Design Your Own Fabric With Permanent Fabric Markers | Madam Sew

Fabric Design With Permanent Fabric Markers

We recently added these permanent fabric markers to the Madam Sew store. This past week I played around a bit with these markers, took some pictures, and recorded a little video for you. I really like the way you can easily draw with them on fabric and add a personal touch to any project, clothing or home decor.

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Drawings with markers on white and pink fabric
Permanent Fabric Markers in different colors
a drawing of a little girl with blond hair on a white cotton fabric

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about fabric markers is drawing on a t-shirt. This is a fun activity for children– so on a rainy and windy afternoon, I let my 9 year old daughter design her own t-shirt. All you need for this little craft project is a white cotton t-shirt, fabric markers, and an idea for a drawing. At school they had a project about boats… So she designed a sunset boat t-shirt. She didn't take the time to make the coloring as detailed as I would do it ;-)

fabric markers

You can embellish other store bought items, like tote bags, sneakers, little accessory bags, pillow cases, with the fabric markers or you can design and decorate fabrics and sew little accessories like pouches, scrunchies or pattern weights.

I also use the markers to mark my children’s name on the label of their clothing when they attend summer camps.

How To Use Permanent Markers on Fabric

Here are six BEST PRACTICES to prepare the fabric, draw, and make sure the drawing and writing on fabric lasts, also after five machine washes.

  1. If you are not sure, always experiment on scrap fabric before ruining your clothing or home decor item.
  2. If the item on which you are going to draw is washable, then wash, dry, and iron it before you start. Some fabric treatments can prevent the ink from penetrating the fabric.
  3. To draw comfortably on fabric, an embroidery hoop is a great help. If you don’t use a hoop, be sure to put a piece of cardboard between the 2 fabric layers of your t-shirt and attach the fabric to the cardboard with fabric clips. This will keep your fabric taut and will avoid bleed-through. I have both a little plastic hoop and a bigger one of 17 inch at hand. The 17 inch quilt frame is available in our store and smaller sizes will be available soon too.
fabric scrap
fabric clips

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4. If you are not sure about your artistic skills or if you want to tackle a very complex design, you can draw the outlines with a pencil or an Erasable Fabric Marker. Either way, it’s definitely a good idea to perfect your design on paper before drawing on your fabric.

5. To transfer your design from a print, you can use a light box or a window, placing the paper copy of the design behind the fabric. Another option is to use a stencil or apply removable painters tape to guide you for simple geometric shapes.

6. To set the ink, be sure to press the fabric with a hot iron after your design is complete. If you want to wash your item a lot and you want to prevent fading as much as possible, purchase a color-fixative product and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

ironing the cloudy fabric design onto white fabric

I think it is really easy to make something unique, personal and special with these markers. Lots of possibilities for little gifts or upcycling projects.

And it’s a fun activity for young and old!

This is what I did with the markers. I drew on 4 different fabric pieces: a little girl, clouds, hearts and plants. I sewed a baby bib with the little-girl-drawing and a valentine face mask from the hearts. I think I will use the clouds fabric for a reusable bowl cover and the plants for a little coin purse.

fabric mask
heart fabric
heart mask

Have you ever considered customizing your fabrics with heat transfer vinyl (HTV)? Take a look at my personalized t-shirt, fleece blanket and machine emboidered design and get tips and tricks on how to use the HTV efficiently without a fancy cutting machine.

Happy crafting!

An for

Blogging for Madam Sew

Interested in buying these Permanent Fabric Markers? Discover our great deals for fabric markers here

Download this fabric design tutorial here

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Dear An
I like how you are explaining all the new things. Because I’m Swiss and my mother tongue is Swiss German. So it’s difficult to follow in English. But your pronunciation is so clear. I understood everything. Thank you so much. Think I will be back to Tucson in April, then I can order all new items from MadamSew. 💖


There are endless things you could do with them. I will be getting them soon.

Anne Walton

I need that’s fabric pens and l always love drawing artist like Cross with prayer hands.

Marilyn Mae Welham

Very clever. It got my creative juices flowing, definitely need to order these. Great idea.

Kim Corbi

Do these pens have a price?

Patricia Woods

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