The first step of any embroidery project is to mark your design or transfer your pattern on your fabric to indicate the placement of the stitches. But not all fabric pens are created equal – some work better than others for each specific application.
What are the best embroidery fabric pens? Chalk pens and water-erasable pens are great if you are planning to wash your embroidery project. Otherwise, you can use an air-erasable or heat-erasable pen to mark your project for easy removal.
If you’re looking for the best fabric markers for embroidery, read on! We’ll discuss some of the best options available and what makes them stand out from the competition.
Types Of Fabric Marking Pens
There are a variety of pens and markers that can be used to mark your pattern on the fabric, but what’s the best one for you? Let’s first explore the different types of fabric marking pens.
Chalk pens are popular among crafters – not just embroiderers – for a reason: they provide a clear, concise way to mark patterns on fabric without damaging the material.
Chalk pens can be easily erased with a damp cloth or sponge, or you can just throw your finished embroidery project in the washing machine to erase the markings without a trace.
This makes them ideal for marking delicate fabrics such as silk and satin, but they can be used on any kind of fabric.
In addition, chalk pens are available in a wide range of colors, making it easy to find one that will contrast with your fabric. Keep in mind that colored chalk pens may stain light fabrics, so most crafters tend to stick to white chalk pens, although white can be difficult to see on lighter fabrics.
Another reason why some embroiderers don’t like using chalk pens is that the core of the chalk pens is made of chalk, which can shatter and crumble quite easily, making a big mess.
Chalk markings on fabric can also come off all over your hands when you work on your project, which is also not ideal.
Water Erasable Pen
Water erasable pens are improvements of chalk pens, as the markings also disappear in the wash, but you don’t have to deal with the chalk marks and chalk dust created by chalk pens.
Water-erasable pens are a great option for many other reasons.
First, as the name implies, the markings come out easily with just a little water. This is handy if you make a mistake or need to change the design mid-project – you can just wipe the markings away with a damp cloth. You can also wash your finished project to remove the markings.
Compared to chalk pens, water-erasable pens are also less likely to leave behind any marking residue, and the ink won’t stain the fabric either.
Second, water-erasable pens come in fine and ultra-fine tips, so you can choose the right width for your needs. Fine tips are great for outlines, while ultra-fine tips are perfect for precise markings.
Third, these pens come in a variety of colors, so you can pick the one that’s easiest for you to see on your fabric color. However, keep in mind that because the ink is water-soluble, it can still look quite invisible on darker fabrics.
One thing to know about water erasable pens is that the ink can be heat-set, which means if you iron your fabric before the markings are completely removed, the markings will become permanent on the fabric, which is definitely not something you want!
Air Erasable Pens
Air erasable pens are a new addition to the embroidery markers family, and some embroiderers are using them to mark small patterns. The pen marks made by these pens usually disappear on their own within a few days – making them ideal for tracing small patterns onto fabric.
Although this seems pretty convenient, one downside to air-erasable pens is that the markings may sometimes disappear too quickly. If you’re working on a large project, you may find yourself having to stop and re-mark the design several times.
In addition, environmental factors such as humidity can also affect how long the markings stay visible. If you need markings that will stay put until you complete your large embroidery project, then a water-erasable pen would be easier to control.
Heat Erasable Pens
Heat erasable pens are a new technology that can be useful for marking embroidery patterns on fabric. The ink is activated by heat, so it can be easily erased with an iron or hair dryer.
This makes them ideal for marking embroidery patterns, as you can simply remove the markings when you’re done without washing your fabric.
The pens are available in a variety of colors, so you can choose the one that best suits your project. However, if you are marking darker fabrics, be warned that the ink in heat-erasable pens can stain your fabric.
Heat-erasable pen markings are also super sensitive to the surrounding temperature, which means the ink can disappear when heated but will reappear when the temperature gets too cold again, so the ‘removal’ is definitely not permanent.
Choosing A Type Of Fabric Pen
Having learned about the different types of embroidery fabric pens, it can be difficult to decide which pen to use for your particular project. Here’s a helpful guide to help you choose the right pen to mark your pattern.
What Type Of Fabric Are You Using?
Most embroidery projects are done with an evenweave cotton fabric, which can be used with all of the fabric pens mentioned above.
However, if you are working with a particularly sensitive fabric, such as silk or rayon, it’s best to avoid erasable heat pens, as the heat removal process can damage your fabric.
How Big Is Your Pattern?
If you’re working on a small pattern that can be completed in a couple of hours, an air-erasable pen is definitely the best choice. You don’t have to worry about any extra steps to remove the markings because they will disappear on their own after a day or so.
However, if you are working on a big, complicated pattern, then it’s better to go with a chalk pen or water-erasable pen, where you can control when to remove the pattern.
Will Your Embroidery Cover The Entire Fabric Surface?
Some embroidery techniques (like punch needle embroidery) and patterns will create designs that cover the entire surface of the fabric with stitches.
If that’s the case, you don’t even have to worry about removing the markings at all since the stitches will cover all the markings anyway. You can just use any fabric marking pen that you have on hand, or even a regular pencil will do.
Can You Wash Your Finished Embroidery Project?
Washing your embroidery project will help you remove most of the markings from chalk pens, water-erasable pens, and even air-erasable pens.
However, some embroidery projects cannot be washed at all. Punch needle embroidery, for example, is hardly washed because the stitches (also called ‘piles’) will become uneven or loose after washing.
If you cannot wash your finished project, it’s better to use an air-erasable pen or heat-erasable pen to make removing the markings easier.
Best Embroidery Fabric Pens
Do you know which fabric pen you want to use for your next project? Let’s take a look at some of our recommendations below.
|D&D Fabric Marking Pens
|Water Erasable & Air Erasable
|Dritz Dual Purpose Disappearing Ink
|Water Erasable & Air Erasable
|Clover Water Soluble Pencil
|LEONIS 5 Water Erasable Marking Pens Blue
|LEONIS 5 Air Erasable Marking Pens Pink
|Madam Sew Heat Erasable Fabric Marking Pens
|ZUPAYIPA Heat Erasable Pens
|Madam Sew Chalk Fabric Marker for Sewing
|BENECREAT Water Soluble Pencil Tracing Tools
1. D&D Fabric Marking Pens
D&D Fabric Marking Pens are a great way to temporarily mark fabric for embroidery or other sewing projects. The pens create markings that will disappear in 1-7 days or can be washed out with water.
These pens are safe to use on all types of fabrics, and the ink is non-toxic and acid-free. This set gives you four different colors (white, purple, pink, and blue), so you can use them on different colored fabrics or even color-code your pattern for easy stitching.
Whether you’re embroidering a tablecloth or sewing a quilt, these will help you create beautiful markings that will last just as long as you need them. As the ink is air-erasable, they are the best for small projects that you can complete in under a day.
2. Dritz Dual Purpose Disappearing Ink
If you’re looking for a versatile fabric pen that can do it all, then look no further than the Dritz Dual Purpose Disappearing Ink Pen. This pen features a water-soluble pen (in blue) on one end and a disappearing ink pen (in purple) on the other.
The disappearing ink will disappear within 24 hours, making it great for transferring pattern markings and doodling embroidery designs on your fabric before stitching small projects.
If you want the markings to last a bit longer, you can use the blue side to create markings that will last until you wash your fabric. This makes it perfect for bigger projects where you will need the markings to stay for a couple of days (or weeks).
Thanks to this versatility, this pen is quite useful for almost any embroidery project. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this pen is a must-have for any embroidery kit.
3. Clover Water Soluble Pencil
Clover Water Soluble Pencils are specially designed for marking embroidery designs. The core is soft, making it simple to draft precise patterns and markings on your fabric.
They also have a thickness that is easy to see but won’t obscure the details of your design.
Once you are done with your embroidery, the markings are easy to erase with a damp cloth or even in the wash. This is the perfect tool for tracing patterns onto fabric.
This set gives you three colored pencils: white, blue, and pink, so you can easily find one that contrasts with your fabric or color code your design. This is definitely an essential tool for marking embroidery designs.
4. LEONIS Water Erasable Marking Pens
The LEONIS Water Erasable Marking Pens are another great option for marking embroidery patterns on fabric.
The pens come in blue ink, which is easy to see on both light and dark fabrics. The ink is easily removed by using a damp cloth or washing with water without leaving any stains or residue, making it a great choice for temporary markings.
The pens have a sharp, firm pen tip that allows you to draw precise lines, making them great for marking detailed and complex designs.
They are also acid-free and non-toxic, so you can use them with confidence. These pens are sure to help you create beautiful designs in your next embroidery project.
5. LEONIS Air Erasable Marking Pens
If you’re looking for a convenient marking pen for a small embroidery project, consider a LEONIS Air Erasable Marking Pen.
The ink in these pens disappears naturally in the air within 1-10 days, depending on temperature and humidity levels. Or, if you prefer, the ink can easily be removed with a damp cloth or in the washing machine.
Either way, you’ll have no trouble marking your embroidery designs with these pens. And since the ink is safe for both natural and synthetic fabrics, you can use them on a variety of fabric types.
Similar to the water erasable marking pens by the same brand, these air erasable pens are also great for marking small, precise designs thanks to their firm marker tips.
The vibrant pink ink shows up well on both light and dark backgrounds and won’t leave a stain when you need to remove the markings.
6. Madam Sew Heat Erasable Fabric Marking Pens
These Madam Sew Heat Erasable Fabric Marking Pens are great if you’re looking for a precise and easy-to-use fabric marker for your embroidery projects.
These pens have extra-fine 0.7mm tips that allow you to make clean, clear markings on your fabric. The gel ink flows seamlessly from the tips of the markers without staining your fabric.
The best part is that the ink will disappear when heated under an iron, so you can easily erase the markings without washing your project.
This set comes with four color gel pens in black, white, blue, and red, making them perfect for almost every fabric color. You can also use them to outline your design in different colors to make stitching easier.
7. ZUPAYIPA Heat Erasable Pens
The ZUPAYIPA Heat Erasable Pens is another option for marking precise details on your embroidery fabric. The pens come with 0.7mm tips and heat erasable inks that can be removed under the heat of just 60 degrees.
This set also comes with four colored pens, including black, white, blue, and red, plus ink refills in case you use up the pens quickly.
It’s definitely a sustainable option if you want a set of erasable markers to use for a wide range of embroidery projects.
8. Madam Sew Chalk Fabric Marker
Madam Sew’s Chalk Fabric Marker is a great way to make temporary markings on your embroidery projects.
The chalk markings can be easily washed off with water, so you don’t have to worry about them permanently ruining your fabric.
The chalk is also easy to see on most fabrics, and it’s also safe and friendly even to the most sensitive fabric. These chalk markers are also available in a variety of colors, making them suitable for various colored fabrics.
9. BENECREAT Water Soluble Pencil Tracing Tools
If you’re looking for a way to mark fabric for embroidery without leaving permanent stains on the fabric, then these BENECREAT Water Soluble Pencil Tracing Tools are a great option!
These white chalk pens are both easy to use and easy to remove. The water-soluble chalk markings are easy to see on fabric but can be easily removed with a damp cloth or in the laundry.
White chalk pens are also the least likely to permanently stain your fabric, so they are definitely the safest tool to mark your pattern before embroidering your design.