Marking Fabric For Quilting | The Quilting Room with Mel 01

Marking Fabric For Quilting

March 1, 2016

I think I have tried every tool on the market for marking quilt fabric.  Some have worked better than others but I had never found a pen or chalk that seemed to go away and stay away like it is supposed to do. I hate the thought that one of my quilts might be ruined because the markings that I make on the fabric not coming out.  I've had a few smaller projects that I can't display because the lines didn't go away.  I've been on the mission to find something that I can use that washes out when I'm done because there are times you can't get away from putting marks on your quilt fabric.  I found the perfect marking tool completely by accident, Crayola Ultra-Washable markers come out of fabric.

Learn what Mel uses to mark fabric that always washes out.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Purchasing items from the links cost you nothing more and adds a few pennies to the fabric budget.

I found this out completely by accident.  One of the grandsons wrote on his brother by accident.  It truly was an excellent example of nurture over nature. I talk with my hands all the time and so does he but we don't share DNA, he's my bonus grandchild.  That's how he got marker all over his brother.  Of course, his brother was wearing a brand new shirt and it now had marker all over it.  I was sure the shirt was ruined.  I've had marker soak into my hands for days, yes I'm a messy crafter.  His mom brushed it off once she checked the box and saw they were Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers, 8 count or 40 count.  She said it would wash out when she did the laundry.

I wanted to know for myself how well it worked so I found some white fabric in my stash and proceeded to mark it up.  I divided my fabric into three sections and marked it with a Sharpie so it wouldn't wash out.  I wanted us to be able to know where things were once everything was washed.  So our three parts are plain fabric, then stitched over, and finally starched.

The fabric marked with Sharpie so we can remember what was in each section so that we can see how well each washes out.

I left the starch portion wet for the photo so that you can see that I really did starch it.  I did learn that Sharpie markers will bleed with spray starch.  Hmm, learn something every day.  I doodled on the starched section and then realized that I can not doodle so I wrote quotes on the plain area.  I also ironed over everything after it was marked and sewn.

The fabric has been marked and is ready to be washed.

I left everything over the weekend before I washed it.  The original test was washed under normal conditions.  When I updated the photos and this post I washed it with a Tide Pod and on the hand wash cycle.  I also had a slight panic attack when I realized I had put a red cami in the wash but it was too late to do anything about it.  I just hoped and prayed that the fabric wasn't going to come out pink.

After being washed the fabric is back to being white.

It's white again!!!  The lines, words, and doodles are all gone though there are random pink dots on it.  I don't know if the Sharpie bled or if my red cami bled. The part that makes me happy is that the pink dots aren't anywhere near my marks.  This is straight out of the washer and still wet.  I didn't want to run the dryer so I just used my iron to dry it.

Let's look at the washed pieces up close so you can see what's left or not left on the fabric compared to the marked one.

Plain Ironed section:

Here's a close up of the marks on the fabric.A close up of the plain section washed with all the marks gone.

You can clearly see that the marks are gone on the washed one on the right.  You can also see how awful my handwriting is in the picture on the left.

Sewn Over section:

A close up of the marks after they have sewn over.Here you can see that the marks are washed out and the thread is not stained.

I sewed with white thread to show that the marks aren't going to stain your thread.  I've had that happen with other marking tools. Mark quilting lines and the lines are still there after I washed it.

Starched Section:

Marks on the starch section after it had been starched and ironThe starch section after it had been washed.

Here's the starched section.  Remember it was starched before it was marked.  If I waited to starch after I marked my marks would have bled all over.

If you are just getting started in quilting you'll want to join our new quilter group.  The emails are loaded with great tips like this one as well as project ideas. You'll also get this handy project guide to help you stay organized.

These markers are great for any color but black.  It's hard to see them on black fabric.  But I don't typically use a lot of black fabric in my quilting so it isn't that big of a deal.  For half square triangles, I can draw on the other fabric.

Mel shows us just how well Crayola Washable markers wash out of fabric.


  1. Good to know! Thanks for doing all the testing!!

  2. I have used them for years and they do work well. I always worried about the Frixon pens leaving residue. The cheapest yet the best product out there. Chris

  3. Wow, this is awesome! Thanks for doing all that testing Mel!

  4. Interesting!! Thank you for the tip.

  5. Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us at Merry Monday. I’m all excited about fall and can’t wait to see all the fall food and projects at the new party starting tonight!

  6. Thank you for doing all this testing for us. Sure saved me time.

  7. Awesome!! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty hope to see you back!