Sharpie Markers on Fabric

For fabric items that will be washed on a regular basis, I’d suggest using actual fabric markers.  The project featured in this post is a demonstration with Sharpie markers.  Some of you may recognize this fabric crab from my book, Creative Tangle.   This was the best example I could find to illustrate the crisp lines and saturated color that Sharpie markers provide.


This is Zentangle in it’s purest form: black ink on a plain colored background.  My project started with blue cotton fabric stretched around a piece of heavy cardboard. I used a crab template I found on the internet and traced the shaped twice on the fabric with a pencil.  You’ll only need to draw your design on one of the crab shapes, since the other will be the underside of the crab.  Keep in mind, most people use Micron pens when tangling patterns.  I experimented with several types of pens on fabric and concluded that I preferred the ultra-fine point Sharpies for detail work.  I sectioned off the crab’s body parts and drew a different pattern for each.  Bleed-through was minimal, and the ultra-fine tips on the pens were easy to control.  After cutting out the two shapes, I heat-set the patterned one with an iron (just to make sure it was completely “permanent.”) 

With right sides together, I sewed around the crab shape and left an opening on the bottom for turning right-side out.  Stuff the crab with fiberfil and use a small paint brush handle to push the fiberfil back into the tight areas.  Hand stitch the opening closed and attach two black beads for eyes with hot glue.  Now imagine creating a whole collection of mini tangled fabric animals.  I like the effect of black Sharpies on different solid-colored material, but an array of marker colors on white would be very whimsical and fun.  The larger the scale of stuffed animal, the less fine the tip on the Sharpie needs to be.  Whatever point-size marker you use, I guarantee success with Sharpies on fabric!     

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