What is the best way to mark DVD+R and CD-R please?


What is the best way to mark non-printable CD-R and DVD+R please? Is it with special pens? Any suggestions on specific pens please? And is it on the printed surface, or on the clear hub area please?

I’ve always just written on the jewel pack insert in the past.

Many thanks :slight_smile:

Magic Markers (like Sharpies brand) work best. You don’t need any high dollar branded majic marker, this is just marketing.

Just mark on the silver surface (top) and you will be fine.
If you mark on the clear hub, the markings will rub off.

I tend to use Permanent Markers or CD/DVD marking pens. The colour of the ink doesn’t matter - you just have to make sure that it’s an oil-based ink.

It’s perfectly safe to write with a Permanent Marker on the printed side of the disc. But like I said, just make sure that it’s an oil-based pen.

OK, many thanks Bob. Will look for some in my local this week.


Are these the same thing please Soneman? When I think of permanent markers I think of Pentel N50/N60. I think I saw some Sharpies last week though (the name caught my eye), and think the tag stated permanent markers.

Some like these will do:


Certain types of pen can cause increases in errors in CD-R media if written to to the normal part of the media. Safest place to write on optical media would be the centre hub area.

I’ve just bought a Sanford Sharpie Fine Point marker to write on DVDs sent to friends as gifts , but I don’t know whether it is oil based or alcohol based , would that make a difference ?
For personal use I always use paper stickers on jewel cases and leave discs themselves with no markings

Thanks for all the comments and advice!

Consensus seems to be breaking down though. Looks like 2 for writing on the main area, one for writing on the hub, and one for not writing on at all. I read a NIST report that someone pointed me to which also suggested not writing on at all. So …

For anyone who has written on the disc surface, have any of your discs failed or suffered increased error rates as a result please? I’m guessing that nobody has really tested this, as it is a bit OTT.

For writing on the hub, if this rubs off as Bob_G says, how do you manage to keep yours on please TLO?

I’ll check the pen links now thanks Soneman :-).

Bis spaeter …

Sharpies (or “CD-R Pens”) for me. :slight_smile:

No, I haven’t noticed any disc failure, or faster failure rates on the Sharpie’d ones compared to plain discs.

However, I just got a disc printer, so something for me to play with, but for the bulk of my discs, it’ll still be the good ol’ Sharpie :slight_smile:

Staedtler Pigment Markers are my choice.

Been using them for years with no problems.

They use ‘water based’ permanent ink and state in nice big letters ‘solvent free’. :slight_smile:

    • Moved thread from the [I]Blank Media[/I] forum to the [I]CD & DVD Printing and Labeling[/I] forum * *

I didn’t say that I used a permanent marker on the disc surface. :disagree:

I said that I tend to use a permanent marker on the [I]printed surface[/I]. Quite a big difference between the two - as far as I know, the disc surface is the recording area of the disc. I suspect that writing with a permanent marker on the recording area (or the disc surface) of the disc would render it unreadable.

To answer your question, yes it’s completely safe to write with CD-R/DVD-R pens or permanent markers on the top (printed side) of a blank CD or DVD. I haven’t had any issues with readability even after 4-5 years of CD burning and 16 months of DVD burning. :wink:

DVD’s and CDR’s are completely different. You can scratch a label on a DVD with a screwdriver and not harm the discs at all. (yes, I’ve done it).

CDR’s are made differently, and the back side is the vulnerable side. There were some reports in years past about “solvent-based” markers that were dissolving the lacquer that protects the reflective layer on the back of the CDR, and thus rendering them unreadable. Thus it’s important to know what “solvent-based” really means. Generally, “solvent” refers to petroleum-based chemicals like paint thinner. A few permanent markers do use solvents to suspend the dye.

Sharpies mostly use alcohol, which although is chemically referred to as a solvent, (as is water), it is not of the class of chemical solvents that eat lacquer or plastics. Sharpies also offer the benefit of being semi-permanent, but can also be removed with alcohol if you want to re-label. They are harmless to plastics and to lacquer.

So you can write on a DVD with anything you like, short of a blow-torch or dremel. On CDR’s just use alcohol or water based markers and you are fine.

Unless you are handling the media regularly, then it should not rub off. For archival use media, it is unlikely to be used very often I would of thought.

My comments on this matter are based on a statement by someone from Media Sciences who conducted some research on this issue. As Media Sciences have great expertise in optical media testing, I have no reason to doubt what they say.

Sorry for the delay in replying. I missed the email notification :o .

Anyway, many thanks for all of the updates. Will see if I can buy either Sharpies or Staedtler Pigment Markers are available in a couple of local stores.

By “disc surface” I wasn’t referring to the recording surface soneman. I may be a newbie but I’m not an idiot. If “disc surface” has a special technical meaning referring only to the surface through which the recording laser is beamed I was and am unaware of it, and can only apologise for my mistake. I simply meant disc surface in the standard sense of the surface of the disc, and assumed it was obvious from the context of my question which side of the disc I meant.

All the best everyone!

Disc Surface doesn’t have any special meaning - it could be either the data or the label side of the disc. Writing something on the data side of the disc shouldn’t be done unless you DELIBERATELY want to damage the disc for testing purposes, however. :wink:

Many thanks DrageMaster :slight_smile: .

Well, you can’t blame me for my assumptions.

Whenever I hear or see somebody say “disc surface”, I immediately think of the underside of the disc - the recording area. If you had originally said “the printed surface” then I would’ve known straight away exactly what you were talking about.

I just think that maybe you should’ve explained in a bit more detail, that’s all.