NEW NOTION or NOT? Frixion Erasable Gel Pens for Quilt Marking

Price: Around $8 to $10 for a 3 pack

After finishing my most recent quilt  I was browsing online and saw a new product I thought might be perfect for quilt markings. While I usually use white or blue quilt pencils, I’m always open to trying new notions.

I wanted to know more about Pilot’s new Frixion Erasable Gel Pens. They seem to have caught fire in the quilt market, as they are popping up everywhere in local stores and online!

They are a regular ink pen that can be erased by friction. Since friction creates a bit of heat, the markings can be ironed right off! They come in a variety of colours, and according to the manufacturer, they don’t smudge or fade.

But apparently there’s a catch. I’ve read online that the back of the package says that while heating the ink to 60 ºC (140ºF) will make the ink colorless, the ink can be restored by cooling to -10º C (14º F). Does that mean that in the dead of a typical Canadian winter, all the ink will come back?

I wanted to find out more so I went to YouTube and saw this video. 

You can see that they tested heating a piece of cloth with ink and when you iron it, voila…the ink disappears! Sounds wonderful. But then I kept researching and found more videos and web reports that the ink returns when you placing it in the freezer.

Check out this great video from Japan.

I’ve seen the Frixion pens all over the quilt market and it’s nice that they come in a variety of colors but I’m wary about buying them if the ink comes back. Knowing how much time I spent on my last quilt, I definitely wouldn’t want any markings I made on the quilt top to be visible if the temperature cooled down.

So tell me, have  you had a chance to try these pens? Would you recommend them? Let us know in the comments below what you think of Frixion Erasable Pens.

– Marlene

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14 Responses to NEW NOTION or NOT? Frixion Erasable Gel Pens for Quilt Marking

  1. Caroline Doyle says:

    I have tried them on Jinny Beyer’s dark fabrics to get the white line for quilting but alas the white line did not come out of those fabrics too. I tried to wash my sample but to no avail.

  2. alica says:

    I use them a lot, I have black and neon green ones.
    The lines disappear nicely after ironing – I even used them to draw lines for quilting. Just wish they would make a white one.

  3. amy dame says:

    i haven’t tried them on batiks, but i have tried them on coloured kona cotton, and i found that they left a white line after ironing. i was at a sewing show last weekend and they were EVERYWHERE, but very few people had actually tried them on multiple fabrics.

    i wouldn’t trust them for a quilt top, but i do think that they’ll be good for embroidery, when you’re going to be stitching over it anyway, and they’ll be great for lighter fabrics where the white line won’t show.

    also, they do come in more than one size. i’ve only used the thicker tip, but i did pick up a narrower one and i’m anticipating that the resulting white line will be thinner and less noticable.

  4. Joanne says:

    I have used them to mark quilting lines. The problem with them is when you use them on batiks the colour is removed when you press it to remove the line. It leaves a white line that can not be removed. When I looked into this problem I found that other people had the same problem. It only seems to effect batiks.
    I no longer use the pen for marking quilting lines, they were never intended for fabric and I worry about the damage they could cause the fabric, like the first washable marker years ago.

    • Readers have had both positive and negative experiences with these pens, but everyone agrees they don’t work with batiks! My favourite fabric and the majority of fabric we carry here at Flare Fabrics. So thank you everyone for letting me know. This is a notion I’ll take a pass on.

  5. Heather Cottrell says:

    When I bought a couple of these pens at a quilt show I was told not to use steam to remove the ink but to hold the iron just above the fabric and that works. I was also told the ink is permanently removed with washing but I havn’t tried that yet.

  6. Gail Schwier says:

    I’ve been using the fabric gel pens for months now and absolutely love them. It’s important to remember NOT to use steam. I teach quilting and recommend them to my students, because they are so easy/reliable with a finer line than a pencil or marker. Re the cold issue, I don’t put my quilts in the fridge or freezer!! If the marks come back with the cold, does the hot iron process work again to remove the marks once more?

  7. Rockgranny says:

    I’ve used it for about six months now and they are really GREAT!

  8. I hadn’t even thought they wouldn’t iron off batiks! Thanks for that warning.
    I guess if you don’t use the pens that much for marking quilts, you can always show your kids how to make secret messages that only they can read ☺!

  9. Vicki says:

    The Quilt Rat did some tests last fall on these markers and indeed the markings come back when the fabric is exposed to heat. You can check out her tests on her blog and here are the links to her tests.

  10. Kate says:

    The ladies in my quilting group have been using these and say they think they are great for things like marking applique for needle turn (where it will end up on the edge and barely show, even if it did come back, but they say they leave a permanent mark on batiks.

  11. Marion Destounis says:

    I bought a couple last week and tried them on a variety of sample fabrics. The quilt store clerk warned me that they weren’t good for batiks and I found that they didn’t iron off the batik fabrics. Didnt realize about the cold tho, will have to try that.

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