The newest trend in party planning, events, and baby showers is making custom t-shirts. Planning a setup for an event is easy if you have the right supplies.
A successful custom t-shirt setup or onesie stand depends on the markers. Make sure to find ones that don’t bleed and confirm that they won’t wash out after one wash. Especially for baby clothes, paying careful attention to toxicity.
This is the ultimate breakdown of putting hand-drawn designs on fabric. Here are different types of fabric markers and what to consider when choosing the best ones.
Different Types of Fabric Markers
The basics of fabric markers got covered here but there is so much more to learn. Creating designs that will stay on fabric is a tough assignment. They must withstand every wash cycle. Lots of wear can make it difficult to maintain the design.
Before choosing which premium ones you want to buy explore the types. From beginners to expert crafter, there is a type of fabric marker for you. Let’s check out:
1. Gel Based Markers
Gel markers are the same as those used to write in a notebook or pad. The key difference is the type of permanent ink suspended in the gel.
The gel suspension allows the ink to glide on with the same ease as a regular pen or pencil. Once allowed to dry these inks are permanent and smudge proof.
These types of markers are great for beginners since they are the closest to a regular pen. They are easy to control.
2. Ink Based Markers
Ink is the next step up from gel. Ink markers are more like typical permanent markers. So, one mistake can be a disaster for your design. But no worry! In fact there are several ways of removing permanent ink from fabric.
Ink fabric markers have similar drawbacks to paper as permanent markers. They have more of a tendency to bleed. These need more control from the user to get a good end result. Make sure to use light pressure. Don’t hold the tip to the fabric longer than necessary. This could lead to unintentional bleeds.
These are best used in the hands of intermediate fabric crafters. Those who understand how the textile will interact with the ink. Always test the marker on a small area that’s not noticeable before settling on a surface.
3. Paint Based Markers
Troublesome for some but paint creates beautiful results. Paint markers are the hardest to use. They need some getting used to. To allow the paint to flow they need shaking and pumping.
Once there is an understanding of how the marker will behave they get easier to use. But, learning how to maintain a steady flow of paint produces gorgeous results.
Try them out on fabric scraps first to get a firm handle on how they will behave.
Top Rated Permanent Fabric Markers
1. Crafts 4 All Fine Tip Markers- Best Overall
Like their dual tip counterpart, Crafts 4 All fine tip markers do not disappoint. These professional German ink fabric pens come with tons of advantages.
They offer a no bleed guarantee. They are non-toxic and meet all ASTM guidelines for safety. Time and again reviewers said these markers were worth the higher price tag.
These handle the most intricate designs without running together. They layer well for a gradient effect. One thing to consider is that most of the colors are darker than what is on the cap.
Remember to work fast with this set. The ink dries fast. There isn’t much time for corrections.
Some users have experienced a small amount of bleeding on stretchier fabrics. Things like leggings. On normal cotton these work like a charm. Like most of these products following the directions leads to better results.
Underlining, sketching, outlining, you name it, everything happens within a snap, thanks to the fine writer bullet-tip. Since these are fade-proof, there’s no chance of the quality being faded away anytime soon.
They do need heat setting before washing. These are one of the highest rated sets of fabric markers out there. Most have had an incredible experience with them.
The whole set offers 24 fabric markers that come with the highest pigments. This is why getting the highest pigment retention is pretty easy. As for colors, the markers boast rainbow, earth and fluorescent genre.
Even though these markers are meant for fabrics, but you can also use them on paper as well and create your own calligraphy art.
2. Liquitex Wide Tip Paint Markers- Best for Canvas
The Liquitex wide tip markers are a great option for paint markers. Great for work on canvas in conjunction with other acrylic paints.
These make line work in paintings simple. Writing can be a bit tricky but possible with these paint markers. They offer superb control and nice edges over other paint markers.
A key feature is the refined flow control of the chamber.
These blobs less than other paint markers and are easier to work with. They come in a variety of different nib types from fine lines to super thick. If the nib gets dirty by any chance, it is possible to sort them out.
The colors are basic but come in classic, fluorescent, vibrant, and iridescent variations. Great buy for working on canvas or another thick fabric project.
Artists will do well adding these to their toolkit. These make edging and straight line work much easier than a standard brush and acrylic paint. The colors are completely fade-proof, which ensures the permanency of the quality.
To optimize the paint mixing along with the flow in a very well mannered, the markers come with a proven ball and pump. Not just fabric, these markers can blend in perfectly with almost any surface.
After the painting is done on the fabric, the bleed-proof attribute will make sure the ink doesn’t bleed at all.
Even though these colors are permanent and resistant to water once they’re dry. However, they can be easily removed while they’re ‘still wet’ if you change your mind.
3. Crayola Classpack Pen- Best for Coloring
Crayola isn’t only for coloring books anymore. The Crayola Classpack set is an impressive offering from the iconic brand. These are by far the most child-approved markers of this list.
Many of the reviews note how easy it was for the kids to use them. These work like the Crayola washable markers everyone is familiar with. Remove the cap and get to coloring. Super simple and easy to use.
These won’t fade, are safe for the wash, and are non-toxic. They work on all colors of fabric from dark to light. They come in a classic color combo that covers all the bases.
The only concern is that these markers run out fast. So, larger projects need more markers. Luckily, these come in an 80 count pack (8 sets of 10 colors) so there are plenty of extras.
Since these markers have high-grade ink, you don’t need the fabric to get ironed. The ink will sit permanently once it gets dried. For extra safety, the caps are ventilated as well as elongated.
The ink, however, is a bit wet. So, you might have to spend about 5 minutes for the color to sit so that you can avoid bleeding.
4. Ohuhu Dual-Tip Markers- Best for Artists
Another winner of fabric marker, these dual tips will impress again and again. Ohuhu markers offer the flexibility of having both a fine line and wide tip.
These markers are completely permanent after drying for 24 hours. Once the dry time is up, always wash them in room temperature water to maintain color vibrancy.
The price is right on this set comes in at a little more than fifty cents a marker. It works for little hands and are non-toxic. These work well for backpacks, fabric totes, canvas, t-shirts, onesies, and more.
The whole set comes with 36 different colors to choose from and once you color your fabric, the ink won’t fade away a bit and it’s less likely to bleed. To make sure you can identify the colors, the markers come with color-coded caps
One of the drawbacks of these markers is they aren’t the best at blending. Some had issues with the felt on the wide tip coming apart. There was some concern that the colors were darker than the cap showed.
All in all, for the price, this is a great set of markers that get the job done.
5. Crazy Colors Dual Tip Markers- Best for Shoes
Bullet tips are often better to leave a gorgeous detailed finish over whatever artwork you’re doing, but there are other times when the chisel comes necessary. To avoid having to buy one of each, we introduce you to this set of markers that offers both.
These double tip markers come with 20 colors. The fine bullet tip each marker comes with, lets you create all those outlines, sketches and writings accurately with more precision and control. While on the other hand, the chisel tip lets you create broad writing, shading and blends.
They dry permanent, and the pigments are vibrant to resist fading once you’re doing maintenance.
For adults and children, the performance of these markers doesn’t fail. You can have a set for yourself or your toddler if he’s about 3 or above. No worries for your child though. The set comes with child-safe breathable caps.
They’re safe and using it doesn’t require previous preparation like shaking, or pressing the tips, which is a regular issue other brands have to face.
Somehow if your hands get messed up with the ink, there’s no need for you to panic. These makers are completely non-toxic and less likely to cause any itch or rash.
As you keep on inking, the colors won’t bleed unless you hold the marker on one spot for a long time
Everyone can enjoy the possibilities that these markers give us, allowing us to design those incredible ideas running through our minds.
If you want to decorate some fabric such as black clothing, perhaps you’ll have to give an extra effort. Otherwise, the markers work well over many surfaces.
6. Crafts 4 ALL Markers- Best for Qualities
The best of both worlds! The Crafts 4 All Dual Tip Markers feature a wide and fine tip for all sorts of applications.
These markers come in 12 different colors. High pigmentation makes them perfect for light and dark fabrics. Like an artist blends paint, it’s possible to blend this ink before it sets. Once the project is complete heat set the artwork to make it permanent.
They are non-toxic, fade proof, and weatherproof. Perfect for both amateurs and professional artists. Available in a 12, 20, and 36 count package every color is vibrant and ready to impress.
These markers got mixed reviews. They aren’t the best option for terry cloth. Using a piece of cardboard under the top fabric layer is a good idea to prevent any bleed through. A little bleed through is possible but these markers do a good job of not spreading.
These are best used for t-shirts, onesies, and other flat fabric type projects. The dual tip makes it good for tons of applications. From calligraphy to full drawings these can handle the job.
7. Sharpie Stained Fabric Pen- Best Permanent ink
Sharpie, a brand that has been turning our most creative ideas into reality, comes once again delivering incredible markers for child or adult.
This particular set offers a bright and bold variation of color choices, which work well over different types of surfaces and fabric.
There’s a pack of 2-4 and 5 that offers you both assorted colors for normal use and fabric as well. Speaking of which, you’re getting 5 markers in each pack while the colors are black, blue, green, red and pink.
The ink these markers use is another one of its best features. It flows pleasantly, and it is more than capable of resisting the test of time, and the washing machine.
The ink is completely fade-proof, which means the colors won’t fade away even after the long run. Thanks to the bleed-resistant feature, the colors won’t bleed as well.
After use, it is better to keep the markers upright to ensure the ink doesn’t get ruined. No, there’s no need for the design to get ironed so that it can sit. As an extra, there’s a brush tip that comes with the set. This allows you to draw more smoothly while the tip itself doesn’t catch on the fabric.
This pack of markers might not offer the highest number of items, with only eight markers included. However, their performance and quality are always guaranteed.
People often complain that these markers require strokes to get them to fill in certain areas, which would be one of its main disadvantages.
8. Tulip 33711 Non-Toxic Fabric Marker- Best for Kids
Next, we have the 33711 from Tulip that can fill your cup for sure no matter what. Outstanding color, mindblowing versatility, and amazing maneuverability, it gives you everything just in a whole package.
As the name says it, the marker is completely non-toxic. Which means you’re always in the safe zone. Doesn’t matter if you happen to get your skin messy, it won’t cause any itch or discomfort at all.
The whole set offers you 25 markers that come with different vibrant colors. Best part? You’re getting both fine and brush tip markers with the pack. There are 15 fine tip markers and 10 brush tip fabric markers.
Unlike the typical ones in the marketplace, these markers do not bleed that much. However, if you use them on spandex, you may face somewhat of bleeding though. Thanks to its fade-resistant attribute, the color stays good as new even after giving your fabric a lot of washes.
Moreover, as you do your art-job, the ink dries up faster, for which, you don’t have to wait for a long time for your art to get dried up. But if you want the colors to sit properly, you shouldn’t wash the fabric until you cross 24 hours.
Let it be doodling, coloring or drawing, this marker is the perfect catalyst for you if you want to show your artistic skills. Besides, not just your fabric though, you can use this marker on your canvas, wood, wall-art, baby-gear, etc.
As an extra, the set includes a reusable pouch, which you can use to store the markers whenever you want.
9. Crayola Line Markers- Budget Friendly Fabric Pens
Who said that you needed expensive tools to achieve the best results? This set of markers proves that, more often than not, a cheap product is capable of getting the job done.
These markers allow you to draw in the most detailed way possible, and they’re suitable for every colored fabric, including dark and light.
However, its purposes aren’t limited to that, as they work over many other surfaces, too.
While the manufacturer provides multiple options when it comes to the tip design, these are bullet points, exclusively, meaning that they’ll get you through those fine details without spilling or creating a mess.
However, if you do make a mess, let’s say on your hands or on your skin, there’s no need for you to stress even for a bit. These markers are completely non-toxic, so your skin stays out of threat.
But, if there’s something that keeps these markers from reaching their full potential, is the ink quality. The colors aren’t as bright as other brands, which is understandable considering the low price of this pack.
After finishing your artwork, you can simply run the color through a dryer cycle so that it locks in. The colors do not fade over time like the mainstreams and most importantly, they do not bleed at all
10. Tulip Rainbow Graffiti Fabric Marker- Best for T-shirt
Marking your clothes or accessories will never be as easy as it will be with the Tulip Rainbow Graffiti.
There’s a set of 6 and 30 pack, so choose the one that meets your demand. The bullet tip allows easier outlining, writing, and doodling. Whatever you want to mark over any type of fabric, you can make it possible with this set.
The color is still one of the best features you get. It is bold and vivid, making it highlight every trace you make on any fabric surface. And it doesn’t fade too easily, lasting several years and washes after washes.
Another interesting part is the smoothness of the ink and tip. You can glide through any surface to make even the hardest of graphics without problems.
While making your painting, if you mess up your hand by any chance, you won’t need to worry about anything. The markers are completely non-toxic.
From backpacks to canvas, pillows, poster-boards, and even T-shirts, shorts, pants, or anything, you can paint them all with these markers.
You will get a fairly wide array of colors, so you can get exactly what you need for your artsy project.
After your artwork has been created, the premium-quality ink will sit on your fabric permanently. There’s no need for you to use any heat-setting or iron. If you want the best results, you can use these markers on white or light-colored fabrics.
11. Paint Pens for Fabric Paint- Best for Denims
While these markers are multi-purpose and you can use it on different surfaces such as fabric, metal, plastic, and even stone, they are particularly amazing to draw over glass and porcelain.
What makes them better than most are the medium-sized tips. If you’ve ever used broad tips, you know they can be frustrating, sometimes.
However, with the medium-size tips, you’ll be able to create either fine details or to fill broad areas.
Regardless of how you decide to use it and its purpose, they provide incredible results. The vivid acrylic ink doesn’t take much to dry, and it always leaves a beautiful finish over the surface.
Overall, this set of markers is the ideal choice if you use markers regularly. They work for everything, and they’re durable. As long as you’re willing to pay a little more than most for this package, it is a decision you won’t regret.
12. Tulip Dual-Tip Markers- Best for Kids
Loving the markers from Tulip? Here’s another set that can leave you awe-stuck. This set includes 14 rainbow markers in one pack. And guess what? The set includes both fine-tip and brush-tip markers, so you can taste the versatility.
Messed up your hand with the ink? There’s nothing to worry about. These markers are completely non-toxic, so you don’t need to stress about getting skin issues at all. In fact, even if your child takes them into mouth accidentally, there’s nothing to worry about at all.
Unleash your creativity, as the marker lets you create all those lines let it be thick or thin. On top of that, you can write and add fine finishing touches if you want.
Let it be t-shirts, caps, bed sheets, pillowcases, you name it, these markers are perfect to create all those amazing designs within a snap.
Besides, it has got a fade-resistant feature, so there’s no way you’re going to lose the quality of the color when you wash your fabric multiple times.
And who says you can just paint on fabrics only? Let it be wood, wall-art, anything, this marker is the perfect catalyst for you if you want to show your artistic side to the fullest.
Things To Consider Before Choosing Fabric Markers
The success of a craft project depends on preparation. Before starting a project make sure the materials used will hold up in the long term. First off, before beginning any project, refer to the instructions from the manufacturer.
Each different set of markers will need different methods to make them permanent. Some need extra drying time. Some need heat setting. Confirm how to make it permanent before washing the garment or project.
Color retention is a big deal on fabric. When someone chooses something to wear the color combinations matter. If the color starts to change from pink to orange after 1 or 2 washes that is aggravating.
Find a marker known for its ability to stay true to color wash after wash.
Fade Proof Quality
In the same vein as retention, the colors need to be fade proof as well. The best way to prevent fading is a proper application. This is critical to the success of any fabric marker project.
Look at the description of the product. Make sure the manufacturer confirms the markers are fade-proof. If the instructions are missing from the packaging call the company.
Ask them how you should apply and finish projects using their product. No one will know better than them. They will tell you how to get the most out of the markers.
With the explosion of the custom onesie trend, it’s important to use non-toxic markers. Before purchasing any markers confirm they are non-toxic with the manufacturer. This info should be on the packaging.
For something meant to wear, this is more important. Markers containing toxic chemicals can seep into the skin. This can cause health problems.
Make sure your markers are non-toxic. Nobody wants that anyone in his family fell sick over something preventable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Still have questions? Here are the answers to some common questions asked about fabric markers.
Q: How long do Fabric Markers take to dry?
Most fabric markers need at least 24 hours to dry. Some need heat setting. Letting projects dry for 48 hours is not a bad idea. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the marker set.
These will provide specific instructions for the marker set. They will include how long they need to dry and how to make them permanent.
Q: Do Fabric Markers wash out?
They shouldn’t. If using proper application instructions, most become permanent. Fabric markers work by staining the fabric immediately on contact. The mark sets into the fabric.
These are not as easy to remove as permanent marker from whiteboard. When they say permanent, they mean it. Did you make a mistake? Catching it quick could give some wiggle room.
Throw the project right into the washing machine or use an alcohol pad to try and remove the error. Sometimes it will work and sometimes not. The best bet is to treat the project like you can’t remove it.
Q: Can I Use These Fabric Markers on paper?
n short, Yes! But It’ll reduce the longevity and the ink finishes too quickly as papers absorb it more. And they are much more expensive than regular ones. So, in a pinch they will work but, there are better uses for fabric markers
Get the best fabric marker to make custom designs that stand out from the rest. Create gifts for baby showers, weddings, and any occasion. These are unique and memorable for anyone who receives them.
All these markers can create professional looking end results. These results can rock on all types of different fabrics. Shirts, shoes, hats, coozies, the sky is the limit!
Love markers and want to learn more about choosing the right one? Our blog has everything you need to know about markers.