New fabric markers for quilters – Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pens
5.27.2015
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Frixion Erasable Gel Pens

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There’s been some hype about these new pens on the market: Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pens. The funny thing is, they weren’t designed for marking on fabric, but quilter’s have discovered this pen as being really effective!

I most often use a chalk marker for marking on darker fabrics, such as the these Chaco Liners. For white or cream colored fabrics, sometimes a good solid line is what you need to mark your fabrics. I decided to try the Frixion Erasable Gel Pens out for a test run to see how they measure up. In the photos, the words, “eraser” and “iron” are written in permanent marker on both a dark fabric, and a light fabric. The happy faces below are drawn with the Frixion Erasable Gel Pens in red, black, and blue colors.

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I ironed the fabric, and voila! The mark vanished.

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In this photo you can see my attempts to erase the marks on the left. I felt it pulled the fabric too much, and it required a bit of effort.

The heat of the friction is what makes the pen mark almost disappear. It still leaves a white ‘ghost’ appearance after it’s been ironed over. Here’s what the ‘ghost’ looks like on darker fabric:

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The cool part about these pens is that the marks do come back if they are set in a cold temperature for 5-10 minutes, such as a freezer.

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After 10 minutes in the freezer, the lighter fabric’s marks clearly came back. The darker fabric’s marks did not come back as easily.

And the marks did not reappear once the fabric warmed back up to room temperature again.

I also experimented with rinsing the fabrics in cold tap water. The marks really did reappear this time.

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Wetting the fabric in cold water also makes the marks reappear.

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This test shows the marks vanishing again, even after I froze the fabric to make the marks reappear just moments ago.

So, there you have it. The Frixion Erasable Gel Pens work really well as far as I’m concerned, although I might just use them on lighter fabrics. I’m really happy I played around with these pens and I think they will work wonders for quilters!

Quilters: have you tried these pens? What are your thoughts?


18 comments

  1. Mari - May 27, 2015

    Whoa, that is a very information post about the Frixion Pens. It is quite comprehensive Jenna! Good job!

    Reply
  2. Hillary - May 27, 2015

    I too heard that the marks reappeared when subjected to cold and it was true. I have multiple colored pens that I used on small swatches of fabric, I made them disappear with heat and they reappeared when subjected to cold. I hand washed them and that seemed to prevent them from coming back as dark as before, but there was still a faint mark. Don’t know if anyone else has had an experience with these.

    Reply
  3. Ginette - May 27, 2015

    I had this happen to me twice now, arrive at a craft sale and the mark on my wall quilt and also a baby quilt had come back…. very embarrassing and don’t know yet how to make it disappear permanently. Is it only when it will be washed and it guarantee not coming back. Thanks for any answer.

    Reply
    • Jenna - June 2, 2015

      Hi there Ginette, I actually emailed the company about this and they recommend trying any of the known stain removers to try and get the marks out. That makes me hesitant though as well because you never know when or if the fabrics will bleed! I would try spot-testing the marks with different solutions, Maybe oxiclean or grandmas’s spot remover? (We have Grandma’s at ConnectingThreads.com).
      Good luck!

      Reply
  4. Ginette - May 27, 2015

    This happen to me twice… arrive at a craft show and two of my wall hanging that I have mark to quilt had reappear, another time on a baby quilt… just so embarrassing. How do you make the mark disappear permanently? Is it only after they have been wash that it will not reappear?
    Thanks for your input.

    Reply
  5. Ann - May 27, 2015

    What a great experiment with the pens, Jenna. Thanks!
    I use the Frixion pens a lot for marking quilts for machine quilting and for embroidery.
    I never felt comfortable marking embroidery designs with fine-point permanent markers as some people do – in case I make a mistake tracing. Once, I traced three long rows of words to embroider. I decided that I needed to recenter one row and with a quick press, I was able to “erase” that row and start again. On alternating lights and darks, I often alternate the Frixion pens on lighter fabrics and Ultimate Quilt Chalk Powder (in a old empty Chacoliner) on the darker fabrics. I have not had problem with reoccurring lines but I know that they do come back in the cold.

    Reply
  6. Marge WA - May 27, 2015

    I have been using the Frixion pens for about a year and a half and I have been very pleased with them. I do need tp remember that they marks will come back after being in the freezer for a short while. I have inadvertently ironed off my markings several times and have gone back and redone them. Next time, I will try the freezer trick. Can you imagine what our great grandma’s would think if they were here to see all the neat notions we have for quilting. I am sure mine would just shake their heads! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Lora - May 27, 2015

    I have used the Frixion pens for a couple of years. I have never had the marks come back but I also wash the quilt in warm water after ironing off the marks. I also only use them on white fabric.

    Reply
  8. Amanda Best - May 30, 2015

    Very in depth post, thanks, Jenna!
    I worry alot about quilting marks not coming out or reappearing, so these might be worth a try.

    Reply
  9. Audrey - May 31, 2015

    I have used the Frixion pens for several years. I have had the dreaded markings reappear during winter trips to guild Show and Tell. The solution seems to be to wash the quilt in warm water. I use the pens extensively to trace applique designs for hand applique on my background. Often I use a colour to match the piece being appliqued. Once the applique is done the lines are covered so there is no concern about the lines reappearing—just don’t iron your background to freshen it up during the applique process! I love the fact that I can change my markings easily if I change my quilting designs and that the markings do not disappear as I roll and re roll my quilt sandwich when machine quilting on my domestic machine.

    Reply
  10. Lisa Parlee Carr - June 10, 2015

    I am sorry but I think your experiment was incomplete. I did the same experiment with white, colors and batiks. After removing the marks with the iron I washed half of them in Dreft baby detergent and then stuck them in the freezer. I forgot about them because I got sick and then one day I saw them hiding under a package of meat in the freezer. No marks on the ones I washed at all. Faint if any marks were left on the other fabrics. Even the light and medium batiks. I think you should try it again with a Tide, Dreft and store brand detergent to see what happens.

    Reply
    • Jenna - June 11, 2015

      That’s great you did such a complete experiment Lisa.
      It sounds like Dreft will work to get rid of the marks, lots of quilters were talking about this.

      Reply
  11. Barbara Burns - June 28, 2015

    I paid to download two patterns a while ago and I don’t know how to get them. Please help.

    Reply
    • Jenna - June 29, 2015

      Hi Barbara, I suggest contacting Connecting Threads customer service. They are great helpers for this kind of thing. 🙂 1-800-574-6454

      Reply
  12. Kathy - October 25, 2015

    I’ve used the pens several times before with no problem. But, on the quilt I finished today, my quilting design keeps reappearing after I have ironed it away.

    I am going to try the Dreft detergent and a warm wash. Any other thoughts since the June posts?

    Reply
  13. cheryl olson - October 16, 2016

    I use the pens all the time. Just recently heard of the marks coming back if they are at a cold temperature. I have not had problems but haven’t had them out in the cold. I was very sad to hear this because I love the pens. I use glad press n seal alot, then it doesn’t matter. Just put the press and seal on the quilt draw lines, quilt, pull most of it off. You can also iron off the little amounts that get stuck in stitches. works quite well and very easy to follow your lines for quilting.

    Reply
    • Jenna - October 17, 2016

      Cheryl- very interesting about the Glad press n seal! I will have to try that!

      Reply
  14. Debbie - November 22, 2016

    I use these so much that I buy them in bulk. I use them to mark quilts and bags for grid quilting. The lines are easy to see and my quilting is always straight and beautiful.

    Reply

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