Additional Photo Marking Solution

The problem, recall, is getting an archival (or at least photo safe) ink to stick to the back of a resin-coated photograph. Almost anything consumers buy now is resin (polyethylene) coated.

In my last post I discussed that only the Zig Photo Signature pen and the Zig Millenium produced reasonable results. The remaining problems are:

  1. The Zig Photo Signature smells like a Sharpie, and I am consequently worried that long-term it will yellow and fade like a Sharpie.
  2. The Zig Millenium must be blotted (a minor hassle) and must dry overnight or it will smear. Even overnight it smears a little.

I found another candidate after looking into India inks. It is Higgins Black Magic Waterproof ink. I wrote for the following test with a toothpick, forgive my crummy picksmanship.


I smeared it with my finger after about 10 minutes, and it was perfect.

The ink is listed by the manufacturer as being acid free, and it would appear to be a pigment ink so it should be more fade resistant than the dye-based solvent solutions. So, by surmise, this ink solves both the previous problems. Whether it is archival or not, compared to resin-coated papers, is not something I have found information on. It is latex based, which may be the same thing sold as acrylic ink, and is likely domestically archival though I would hesitate for museum use.

The downside is that the ink is for use with dip pens or with technical pens. In both cases, after use there is cleanup. Ink could sit in a technical pen for a week, but will dry and ruin the pen if left in long-term.

3 thoughts on “Additional Photo Marking Solution”

  1. I have a recommendation for the Pilot Photo Pen (which looks to me like Pilot’s version of the Zig Photo Signature).

    I also found a recommendation for Sailor Kiwaguro Nano-Carbon ink (in a fountain pen), but this does not stick to plastic at all and presumably will not adhere to coated papers.

  2. You actually mention something in there that begs the question, have you talked to a museum? Find a museum with a large photography collection and contact the curator to see if they have a solution of some sort. Also, what about those Space Pens that are supposed to be able to write on any surface?

    1. Well, I haven’t talked to a museum, so that is worth considering. I read in a forum from someone who says he is an ex-curator that the resin coated papers are not archival at the museum level. They probably mark on the matte or glue something to the back. He was concerned about things lasting for 100 years or more, and so he would only use a carbon-based ink. That is, a black pigment ink. However, he wasn’t talking about marking plastic. Same guy who recommended the Sailor Kiwaguro Nano-Carbon for applications where fountain pens can be used.

      I Googled to see if the Fisher Space Pen is archival, and it would appear not (see–archival is such a dicey word. My guess is that the ink goes on fine though. I can get ink on, remember, with the Zig Photo Signature.

Comments are closed.