prefer to use china markers. There are manufacturers of china markers that make them work well on paper and fabric. Today, you would sometimes see artists use them on canvas or paper.

Sometimes a china marker is used to mark fabrics in sewing. It acts as a replacement for a tailor’s chalk. However, it does not wash off as quickly as a tailor’s chalk or pencil.

How to Erase China Makers Marks

Now that you know what a china marker is and what it’s for, it’s time for you to understand how to remove its marks.

When you make a mistake in marking fear not, you can simply erase them. You just need to use a clean damp cloth or tissue paper to erase the marks. If the spots are too stubborn to be removed, you can also try other methods.

One way to remove the more stubborn wax is using soap. You will need a basin to mix in soap or detergent and hot water. Damp a clean, soft cloth in the solution to clean the surfaces. Lastly, rinse with clean water. You can also wipe the surface with a different fabric that’s damp with clean water.

If the marks prove to be resistant and rebellious, you can also try these:

  • Spray a cleaning product with a degreaser on a clean cloth, then wipe the surface gently. Use a dry clean cloth to wipe the surface dry.
  • Get a cotton swab, soak one tip in nail polish and gently rub the mark until it’s removed. Use a dry clean cloth or tissue paper to dry.
  • On glass surfaces, you will have to scrape off the marks. Then soak the area in acetone or window cleaner. Then use a clean, dry cloth or tissue paper to dry the surface.
  • If used on fabric, you will need detergent and sometimes gentle scrubbing.


China markers are writing implements that you can use on practically any surface. It’s basically an all-rounder in the world of markers. It can mark on glossy and wet surfaces. It can also act as your pen on fabric and paper.

Knowing what a china marker is may be the revolutionary fact you need. Suddenly, marking on certain surfaces does not seem too difficult anymore. So get yourself a china marker and get marking.

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