I thought I'd review a few different marking tools this week! I've never been one to mark on my quilts for quilting, but I've used a few different marking pens during the piecing process, so I gathered a few to test! If you want a perfect diagonal line to follow or are working on a project with special seams like Y seams, you might find marking your piecing is helpful.
There are a few basic categories of marking pens: water erasable, air erasable, iron away, chalk markers, and scoring or creasing style markers.
I've heard so many good things about the Pilot brand Frixion pens. They are made for paper and are erasable pens when used on paper, but the markings iron away when used on fabric! They have a super fine point, and the ink comes out evenly and without that scribbling/scratching motion :)
I've heard the markings come back in cold temperatures until the fabric or quilt has been washed. I put my marked sample in the freezer to see if that was true, and the markings came back, but only about half as dark. If you are nervous about this, you might want to keep these markings to areas that will not ultimately show, like cut lines or the backside of the fabric.
Crayola Washable markers
How about that?! Not just for kids' coloring. I read a few comments from folks saying this is what they used for marking, and I had to give it a try! The line is thicker because it is a felt tip pen, but the color is clear, and you have plenty of colors to choose from if you are trying to find something that will show on your fabric.
I used a Q-tip dipped in water to try and soak the line out. It just bled out but didn’t really disappear. It wasn’t until I soaked the whole piece and ran it under water that the markings completely went away. I was pleasantly surprised that they disappeared completely! This could be a great marking tool in a pinch, or at least for areas that won’t show in case some of those markings linger.
Water-erasable and Air-erasable pens
How about a two-in-one pen? Air-erasable on one end and water-erasable on the other. This dual-purpose Dritz marking pen is convenient to have on hand when you aren’t sure what the project requires.
The blue marks come out easily enough with a wet Q-tip or washcloth. You may have to re-wet certain areas where you pressed the pen down harder, or the lines come back a little after it dries. The purple side is air erasable, and those lines will disappear after about 48-72 hours… or almost right away with a little water. So far, the lines haven't reappeared, and all is well :)
I think this is my favorite pen of all. This water-erasable Chacopen, by Clover, has an eraser at the other end, and I couldn't believe how immediately it worked! The felt tip has a fine point and was easy to use for marking the ¼” dots on my hexagon blocks.
Once I had sewn my seam, I went back with the eraser end to remove the dots… they vanished! Like wow! No waiting for the water to soak in or dry off, just poof gone. I will be using this pen a lot!
This air-erasable fabric pen, by Sewline, has a nice steady roll to it. The line is very fine and the color is rich, so it would show on darker fabrics.
It takes between two to ten days for the lines to go away on their own, but you can encourage them with water and they pretty much disappear before the water dries. It's always a good idea to wash a quilt, without detergent, to remove any faint lingering lines if they're in places that show. The heat from an iron may also set some of this ink, so maybe keep these markings to places that won’t be visible in the finished project.
If you're having trouble making very dark fabric, this is the best solution I have come up with. I know chalk markings aren’t ideal for all situations, but these lines show on black or almost black fabric and there aren’t many options for that!
This Chaco liner pen, by Clover, has a little spikey wheel that dispenses a thin line of chalk, just like a pen would. It's ideal for running along the edge of a ruler, but nimble enough to mark curves.
I gave my chalk lines a little blow to remove any excess chalk before working with the piece because chalk can smudge and get messy.
Chalk markings work well for heavier fabric like canvas where other marking pens get lost in the weave.
This is another of my favorites! I, really, really don’t like pen markings on the tops of quilts. I'm so nervous that something isn’t going to disappear or wash out.
With the Hera marker, by Clover, you can score the fabric along the edge of a ruler and then follow the quilting line.
The lines dimple in quite a bit if you score them while the quilt top is layered up with batting already. And, you get the peace of mind that nothing has to be washed out or ironed away.
I hope you found something helpful here! Do you have a favorite marking pen that I didn’t mention? I would love to know what you do when marking your quilts and pieces.
Happy Sunday everyone,
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