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All About Gelly Rolls!

Sakura Gelly Rolls: Description, Examples & Identification.

Gelly Rolls are perfectly engineered. The ink flow is magical. The colors are luscious. The pens last a long time and they are inexpensive. The truth is that I have loved Gelly Rolls since I first tried them in about 2008. They write smoothly, effortlessly and consistently.  The ink is permanent and waterproof after a few minutes.

I've put together a little overview for you plus a palette with a little color swatch and color code number from the pen. The examples are drawn on plain white copy paper. The black line next to the first color of each pen shows what the color looks like over a black line made with PITT pen.

Stardust & Glaze


Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Pen. Draws a .5mm line.  The line is translucent + sparkly on white paper. Comes in 12 colors plus clear.

Identification: Stardust pens have a shooting star on the transparent lid and on the body of the pen. There's a dot of the ink color in the inside of the lid. The bodies are transparent so you can see the color of the ink and how much is left.



Sakura Glaze. The color is translucent, bright and cheerful. The pens draw a .7mm line and draw raised, shiny translucent {almost transparent} ink. Per the Sakura site, these are Glaze and are not Gelly Rolls. The ink stays wet the longest of all of the pens in this review and the ink looks a little puddly if you hold in the same spot and just move a little bit. The tip is precise and these are great for coloring in detailed doodles - you can see through to the original doodle and get the ink in tight spaces. The ink dries in about a minute.

Identification:  Glaze pens have translucent lids and "Glaze" on the body of the pen. I've only seen them sold in sets of 10.

This mandala was colored with Glaze pens.

This accordian book was drawn mostly in Glaze pens.

Classic {Fine and Medium}


Mandala in black fine point.

the quote is written in black fine point doodled with moonlight pens

Sakura Gelly Roll Fine. Draws a .3mm line (from a .6mm roller ball tip) and writes in a thin opaque line. Ink is semi-opaque over black pitt pen. The ink takes a few seconds to dry.

Identification:  Fine tip pens have "FINE" on the body of the pen and opaque lids. They come in 6 colors including black. 


Sakura Gelly Roll Medium. Draws a 4mm line (.8 roller ball nib). Ink is semi-opaque over black pitt pen.

Identification:  They have "MED" on the body of the pen and most have sparkly translucent lids. They come in 11 colors including black.

The white writing in the center is medium point white Gelly Roll on black paper. 

Quote in white medium point Gelly Roll on a background of acrylic paint.

Metallic + Moonlight


Sakura Gelly Roll Metallic. Draws a .4mm line. Thin and shiny line, colors more muted than other Gelly Rolls. The ink is semi-opaque. They look gorgeous on black or white paper.

Identification: Metallic pens say "Metallic" on the body of the pen and lids are sparkly translucent. They come in 10 colors and you can buy them in sets or individually.


Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight. Draws a .5mm line and writes in "luminous gel ink that glows under black light" {per Blick}, opaque on black or white paper. The ink is opaque over black pitt pen.

Identification: Each pen has a moon imprint on the lid and the body of the pen. These pens come in 10 colors, half are fluorescent.


Sakura Gelly Rolls on black paper. What works best? Metallic, Medium, Moonlight, some of the Stardust. What doesn't show up? Glaze {they are transparent}, Fine, some of the Stardust.

Journaling in fine tip, medium tip and moonlight Gelly Rolls on an acrylic background.

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Reader Comments (13)

Thanks for the review! I wanted to order these on but wasn't sure what the difference between different "types" were. Now I know!

05.16.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJB

Terrific job!

I have loved these pens ever since high school! As you said - they are smooth, luscious, and very doodle-worthy. The Glaze ones do puddle nicely, making perfect little (raised) dots anywhere you want them. Bliss!

05.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Everybody is so in love with these pens that I wonder what's wrong with mine! I made this huge effort to order some and get them here in Germany and half of them don't seem to work. I can't get some of them going and other ones won't flow and behave like they're running out although they're too new to be out of ink. I'm wondering if mine got frozen on a truck or something in the middle of winter. Clearly I'll have to give them another chance...

Your doodles are SO beautiful. This inspires me to make my own little color swatch so I know the colors I like the best...

05.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTJ

These are delicious!! I adore your doodles. I hope you don't mind me having a go at copying one or two doodles so I can get the hang of how to construct my own. I usually get stuck with the same 'fill in' patterns or colours, or just plain stuck on covering the pages with stars or something. I've been wanting to doodle better but need to come unstuck!

BTW I've put your button on the top of my sidebar so I can hop over quickly for inspiration when I'm not on my RSS reader. I've not come across a site quite like yours for great ideas and especially the how to's.

I have always loved stationery and pens. I just love the staedtler fineliners at the moment... and Smiggle (an Aussie company) do an amazing needle point pen with a highlighter at the opp end which is great for instant colour on the go! But I've got to get me some of these jelly rolls after your awesome review!

05.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Such a useful (and very decorative) post Tammy! I'm very grateful to know the differences and appreciate the time and effort you put into this post!!

05.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Cool post! I've been meaning to try the faux watercolor technique where you use a waterbrush after drawing with the gelly pens, before they become permanent.

05.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie K in Taiwan

Another wonderful informative, inspiring post. Thanks for your efforts and inkspiration :)

05.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Great post, thank you for all the info.
Love to hear reviews on art supplies, well worth the visit to your site! :]
A lot of time and effort went into this post, it is greatly valued.

05.18.2011 | Unregistered CommenterApril Cole

Can you believe I haven't tried them? I will definitely get some because you made them look fabulous!

05.18.2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudine Intner

Thank you so much for this review! I currently use fine tip Sharpie markers in all different colors. Can you tell me why the gelly rolls etc would be better??? Some pros and cons to my sharpie markers?? Love your doodles! They are amazing!

05.19.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdeb

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