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How To Choose the Best Quilt Marking Pens For Every Project Design (2024 update)

When it comes to the art of quilting, the right tools can make a significant difference. Essential items like sharp scissors and straight needles are indispensable in quilting, while quilt marking pens are often seen as a luxurious addition. However, the value of a high-quality quilt marking pen in simplifying and enhancing your quilting projects cannot be overstated. In today’s discussion, we focus on quilt marking pens, specifically on how to choose the best quilt marking pens suitable for your quilting projects.

The abundance of options in quilt marking pens can make it a daunting task to select the ideal one for your needs. That’s why I’ve decided to simplify the process for you, offering top recommendations to enhance your sewing experience. The right quilt marking pens can make sewing more efficient, enjoyable, and fun, especially for those who are as passionate about sewing as I am.

Quilt Marking Pens

Quilt marking pens are available in various styles, sizes, and price ranges, making it crucial to shop around until you find the quilt marking pens that meet your specific needs. Several factors come into play when choosing quilt marking pens, such as the type of fabric you’re working with, the scale of your project, and your budget.

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Choosing the right quilt marking pens involves considering the fabric compatibility, ease of removal, visibility of the fabric, and the precision of the lines they create. Look for quilt marking pens that offer a balance between visibility and ease of removal to ensure they aid your quilting process without leaving any permanent marks.

What Do You Know About the Quilt Marking Pens?

Quilt marking pens are specialized tools in quilting and fabric crafting. They serve a similar purpose to other fabric markers like chalk and soapstone, which are used for drawing stitching lines, cutting lines, and positioning marks on fabric. Here’s what you need to know about quilt marking pens:

  1. Variety in Appearance and Sizes: Quilt marking pens come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. They range from pens with very fine tips for detailed work to markers with broad chisel tips for more prominent lines.
  2. Type of Markings: Some quilt marking pens leave marks that can be easily erased with water or heat, while others fade over time. Some pens make permanent marks, depending on the need of the project.
  3. Project-Specific Requirements: When choosing quilt marking pens, consider the specific needs of your quilting project. This includes the type of design you are marking and the precision required.
  4. Fabric Compatibility: Different fabrics react differently to marking pens. It’s important to choose pens that work well with various fabric types like cotton, silk, wool, organdy, chambray, and polyester.
  5. Fabric Weight: The weight of the fabric, whether it’s heavy, lightweight, piled, napped, woven, knit, etc., can also dictate the type of quilt marking pen you should use.
  6. Fabric Color: The color of your fabric can influence the visibility of the marks made by the pens. Choose pens that offer contrasting colors to ensure visibility.
  7. Mark Longevity: Consider how long you need the marks to remain visible on the fabric. Some projects may require longer-lasting marks, while others might need marks that disappear quickly after quilting.
  8. Erasure Method: Your preferred or required method of erasing markings (such as heat, water, an eraser, a brush, or a swab) should influence your choice of quilt marking pens.

Who Uses Quilt Marking Pens?

Quilt marking pens are versatile tools used by a diverse group of individuals engaged in fabric-related crafts. These pens are not limited to a specific skill level or style, making them valuable for a wide range of users.

quilt marking pens
  1. Quilters of All Skill Levels: Whether a beginner working on their first project or a seasoned veteran competing in quilt shows, quilt marking pens are essential. They help ensure precision in stitching and adherence to design patterns.
  2. Fabric Artists: Artists who work with fabrics in a freestyle manner often use quilt marking pens, particularly those with erasable options. These pens allow for flexibility and creativity, enabling the artist to make temporary marks as guides for their unique designs.
  3. Professional Craftsmen: Those who create quilts and fabric crafts professionally may use permanent quilt marking pens to sign their work or add permanent designs. These pens provide a lasting impression that signifies the maker’s craftsmanship and authenticity.
  4. Beginners and Learning Quilters: For those just starting out in quilting, quilt marking pens are invaluable. They can use these pens to mark the beginning and end points of seams, ensuring that their work is precise and aligns with their desired design. This practice is crucial for developing good quilting techniques and building confidence in the craft.

5 Explanations For Why There Isn’t Just One Marking Pen For All Quilting Projects

Quilting requires precise tools for different stages of the process, and quilt marking pens are no exception. Let’s explore why having more than one type of quilt marking pen is essential for a quilter’s toolkit.

#1. Fabric Type Dictates Quilt Marking Pen Choice

The type of fabric you’re working with plays a significant role in determining the right quilt marking pen. For example, cotton fabrics may work well with water or heat-erasable pens. However, for mixed textile projects or non-washable fabrics like natural wool or vintage textiles, avoid pens requiring water or heat to erase as they can leave permanent marks. Additionally, pens that work on quilting cotton might not be effective on high loft, thick piles, or heavily napped fabrics.

#2. Color Variations in Quilt Marking Pens for Different Fabrics

The visibility of markings is crucial. Lighter-colored quilt marking pens are more visible on dark fabrics, and vice versa. If your quilt incorporates both light and dark fabrics, you’ll likely need different colored quilt marking pens. Age and individual differences in color perception also play a role. Testing different markers before starting your project is essential to find the most effective one.

#3. Project-Specific Quilt Marking Pens

The ideal quilt marking pen can vary from project to project. For instance, a water-soluble or heat-erasable pen might be perfect for a simple Christmas table runner made from quilting cotton. However, for a project involving delicate vintage fabrics, you would need a different type of marking pen that doesn’t require washing or ironing for removal. Your choice of quilt marking pens should reflect both the needs during the project and how you plan to care for the finished piece.

#4. Choose the Right Tip for Your Quilt Marking Pen

The type of markings you need to make dictates the tip of the quilt marking pen. Fine-tip pens are great for precise lines required for tracing patterns, drawing sewing and cutting lines, or outlining template designs. If your needs are more about adding color or broad strokes, a pen with a thicker tip might be more suitable.

#5. Budget Considerations When Choosing Quilt Marking Pens

Quilting, historically a necessity, has evolved into a hobby where budget plays a significant role. While some quilters may invest heavily in their tools, others operate within a strict budget. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t afford the most expensive quilt marking pen. There are many affordable options that cater to different needs. Finding the most suitable pen within your budget can save you money in the long run as you won’t have to replace it as often.

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What are Heat Erasable Fabric Pens

Heat-erasable fabric pens are a popular and useful tool in the quilting world, known for their precision and convenience. Let’s delve into how they work and examine their advantages and disadvantages.

How Heat Erasable Fabric Pens Work

  1. Ink Composition: These pens use a special type of ink, often a gel or thermo-sensitive ink, designed to react to heat.
  2. Application and Removal: After you use the pen to make precise, thin lines on your fabric, these markings can be removed by applying heat. This is typically done with a hot iron, which triggers a chemical reaction in the ink, rendering it invisible. Some people also use alternative heat sources like hair dryers, although this is not always recommended in the product manuals.

Benefits of Heat Erasable Fabric Pens

  • Precision: These pens allow for very fine lines, which is ideal for detailed quilting projects.
  • Variety of Colors: They often come in various colors, providing options for different fabric hues and project needs.
  • Ease of Removal: The ease with which you can remove the markings with a standard iron makes them very convenient.

Drawbacks of Heat Erasable Fabric Pens

  • Heat Requirement: The need for heat means they aren’t suitable for fabrics that can’t withstand high temperatures.
  • Temporary Nature: In some cases, if the fabric gets cold again, the marks can reappear. This is something to consider, especially in cooler climates or when storing quilts.
  • Limited Use: They may not be suitable for every type of fabric, particularly sensitive or very thin materials.

Usage Tips

  • Test First: Always test the pen on a scrap piece of the same fabric to ensure it works as expected and doesn’t damage the material.
  • Follow Instructions: Use the recommended heat settings and methods as outlined in the product manual for best results.

Comparing different brands of Quilt Marking Pens and heat-erasable pens

Comparing and contrasting different brands of heat-erasable pens can provide valuable insights for quilters looking to choose the right tool for their projects. Let’s delve into the specifics of Ibotti Heat Erase Pens, Madam Sew Gel Pens, and Pilot Frixion Pens.

Ibotti Heat Erase Pens for Fabric and Madam Sew Gel Pens

Ibotti Heat Erase Pens for Fabric and Madam Sew Gel Pens are both well-known choices for heat-erasable pens, so let’s begin by comparing and contrasting these two brands.

Pens that can be erased with heat, such as Ibotti, and gel pens, such as Madam Sew.


  • Performance: Both brands have received positive reviews for their smooth and clean writing on various types of fabrics.
  • Compatibility with Quilting Rulers: They easily fit into the slots of precut quilting rulers, which is convenient for precision work.
  • Affordability: These pens are reasonably priced, making them an accessible option for quilters.
  • Ease of Use and Storage: Both are straightforward in terms of operation and can be stored easily.
  • Guarantee: Madam Sew gel pens come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, offering peace of mind to the buyers.


  • Inconsistency in Longevity: The lifespan of these pens seems to vary, with some users reporting them lasting up to a year while others find they dry up quickly.
  • Ghost Lines: Particularly with white markers, there can be a residual “ghost” line after ironing.
  • Short Barrel: The shorter barrel design might be less comfortable for some users.
  • Visibility Issues: The white pens can be particularly difficult to see initially, though they may become more visible once dry.
  • Ink Flow Challenges: Using these pens with a quilting ruler might occasionally impede the ink flow.

Pilot Frixion Retractable and Erasable Heat Pens


The Pilot Frixion Pen, although not originally designed for fabric, is a popular choice among quilters for its reliability and effectiveness on various textiles.


  • Versatility: Works well on different fabric types.

  • Reliability: Many quilters find these pens to be dependable for their quilting needs.

  • Erasability: The heat-erasable nature makes it convenient for adjustments and corrections.


  • Not Fabric-Specific: Since they were not initially made for fabric, there could be potential issues not found in fabric-specific pens.

  • Possible Residue: Like other heat-erasable pens, there might be concerns about ghost lines or residue after ironing.

Fabric Markers That Can Be Erased

When it comes to marking pens, there is one type that I choose above all others: erasable pens. I find them to be more versatile and convenient. Erasable fabric pens are relatively new, but they are a wonderful thing to have in your toolset if you are a quilter. The Clover 5032 Purple Fine Point Marker with Eraser is one that I own. It is working wonderfully for me!

Fine-point marker in purple with an eraser for the Clover 5032.

Erasable fabric markers offer a convenient and versatile option for quilting and sewing projects. Here’s some information about the Clover 5032 Purple Fine Point Marker with Eraser and its pros and cons:


  • Easy Erasability: Erasable fabric pens like the Clover 5032 come with an attached eraser, allowing you to quickly and cleanly remove markings. Alternatively, the marks may disappear on their own over time.
  • Fine Point Tip: The fine point tip of the marker enables precise and smooth drawing of letters, figures, and shapes. This is particularly useful for guiding the needle during embroidery or applique work.
  • Pre-Ironing Convenience: Unlike markers that require heat to remove markings, erasable pens allow you to erase the marks before ironing the fabric. This prevents the markings from becoming ingrained in the fabric.
  • Affordability: These markers are budget-friendly, making them accessible to a wide range of users.


  • Fade Over Time: The markings made by erasable markers may start to fade after several hours, especially in warm environments.
  • Limited Effectiveness on Dark Fabrics: The purple hue of the Clover 5032 may not show up effectively on dark textiles.
  • Not Suitable for Textured Fabrics: Some textured fabrics with a high loft or thick nap may not be suitable for use with these markers.

Marking Pens That Are Air-Erasable

The Clover Air Erasable Marker Pen is another useful tool for quilt marking Pens, and it operates similarly to the Clover marking pen mentioned earlier. Here are the pros and cons of this marker:


  • Precise Marking: This marker is excellent for precise marking, even in confined areas, thanks to its fine tip.
  • Self-Erasing: The markings made with this pen vanish into thin air over time, which eliminates the need for manual erasing.
  • Long-Lasting: The marker provides prolonged emphasis on the point, making it durable and long-lasting.
  • Affordability: It is budget-friendly, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
  • Compatibility: The pen works well with various colors and types of fabric, offering versatility in your quilting projects.
  • Comfortable Grip: People with arthritis or those who prefer larger-sized pens may find it easier to hold.


  • Heat Sensitivity: Some users have reported mixed results with heat affecting the permanency of the markings. It’s recommended to conduct your tests on your specific fabric.
  • Variable Duration: The duration for which the markings remain visible can vary depending on the temperature of your working environment. There’s no definite way to determine how long the marks will last.
  • Ink Lifespan: While not a personal experience, some reviewers have mentioned that the Clover Air Erasable Fabric pens can run out of ink relatively quickly.

Pen Manufactured By Dritz Has A Dual Use

The Dritz Dual Purpose Pen is a unique quilt marking pen that offers a combination of water and air-soluble technology. Here are its pros and cons:


  • Versatile: This pen is versatile in use, thanks to its dual-purpose design with both blue and purple inks.
  • Simple Cleaning: The markings made with this pen are easy to clean off with a moist cloth, making it convenient for quilting projects.


  • Not Ideal for Busy or Dark Fabrics: It may not be the best choice for busy or dark textiles, as the markings might not show up well.
  • Not Suitable for Non-Washable Fabrics: This pen is not appropriate for use with textiles that cannot be washed, limiting its applicability.
  • Reactivation: Marks can be reactivated by high heat as well as by ironing, which may affect the longevity of the markings.

The Dritz Dual Purpose Pen is a versatile option for quilt marking with simple cleaning capabilities. However, it may not be suitable for busy or dark fabrics and fabrics that cannot be washed. Users should be aware of the potential reactivation of marks with heat or ironing.

Markers that are Water-Soluble and Can Be Used on Fabric for Sewing

Eatsleepdoodle’s Original Wash-Out Fabric Marker for Doodling and Drawing

Eatsleepdoodle’s Original Wash-Out Fabric Marker for Doodling and Drawing is a popular choice for fabric marking. Here are its pros and cons:

quilt marking pens


  • Simple to Operate: These markers are easy to use, making them suitable for various sewing and fabric projects.
  • No Bleeding: Users have reported that there is no bleeding of colors, ensuring clean and precise markings.
  • Two Point Sizes: The markers come in two different point sizes, offering versatility in marking fabrics.
  • Non-Toxic: They are non-toxic, making them safe for use around children and pets.
  • Color Variety: These markers come in a variety of colors, providing a wide range of options for creative projects.
  • Budget-Friendly: They are reasonably priced, making them accessible to a wide range of users.


  • Not Suitable for Non-Washable Materials: These markers are not suitable for use with materials like wood, silk, or other non-washable fabrics.
  • Color Retention: On fabrics that cannot be washed, the colors may not come out, potentially leaving permanent marks.
  • Drying Time: If colors are allowed to dry for more than 12 hours, they may become more difficult to remove with water.
  • Cleaning Effort: It may be necessary to use additional cleaning chemicals or wash the item multiple times to completely remove marks.
  • Color Variability: Depending on the brand of marker used, the same color mark may wash away differently, especially when working on the same project.

Eatsleepdoodle’s Wash-Out Fabric Markers offer ease of use, color variety, and non-toxicity but should be used on washable fabrics. Users should be aware of potential color retention on non-washable materials and the need for prompt washing when marks are made.

Five Leonis Water-Erasable Marking Pens Are Included In The Set.

Leonis Water-Erasable Marking Pens are a water-soluble option for fabric marking. Here are the pros and cons:


  • Simple Operation: These markers are easy to use, making them accessible for various sewing and fabric projects.
  • Removable with Damp Sponge or Towel: The marks made by these pens can be removed from fabric using a damp sponge or towel.
  • Affordable: These markers are reasonably priced, costing approximately $2 each.


  • Small Size: Some users may find it challenging to work with items that are on the smaller side, as these markers are relatively small.
  • Reappearance of Marks: If not enough water is used, the markings may reappear.
  • Tip Size: Despite being billed as a fine-point marker, the tip is larger than a typical fine point, which may not be ideal for precise sewing lines.
  • Not Suitable for Dark Fabrics: These markers do not work well on fabrics with dark hues.
  • Potential for Altered Appearance: The use of cleaning solutions may alter the appearance of a mark and make it more permanent.

Leonis Water-Erasable Marking Pens offer simplicity and affordability for fabric marking. However, users should ensure they use enough water to prevent the reappearance of marks and be cautious when using them on dark fabrics or with cleaning solutions that may affect the marks.

Chalk Markers Made by Madam Sew Used for Quilting

The Madam Sew quilting chalk markers and Sewphee Chalk Marker 2-Pack are options for fabric marking:

Madam Sew Quilting Chalk Markers:

  • These markers are designed to draw perfect straight and curved lines without the need to stop, sharpen the tip, or refill the marker.
  • They distribute the exact amount of chalk required for marking, making them efficient.
  • Compatible with a wide range of fabrics, excluding silk and nylon.
  • Chalk markings can be erased using a moist cloth, a brush or hand, or by washing the fabric in plain water.
  • Available in four colors: red, yellow, blue, and white.

Sewphee Chalk Marker 2-Pack:

  • Includes yellow and white markers.
  • Features a wider holder to maintain cleanliness during work.
  • Suitable for marking on black fabric and busy fabrics.

Additionally, if you prefer a more traditional chalk pencil, you can consider the Bohin Chalk Pencil Refillable Cartridge, 18 Piece Set. This set includes a plastic container, 16 chalk cartridges, and a sharpener. It offers precise lines, sharpenable points, and excellent washability. While the pricing may appear high to some, the availability of refills can be a cost-effective option in the long run.

BENECREAT Water-Soluble Pencil Tracing Tool, 12 Pieces Set BENECREAT

The BENECREAT Water-Soluble Pencil Tracing Tool, 12 Pieces Set offers a competitive price point and several advantages:


  • Affordable pricing
  • No need for a sharpener
  • Suitable for use on felt, straw, and most materials
  • Marks will remain until they are intentionally removed


  • Not ideal for extremely minute details
  • May not be suitable for use on very lightweight materials

In the BENECREAT Water-Soluble Pencil Tracing Tool, you mentioned a conversation with someone who had issues with a marking pen bleeding during hand quilting. This issue can be particularly challenging when precision is required in quilting projects. It’s essential to choose fabric markers that do not bleed, especially if you’re working on delicate fabrics or intricate designs. Testing different markers on a scrap piece of fabric before using them on your main project can help you determine which ones are less likely to bleed.

This video will help you to Choose the Best Quilt Marking Pens:

This media file is taken from Sookie Sews YOUTUBE channel

Tips for Best Quilt Marking Pens:

  1. Avoid setting your pen down on the cloth if you need to take a break to prevent unwanted marks.
  2. Wash, dry, and iron the fabric before using fabric markers, especially permanent ones.
  3. Test several pen options and fabric types before starting a project to ensure compatibility.
  4. Choose a tip size that suits your specific needs.

Recommendations for Permanent Fabric Markers:

  1. Dritz 3087 The Fine Line Permanent Fabric Marker in Black: Works well with quilting cotton, maintains color and shape after multiple washings.
  2. Pentel Arts Roller for Fabric: A black permanent marker suitable for various fabric types and textures, but with a bold style.
  3. Tulip Permanent Fabric Markers: Available in a pack of 20 different colors, these non-toxic markers offer versatility for different projects.

I hope this information helps quilters and fabric enthusiasts find the right fabric markers for their needs. Finding the perfect markers can indeed make a significant difference in the quality of your projects.

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