Spectrum Noir Alcohol Marker Review

This great Spectrum Noir alcohol marker review comes from Jen Clark of CraftTestDummies.com. For more reviews from Craft Test Dummies, click HERE.

I need to admit up front that I am an alcohol marker newbie. Yes, that’s right. While everyone else has been playing with those *other* brands – you know what they are – I’ve been sitting here happily coloring with my watercolor crayons and pencils. But I’ve still been wanting to know what the buzz was about, wanting to try these fascinating markers that everyone seems to love so much…and I do love to color! So I was pretty excited when I was sent a package of the Spectrum Noir alcohol based markers – the 24 pack of “Brights” – to try out!

Spectrum Noir markers are made by Crafter’s Companion, and are distributed by Crafter’s Companion in the United Kingdom, and by Crafter’s Companion and Darice here in the United States.

As you can see, the ends of the Spectrum Noir markers are colored and marked with a letter/number combo.

Being completely new to alcohol markers, I figured that had something to do with the colors and values, but since I wasn’t really certain, I went on a hunt to get my answer…which was easy to find. On Crafter’s Companion’s website, they have a great chart showing all of the color families, what each letter combination stands for, and how the number represents the value of the color – with 1 being the lights and 11 being the darkest (and not every color family has all 11 values). There are currently 168 colors available in all.

The marker barrels have a sort of square shape to them, and there are two ends. Each end is colored, and each end is labeled, so that you can easily identify the marker. One of each marker has a chisel-type tip, for coloring large areas, and the other has a small bullet-type tip, for more detailed areas. I noted that the markers have a grey band on the bullet-tipped end, which makes it really easy for grabbing the right end of the marker quickly when coloring.

I tried out just a bit of scribbling to see what kinds of lines you can get with the two different nibs, and this is what I got.

One of the big questions everyone seems to have about alcohol markers is how well they can blend with each other. So I stamped a large flower, and started coloring with the lightest color I’d chosen. I then went back and added medium and then darker tones, and finally, went back in with my original color and blended them out. I was pleased with the results…especially being a total beginner.

This is mid-way through. You can see that I’ve already shaded the lower right part of the flower.

This was the finished image. I realize it’s rather bright…that’s because I hadn’t found the color chart yet and didn’t realize that I was using the “fluorescent” colors. Sigh…I told you…new alcohol marker user!! None the less, I did feel like the blending went well!

Of course, the Spectrum Noir markers can also be used in all the ways other alcohol markers can be used. Because they are alcohol markers, they work great on non-porous surfaces. Here I changed the color of a little adhesive pearl:

Here I stamped on a piece of transparency and used the Spectrum Noir markers to color on the other side of the transparency:

You could also alter the color of metal objects, plastic buttons…pretty much anything you can think of that is non-porous! Talk about opening up a world of possibilities!

There are some other special things about the Spectrum Noir markers though. The nibs on both ends can be changed out if they become dull or damaged over time, and the markers are very easily refillable…which means these markers are designed to last you a lifetime! So not only are these markers less expensive to start with, but they are designed to last!

Here’s one last completed tag I did, after I stamped the flower/bottle image onto the card stock and colored it in using the Spectrum Noir markers. I love the effect I was able to get on the bottle using the markers!!

So let’s get to the nitty gritty on the price details…because I think you’re going to LOVE this part! Spectrum Noir markers are sold in sets…you can buy a set of 6 in a color family, for $11.99 (that’s only $2 a marker – compare to the other brand at about $5-6/marker!!). Or you can buy a set of 24 in Brights, Pastels, Lights, or Darks, for $49.95. Again, that comes out to $2/marker. (Of note, none of the packs will repeat colors – so you aren’t going to end up with 3 BT3’s if you get the Blues, and the Turquoises, and the Brights.) AND, there are places you can even find them for less!

So, I know I’m new to alcohol markers…but I’m impressed. What about you? I wonder if they’ll be adding to the colors, because I know that’s one area where people will be complaining…but for the price, I don’t know how you can beat it! Especially if you are just joining the alcohol marker movement! Talk to me…what do YOU think?


Editor’s Note: You can find all of the Spectrum Noir marker packs at ConsumerCrafts for less! 6 packs of Spectrum Noir are $8.97 and the 24 packs are regular $34.97, now on sale for $29.97! {Sale ends May 10,2012.}  To shop all Spectrum Noir Alcohol Marker sets, CLICK HERE.

About Sarah {Crafts Unleashed Editor}

Sarah is the Marketing & Social Media Coordinator for ConsumerCrafts.com. She is new to the craft/DIY world and discovered a love for it after joining the company. Sarah is a dessert addict, animal lover, a bit of a perfectionist, and obsessed with trying new Pinterest recipes.


  1. Betty says

    Glad to see the comments on what ink to use to stamp your impressions. I tried the Versafine and a couple of others and had nothing but bleed out on my stamped image. Very discouraged at this point. Bought 11 sets and markers are worthless if they can’t be used! Will try the Ranger and see…..

  2. says

    Hi Julie – I used Ranger’s Archival Ink for all of my stamping, and didn’t have a problem with it smearing. The only time I think that would be a problem is on a transparency…I know there is an actual technique where you can use alcohol inks on a transparency, then stamp over it with black Archival Ink, and then wipe over it, and the black ink will wipe away, leaving clear transparency. On my transparency above, I actually stamped on one side and colored on the opposite side. I have heard of many people using the Memento Ink or Versafine Ink…I haven’t personally tried either, so I can’t comment on either of them. Hope that helps!

  3. julie says

    I invested in these last fall, and like you am a newbie at the alcohol ink coloring. I have a few of the other and these seem to be just as nice. My question to you is which ink do you prefer with the Noir pens? I have color box, memento and archival inks. Sometimes they smear with Noir, the memento is recommended for the other pens, and color box for these. Which ink works best?

    • Nancy Alberghini says

      HI Julie: In response to your question about which ink to use for stamping when coloring with Spectrum Noir pens?? I attended a coloring class instructed by Spectrum Noir, they stated you should use only Memento ink or Ranger Ink pads..either one…I use the Memento and I have not had any problems with them bleeding ect…

  4. Carol E Brooker says

    Have never used these only have a few of the other brands, so before I put $$$ into the other ones I’m going to give these a try. Thanks for all the info, didn’t know these were out there.

  5. Gina says

    I just purchased these today!!I can’t WAIT to get them and PLAY PLAY PLAY1! I got them for cards – the PASTELS and LIGHTS! I wanted sooo badly to get the BRIGHTS and DARKS too, but those will have to wait. I ended up getting these on average for $1.25 each with the coupon I got and the GREAT website I found these on! http://www.consumercrafts.com
    When you sign up you get a 10% coupon. By the time I got the discount and shpping, they are only costing me for 48 markers $60 at $1.25 each!!! Thanks for all the detail :)

  6. Elva says

    Talk about newbies. I did not know there were other alcohol pens on the market. I am going to give them a try when I get my June check from SS. WOW what colors!! I will be giving my daughter a call today and tell her about this website and the alcohol pens. Sincerely Elva

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