Frixion Pens-All you need to know
This is my fourth and hopefully my final post on Frixion pens. A recent discussion on FaceBook prompted me to explore this one last time. Some prominent quilters and artists have said things about the Frixion pens that I have not found to be true in my own experience, so I needed to get the facts. I ended up talking directly with a rep at Pilot to get the facts.
If you’re not familiar with Frixion pens, they are a line of pens and highlighters made by Pilot that are heat erasable. Frixion pens make a crisp, clear mark which goes on smoothly and easily with no skipping. After quilting, you simply steam the ink lines away and poof, they are gone! This seems like the Holy Grail of marking methods for us quilters. It is important to note that Pilot did not design the pens for fabric and did not test them on fabric while developing the concept.
But quilters/textile artists had problems with the pens, namely two:
-Sometimes they left what I call a “ghost” mark after steaming the initial mark away. It was faint, but certainly not something you would want to see on your quilt.
-If the quilt got cold, the marks reappeared.
Quilters wrote articles noting that if the marks reappeared in the cold, it was because the quilter did not thoroughly steam the marks. This simply is not the case. The ink combination used in the pens has two parts-one part makes the mark and one part makes the mark disappear. There is still ink left on your quilt after steaming, you just can’t see it. The ink is still there and will reappear in the cold.
I know it sounds odd talking about a quilt getting cold! But if you throw your quilt in a suitcase or the back of your car or, in my neck of the woods, drive up to Tahoe in the winter, your marks will come back. But even worse for competition quilters, if they are shipped and get cold, the marks will be back on your quilt at the show you sent them to-not a good thing.
As to the ghost marks, I did not find a pattern as to which fabrics would show the marks. Some say that if you pre-wash your fabrics you won’t get those marks. That was not the case for me. So I had to test on any fabric I wanted to use them on to make sure I would not be left with ghost marks after steaming the ink marks away.
I felt like I needed to know for sure the answers to the problems with the Frixion pens. I called the Pilot pen company and asked for a representative knowledgeable about Frixion pens and their use on fabric. She was quick to note that Frixion pens were not designed to be used on fabric!
She explained some important things to keep in mind when using Frixion pens on fabric. The Frixion ink is actually a combination of two things: gel ink, and a thermo ink. The addition of the thermo ink is what makes the gel ink disappear with heat. But note, Frixion pens are basically gel pens with some added thermo ink. That means that you are putting gel ink on your quilt when using Frixion pens. That ink will disappear only because of the thermo ink-the gel ink is still there on your quilt unless you take additional steps to remove it.
Because so many customers were using Frixion pens on fabric, Pilot did some testing to try to remove the stains. They tested two specific products that will help remove the stains: Amodex and Mötsenböcker’s Lift-Off 3. I can find the Mötsenböcker’s in my local grocery store but I have not heard of Amodex. She noted that just like removing any other ink stain, sometimes you would need to spot scrub to remove the mark. Ugh-editorial comment!
So in summary, straight from the manufacturer’s mouth so to speak, a summary of using the Frixion pens on fabric:
1. Frixion pens combine gel ink and thermo ink. You are marking your quilt with a gel pen that disappears.
2. The marks will reappear if the quilt gets cold (anything below freezing I think-I did not confirm the specific temperature) unless the mark is completely removed with an ink remover. Even after a thorough steam of the marks, they will reappear in the cold. This is part of the inherent chemistry of the ink combination.
3. To completely remove the ink so that it will not ghost or reappear in the cold, you will need an ink remover and also may possibly need to scrub the area. The manufacturer has tested Amodex and Mötsenböcker’s Lift-Off 3 and found them to be fairly effective in removing the ink.
4. Frixion pens sometimes leave a ghost mark after steaming. This is the thermo ink showing on the quilt, not the gel. The Pilot rep said to rid the piece of ghost marks you would need to treat it with the ink removers listed above.
So this is a definitive summary of the Frixion pens straight from the pen’s manufacturer.
For me, I will not use these pens very often because I frequently do competition pieces. I cannot risk having any problems with the marking method I use. I think they are great pens for other marking needs but we need to be aware of their limitations. And remember that the Pilot pen company did not design these pens for fabric.
Jenny – thanks for the wonderful research and summary. When I first heard about Frixion pens, I thought they were the perfect answer. I did a good sized wall quilt that was mostly whole cloth – muslin with matching thread. It has not been exposed to temperatures below 55 degrees, but after a year, the marks have reappeared…not the ghost marks, mind you – but the actual “gel” part of the pen. The really bad part is that they will now not disappear at all with ironing. The good news is that not all of them reappeared (yet?) and you can’t see them unless you get close – but this quilt will never be able to go into a show. I will definitely try the ink removers – thanks for the tip. So even after reading your post – if someone is still thinking they might use them on fabric – don’t!!!
Lisa Jenni says
Jenny, this is exactly what my research showed, too.
On top of that, the remover is the only stuff that will get it out (or maybe not), despite the fact, many sellers tell the quilters they come out in the laundry.
That’s truly not so. The gel/thermo inks are a chemical composition that will not wash out by regular laundry (told by manufacturer).
When I teach “Methods of Marking for Quilting”, I reserve extra time just to explain the Frixion Pen.
Oh it takes time to explain them too! I cover them in class also. What a great course-Methods of Marking. I stick with blue wash out mostly. I’d love to know your tips and tricks. Oooo-maybe a Craftsy class or something is in your future!
The blue pens also have inherrent problems, depending on which brand you use. Some of the lines may reappear if the quilt is left in sunlight or under halogen lamps.
Over a period of years, some of the marks that had been ‘removed’ came back as a brown shadow line. Our precious quilts outlast the manufacturers’ testing schedule, and the issues can be unforseen.
Whilst many of the blue pens have improved, I would still be anxious about using them as a result of the problems I have come across, even though thousands of quilters and embroiderers love them.
Hi Lizzie; I should write a post on the blue wash outs too! I have had some of the problems you described in my own quilts and in each case it was either 10 years ago when the formulations were different, failure to wash out coorrectly or heat setting. One student’s cat heat set her marks by laying on it for a nap! I heat set one by leaving it in my car on a hot summer day. Many quilters do not understand that you must wash the marks out, not spray them out. And you cannot use detergent on that first wash. I use them with success if I wash the marks out porperly, am careful to no heat set the marks in any way and use Dritz or Clover markers (others may be good too, those are just the ones I use as I’m afraid to use other brands!).
Marlette Louisin says
I have to wonder why Pilot developed a pen that disappears with heat but should only be used on paper. I mean really, who ever irons paper!!?? And, if you were going to write something why would you want to have a way to make it disappear.? I guess it might be valuable in Washington, D.C. ;-)
Now, after reading this info I’ll pray that my Son and DIL don’t have these marks reappear on their king size, 2 color reversible wholecloth quilt that I made for them for their 27th anniversary. It took about 300 hors to complete!
I designed the center portion on paper then executed the design freehand and with rulers designing as I went along. Lots of flowers and birds were incorporated in the design.
Crossing my fingers. nothing bad happens
I’ll need to find some effective way to mark my quilts
The pen was probably aimed at youth who wanted to write “secret” messages. The tip of the pen is rubbery and you rub it over the writing, creating friction and erasing the ink. It works the way they designed it to! It was not designed for fabric nor irons. No problem with the quilt-if the marks bloom back, throw it in the dryer with a wet washcloth and you should be good to go. No worries! Your quilt sounds gorgeous!
to Marlette Louisin: The pens are “erasable” on paper. They are not like the old version of erasable pens where it had a pencil like eraser. The eraser on the pen cap is a hard silicone type material that allows you to rub a writing error out without ever breaking down itself. You don’t need to heat or iron the whole paper, the friction from the eraser adds the needed heat to make it “erase”.
The ink removers don’t work. I tried them all.
The manufacturer only recommends Amodex and Mötsenböcker’s Lift-Off 3 but does not say it will remove all ink stains, just a better likelihood of removing them. There are so many variables, there is no hard and fast rule. Some stains just will not lift, sigh.
TRY EITHER ALCOHOL OR HAIRSPRAY, BOTH WILL WORK BUT WHEN YOU APPLY IN IT MAKES THE INK SPREAD AND LOOKS PRETTY SCARY. NEXT APPLY DAWN OR JUST WASH AS USUAL AND IT WILL COME RIGHT OUT.
Hi Sandra; These are not made of regular alcohol soluble inks unfortunately, so the normal ink remedies will not work. Wish it did! Thank you!
Same here, They didn’t work for me either.
Sorry it didn’t work Nancy. I actually think it is rare that it works. It is a permanent change to your fabric after all. Bummer though.
Nancy M. says
Have you tried ‘Carbona’ or ‘Stain Devil’ brand stain removers? They have a formula for ink. We have had great luck with them, but I never tried it on a Frixion pen.
I haven’t tried either. I mainly avoid the pen, but if I had a problem I’d rely on the company’s researched brands included in my post (forgot them at the moment). They put a lot of research into different types of removers so I would trust their word on that one.
Debbie Marsh says
I don’t understand why anyone would use them on fabric to begin with? I mean I don’t make quilts and I think they are absolutely beautiful, but aren’t their fabric markers/ pens/ pencils for that kind of thing?
They are sold in quilt shops and are a great and unique method of marking for some.
Great “investigative reporting”!!!!! I do use those markers and was aware of their reappearance if cold was applied. I will be more careful in the future, however, as a result of your findings. Thanks a bunch!!!!!
They sure are great for the right project though!
MICHELE ARMSTRONG says
I too think that for the right project they are brilliant. Stitcheries for example where the lines are actually stitch on and no ghosting ends up showing. I sell these in my quilt store but do inform customers of the ghosting/reappearing possibility. Living in an area where there is high rain fall and moisture in the air I have had the experience where the blue wash out markers have actually disappeared over night so Frixion are doing the job for me.
Yes I had my blue marks disappear once also and that was disappointing. I just wanted quilters to understand what the product is and its limitations. I too use it when I need a mark and it won’t show afterwards. Thanks for writing Michele! I used to sell them when I taught workshops but it took too long to tell each possible buyer the cautions about it. I agree-the perfect pen in the right situation!
Barbara Black says
Thanks for this important information, Jenny. I will share it widely.
Thank YOU Barbara!
Is the second sentence under #4 backwards? The gel ink remains, the thermo ink disappears?
The gel will disappear with steaming but sometimes the thermo will leave the ghost mark and it has to be treated with ink remover. It may be worded poorly-I’ll go back and look-thank you Helen!
Thanks for the info, Jenny! I still haven’t used them on my quilts, and probably won’t. Did you happen to find out the effects of using the ink removers listed on fabric? Like will they remove some of the dye from the fabrics along with the ink? Yeah, I know, I may have just opened another ball of worms… Was thinking that it would really suck if when the gel ink came out, so did the dyes used in fabrics like batiks (or any others for that matter)…this would create a whole new problem.
Hmmm, interesting thought Marsha. Yes, I sure would test a piece before I put more chemicals on it. I would imagine it would strip the sheen from the Radiance I am so fond of. Since Radiance has silk, I’m pretty sure it would strip the sheen off. Perhaps it would do the same to sateen. I’m only guessing. Regular quilting cotton is probably pretty safe.
I was wondering if this would take color out of the fabric at the same time as the ink. I was stupid enough to use a perm ink pen on the back of my quilt and it went thru to the front…… I am hoping that the ink remover might do the trick for me if I can find either of them.
The Frixion shouldn’t take away the color, just leave a ghosty mark. But those ink removers that Pilot mentioned must be their best choice of removers-maybe try on an inconspicuous spot? Good luck Margie!
Margie, try spraying ink mark with hair spray then launder in warmest water that the quilt will stand.
Whatever works! The two products the manufacturer recommends for this specific ink are Amodex and Mötsenböcker’s Lift-Off 3. If the hair spray does not work I would try these two next.
Barbara Sindlinger says
That’s what I was thinking. Could we use a capful of the ink remover in the wash? Test the fabric would definitely be the right thing to do. I really love these pens, but i do test for the fabrics to see if they shadow. Most batiks do. I hope Pilot will not work on creating something for us quilters. :)
Yes, wouldn’t it be nice if Pilot designed a pen that did the same thing but was for use on fabric? That really would be the perfect marking system!
I used the frixion pens after they were recommended by a local fabric retailer. I did get ghost marks after washing in cold water. I tried an old trick for removing ink from fabric learned from my mom – I sprayed the marks with hairspray and rewashed the quilt in cold water. It worked! I hope this may help others!
Glad it worked Tonya!
I would suggest trying the ink remover products using the instructions on the packaging. A ‘capful in the wash’ is not the way they are meant to be used.
I have had trouble with batiks, it leaves a white line after it is steamed
I no longer use them, because when I contacted the manufacturer, he told me they are for paper and the company cannot be responsible for damage done in the future to the fabric…..it is NOT archival ink
Yes, batiks seem to be a problem for the Frixion pens. The Pilot Pen people must be perplexed-they design a product for paper. Quilters come in and start using it on fabric-and then complain about issues with it. I simply want quilters to understand the issues with Frixion pens on fabric so that they make an informed choice whether to use them.
sylvia smith says
I only use “old school” non-wax chalk on customer quilts. And I only use white. If I need to mark a white area I will use very small light blue marks – the blue that is wash away. No heavy blue marks because it tends to bleed through to the batting and will reappear on the top in short order. Thanks for the great report on the Frixon pens.
Thank you for your comments Sylvia. It sounds like you long arm maybe? I know as a domestic sit down quilter I can’t mark with chalk-it will wear off before I’ve quilted it unfortunately. I like the blue wash outs also-it’s my go-to marking method.
I agree with all the thoughts expressed, and will be taking these pens out of my sewing room.
I do remember that the ghost marks did appear on a dark fabric, and remember the ol’ spit routine, and it removed the ghost mark. Also tried Best press, and the ghost mark disappeared. Have not had the marks reappear so far. I have not used them to quilt with and won’t. Maybe Grandma had it right, she marked her quilting lines with a graphite pencil. Just saying….
Thanks for the tips Brenda. I agree, I think Grandma had it right.
What would be a good product to recommend a new quilter like myself if you are needed to mark on your quilt. I am not AS accomplished as many of you and require some guidelines sometimes but i am scared to death to use anything at all, not sure what really is best or ok.
I think there are varying opinions on marking methods. Pat (above) uses the Crayola Ultra Clean markers with no problem. I generally use blue wash outs. And remember the Frixion pens are good if you aren’t going to get the quilt cold and the pens don’t ghost on the fabric you’re using. No matter who says what, make sure you test your marker on your project. And have fun at it!
I absolutely LOVE the Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable markers!! Always washes completely out!!
I know many who love them Jannine. Their website indicates that like the blue wash out, they can heat set. I love that they come in so many colors!
I do smocking and heirloom sewing, and the Crayola fine point washable markers are fabulous (and inexpensive!)!! No problems with washing out – even after ironing!
I agree Ellen. I have switched over to using crayola or the blue wash outs.
Christine Martinson says
Can I re-post this to a group I belong to?
Thank you for asking Christine-of course!
I thought these pens were great for regular sewing and then used them to mark crosshairs for machine embroidery positions on t’shirt and found the ghosting on some of them and was confused as to why in the world. Well, now I know! Thank you for this and will definitely use another method for marking! Sure can’t risk my granddaughters going around with cross hairs on their shirts. LOL
No, no crosshairs on granddaughter’s shirts! Giggle.
Tomomi McElwee says
Thank you for writing this. I have read some before and haven’t used it yet. They are getting very popular and I am worried.
But remember, they are still a great marking method if you aren’t going to get your quilts cold and it does not ghost on the fabric you’re using.
Thanks for the great info! I won’t be using Frixion again. AND didn’t one of the comments say that the marks came back in a year even without getting cold? Such a bummer!
I think you just have to be mindful about any marking method and, always test first!
Jane Quilter says
Not so. I tested on my samples, and marks came out with heat. I put them in the freezer overnight and the marks did not come back. BUT, due to the size of the quilt (oversized king) and intricate hand quilting pattern, I left the marks on too long (several months). Guess what? The marks SET. heat wont move them, nor will any of the products mentioned. Who thinks to test for setting time? Just more bad news to share Jenny. Thanks for the article.
Oh so sorry to hear that Jane. Ugh. I hope they eventually come out-king sized to boot.
Just get and use the crayola washable markers (MUST BE ULTRA CLEAN) and you are good to go. Cheap, definitely wash away, and no ugly heartbeat skipping.
Yup! I use blue wash outs mostly and somewhat the same thing. I know the Crayolas are less expensive. I’ve used them a few times but haven’t tested them thoroughly. I have not heard of any issues with them…..but I always want to test on my project before I leap in head first. Thanks Pat.
Dianne Cass says
Thank You! I appreciate you posting to use caution, even with Crayola! Chemistry is in everything, that can react with the chemicals put on fabrics in manufacturing, or the wash if adding softeners or starch! I recommend always soak and prewash fabric with multiple rinses. Minimal marking, pretest, test and include care instructions to the recipients.
Thank you Dianne. I don’t think most quilters consider the products we use as “chemistry” but they are! I must admit I do not soak and prewash my fabrics:-/
As a new quilter, I too was scared of ruining my quilt. SoI tested the Crayola washable markers. With every color I made a line on a while piece of cotton. I also made a mark with a very cheap BIC mechanical pencil. Then, I washed the marked cotton in my washing machine on gentile cycle using cold water. Then I sent it through the dryer. Every mark came out., even the pencil. I have since marked my quilts using both methods with good results. Thus far I’ve encountered no problems. BTW I’ve not tried them on Batiks yet, so I don’t know if these work for that material.
Hi Mary, thank you for the comment. I am happy for you that all those methods worked! They did not for me-I have several quilts with pencil marks still in. I hope they work on your batiks too.
I have tested the Crayola Ultra Clean Washable markers, even ironing the marks, and all the marks have always come out and not returned. You do have to use soap when you wash….just water will not work (at least it did not work for me).
I have also left the marks in for a while and they still came out with washing.
I do like them also! They are dependable and come in so many colors.
I swear by the Crayola Ultra Clean washable markers, too!! I’ve even heard of a lady leaving her quilting project for a year just to come back to it and finish it and the marks still completely washed out in the laundry!
Tim Latimer says
Wonderful research! thanks for sharing it!!
Thanks Tim-it’s my pleasure!
This is some much needed information about these pens. When I first heard about them, it was from those who embroidered and really loved them. (Different application there but one that makes more sense to me.) I’ve always been hesitant to use these pens on quilts because there are a few really good products out there that are made specifically for use on fabric (with good results), and the Frixion pens just weren’t worth the risk.
I think you’ve written the definitive post on this topic! It really seals the deal for me on the Frixion pens for use on fabric. Thank you for taking the time to do some investigative work!
You are welcome Jessica-quilt on!
Recently i was told to bring a Frixion pen to a quilt workshop since I didn’t have one, I live in Lindsay, I made a trip to Whitby, about an hour drive to purchase one. Seems like I wasted my time.
Faye PFC (Professional Fabric Collector)
Don’t get me wrong, the Frixion pens are great in some situations so no worries about having purchased one! Your instructor will have a good reason why it might be the best thing for that particular class. People use them successfully when the marks will be covered, like in garment making, marking embroideries, etc.
Beverly in SC says
I heard about them in hand embroidery classes and they work great but I am completely covering the lines with my embroidery. I started using them to mark blocks for HSTs and QSTs and noticed the ghosting. Fortunately the marks are on the wrong side of the fabric so it does not matter, but I don’t use them where I need the marks to go away.
Also you must watch lead pencils. If you want to use them, spray your fabric with starch and press it before using the pencil. We do this a lot in heirloom work. I did not spray one piece and never did get the pencil marks out! You can find old hankies with beautiful embroidery on grey lines. Those are pencil marks that have not come out and never will but it’s part of the beauty of the work.
Thank you for sharing Beverly-we all benefit!
Stephanie B says
Do you know if you use this on the back of your fabric, will the ghost marks show through the front?
Hmmm-good question. I don’t know the answer for sure but I would test that if I were you. I would imagine there would be no marks on the front so if you can get away with marking the back, you’re probably good to go.
They do not show on the other side on standard quilting fabric
Thank you Jeifner, I hadn’t tried that!
Joanne Allen says
Thanks for all the information Jenny. When I first started using the pens I did my own test case. I always wash my quilts when I’m done, so I was curious if washing, with regular laundry detergent, would remove the ink and the ghost marks. What I found is that washing always removes the ghost marks, but not always the ink. I tried four different fabrics. After washing I put the samples in the freezer for several hours. Three of the four fabrics had no marks, one still had some very faint marks. If you had quilted on the line you probably wouldn’t see them. I’m comfortable using the pens on placemats, baby quilts, table runners, things I know will get washed. I’m not using them on wall hangings, which I only wash once.
I’m glad they work well for you Joanne because they make great lines. I have had ghost marks stay wash after wash so I think it depends on the fabric used. And you are so right, if you quilt on the line you will not see the ghost marks.
Thanks for the research. My question is since these pens leave marks that have to be removed with and ink remover or better yet scrubbed off why are they being sold as a quilters marking pen…….I think the quilters definitely have been mislead about the wonders of these marking pens!
Oh let me be clear. Frixions are great in many situations-clear, crisp, thin lines. The Pilot pen people did not intend them to be used on fabric but quilters saw a use for them. For many, they are an excellent marker. I simply point out the issues that can occur using them. Just like a blue wash out pen can be heat set and then won’t come out ever. Each marking system has its own rules.
Lillian K says
Well, WHAT were the Frixion Pens intended for then?????? (just curious)
I don’t know exactly but I wonder if it wasn’t for kids to use or something like that. I remember when they first came out, they were not in fabric stores, only in places where pens were sold. You never know what quilters will do with things-imagine the surprise of the freezer paper people when appliquers began using it!
Frixion pens were designed to work on paper. The purpose of the thermo ink was to make it so that with the friction produced by an eraser, the ink would “disappear”. But with the erasing action on paper, you have 2 effects at work: (1) the effect of the heat produced by quickly rubbing the eraser against the paper (i.e., friction), and (2) a thin layer of paper is physically removed. So you have less actual ink remaining following erasing, plus, you’re writing over it, and, at the end of the day, it’s unlikely anyone would be horribly upset if there is “ghosting” showing the outline of what they erased (which I can tell you, can & does occur even on paper).
They are fantastic for school. Like regular gel pens, the ink easily flows & does not pool or dry in the tip. Unlike regular gel pens, they form a very thin line & can actually be erased. Students who use Frixion pens tend to have neater papers than those using ballpoint pens (which can also sometimes be erased) or other gel pens (which cannot be erased at all) and I’ve yet to see a single instance where a student ended up with ink all over his/her hands from a Frixion pen. I’m 100% in favor of them on paper. I personally don’t allow them anywhere near my sewing studio.
Yup, exactly what the Frixion pen people told me.
Alison VanSacker says
I don’t know about you but I use gel pens to make labels. They come in an amazing variety of colours and heat set beautifully. Perhaps that’s why the ghost marks.
It’s so funny how we can use the same product differently. I’ve used the straight gel pens for labels too-love all the luscious colors.
marie montgomery says
Thank you for all the research work you did on this product and then sharing the results with everyone. I have been tempted to buy these pens and now do not think I will. I appreciate all your work
They are still great for things that don’t get cold!
Teresa Duryea Wong says
This is a very thorough post Bless you! I have always used them sparingly, but will be super careful now. Thank you!
Yes, you don’t want to ruin all that work you’ve done. Thank you Teresa!
Do you know if the Frixion highlighters have the same issues as the gel pens?
Sorry Sherri, I don’t know anything about the highlighters.
I have also had a problem with Ghost shadow but the project I was doing a was at a retreat and I didn’t get back to it for a couple of months As it was white linen I wasn’t impressed I tend not to use the frixon pens any more but after reading the reps comment I was wondering how Haispray would work I use it on the pockets of my husbands work hurts to take the ink from his pens off I have also used it on lots of other fabrics I threw all my pens out so I can try it Just a thought
Yes, I wondered about that too because it does a great job at removing ink. But since the Pilot people used those 2 specific cleaners, I’d start there first. I think you use whatever works for you-testing first to make sure you don’t do more damage! Thanks for the comment Carol.
First, it is quite frustrating for my “request to time out” when typing a comment. Not sure how to prevent that, but thought you might want to know this happens.
So, here’s what I was trying to comment:
Ever since I was this pop on Facebook, I’ve been contributing that I don’t even trust the blue/purple pens supposedly made for fabric after years of seeing them reappear on students’ projects in my sewing classes and my own work when they first came out, often after washing and as yellowed marks. I will also never forget seeing a gorgeous heirloom project at Martha Pullen school ruined after hours of work and many dollars in linen and imported lace, all because of those pens.
I use nothing but chalk or a light pencil mark. Period.
Sorry about the request for time out-there has been an incredible volume of response to this post. Everyone makes their own choices about markers. I do know that the blue wash outs must absolutely be washed out, not sprayed, not just immersed but swished around and rinsed several times. If you spray them out, it just migrates to the batting and blooms later into the dreaded yellow marks. Not that I ever had that happen, lol. Also a lot of things can heat set them: sitting in a hot car, laying in the sun, cat/dog sleeping on them, etc and then you get the yellow marks also. Each to their own as long as it works and doesn’t stain. I try to mark only when necessary as I don’t like to worry about the marks coming off while I’m still working it nor do I want permanent marks. Glad that you have methods that work for you!
Thank you for your research and testing, Jenny! I have been curious about the use of these pens on fabric, but too wary to actually use them. I love the blue washout markers, and Clover chalk markers. These have served me well, so I see know reason to switch; especially after reading about your experiences!
Good for you-you’ve got a system you like and are comfortable with-no need to try other methods! Onward.
Congrats! Aurifil posted your blog on there Facebook wall.
Thank you Cheryl-that solves the mystery as to why I am getting an incredible number of views! I don’t see it when I look at his wall which is weird.
They ghost on black fabrics. Solid black is especially noticeable. I use this to my advantage when I need a fixed mark and use the ghost line. That’s on the back of the fabric.
That was my experience in general also, yet I had one black fabric which did not ghost. I did not see a dependable pattern like all dark fabrics, etc.
Does washing the quilt remove the marks permanently? Or can you run the quilt through a hot dryer cycle to remove the marks permanently?
The hot dryer will only remove one of the two inks and the manufacturer says to remove all of the ink you need to treat with ink remover. Washing normally would not permanently remove the marks according to the manufacturer.
Joanne D. says
I have washed my finished quilted wall hanging and then put it in the deep freeze to see if the marks came back (which they did, before washing)…..nothing…..nada! so, I hear what the company reps are saying, but my actual experience is different….perhaps they are just being overly cautious???
I’m glad that worked for you! I can’t explain why you did not get marks back but in my experience they do definitely come back. Also, the manufacturer says that the ink is still there after washing unless treated with ink remover. Whatever works for you!
Kati R. says
This is such a good info! I never used this pen, since from the first time I saw it demonstrated, it always came with the warning that the marks come back in cold. Since I live in NY we have cold winters, and when do you use your quilt, if not then? But I just recently read someone also writing about the frixion pen, and said that she washed the quilt, and the marks didn’t come back in the freezer after all. I know that should not be the case when you quilt for competition, just a food for thought for everyday use.
Kati when I tested the marks after washing the marks did come back. Given that the manufacturer says that the ink is still there after washing, I’m going to go with that. But no matter what I or anyone else says, always do your own testing on your own project and then you will know for sure on that project and go with what works.
Thank you for all the information on Frixon pens. I suspected that the marks might come back in the cold or after other uses, just as some air erase, and wash-a-way markers sometimes come back to haunt the user. However, personally, I’m ok with using them even knowing that some of the ink might show up again. I tend to only use them to mark the piecing for applique that will be turned under, so if a little bit of the ink shows up, it will still be in a hidden location as long as I am careful to make sure to turn under accurately. In the past I’ve used a lot of other marking supplies and some have come back, some have never left, some were meant for fabric, others, not so much. I think the lesson here is to test out products before using them and then use them in a way that is appropriate for the situation. Wash if needed, know that they should only be used in hidden locations, or be ok with the potential long term outcome. I still love these pens for certain marking situations and I really appreciate all the info you’ve posted here. Thank you.
I like to use them like you do. Only when hidden under or in seem lines on the wrong sides. They make great marks where things need to match or where. You need to stop sewing, but on the wrong side of the fabrics and outside the quilt.
Well I’m glad you are using them “safely” Robin!
I guess I have been lucky because ghost lines have never occurred on my quilts. However, I do not use steam. I just use a dry iron.
Great Nancy-glad it worked for you! I used to use only dry and then read I needed to steam. I got ghosts both ways-go figure! Thank you for sharing your experience.
Amodex sold at one of the office stores, near the permanent markers. Removed all my ghost marks on a project but it took me hours of scrubbing with a toothbrush. Product works great but so time consuming. Thx for this informative post
It is so interesting how different quilters have had different experiences. Sorry to hear you had to work so hard at it but thrilled that you got it out! Thank you for commenting.
I have always been very reluctant to use chemically based markers in my work. I advise my students against using them.
Pepper Cory teaches a day long class on quilt marking!
I would love to take Pepper’s class! I remember (and have) her book on marking-I think it may be her first book. She is probably more knowledgable than just about anyone on the subject of markers. My stand on marking is “Don’t. Unless you have to.” Thank you for your comment Susan.
Carol Mcdowell says
Thank you for this post – excellent information. I only have one of those pens and will not be using it anymore. If it’s not for fabric what is it designed for?
It was designed for use on paper and the ads show back-to-school type stuff. They do have their place-just not on things that might get cold and things where the ghosting appears. It’s good to hear from you Carol!
Sherry Clark says
I was excited to buy these pens but when writing 3or 4 times the ink Runs out , I brought the filler and it ran out,is this y’all Strategy to get people to buy more? If it is that just wrong! People will Cheat to make money.
Sorry you had such a bad experience with them Sherry. It sounds like they were old when purchased and had dried out. It has not been my experience that they dry out quickly. Maybe take them back to where you purchased them from for replacement or refund?
Elaine Theriault says
Thanks for the fabulous research. I love that kind of thing. I am a quilt teacher and NEVER NEVER recommend the use of Frixion pens. I use them on things that would never show – like marking half square triangles for instance. I try to avoid using any marking pens on quilt tops except for chalk.
Again – thanks and hopefully this will put to the bed the story of why you shouldn’t use Frixion pens on your quilt!!!!!
Thank you for your comments Elaine. I think they do have their place and I would use them on things like home dec and fun pieces that I don’t intend to send to show. If I were a “regular” quilter I would use the on things like you described….with caution.
Sarah Ann Smith says
I actually HAVE Amodex! I ordered it from Fahrney’s Pens (sell fancy fountain pens in Wash DC) because I have been sketching with permanent ink. I haven’t USED it mind you, but…. and I totally agree. The ink is still in there. It was like back in the day when folks complained about the wash-out blue pens. The reason they came back is because the ink wasn’t washed out. Good on you for doing your research and contacting Frixion! I learned something today!
Thanks Sarah, hope you never need to use it!
Maartje Quilts in Amsterdam says
I am a chemist and you did a great job. I wish everybody read your paper and do not use this pens on fabric. Their is so much written about this pens and you cannot wash the ink out the fabric.
Thank you Maartje, there was just so much misinformation out there, I was happy to do the research. I don’t ever want to get ink out of my competition quilts!
My first comment didn’t come through. So I try it again. How are the experiences with washing? I always wash my Quilts and Cushions before I use them or gift them. So far I never saw a mark reappear. Did pilot say something to that? Because I really do not like use harsh stain removers on my sewn stuff, especially when it’s made for kids.
I’m surprised the marks did not come back. If it does not come back, no need to try to use an ink remover on them. I did not talk to Pilot about the marks not reappearing because I did not think that was a possibility.
I tried a sample piece of fabric and after normal washing….no spot cleaning or special ink removers, and it all came out. No ghost marks or even after putting it in the freezer…no marks reappeared. I did not try on different fabrics or different colors of fabric, or different colored pens. May be different results if I experimented further.
Glad this worked for you Pam-ghost marks are not on all fabrics. I will tell you from experience your results are not the norm so don’t expect the same results each time-please test beforehand!
What I forgot, first time I noticed those pens was, when my kids were all over them, it was tho hottest stuff you could have for writing in school. It was much later, that I saw people using them (in the US) for marking while sewing. I appreciate the fine line they make and I never found a marking tool as excact and working like they do on fabric, but that is me. I hate chalk or chalk pens either they do not work or make smudgy lines. So as long as it is not in the middle of the visible part on my quilt I will continue to use them. Perhaps not for putting numbers on the pieces which are normally on the front side of the quilt :)
I think finding the right marking tool is a personal journey. I too hate anything that is going to wipe off before I quilt my line-who wants to mark twice? But others love the chalk because it dependably comes off. I’m glad you have found a good way to use them Sibylle.
Thank you for this article. We have been selling these pens in our quilt store. We will be rethinking that decision.
I had been using them to mark my fabric for needle turn appliqué and had noticed the ghost marks. I haven’t been using them since, but wondered if others were experiencing this problem. This is such a good thing to know and tell my customers.
Thank you so much for taking the time to research this.
I think they still have a place in quilt shops but users need to know their limitations. Thank you for your note Alysa.
I love frixion pens for marking out my pattern pieces when making clothing or soft toys that I can’t cut with a rotary cutter because they write on the fabric so smoothly but used one for an embroidery project and unfortunately it bleached the fabric which was noticeable behind the stitching. Still a great product used in the right way
I agree Felicity-great product if used in the right way. They do write smoothly with such a clear line, wish they just went away when we wanted them to.
Karen Alexander says
I too contacted Pilot over a year ago asking about the pens use on fabric, and how to remove it. Obviously, it was marketed as an “erasable” ink for paper. So, I knew there was a chemical involved! I received a friendly, but clear response indicating that it was NOT recommended for use on fabric, and the list of chemicals recommended to remove the ink were not anything in my home. Using more chemicals to remove a chemical from fabric – well, that was enough to relegate my Frixion pen to the pen can! I’ll continue to stick with safe, easy to use Clover or general chalk pencils that brush off easily, and rinse out with water – leaving just Fabric!
Glad you found your own path Karen, without the frustration of trying to remove it from your quilt!
Thank you for the information! I use the gel pens for quilting/marking but use it on the wrong side of fabric so if it comes back it won’t be seen. Of course if you are using it on the cream color or white it may show through.
Thanks for writing Shari-sounds like you have found a way to make them work for you-bravo!
Lorri Brager says
Jenny thanks for the great article, my experience with Frixion pens found everything you said to be true.
I do have something to add regarding the Mötsenböcker’s LIFT OFF® #3.
I got a quilt back from a long arm quilter and when I was sewing on my binding found several red marks on the pale cream batik background fabric. I freaked out and contacted a friend who is an expert in cleaning and preserving quilts. She tried every product she knew of to remove the marks, to no avail. I was really upset and concerned that now we may have set the stains especially when we realized that the RED marks were from a Red Sharpie Marker. I went to the Uline website, they are the makers of Sharpie markers. Their website actuall recommended Mötsenböcker’s LIFT OFF® #3 to remove Sharpie marker ink.
So I was off to find it which I did at my local Lowe’s. I raced home to try it on my quilt. I was very wary but was thrilled when the marks were completely removed from my quilt. No ring, no shadow, no damage to the fabric, batting etc.
I have since used it successfully to remove ink stains and marks both old & new from many different fabrics.
It even worked on my husband’s dress shirts & Dockers.
I hope this information on Mötsenböcker’s LIFT OFF® #3 can help others !
Thanks again for a great article !
Thank you for that information Lori! I have used the Motsenbocker’s previously and a bottle resides in my laundry room. I did not know how effective it was, guess I don’t have that many ink stains. But really good to know how effective it is on the Frixion pens.
Thank you for the info….I will keep this in mind in case the marks on my quilt using frixion pens comes back….but so far there is no evidence of the marks I made…….good to know for other things like shirts etc. thanks
Glad they worked well for you Maggie-they sure make a nice, crisp mark.
Sharpie is manufactured by Newell Brands, Not Uline (they are a
distributor). Caveat Emptor.
Sally Bramald says
I wrote a post many years ago now about how to find the perfect marking pen available to you where ever you live. And just as you get to rewrite the Frixion post again and again, I get asked what pen I use….. gets a little old sometimes…… http://quiltfeather.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=perfect+marking+pen
I want to meet you someday Sally-love your work, your blog and you seem to approach some things in a way similar to me. I did such a test on glue for beads on wearables-this was in my pre-blog days. Thank you for sharing your post. I do think that everyone has to test on their own given the differences in water, methods, other treatments that may have been made to the fabric, etc. In some way we are research scientists!
Sally Bramald says
Thank you for visiting my blog. I would love to meet up too if you ever come over here.
Margie (AKA Nanny) says
Thank you for such a detailed, comprehensive post. I have referred my readers to this so that they may make their own decisions re the use of the pens. :)
You are welcome Margie. I am so glad that your attitude is “so that they can make their own decisions”. I think it is important to test on that particular project with that particular marking pen.
Well I disagree with some of it…..I have tested this frixion pen on cottons…marking, putting in fridge it appears, washing it with detergent and putting in fridge…did not appear. Marking and washing with detergent and then putting in fridge it did not appear…….. I use it for smaller items, as there are other quality markers out there that are good for quilts. I appreciate knowing what you have found out though…thank you
Great, worked with your particular set of circumstances! Go for it. If these pens worked for me I would be all over that-such an easy, clear, crisp mark. I think no matter what we use, we have to test. Thanks Maggie.
Madelin C. Wolf says
Unfortunately, I purchased a set of these pens from a quilter that gave a talk at our guild and used them in her own work. Had I known the above information, I would have saved myself the $16.00 they cost. Fortunately, I did not mark any quilts with them. Thanks for the research.
Oh Madeline all is not lost! If they’re not going to be shipped around or in the cold they’re great. Always test for ghosting too. The reason they are so popular is because they go on so beautifully without skipping and leave a visible, thin mark.
Ruth Mahoney says
I have had problems with white marks left on a quilt using these pens. They have their place but not on a competition quilt. Or really on any quilt top that is important.
Thank you for your comment Ruth-I thnk they have their place, we just have to be aware of their limitations.
Lori College says
Thanks for the great report. I have found the same results. I will continue to use these pens because I use them only to mark the backs of quilt squares for making HST’s. I have not discovered that the ink bleeds through to the front of the square and the marks are my stitching lines when I use my Quilter’s Magic Wand from Deb Tucker’s Studio 180. I cut from corner to corner and press my blocks open and voila the marks disappear. I have also used Frixion Pens in garment sewing to mark notches and of course, these marks are hidden in seam allowances and are not a problem.
Thank you Lori-great ideas for excellent ways to use the pens.
Rebecca Grace says
I just spent 10 minutes writing you a fabulous comment, and the Internet grinches snatched it away and sent me an error message telling me something about “response timed out.” But thanks for going to the source about the Frixion pens. I suspected as much — and forget about marks reappearing. If the inks were not designed to be archival quality and were never intended for use on fabric, what if those lingering chemicals eat away at the quilt fibers over time and it disintegrates along every marked line? What a heartbreak it would be for all of great-grandma’s quilts to fall apart along the quilting lines 50 years from now! I think Frixion pens are great for disposable quilting, like class samples, and practice FMQ sandwiches, but I wouldn’t use them in a “real” quilt. I use way too many fabrics in a single quilt, so it’s not really practical for me to try to test the pens on every single fabric to make sure it comes out.
Having said that, I really don’t have a single marking solution that works on all or even most of my fabrics. If you or anyone you know (and trust!) ever does a Craftsy class or other web tutorial on quilt marking, please let me know — I’d be first in line to sign up!
Rebecca I’m sorry about the time out thing. I have checked with my techie and he says it’s not my blog per se but could be from the excess traffic from this post. I don’t have a great marking system either-my go-to is a blue wash out…because it stays in until I wash it out and then it’s totally gone. Still the Frixion’s are good for some things. I know that Pepper Cory has a full day class on marking. She’s out of Beaufort, NC-have her come to your local guild. Wish she was west coast because I would take that class! If you read through the comments some are partial to other methods which have not worked for me. I think that marking is somewhat of a personal journey.
franki kohler says
Well done Jenny! Thanks for the scoop on this.
You’re welcome Franki-still miss you!
Linda Johnston says
My husband just bought a set of these pens and as he was talking about them, I started to think, “Wonder how they would work on quilts?” Now I know. Thanks for the timely information. No, I won’t be using them. But for his use on paper, I am sure they are wonderful.
Linda if you have a chance check out the comments-lots of quilters and sewers have safe uses for them.
Kris Bolick says
I was using a Frixion pen on an embroidery and made a mistake. Had a Tide pen close by. Discovered it did a good job removing the ink. I have used the pens since.
Thank you Kris-I have never used the pens so this is great to know!
Great article, Thank you so much for writing it. I use them at cutting lines and also when I do embroidery and they will be covered by the thread.
You’re welcome Mara-you’ve got some great uses for them!
You can find Amodex at any high end stationary stores or any fountain pen stores! I’m an avid fountain pen user, and have used Amodex – works like a charm for most mainstream inks (e.g. Pilot ink bottles!). I have these pens, too, but never used on fabric or on my quilts – and I shall never! I’ll stick with paper for these pens ;-) Thank you for this article!
Very interesting Karin-high end stationary stores are not on my radar so I would not have known that. Thank you!
These pens always sounded too good to be true to me so I’ve never bought one nor used one and plan on keeping with that. The vast majority of my sewing is quilt making . Thanks for your thorough research.
You’re welcome Marianne! You are smart to avoid new marking methods until you are confident it is safe.
Diane Zettler says
I bought a set of these pens at a QUILT SHOW! Good demo was evasive about use on fabric but said go ahead. I should have known better when several lost their ink and the co. advise freezing them for 30 minutes. I guess that happens to them on fabric in the cold. I hope I didn’t use them on gifts.
Diane they are all over in shops and shows-they are great for marking in some situations. A prolific quilting friend of mine uses them all the time. Each of us has to make our own decision. Thank you for the comment!
Betty Cook says
Thanks for the good info. I use friction pens all the time and have had very few problems. I don’t use them on dark fabric because that’s where the ghost marks usually show up. I can usually get the ghost marks out with several applications of water.
They are great for marking seams on the wrong side of the fabric, for marking appliqué placement, and for embroidery lines. These markings get covered up and I’ve never had a problem. I do not use them to mark quilting lines.
I still find them indispensable.
For that type of work, they are the best of markers. Quilt lines seem to cause the most problems. Thank you for sharing Betty.
Marlene @ kissedquilts.com says
Thanks for sharing your research. I would like to share this forward! ??
How kind of you to ask Marlene-yes of course! Thank you.
Karen Thurn says
I’ve been wondering about these pens. I’ve resisted buying them until about a month ago and bought 3 of them but luckily haven’t used them. I’m so glad I found your post about them o that I will only use them in places I can cut off or won’t show (and even hesitate using them there). So what do you recommend is a good marking pen or pencil to use on the right side of a quilt?
Thank you for your comment Karen. My go-to method is the blue wash out markers. Of course you have to completely immerse and swish the quilt to get rid of the marks but it’s still the best for me. It’s really a personal decision. If you work small, some of the chalk or ceramic methods would work well. I’ve never had luck with quilter’s pencils but others have. I guess the end lesson is test, test, test!
I too blogged about these pens after having a heart-wrenching experience on a show quilt. Thinking to wash out the Frixion ink after extensive domestic machine quilting, I washed the quilt in cold water with regular laundry detergent. The cold water caused all the marks to return. I was in tears. Heat ironing again made the marks disappear, but knowing the ink is still there makes me feel sad about all the hours put into my quilt. Thinking all the marks were heated away, I sent the quilt to MQX in New Hampshire. Later, judges comments included telling me to be sure to remove all quilt markings. I’ll never know if I missed heating those out, or cold temps caused them to return. No Frixion pen will ever touch my quilts again, and I share this caution with students in my beginner quiltmaking and domestic machine quilting classes. Thanks for your thorough confirmation of my own opinion about using Frixion on fabric!
Linda what a horror story and strong testament about what can happen with these pens. I do see a use for them but sure not on show quilts! Yours is the first real story I have heard of a quilt at show having pen marks. I’m about to go to Houston so we’ll see if there are any visible pen marks. Judges must cringe when they see them, knowing that the maker is probably unaware that the marks are there. Thank you so much for sharing Linda and so sorry to hear that tale.
For how I use them, I think they’re perfect–I use them to mark a seam line on the back of hexagons for a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. The “coming back in the cold” is perfect–it means I can press my seams when I finish a flower and then stick it in the freezer and the seam lines come back so I can add the next pieces accurately.
Sounds like the pens are NOT something to be used on the public side, and hopefully my seam lines won’t show through, but I’m no professional and it’s not going into a show, so I don’t particularly care. The only concern I have is if it weakens the fabric in the long run. I guess we’ll see how the quilt holds up!
Thank you Melissa-a very clever use for the Frixion pens. I love hearing about situations where they are useful!
Also when using on paper… I had a notebook full of notes, set a hot bowl on it and erased 6 pages. They came back, kinda, when I put it in the freezer. Another time, left the notebook in the car (Texas Heat). Again freezer retrieve most of it. I love them, I can erase mistakes and my pages don’t look messy, they don’t gleek all over… Still…
Oh no Dorothy! I would not like losing my notes! That is a great idea to use them in notebooks-erasing is so easy.
The real problem with the fixion is that fabric and quilt shops are marketing it as disappearing marking pen. I bought several. Now disappointed to know really true for fabric.
I appreciate your comment Pamela. It does seem, as I go through the comments, that many quilters, garment sewers and textile artists have found ways to use them that are appropriate and useful. I think we all need to be careful about any product we use on our quilts and alwayes test, test, test.
Eva Maria says
I got this pen in Sweden, and the written information said it is made to use on fabric – so no I know that it is not and I will be careful when using it. Thanks a lot for your research!
You still can use it on fabric in places it will not show. Thank you for commenting Eva!
Thank you for the definitive clarification. Now I look forward to seeing the quilts wherein quilt artists intentionally use this pen to use the ghost marks as part of their design.
Wow, never occurred to me to use the ghost marks to my advantage-great idea Catherine! Thank you for commenting.
Thanks for the investigation. I’m glad for the clarification. I wonder if laundering the quilt will remove the thermo ink. I don’t do show quilts, just quilts for myself and family and I wash them all when they are completed. Will spot treating help get it out? Just a thought.
It is an ink that you put on your quilt when you use these pens. If you want to treat it, I would use one of the two products recommended in the article: Amodex and Mötsenböcker’s Lift-Off 3. I would try it in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t damage my piece. I hope that works for you. Thank you for commenting Susan!
I do use these pens a lot, but only on the wrong side of the fabric. I’ve never had a problem with them showing through to the right side.
Mida that’s great. I do think they have their place in the sewing and quilting world, we just have to understand their limitations. Thank you for commenting!
I know of a person who filled out some paperwork with a Frixion pen, and gave the papers to someone else. Of course she left them in a hot car, not knowing what could happen. Oh no! It’s blank! So the author re-wrote the paper, not knowing that the freezer would solve this issue. I do think we need to continue to pass the word about the “hazards” of using these pens.
I don’t normally read the packaging on how to operate ink pens…. but I looked, and the warning is there that if the pen gets hot, to put it somewhere below 14 degrees. That’s fine if you have the package, but many of these pens are sold individually in quilt stores, so there are no directions with them. So I think the best thing is for those retailers to make sure they inform their customers about the way these pens work. I’m sure many of them do not know about the freezer trick. I’d never heard it from anyone before.
So while the ability to erase is nice, it’s not really always a good idea to use the pens, depending on what you intend to do with that piece of paper!
Thanks for this article. Nicely done.
You’re welcome Debbie. Yikes, the thought of filling out paperwork with one-the possibilities are scary. I think a lot of quilters know about their drawbacks now. Thank you for your comment
Great, thorough research and write up. Thanks! I’ve had no problem, but I live in Southern CA and we never drop below 45 at the absolute coldest. Now I’ll think twice if I’m going to be sending something away from home. Chemistry is everything. I used to be a stamping teacher and was always explaining the properties of different inks to students, so this makes total sense to me. I admire the company for being open with you.
Oh you lucky girl-no cold weather for you Nancy! I’m glad you understand that chemistry is a part of sewing. We all need to be mindful of anything we use on our quilts. Thank you for the comment Nancy.
Terry Crawford Palardy says
On the flip side, I was a beginning quilt shop owner a few years ago and bought some quilt markers, some Fixion pens, some disappearing markers and some quilt label pens. You can imagine my surprise when months later I chose the Frixion pen for my quilt label, writing carefully and then ironing it to set the ink … poof! Lesson learned … labeling pens are now kept separately, away from quilt marking pens!
Thanks for all the information you have shared here. I will pass it on in the shop.
Terry Palardy, http://AtQuiltersQuarters.blogspot.com
Oh nooooo, that’s a bummer Terry! Sorry, but I laughed reading that. I can just imagine your dismay after oh so carefully making your label and seeing it disappear instantly. Thank you for sharing your story.
Sue Clement says
I use these pens only where the marks will not be seen, like on the back of a fabric. I wonder though if the gel that is used gets washed out in time.
Sue I think if you use the products recommended by the Pilot pen people you have a good chance of getting it out. Thank you for reading!
Thanks for the info,, I’m a new quilter and I love these pens , but I don’t what marks showing up later.. what would be a good way of marking or a different making pen… thanks for any info…
Thanks for writing Brenda. I use water soluble pens, the blue kind almost exclusively. I’ve had trouble getting pencils out yet chalk or ceramic markers come off before I’ve quilted. If the situation is right and I know my quilt won’t be in competition or shipped around I will use the Frixion pen, just in those special situations. Hope this helps.
From the jetpen website:
“Inspired by the changing color of autumn leaves, the very first iterations of FriXion ink actually started as color-changing ink. Patented in 1975 as Metamo ink (short for metamorphosis ink), it was used in different products from color-changing paper cups to kitchen toys where the play food would change color as you submersed it in cold water. By 2002, writing instruments displaying the color-changing features of Metamo ink were developed. As the technology improved and researchers experimented with different ink formulas at varying temperatures, FriXion ink was born.”
And here we are, a world of quilters using Frixion pens for quilting!
Cindy Dahlgren says
Thank you, once again, for re-stating the obvious. I still know many quilters who swear by these pens. My new point of view is it’s their quilt to spend a lot of money on to ruin, not my problem. cdahlgren at live dot com
Yes Cindy, it has certainly taught me to beware of anything I put on my quilts, even if everyone else is using it. Thank you for your comment.
Liliana Soli says
Cortesemente posso condividere il tuo interessante articolo su un gruppo che amministro? Grazie . Liliana
Yes Liliana that would be great. Thank you for asking!
Thank you so much for your site, and all the time you put into posting and research.
a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO TONYA for her post Dec. 22, 2015
Her MOM taught her to use Hair Spray to remove ink from fabric.
Well.. Thanks Tonya’s MOM.. you just saved my 9″ x40″ cotton quilt banner that I made for a little boys quilt.. I embroidered a Barn, Semi. and the John Deere tractor with the hay wagons pulling all the letters of the little boys name.
To my surprise.. all my Frixion Navy Blue marks .. turned White on the fabric.. I had heard before that if you can see anything.. then they are still there!! I pressed and pressed and cooled and pressed again and again.. with no luck!
So I tried the cold water and sure enough all my blue marks came back….. I wanted to cry,, but ran for the computer for help.
My banner was wet in cold water.. I blotted the water off.. and sprayed Redken Quick Dry #18 hairspray on the marks and they disappeared as I was spraying. I rinsed in cold water.. they didn’t come back.. I rinsed in hot water they didn’t come back.. so I now have it soaking in cold water.. but I think Tonya and Her Mom saved my 9 hrs. of embroidery!!
Thank you again,
If you have a daily blog or another site you post on regularly.. I’d sure love to have your link
Thank you for your note Rosemary! I love how we can all connect and help each other. I’m so glad that your embroidery was not ruined!
I have purchased the Ammodex ink remover product at a large office supply chain store. It worked well enough on regular ball point pen ink to save a couple of my husband’s dress shirts that had been stained.
Good to know Jan-thank you!
Connie Smith says
I have used the Frixion gel pens many times with my quilting. I have never had any problems until now. I always ironed it away immediately! I marked the area for some machine embroidery. When I was done, I clipped my threads, and went to bed. Ughh..came back today to press and bingo…..the gel pen marks are present and I am unable to press them out! I will have to look for the ink eraser. Thank you for your research!
Oh so sorry Connie-hope it comes out!
Patty R says
Hi, thanks so much for the article! This may be a dumb question, but when you say ‘blue wash out’, are you talking about the Mark-be-gone type pens that they sell in all the fabric stores with purple on one end and blue on the other?
Hi Patty; Ooops-what I meant was the water soluble ones, usually in blue, most commonly found are by Wonder and Mark-B-Gone. The purple ones are air disappearing and can disappear very quickly. I had not seen the double ended ones you mentioned but I googled it. Now that is cool to have both in one pen! I usually use the blue (water soluble) pen because I control when it leaves the quilt. The purple end is great when I know I will stitch it almost immediately. Both are useful. Thanks for the comment.
What a great job of investigating and reporting about these pens. I have never used them on my show quilts. I will say they are great for marking practice pieces. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I have not yet found anything to beat my beloved Crayola Washable markers if I am going to get my quilt wet. You can even iron over them and they still come out every time (I once had to wash something the second time when I used a brown marker on a light color, but that is all). Since I sometimes don’t wash some of my art quilts (though I do some), I have been hunting around from SOMETHING that stays in place on cotton/silk Radiance that doesn’t have to be washed out. I’ve almost given up the hunt on that one. Cheers and thanks!!!!!!!
That’s “hunting around for” SOMETHING. Also, I meant to say that I’m sure the marking industry could make us something that works like the Frixion pens but doesn’t leave anything behind if they put their mind to it. It would sell like hotcakes. :D
I suspect if this were possible someone would have already invented it! I am waiting for such a miracle….
You are looking for the Holy Grail so if you find it, tell the world! The best I come up with is the acid-free, air-eraseable Marvi pens that last longer than the ones you find in the quilt shops. I haven’t ironed over them (yet!) so I don’t know what happens if you do. But they at least stay in place a bit longer.
Betty Jo says
Thanks. It’s something to try.
Thanks for doing all that research. I have the pens but so far only used them on fabric that was thread painted. Guess that is what I will only use them on. Love your new studio!!!!!!!
You are welcome Teri! They are great pens, it’s just that many misunderstand them. Oh I love my new studio also!!
Hi, did you do any tests on which ink colors are better/easier for permanent removal?
Hi KT-no, I haven’t done that. I rarely use them now because of the type of quilting I do. Sorry!
Joan Stewart says
Haven’t tried it with the Frixion pens but the old method of removing ink used to be to soak the area in milk and salt. I think I will try that before pressing with a hot iron which will surely set the ink.
Hi Joan. Test on a sample first! The manufacturer’s recommendations are for this specific pen and its unique chemistry. I hope all comes out completely.
Caraline Howden says
Hi, I have experienced both, however at the moment I am working on a whole cloth FMQ project and the ink is still there, I have ironed it away, but its still there. I will have to do some experimenting to get rid of the pen marks. It is a lesson learned and I cannot blame anyone except me. Note to self, remove the pen marks sooner, rather than leaving it there to set
It is not until I posted this that I began to hear of similar stories. It is odd that it is set since it’s heat eraseable. So sorry to hear this Caraline-I hope you are able to get the marks out. Heartbreaking to hear.
Caraline.. try the Hair Spray idea that I used earlier in this post… It worked for me and saved a 9 hr embroidery banner!
Desmond Walls Allen says
Fast forward to fifty or a hundred years from now… Will future quilting generations look at our quilts and say, “Wasn’t it a shame those people used chemicals in their markers that caused the fabric and thread to disintegrate? And, just think, they did that even after they knew there were issues.”
We need to give some serious thought to ALL the chemicals we introduce into the quilting process. Even down to the kind of soap we use to pre-wash fabric or launder finished quilts. And the kind of tissue and storage containers we use for our quilts. Archival suppliers who sell to libraries and museums can offer additional information on that topic.
It really is something to consider Desmond-thank you for that perspective. I actually didn’t think too much about archival issues until the Frixion pen issue. Also, collectors are finding some of the art quilts that incorporate Tyvek are disintegrating
Dorothy Matheson says
The reason hairspray works on ink on fabric is the alcohol in it. I wore all white as a nurse and quickly learned from other nurses to use alcohol on ink stains on my pockets. It worked on every ink very well.
Thank you Dorothy. You may still have the ghosting lines-I didn’t find it effective on them.
If the pens were not created for use on fabric, what were they created to use for? I have always wondered about this.
Hi Patty; they were created so that the user could erase ink the same way they could erase pencil. Then quilters came along and repurposed them on fabric, hence the problems.
I work in a quilt shop. I was first introduced to Frixion pens because they are an amazing tool for drafting patterns. I also learned the hard way that steaming Frixion ink set it. Which makes sense as we are told never to use heat on stains such as grass or blood or it will cause them to set. The last thing I want to do is stream (temperatures in excess of 220 degrees) pigment onto fabric. For this reason I have never told a customer to steam the ink. I tell customers to use a cool iron – nothing hotter than the silk/rayon setting on an iron (120 degrees). This will cause the ink to disappear without setting it. The ink will then wash out with regular laundry detergent on warm wash – just like most ink does.
As a side note, the quilts I make are not for competition, they are for snuggling under, the clothing I make is for wearing, and as such are laundered just as anyone would regularly launder an item (I doubt most people would even know where to by Quilt Soap).
Interesting perspective Susannah-drafting! The manufacturer tells the customer to steam the ink off. I never tried the cool iron which is a great idea. You still have the ghost mark problem though… And I love that your quilts are for snuggling and garments for wearing!!
Just a thought, and apologize if it’s already been suggested. Rather than draw LINES to mark out the pattern prior to sewing, why not try DOTS – not spaced too closely, and see if that works? Light hand needed too, not too heavy a dot. :-)
Yes, Ange, great idea! Sometimes you need a real line though. For instance, if I do the orange peel/sashiko looking grid thing, I need a line. I tried the dots and my mind just needed more. But for many applications the dots would work.
Thanks so much for checking with the manufacturer. I had heard about these pens when they first came out but never tried them…it was being recommended by a quilt shop owner! Who knows the countless precious quilts that will have marks on them several years down the road or maybe even damaged fabric as a result of using these pens that were not meant to be used on fabric.
It taught me that no matter what “everyone” else is using, I need to consider whether I want to put that product on my quilt. I am much more knowledgeable about everything I do to my fabric now including starch! Thanks Juanita.
Judy P says
I wonder why then, quilt shops and everybody recommend these pens for quilting?? If they were NOT made for fabric, what were they made for? What else would you use them on and use heat to make them “disappear”?
They were made to have the versatility of a pencil and allow the user to erase mistakes. I think some shop owners are not aware of their issues. Keep in mind though, there are all kinds of applications in the quilting/fabric world for which they are useful. Thank you for your comment Judy!
I agree after my ordeal with the Pens.. I too will be very cautious as to what I ever put on my fabric.
I was glad you commented on STARCH.
Maybe you should comment a little further on that subject.
I just recently learned that BUGS LOVE STARCH, so if your cutting bias pieces or ?? don’t matter.. IF you starch your fabric and don’t use all of it and you store it WITH THE STARCH ON IT. I just read that bugs love starch. so you would have to wash your left-over fabric :(
Any truth to the Bugs loving starch?
Hi Rosemary; About the starch. I haven’t researched it yet but I know that Mary Ellen’s is not corn based and therefore I don’t think will attract bugs. Any true starch is based on corn and the bugs go after the corn. You will note that Mary Ellen’s is not starch but “a clear starch alternative”. I think that sizing is also corn free and may not attract bugs. I have not researched this yet so don’t take this as gospel!
Thanks for the response. I didn’t know about the corn base, but now understand why bugs would love it :)
I rarely use any starch, but will pick of some of Mary Ellen’s alternative to have on hand, and I won’t take any responses as gospel.. our products change like the weather! Just really appreciate you insight.
You’ve got me thinking now Rosemary about the whole starch thing…
But.. we must try to cover one another’s back when it comes to protecting our precious “STASH”
Yes, that precious stash!
donna wabble says
i use them where the marks dont show. marking lines for half square triangles or tracing.
Smart move Donna!
Barbara Woods says
I use them to
Hi Barbara-write back. I’d love to know what applications you use them for.
Susan Rogers says
I do use these pens but only on wrong side and usually within seam allowance. They work well for what I use them for but never felt safe using them where they might show. I’ve had problems losing m match point marks with other markers or they dry up quickly but these stay til I press.
Smart way to use them Susan-they do have their place.
Sadly, these perplexing pens are STILL widely available from quilt shops, vendors and catalogs. Sellers don’t like to warn ANYONE about the dangers to their quilts form this product. Too many quilters have not heard this, and I will keep sharing it as much as I possibly can. As a teacher of quiltmaking, I have always stressed pre-testing all marking tools, even testing your old, safe ones on new fabrics!
I bought a beautiful Christmas wreath quilt at a national show Silent Auction. It was to be hung on the door for the holidays. You guessed it! Purple lines ALL over the white background. and I live in the northeast- definitely cold in the winter! I will be trying one of the products mentioned before this Christmas, Thanks for the recommendations :)
I agree Judy. People are not only unaware of the issues, but there are some big name teachers that say you’re just not steaming it enough, which I personally know not to be true. They are still wonderful for certain situations in quilting, embroidery and sewing, the user just needs to be aware. We really do have to carefully consider ANYTHING we put on our quilts, including starch. I am SO sorry to hear about your sad tale with the Christmas wreath quilt. And I’ll bet you paid a pretty penny too. How sad for the maker also, who would be mortified to learn of this. We all just have to be careful. Your students are fortunate that you knew to warn them! I hope you are able to remove the ink.
Test first before using…..
I used Frixion pens on some of Pat Pauly’s hand dyed expensive fabric and it took the dye right out an left a fine white mark. Luckily for me the white line did not go through to the other side.
This was my experience so I do not use them any more on fabric.
Oh no Liz, not on Pat Pauly’s gorgeous hand dye! It probably did not take the dye out, the manufacturer says that it’s actually the “disappearing ink” that left a trace of itself upon the fabric. No matter what though, bummer to have that happen.
Sue Mac Donald says
Thank you for your tutorial on the frixon pen; you never know completely what you’re buying!
You’re welcome Sue! The mantra is test, test, test.
Good article and good research. Thanks for sharing. I’ve always said, that anything left in your quilt (not washed/rinsed out) can lead to future issues. I don’t leave the air-erase pen marks in my quilts, either. Everyone needs to understand that these are chemicals and many chemicals don’t like other chemicals (i.e. laundry soap, etc.) and may decided to come back to stay if another chemical affects it.
Oh you get this Glenda-yes, they are chemicals! On our quilts!
Alice Mayer says
I co ducted similar Designs of Experiments using Frixion pens. After the quilt is complete, I use ‘Goof Off ‘ professional spray (Menards, Home Depot ) and spray the areas where I used the pen…even on dark fabrics where a grey streak was seen. Throw in Washer, and wallah! No marks whatsoever! Testing in freezer afterwards… no return of marks! May be something you all may want to try,
I’ll have to try this Alice-thank you for passing along the tip!
Issa Cove says
I noticed not many people have mentioned that they use them on the back of fabrics.
I use the pens but only on the wrong side and where seams would be .
I would not recommend them being used for drawing on quilting patterns etc . But they are handy ,
Thank you Isa-good point!
Sharon Fischer says
One would think that with all the interest, the company would consider making a similar pen THAT IS designed for use on fabric
Wouldn’t that be great? I think their expertise is in paper-might be leap to go over to fabric. Wish they would!
Jan P Krentz says
Thank you for your research. The information provided, and the comments / replies prove that this is a “hot button” (pun intended) for quilters!
I do not know whether anyone else mentioned this, but we also have “other chemicals” that could be interacting with the inks – these would be waxes and any treatment used on batiks to easily lift the wax after the dye is applied, the chemicals in the dyes, the chemistry of our water in the area where we live – perhaps this water element is THE key contributing factor that affects the ability of some quilters to remove the ink when laundering and others who saw no difference after laundering.
Another source of chemicals would are the brand of spray starch or fabric finishes used during the pressing process.
The number of variables affecting the outcome of ink on fabric are complex.
I started quilting back in the 1960’s – the era of tracing around a cardboard (cereal box cover) shape, and cutting it out with scissors. Back then, we sometimes reached for a marking tool and grabbed a ballpoint ink pen because it showed up well on the fabric. We learned that ink was hard to remove, and the ink chemicals could separate over time, creating different colored residue or halo that spread into the fabric.
We also saw that some ink pens or markers, over time, could actually cause the fabric fibers to weaken and break down. Remember the reports of the mordants used in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to set natural dyes for longer-lasting colors or to create the “rustle” in silks. Over time those very silk fabrics are now disintegrating, crumbling away from the clothing or crazy quilts? For an in-depth look at chemical dyes and mordants, the history of fabric dyeing and printing is covered thoroughly by researchers. Here are links to two noteworthy articles:
We have not had decades of time to learn whether the Frixion chemicals, designed for use on paper, will affect the fabric. There may be no change whatsoever or the inks-on-fabric may experience an unexpected change. Nobody knows. Only time will provide the answers.
Thank you, all, for your thoughts and sharing your experiences. Many quilts take a significant amount of time, the cost of the materials can also be significant. Each of us must decide whether the risk is worth the use of the Frixion pen or other chemically-based products.
Sincerely, Jan Krentz, quilt author, designer and teacher
That is absolutely the case-when someone writes that the ink did not reappear in the cold, I know it must have been some odd combination of circumstances, who knows what! I am reluctant to use anything that is permanent on my quilts. I remember those cardboard templates Jan! I appreciate your research and well-thought out reply.
Tammy Dorn says
Took a quilting class where these Pilot friction pens were sold and highly recommended. I bought a set of six used them to mark flowers on a quilt. I got the ink out but it took more effort than it was worth. I sprained it with “Shout” stain remover, let it sit for 30 minutes then washed and dried it. Put in the freezer – the small pink centre circle of the flower was left. Next sprayed hairspray on it, let it soak about half a hour, washed, dried it, then put it the freezer. All the ink was gone. After Mikaela’s quilt was finished, I drenched the care bear blocks with hairspray and let it dry overnight. Then sprayed it with “Shout” stain remover, washed and dried it. The grey residue is all gone. I will not be using these pens to mark visible areas on my quilts. Plain coloured chalk works better and washes out easily never to reappear.
I hope the marks don’t reappear! Glad that you have your marking system of choice-chalk definitely comes out easily…except yellow and red I found out!
Deanna Arnsparger says
I’m not sure how useful these pens are on paper. I wrote some street directions on paper, left the paper in the car on a hot summer day and, presto, no directions! I do use them for marking lines that will be inside a seam, though.
Any heat will make the ink disappear so a hot car will do it. They are made to disappear so I wouldn’t use them on anything I wanted to keep. I think the original intent was for children the create disappearing messages.
Eilean Mitchell says
I guess I have been using the pens wrong. I usually don’t steam my cloth because it stretches. So I have always ironed with a dry iron. Have noticed that the pen does not always show up, depends on the fabric and pattern. Thanks for the information from the manufacturer and all of your research.
You’re welcome Eilean. They are heat erasable so you are fine using a dry iron.
Susan Brubaker Knapp says
Thanks, Jenny! Great information. I did some experiments on this years ago, and got similar results with the marks showing up after the fabric got cold again. For show quilts, it is also important to remember that if you ship your quilt by air, at high altitudes it can get very chilly in the belly of the plane where freight is stored. Your quilt could arrive in a warm place (like Houston) with the marks from these pens visible, even if it left your home looking just fine. One other thing I’ve wondered about: is the ink in these pens acid free? If not, it might eat through the fabric over time. Did you ask about this?
Great points Susan! I never let a Frixion touch my competition quilts. At my local guild, a quilt close to the door began to show marks (Feb show). And no, they are not acid-free. Yikes.
Marlette Louisin says
Thanks for you explanation. I did consider the possibility that it was aimed at kids for secret massages but I guess they’d have to put it in the freezer to get the ink back. Since there’s no explanation about doing that that I’ve seen, what would motivate the kids to be buying it?
With all the electronics around that sounds to “old fashioned” for today’s kids.
I appreciate the dryer idea for the quilt I mentioned. I have some photos I could forward if you’d like to see it.
Okay did a little research. Apparently they are hugely popular in Japan, not sure why. There may be a cultural gap here of something we don’t understand. Also, the company says that they are great for use at work or school taking notes because they are erasable. They scan better than pencil also. All these things were found in my research. Yes, I’d love to see your quilt! Send it to [email protected]
Debbie C. says
This is what the pens were designed for:
I have a friend who just got one! Too bad they weren’t available in 2007 when the pens came out. I’m still unclear what their main target market was. It was Japan, but I’m not sure exactly what.
Fran Drewe says
I love the Frixion pens, but I have strict rules for using them. I only use them in the seam allowances. The shadow mark does not seem to show up on light colored fabrics. But I know they are still there. I use them to mark the line for half square triangles because that line will be in the seam allowance. Someone asked why anyone would want an eraseable pen for paper. Here is what I use them for. Designing quilts on graph paper. Much better than pencil. The pens have darker marks than pencil and errors erase completely. But my favorite use is for marking off the steps in a complicated pattern. I like to make purses and there are a lot of steps to them. When the project is done, I simply iron over the check marks in the pattern and now I have a clean pattern for the next time I use it. So I will always use these pens but be mindful of their limitations.
Ah, finally, a very good reason for the pens with the patterns! Thank you for sharing that Fran. I still have concerns about the chemical on my quilt no matter where it is on my quilt. I’m glad you shared that-each of us has things we will or won’t do to our quilts. I’d like to repost your comment.
OMG! I just made three guayabera shirts (Mexican wedding shirts—gorgeous) for my husband (each one took DAYS) and I used the Frixion pens to draw the lines for each of the tucks. There are 8 (or 10) tucks on each stripe, and there’s a stripe down each front piece, and three stripes down the back.
I thought the pens were the best thing ever invented because I LOVE pin tucks and accurate marking is essential.
Now I’m going to have to research how to wash that stuff out. (Got lots of good suggestions, here, thanks!)
Thankfully it’s summer, so I have a few months to figure this out…
Don’t panic yet! It may not leave ghost marks and the marks may not show up visibly in the cold since it will be on the inside of the garment.
The way I make pin tucks is to measure carefully on the RIGHT side of the fabric and draw lines the length of the tuck. I fold along the line and use this to make sure I don’t waver.
However, I did some tests and the black frixion pen I’m using washes out in my boosted method of doing laundry* and does not reappear in the freezer. Yay!
I tested the mixed color gel pens I ordered from Madame Sew (FB ad that took a month to arrive from China—don’t do it!) and the only pen that washed out and didn’t reappear in the freezer was the white on a dark fabric. I’m donating the red, blue and black so I don’t have them around. They didn’t wash out with WINK, Shout stick, Grandmas stain remover or Magic Wand (part of my stash accumulated over the years for stains.)
Thanks for your careful testing! It inspired me to do the same with my methods and products.
You are an inspiration!
* All free and clear, a splash of ammonia and Oxyclean.
Wow, you are a Research Machine! Thank you very much for the research and comment. I’m thrilled for you that it worked!! Just a thought-does your brand of machine have a pintuck foot? Or perhaps your pintucks are wider than what the foot will do. Nonetheless, I’m intrigued by what you are making!
Thank you for researching these pens. I do use them, but with caution.
You’re welcome Vivian-thank you for your note!
Thanks for the clear explanation.
You’re welcome BJ-I just want quilters to understand these pens.
Beth S. says
May I share a link to your post about this on my blog? I have had a lot of questions about the Frixion pens, and I think you have answered all the questions.
I might share that I used the blue marking pens on a denim-like material, and the it “bleached out” the color. I had drawn lines which I was going to embroider and changed my mind. The blue color of the marker came out, but so did some of the color of the fabric. You could see EVERY line–even the ones I didn’t want. They showed up as a faded color of the fabric I was using–like it had taken some of the color out.
Yes Beth, please do share. THank you for asking. And those faded marks are the “ghost” marks from the “invisible” ink. Yikes!
Edie Gorzo says
This is a bit off topic, but it is about the blue washout markers. I used to work in an alteration shop many moons ago, and we used to use the blue wash-out marker to mark hems. On a few too many occasions, we found that the blue mark would sometimes come back after spraying it with water and then pressing it. We had a few heart palpitations especially on things like grad gowns and other formal wear when the marks reappeared. We would have to keep spraying it, and then we would let it air dry. I still use them, but am careful to wash the marker out and then let it air dry, but I have still had on occasion that it came back and had to rinse it again. I had better luck having it come out in the laundry, but that is hard to do with formal wear. LOL.
Yikes, blue wash outs on formal wear Edie! Yeah, that is pretty risky. So many of those fabrics can’t be wet.
Cecile Kohrs says
I have Amodex at my home. I find it’s great for removing ink from hands and fabric. I can’t recall if I got it at Michael’s (Maybe) or my fountain pen ink supplier (more likely). Goulet Pen Co., which is a lovely family-owned business. https://www.gouletpens.com/
I’m not related to them, just a happy customer.
That’s good to know Cecile. I haven’t actually worked with it too much yet.
Thank you for all of your findings, Jenny:) Nothing worked for me:( i made my first DWR quilt and decided that i was comfortable to do some free motion quilting on this quilt. I used the frixion pen.. most of the markings came off with heat ( who knows if they will reappear). BUT, there are 5-6 blocks where the markings did not come off :( I have used everything that everyone has recommended to me, but i did not try the products that you recommended at the end of your post…. i will definitely try those recommended that you recommend :) Thank you so much. I will report back to let you know if these products worked on my quilt… Have a great day, Jenny! I am new to your posts and love them:)
Thank you for your comments Ida! I’m glad you got out most of the markings. Please do let me know how it works out for you.
I just have to chime in here and THANK YOU AGAIN.. without all the time, research and information you have provided on these pens and the comments from your readers.. it is without a doubt that an embroidery panel I had at least 9 to 11 hours into —- would have been ruined!
Thank you again for all the time you spend to help inform so many of us.. IT IS PRICELESS!
Thank you for your kind comments Rosemary! I’m glad you averted a disaster!
Washable blue is also a problem. If piece is ironed before washing. Many washings/rubbings of Grandmas secret spot remover finally removed fine lines. Will not use again on certain items. I will be just as choosing with the blue pen as frixion pen.
Maybe I’ll write a post on the blue Wash outs Barb! The only thing about the blue wash outs is that you absolutely have to completely wash them out. Just spraying will only dilute it and you’ll get that stain that you got. Glad you got it out!
Brandon Yates says
Thanks for the helpful information about the Pilot Friction pens! I am not a Quilter but am experimenting with the Friction pens on fabric. I think it is amazing that you went the extra mile and got in touch with someone form Pilot. I was wondering if you still have the contact information and wouldn’t mind sharing it with me.
Thanks for any help,
Hi Brandon, thank you for your comment. I don’t recall exactly who I spoke with. I merely called their corporate number and told them my question. They put me through to a knowledgeable person. I asked her if it was okay to quote her and she said yes. As I recall she preferred that I not write her name as she was not an official spokesperson, but a chemist as I recall. That’s all I know!
Brandon Yates says
Thanks for your quick reply Jenny!
You’re welcome Brandon!
Pamela Graham says
We never use steam and don’t have problems…??
It’s heat that erases it and if you haven’t had problems, great! Many have, including me, and I won’t use them on my quilts, but it really is a case of use what works for you!
Motsenbocker’s Lift Off 3 Pen, Ink & Marker Remover works best to remove pen stains if used in conjunction with the bristles of a tooth brush and/or a clean cotton towel. These will help break loose the pen stain. For tougher stains, you can also use a scouring pad.
Thank you Dewie!
Henry Nicholas says
Really Frixion is the name of perfection. I just loved that unique technology used for this erasable pens. Thanks for sharing your review…
I am concerned about the long term effects of the permanent change to my fabric but dang, they mark well and come in so many colors!
Personally, I love the Frixion pens but, am well aware of the ghosting. So, What I try to do is only use the Frixion on an area of fabic that will not show on the finished quilt. Also, never use them on white or very light colored fabric where a mark might possibly show through the fabric from a seam or whatever if it should reappear. I have several methods for marking fabric and it does get to be a hassle sometimes because of marks not coming out of the fabric or reappearing later as well as ghosting. But, I try to do whatever works best for the fabric and project at hand.
Thank you for writing and reading Carol. It looks like you have found a path that allows you to use the pens in a way that works for you – bravo! I have had significant ghosting on light colored fabrics but if you’re testing, you would discover any possible issues before committing to marking your quilt.
M Moreck says
Thanks for info. I’m a new sewer and have been watching many YouTube videos. Many of them recommend Frixion pens, but I was skeptical. FYI, Frixion pens are WONDERFUL on paper; especially for students who take a lot of notes. I have boxes of them in any color I can get. Worth the money.
They are great on paper and no wonder – that is what they were made for! I do love them for notes also. Thank you for reading and commenting!
Footnote a few years later: The red marks from the Frixion pen I sued to make my quilting lines comes back at ROOM temperature. If I iron it/blow dry it they disappear again. But after doing so 6 x’s over the course of a years, I have now given up. Those stupid marks will be there forever unless I can work up the courage to scrub my gorgeous quilt. Too bad I hopped on the early bandwagon with these pens and marked my quilt with them. I spent probably 100+ hours on it. Frixion Pen users beware.
Oh Jeifner, that is a new one on me. I am so sorry that happened to you. Now I have a new story to tell about the possible issues with the Frixxion pens.
Christine Davies says
I bought in good faith 2 Frixion pens after seeing a demonstration with a hot iron how magically it disappeared. So I gridded a piece of aida I was doing a cross stitch on. When finished I used the hot iron ok the marks faded but they were still there. To make matters worse I thought I would put it in the freezer horrified as all the gridding was still there. Ironed it again marks faded but there is nothing that shifts these marks. I am so upset as I have spent many hours doing a beautiful cross stitch which is now ruined.
Oh I am so sorry to hear this Christine. You may want to try one or both of the products I mentioned in my post. The Frixion pen people (Pilot) never intended their pens to be used on fabric but made them for kids to write secret messages to each other. I hope you are able to resurrect your piece. Thank you for commenting.
Just found your post. I had marked a project in the wrong place and was worried about removing the lines.
I marked a piece of fabric with two heavy lines, then I erased one of the lines as much as possible and ironed them. The marks disappeared, so I put the fabric in the freezer, they came back. I had some Amodex and used it on both marks. It removed both. I air dried it and then put it back in the freezer. The marks did not come back. Thank you!
Wonderful Sharon! I’m so glad that worked for you!