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When it comes to customizing clothing, tote bags, and other textile objects, fabric markers are convenient tools that can produce good results with a quick turnaround. The paint can be applied like ink, allowing you to write, draw, and color with ease. After properly drying—and if required, ironing—the fabric to set your colorful artwork, these pigments are safe to run through the washing machine. Just note that not all are permanent and can experience fading even if used correctly. Most fabric markers work best on cotton and canvas, and can withstand use on a variety of textiles and umpteen laundry cycles. When choosing what works best for you, consider the marker’s tips: many feature brush tips, which are often better for thin or delicate fabrics, since they won’t pull as you write or draw. Your selection may also depend on whether you’re working on a small, one-off project or doling out markers during a crafting party. Fortunately, fabric markers come in a wide assortment of colors and tip shapes to suit any need.
How we pick each product:
Our mission is to recommend the most appropriate artists’ tool or supply for your needs. Whether you are looking for top-of-the line equipment or beginners’ basics, we’ll make sure that you get good value for your money by doing the research for you. We scour the Internet for information on how art supplies are used and read customer reviews by real users; we ask experts for their advice; and of course, we rely on our own accumulated expertise as artists, teachers, and craftspeople.
Yasutomo FabricMate Dye Ink Markers
Looking for the most convenient way to color your fabrics? FabricMate markers are loaded with a dye that does not require any heat setting, steaming or even soda ash to set. The resulting colors are incredibly rich and even permanent. You have 18 colors to choose from, and you can buy them individually or purchase special sets including fluorescents and pastels. Choose from either a brush or chisel tip, although the sets only contain brush tips. The dyes also blend beautifully, especially when you do so with the available blender marker.
Pebeo 7A Light Fabric Brush Markers and Sets
The pigments in these Japanese-made markers from the French brand Pebeo have been in production since the 1960s, when they were originally formulated for the textile industry experts. Today, the water-based paint is available in a handy chunky marker that is comfortable to use and delivers smooth, consistent lines. The valve-pump barrel dispenses paint without puddling, helping you maintain control over application. Featuring a 1mm brush nib ideal for detail work, the Light Fabric Brush marker is available individually in a range of colors, as well as in sets. Pebeo also offers markers featuring a thicker, 4mm bullet tip. Heat-set both with an iron, and the colors will hold even after washing.
Crayola Fabric Markers
Fabric markers can be pricey, and Crayola offers a reliable but cost-effective—and importantly, nontoxic—option that is perfectly suitable for casual crafts and class projects. These markers come in a pack of 10 bright colors or a set of 80 markers, divided into eight shareable sets of those 10 colors. They’re compatible with only cotton or polyester, but they leave clear lines with minimal drag. While they’re easy for young ones to handle and dispense (no pump-valve here!) they do contain less ink than higher-end competitors. Finished works will have to be heat-set in a dryer, so educators without easy access to one should be sure to send students home with clear instructions.
Jacquard Tee Juice Fabric Markers
Jacquard, arguably the biggest name in quality fabric dyes, always delivers on pigment-rich products, and its fabric markers are no different. We love that these markers come in three nib sizes—fine, medium, and broad, the last of which is perfect for creating bold eye-catching designs or patterns. You can use it, for instance, to create a striking polkadot print in seconds. The large point also won’t catch on thin fabric and is great for filling in. The 16 available colors are vibrant, but they are rather juicy, so take care when working to prevent bleedthrough.
ANOTHER GOOD OPTION
Marvy Uchida DecoFabric Opaque Paint Markers and Sets
These markers feature brightly colored ink for dark and light fabrics that is dispensed with minimal pressure. Each is equipped with a 3mm bullet-point tip that’s versatile enough for detail work and broader lines, depending on how you angle it. The brand offers a handy range of colors, including some metallics, that are available individually or in sets. Be sure to heat-set before you wash to help the colors, marketed as acid-free and lightfast, cling to your fabrics. Lastly, we also like how the barrel feels in the hand, offering a thick and super-smooth grip.