New Marking Pen and Pencil

Do you recall this post I wrote last month about marking pens and pencils? Well, I have two new ones I would like to share with you. The first is called the “Ultimate Marking Pencil” and it is manufactured by Hancy Mfg Co. in Montague, CA. I was a bit skeptical about it at first because it looked quite chunky, but for $5.00 I thought I would take a chance and try it.

Ultimate Marking Pencil

When you touch it, it feels like a gigantic crayon, which I guess in some way perhaps it is. There is no well defined tip on it, but it is soft enough to sharpen to a point with a razor blade. With only a gently pressure, it makes a line that is clearly visible. It’s a bit of a thick line though, measuring about 1/16”. Great for seeing clearly, not so good if you are looking to mark an accurate measurement.

Marking Pencil Tip

Marking Pencil Line

Width of 1st Line

The marking pen that I purchased is a Clover Fine Tip. I have used this Clover product before and I really love it, here is why:

Clover Marking Pen

2 Marked Lines

It glides onto the fabric effortlessly and within a few seconds a nice, thin line appears. This line is about 1/2 the width of the Ultimate Marking Pencil, which makes it great for accurate measurements.

With of 2nd Line

Both the pen and the pencil show up clearly on dark fabrics and they claim to be heat erasable: Perfect for people who do not like to wash their quilts upon completion. I decided to put them to the test to see how well and how quickly the lines disappear. I set my iron on high and I pressed them. Within seconds, both marks were gone. If you look closely though, you can see a dark line where the marking pencil was. I’m not to happy about that.

Marking Pencil and Pen

I started wondering about, not for the first time, what would happen if the fabric became cold: Would the lines reappear? So I initiated a little experiment, I place my little fabric swatch in the freezer over night to see what would happen. The next day it came out of the freezer looking like it did when it went in, except for the fact that somehow a tiny bead of water had dripped on it while it was in there and it froze. I didn’t think anything of it, I just put the swatch on the table and I went about my morning chores. A little while later I went to pick up the swatch and I discovered that when the little blob of ice had melted and moistened the fabric, the lines reappeared. Both of them!

Wet Fabric

This was not a good turn of events, so I soaked the fabric with water and let it air dry. Both lines were still there. So I took it back to the sink and scrubbed it with a plain old-fashioned bar of soap. I rinsed it out and set it to dry and this was the result:

Washed Fabric

While the fabric was still wet, I could just barely see both lines.

 

The Ultimate Marking Pencil did wash out completely, but the Clover marking pen, that had been heated, frozen, moistened and then scrubbed, reappeared once it was dried!

Dried Fabric

Hhmmm… this is far from being a good turn of events. I have made many quilts using this pen and I have never had a problem with the marks reappearing, or at least I didn’t think so. I went back and closely examined my quilts and none of them show the Clover pen marks. I started to think about what I had done differently and it the answer came to me quite clearly: I never pressed my quilts, I simply put them in the washer and dryer. Apparently there is some component to the Clover pen that makes the markings reappear after laundering “IF” it was heat set to begin with.

These were some interesting results I never expected to discover when I set out to test these products. But the facts are quite literally right in front of me in black and white.

I encourage you to do your own experiments with the marking products that you are currently using and come up with your own conclusions. It truly is an enlightening experience.

As always, feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below. I would love to hear what you think of this little experiment.

Good luck and Happy Creating!!

6 thoughts on “New Marking Pen and Pencil

  1. Good experiment and great explanation. My preferred marking is with plain school chalk from an office supply store that I sharpen with a crayon sharpener and I erase with a piece of batting.

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  2. Some ladies in my quilt group swear by the Frixion pens, the marks from which disappear when heated. But i have heard horror stories about the marks coming back, as you note, in the cold. I also worry about the composition of the ink and how it might degrade fabric over time. I think it’s fun, as well as helpful, that you did this little controlled experiment!

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  3. I have heard these stories too Kerry. A woman I met recently told me about her friend who makes and sells quilts all over the USA. This woman got herself in a bit of a bind this past winter. She has been making quilts using the heat removal pens but when she shipped them to customers the marks had come back during the shipping process. Most customers understood, but some did not and demanded a refund.

    I agree with you about degradation of the quilts over time using these pens. I’m not sure if there have even been trials on this yet. Funny how many quilters spend hundreds of dollars on high quality fabric, batting and thread, but they forget to consider the effects of their marking tools on their quilts.

    Thanks for your comment! I hope you have a great day!

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