Recently I have seen some blog posts about using Crayola Washable Markers for marking quilts instead of the blue washout markers we quilters have been using for years. In the same discussions the Frixion pens, where the marks can be “removed” with heat are sometimes also discussed.
I decided to run some tests comparing the markers. Recently I have been using the Frixion pens more than any other marker. I recently learned that the Frixion pens contain two kinds of ink. One is heat-sensitive and the other is not. The heat sensitive marks can be removed with an iron, but will come back if the fabric gets very cold. This is an indication that the chemicals from the ink are still in the quilt. Pilot, who manufactures the pens, states that the pens were not designed for use on fabric. Therefore they make no statements about the long term effects of the inks on fabric. And, as I have blogged earlier, a white mark will be left on a bright colored fabric after the dark lines are ironed away. This is because the ink is still in the fabric. The white marks can be removed with an ink remover but will not wash out.
So– with some reservations about the long term effects of Frixion pens and some unwanted short term effects (think of shipping the quilt and exposing it to cold temperatures that way) — I was interested to see if the Crayola Markers (NOT crayons!) would be a viable alternative.
My conclusion is that I will not use the Crayola markers, and that I will use the blue washout markers even though I am not in love with them either. I would be interested to hear from any quilters who are successfully using the Crayola markers. Perhaps there are ways to do it that work.
Here are my tests:
First, I marked some white fabric with the blue washout marker and with a blue Crayola marker. The blue marker I used was the Dritz Mark-B-Gone, graciously given to me by Susan Travis of Creative Union Fabrics who was interested in my testing. I don’t know if all blue markers will yield the same results, but I would expect something similar from other brands.
Then I spritzed both sets of marks with a generous spray of cold water. As you can see, the blue washout marks disappeared. The Crayola marks just bled and made a mess.
I then applied a paper towel to the Crayola marks to see if I could blot up the ink. A lot of the ink was absorbed into the paper towel, but there was plenty left in the fabric.
I was in a hurry to finish my test so I ironed the damp sample. The Crayola marks stayed about the same- ironing doesn’t seem to have any affect on the marks – but the blue washout marks re-appeared. The photo below is from another sample with only the Mark B Gone, but shows the result.
Then I took the sample to the sink and rinsed it in cold water. Although the marks became faint, they were still left in the fabric. Then I scrubbed the fabric with warm soapy water. Finally the blue washout marks were permanently gone. The Crayola marks were nearly gone, but there was a faint shadow remaining that doesn’t show up in the photo.
If you plan to run all of your quilts through the washing machine when completed, then you can probably use the Crayola markers. You should also seriously consider doing so if you mark heavily with the blue washout markers. My personal solution is going to be to minimize marking if at all possible. Some temporary marking can be done at the last minute with chalk, since it comes off easily. For a complex pattern that required marking, I might seriously consider copying the pattern onto tissue paper and sewing through it on the quilt. And of course, changing the quilting design so it doesn’t have to be marked is even better. The ruler templates I blogged about a couple of months ago are another option. Proceed with caution!