As I was preparing the fabric for my next large stitched painting, I thought I would be really smart and mark a line on the fabric for lining up the stencil. Instead, I made a doozy of a Marking Pencil Mistake. Oops!
As much as I hate making (and admitting!) that I made this massive boo-boo, I decided to share my experience in the hopes that you will avoid a similar mistake. Here’s how it unfolded.
When I was cleaning up my studio a while back, I put a bunch of marking tools in a bag. Two were chalk, one was a tailor’s marker, and the pencils were a tool that I picked up at a quilt show some time ago.
Now the premise of these marking pencils is that the marking can be removed with a quick pass of a hot iron. I know I have used them on a previous project, so I didn’t think twice about using them again. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a Very Big Mistake.
It was not incredibly obvious, but after running a hot iron over my fabric, there was a definite line where the mark had been. Now, this would not be a big deal if the mark was on the edge of something where it wouldn’t show. But this line was less than an inch away from the design, and it would definitely show on the surface of the stitched painting.
Rather than letting Art Brain pitch a fit, I walked away from this for a couple of days to see if any ideas surfaced for rescuing the painted fabric. Surely, there would be a way to remove this mark. Maybe? Pretty please?
Mark Removal Step 1
My first inclination was to take a damp lint-free cloth to see if I could scrub the marks off with just water.
Unfortunately, that didn’t work.
Mark Removal Step 2
As you can see, when I dampened the fabric again, the mark was still very much in evidence.
My next alternative was my jar of handy-dandy oil-based studio soap. I use this stuff for all manner of stains and for removing Paintstik colors from my hands, my jeans, and anything else that needs a clean up. (I even keep a jar next to my washing machine for treating food stains and other tough cleaning jobs.)
I scrubbed and scrubbed with an old toothbrush and then rinsed to remove the studio soap.
As I removed the excess water with a towel, I could see that only a really good pressing was going to save this piece. But… would the lines be gone?
Ummm… nope. Not a chance. The lines were slightly less noticeable, but far from gone. Drat! My marking pencil mistake was not going away!
Test, Test, Test to Avoid a Marking Pencil Mistake
I’ll be the first to say that I hate making mistakes like this! After 25 years of quilting, sewing and fiber art, I should know better than using a marking tool in an obvious spot without testing to make sure that the lines would completely disappear.
A few short minutes to do a test, or a visit to the manufacturer’s website would have saved me a lot of time and frustration, not to mention a beautiful piece of fabric! As it turns out, the manufacturer was aware that this pencil would leave marks on some fabric, and the warning was right on the product description page.
Please note: This pencil has been known to shadow on some fabrics: random batiks and cotton/poly blends. On some batiks it’s fine, we actually demo a lot on batiks at shows. With all the different varieties out there and our inability to test them all we recommend testing this pencil to be sure it irons off clean.
So… long story short, this was a marking pencil mistake that did not need to happen, and I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. Phooey!
Thankfully, I still have a large piece of this fabric and I can paint another piece. I’ll put my mistake aside for a while while I ponder its fate, and I’ll be happy that I discovered my Marking Pencil Mistake before I started stitching and beading. (Yes, it could have been worse!)
And, finally, I Promise, Promise, Promise that I will Never Ever use a making tool in a conspicuous location without testing to make sure the marks can be removed.
Thanks for reading
Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of your creative world. I appreciate your time and hope that my mistake will save you a bit of time and frustration in the future. 😉 And if you have a favorite technique or marker to suggest, chime in below. I’m all ears!