View Full Version : Is it safe to write on CD/DVD's with a sharpie?

10th of September 2004 (Fri), 15:47
I've heard two different opinions regarding this and would like to know which is correct. Yes you can or no....Personally, I'd like to mark on mine but I haven't so far.
Can someone shed some light on this...


10th of September 2004 (Fri), 16:17
They make special markers for that purpose. There is concern that the solvents in a conventional marker can damage the backing on the disk.

10th of September 2004 (Fri), 17:26
Nope.. UNLESS you do not fill the CD.. and you write on the outer edges (they record from the inside out)

But sharpies.. are the worst. The same things that make them the best for other applications (permanance and flow) ,ake them the worst for CD's as the chemicals are very strong.

10th of September 2004 (Fri), 19:43
i have been labeling cd's with sharpies for years without any problems so far.

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 03:11
Care and treatment of CDs (http://www.pixelpixel.org/helpinfo/37_cdsafe-1.stm)

Unless Sharpies are designed for use with CDs, you shouldn't use them. Just because nothing bad has happened yet, doesn't mean it never will. It's all about reducing risk.


11th of September 2004 (Sat), 04:09
I feel very dumb :oops: . What is a sharpie ?


11th of September 2004 (Sat), 05:41
Sharpie is a brand name on a line of felt tip pens and Markers. I guess they don't call them that in the UK.

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 08:12
i have been labeling cd's with sharpies for years without any problems so far.

Same here - theoretically I shouldn't use them, but I have some Sharpie-labeled discs that have been working fine for more than 6 years now.

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 08:35
Thanks everyone....this is the type of info I was looking for...


11th of September 2004 (Sat), 12:04
I agree with what has been said before, I add to suggest getting a fine tipped "CD-Safe" marker and just writing around the clear inside (just around the hole in the middle of the CD / DVD) for double protection as I'm always paranoid about loosing my images.

I keep the labeling brief for example:

•Photos 1a
•Photos 1b

I always make two copies of important files, hence the a/b versions of "photo 1". I then make notes in a notebook as to what are generally on each disk.

Sorry if I'm babbling, it's late and I'm tired but I can't sleep :(

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 12:17
I use a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point. Not near as heavy as a regular Sharpie. I can't see there ever being a problem with one of these.

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 14:49
I've been using Sharpies on CDs since my NEC Single-Speed burner. Never an issue. And I rejoiced the first time I found a Sharpie Fine Point.

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 22:18
Well... it's great that so many have stopped into this thread an offered bad advice! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

The chemicals in a sharpie can and will cause faster decay of the CD.

That said.. I've been known to use them too.. :roll:

But the point is,.. do what we say.. not what we do... :wink:

So don't use Sharpies! :lol: :lol: :lol:

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 23:06
According to the DOs and DON'Ts on the Pioneer DVD-R boxes, they recommend using an oli-based felt pen for writing on the surface of the DVD. And I read someplace else that the Sharpie Fine and ultra Fine pens are oil-based pens and hence OK for use with these DVDs. If Pioneer says it's OK, then it's OK with me, too. :)

11th of September 2004 (Sat), 23:24
I did some further research.. and it turns out that I was mistaken in assuming that the "Sharpie" was a solvent based marker... I attributed it's "permanance" to the standard solvent based markers.. but of course.. there is nothing "standard" about the SHARPIE!

Sharpie's are in fact Alchohol based.

Here's an interesting excerpt;

"There are pens recommended specifically for writing on CD-Rs. Examples include the Dixon Ticonderoga "Redi Sharp Plus", the Sanford "Powermark", TDK "CD Writer", and Smart and Friendly "CD Speed Marker". Some of these are relabeled Staedtler Lumocolor transparency markers (#317-9), which are alcohol-based. Never use a solvent-based "permanent" marker on a CD-R -- it can eat through the lacquer coat and destroy the disc. Memorex sells water-based color "CD Markers" in four-packs (black, blue, red, green).

Many people have had no problems with the popular Sanford "Sharpie" pens, which are alcohol-based. Other people say they've damaged discs by writing on them with a Sharpie, though those discs may have been particularly susceptible. The official word from Sanford is:

"Sanford has used Sharpie Markers on CDs for years and we have never experienced a problem. We do not believe that the Sharpie ink can affect these CDs, however we have not performed any long-term laboratory testing to verify this. We have spoken to many major CD manufacturers about this issue. They use the Sharpie Markers on CDs internally as well, and do not believe that the Sharpie Ink will cause any harm to their products.

Sanford Consumer Affairs"

In any event, the Ultra Fine Sharpie pen looks almost sharp enough to scratch, so sticking with the Fine Point pen is recommended. "

So it seems all those CD's with the sharpie penmanship may last after all!

12th of September 2004 (Sun), 00:21
For a while there I thought I was in trouble. Never had a problem. Yet.

12th of September 2004 (Sun), 01:21
Good research CDS. Well done!

12th of September 2004 (Sun), 19:03
just a test for you guys to try out <happened to me by accident>

I burned a few cd's, had no label maker.... did have a perminant labeled em, and done.....

Later that day i got bored, lol really bored.. so i decided to color the entire lable side of the cd with permanant marker, maybe the fumes were getting to me...
None the less, i put it in my CD binder, 2 weeks later as i was in the airplane i open my binder to put my cd in, both sides of the disk start flaking off, until i'm left with a clear plastic disk......

these were Memorx cd's IMO

none the less, sharpies = not the best for cd's :P