Sunday, May 1, 2011

Writing On Fabric

I love to put words on my quilts and creations. .  I use it as another layer of meaning and design to whatever I am working on.  To put the words on fabric,  I use anything that I can get my hands on  - anything that I can use to spell.  It can be wooden or metal letters, beads, stamps or writing implements.  I am working on a special piece now that I call "Freedom".  My goal was to write my thoughts about freedom on a rectangle using some type of pen or marker. 

My friend Kelly of  tells me over and over to share my oops as well as my successes.  She tells me that people will learn from my mistakes.  I learn from my mistakes, so I guess she could be right.  So I will share what I have learned from trying to put these thoughts on fabric.  This is the fabric I planned on using.

These are some of the writing implements I thought I could use.  As long as it won't run or wash out, I will use it. 

The first thing I did was draw lines with a black marker on the paper side of freezer paper.

Then I ironed the waxy side to the back of the fabric.  This is to stabilize the fabric for writing.  For the best adhesion, I recommend that you iron both sides with a hot dry iron.

Then using a light box or daylight window, I could see my lines to write.  If you don't care about the straightness of your words, you don't need the marked line, but you still need the freezer paper.

So I started testing my pens.  I thought I would like a metallic gold.  No.  Black? No.  Green?  No.  Thinner black?  No.  Brown?  No.  I tried so many different thicknesses and colors.  Either I couldn't discern the words or they were too much like blobs or they were too obvious and in your face.  I didn't like anything.

  I finally realized that it wasn't the pens and the was the fabric.    Even though I looked at the fabric as a tone on tone, it was just too busy with too much contrast.  I switched to a less busy fabric and I found a pen to work.  It was a good balance. 


  1. What pen did you end up using?
    What process did you use to assure it will not bleed or wash out when washed in the machine?
    Did you write your words directly on the fabric?
    Do you have to use wax or freezer paper?

    1. Vicki - you are a no reply comment blogger so i hop you come back here. My favorite pen for writing on fabric is a pigma pen. It does not bleed and it is permanent. Before writing on the fabric, you have to stabilize it. I do this by ironing freezer paper to the back of the fabric. Then I write directly on the fabric. This is all best to do before you quilt.

  2. Hi, since you've written on this particular piece of fabric has it been washed yet? Did it bleed? I want to do something similar but just don't know what kind of pen to use!


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