Testing Permanent Marking Pens on Fabric

I have a project coming up that involves writing on fabric. The ladies in quilt guild were talking about what fabric marker works best, and I wanted to try it out.

So I set up my own test to see which pen/marker performed that best. I have 5 different marking pens/markers. 

Layout of 5 different marking pens or markers 

Pigma Micron Marking Pen in Black .08 size

This pen was recommended to me many times. It comes in many sizes and colors. It's first purpose is not for permanent fabric pen, but I have used it many times. 

Pigma Micron Pen in black

Sharpie Permanent Marker in Black Fine Point

When I think of permanent marker, this is usually the thing that comes to mind first. I can always find one around the house.

 Black Sharpie in fine point

Tulip Brand Fabric Marker in Dark Blue

I had a stash of these from previous craft projects with the kids. The black marker is long gone, but dark blue will do just fine for this test.

 Tulip brand fabric marker

Dritz 3087 The Fine Line Permanent Fabric Marker in Black

This is the pen that was highly recommended at the most recent quilt guild meeting. I am curious to see how it holds up.

Dritz permanent fabric marking pen 

Pilot Frixion Erasable Pen

I know this is not a permanent marker, but I have also heard stories of quilters not being able to get it’s marks out, long after using heat and other things. 

Frixion Pen 

I marked a scrap of cotton fabric with each pen. With the Friction and the Micron pens, I had to go over the letters multiple times to make them show up well enough. I underlined them with one swipe of the pen so you could see how light and thin they are. 

 Fabric prepped with sample marks

For my test, I tried not to use any heat. I know that some inks need heat to set and I wanted to see how well the inks do on their own. 

I took my fabric scrap and put it in the sink with warm soapy water and let it sit for two hours. Then I hung it to dry. 

Sink of soapy water with fabric swap in it. 

This is how it looks afterwards. 

 Post-test fabric


This one didn’t seem to fade at all, but I did notice after where I wrote over one of the printed polka dots on the fabric, the ink didn’t take as well. It was the same way in the before pictures. 

Post test mark with Tulip pen 


This one is 90% disappeared. But it is still there. Remember, I did not apply any heat to it. 

 Post-Test Frixion Pen mark


This one bled out a bit. You can’t tell from a distance. But it is enough to soften all the edges and not look as nice. 

 Post-Test Sharpie Pen mark

Pigma Pen

This one didn’t seem to change. But I did notice, like the Tulip marker, that the ink didn’t take as well where I wrote over the printed polka dots on the fabric.

 Post-Test Micro Pigma Pen


This one didn’t change at all 

Post-Test Dritz  Pen mark 

Overall, I would recommend the Dritz Fine Line Permanent Marker. It was easy to use. The line stayed true, and I didn't have to write over it multiple times. 

Hopefully you find this helpful in your future quilt pen writing adventures.

Have fun quilting!


  • This was a perfect demonstration and helped me make my decision. Thanks!!!

    Elaine Marie McFarlin
  • This is very helpful as I am going to write a message on a quilt as a wedding gift. Thanks!

    Michele T
  • Thank you for the demonstration. I have wondered which pen is the best for writing on quilts.

    Martha deHoop

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