It’s been a hot topic on the professional longarm forums lately: what do we use to mark quilts? Blue pens that are water soluble? Purple pens that disappear in air? Washable pencils? On a whim, I decided to try the new “ultra clean” Crayola Washable markers, and to run a little experiment.
My hypothesis: Crayola markers will come out of everything.
washed and unwashed fabrics (washed white solid, unwashed peach solid, batik, red solid)
cold water for soaking, with and without soap.
I tried to think of the most common ways we use marking tools, and the most common ways we washed.
- With and without pressing (I ironed the crap out of the heat set ones, on the highest setting for cotton)
- Cold vs. warm water
- With and without soap
- Heavy vs. light markings
- prewashed fabrics vs. fabric straight off the bolt
- fabrics that might get bleached out vs fabrics that might stain
I made 8 samples of these on the white fabric, and then tossed them in to the water, and walked away (actually, we went blueberry picking, so I was gone for an hour or two).
And when I came back and rinsed the pieces (the water they were in had turned grey), they looked like this, whether they were heat set or not, washed in plain or soapy water, or whether they were in hot or cold water:
Then I tried them on fabric straight off the bolt, and instead of making light and dark marks, I scribbled the hell out of that fabric. I still heat set. And this time, I just used cold tap water, without soap.
My excitement and hopes were dashed. The unwashed fabrics held on to their markings! And not only that, it looked like the ink that had come out in the water had redistributed itself all over. do note, though, that the ink had no negative effects on the dark fabrics.
I didn’t want to give up, though. I took the un-prewashed pieces and used cold water with soap. And less than a minute later, this was the result:
While I wold not use this on a customer quilt, I would totally use these Crayola markers on my own; I always prewash my own personal-use fabrics, and I always wash my personal quilts after they’re done. They’re cheap, every color I tried (all ten of them int he box) comes out, and they are impervious to heat setting.
I didn’t try the following, but want to:
- What happens with more luxury-type fabrics like silks or Radiance, or wool?
- What happens after sitting in the sun for a while?
Let me know if you try it out, I’d love to know your results! More information is always good. Happy quilting, y’all. Hope this helps!