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How to Heat Set Fabric Markers? – 4 Home-based Methods

Written by Laura Walker

Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to heat set fabric markers

Fabric markers or clothing markers are fun, especially for those who love arts and crafts. It allows people without sewing skills to create beautiful fabric artwork without the effort of using a needle and thread!

But after using fabric markers, what’s next? Of course, you have to heat-set the colors. Or else, you might end up with messy and faded artwork—a waste of time and effort!

So, what are the home-based methods on how to heat set fabric markers? Wait no further, as this article will show you four household items to achieve a good result.

Ways to Heat Set Fabric Markers

Before moving on to the four methods, it is best to wait for at least a day before you heat set fabric paint or marker on fabrics. This would allow the ink to dry a little!

Method #1: Use a flat iron!

fabric-markers-permanent

What to prepare for this method:

  • Fabric with marker ink
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Flat iron
  • Ironing board
  • Paper
  • Spare cloth

It is common to make fabric markers permanent with a flat iron. That’s why it’s first on the list!

Instruction

Step 1, Find a suitable working area. Heat setting through a flat iron needs cautions due to burning risks. So, ensure to work alone to avoid getting bumped by other people and keep children away from the area too!

Step 2, One can experience accidentally burning themselves when using an iron. So, it’s vital to wear heat-resistant gloves throughout the process to prevent burns!

Step 3, Set up the ironing board. Plug the flat iron and wait for it to heat to an approximately moderate temperature.

Typically, a temperature of 350°F (177 °C) is recommended. Make sure the steam heating mode is turned off.

Depending on the delicateness of the fabric, you can lower the temperature to avoid damaging its textile.

Step 4, Turn the fabric upside down.

If you use fabric markers on t-shirts, turn the shirt inside out.

This step is to ensure that the flat iron surface does not directly hit the embellished part of the clothing or fabric.

Step 5, For shirts and other doubled fabrics, place a piece of paper inside. This would create a barrier between the painted and unpainted sides.

Lay the fabric on top of the ironing board. For extra protection on your flat iron and shirt, place a spare cloth on top of the area you have to iron.

Step 6, Start ironing by slowly but continuously gliding back and forth. The permanent fabric marker should be set after a few minutes of ironing.

If you want to wash the cloth, wait 4 to 5 days to ensure that the marker inks have settled permanently onto the fabric.

Method #2: Use an oven!

washable-fabric-markers-for-sewing

What to prepare for this method:

  • Fabric with marker ink
  • Oven
  • Oven thermometer (optional)
  • Oven tray
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven gloves
Instruction

Interestingly, you can heat set fabric markers without an iron. If you find passion in baking, you’ll find it even more fortunate to have an oven as it can also be used to heat a permanent fabric marker for clothes!

Step 1, The proper temperature must be met to heat set permanent marker on a fabric. So, preheat the oven to a moderate temperature—specifically, 350°F (177 °C).

Step 2, While waiting for the temperature to hit the required level, get your oven tray and line it up with parchment paper to prevent the cloth from sticking to the tray’s surface.

Step 3, Fold the garment and lay it on the baking tray. Ensure that all portions of the fabric are within the bounds of the tray and parchment paper.

If your oven does not have a temperature label, use a thermometer to check the level.

Step 4, Once the oven is ready, place the oven tray in the oven and set it for a quarter-hour. Take a glance from time to time while heating the fabric to see if alarming events are happening– such as a burning smell or fire.

Step 5, When done, remove it from the oven and let it cool! Handling hot objects requires precaution due to the possible risks of burning and experiencing other unwanted accidents. So, wear oven gloves when taking out the tray inside.

Method #3: Use a tumble dryer or washer-dryer!

permanent-fabric-marker-for-clothes

What to prepare for this method:

  • Fabric with marker ink
  • Tumble or washer dryer
Instruction

Making textile markers permanent through heat setting is a complex process, especially since it needs close attention!

But using your dryer is a worry-free way to heat set permanent marker on fabric since you can just leave the cloth while the process is ongoing. You may either use a stand-alone tumble dryer or the one that your washing machine has.

Step 1, Simply dump the painted fabric inside the machine.

Step 2, Set the timer for about 60 minutes.

One precaution to take note of is that you should not add other fabrics apart from the one you just placed inside the dryer to prevent colors from bleeding.

Step 3, Wait for the time to finish. Once you hear the beeping signal of your machine, remove the fabric and allow the heat to escape from the material at room temperature.

Method #4: Use a hairdryer!

textile-markers-permanent

What to prepare for this method:

  • Fabric with marker ink
  • Clothes rack
  • Clothes hanger (with or without clips)
  • Hairdryer
Instruction

Since the heat from hair dryer is not as hot as the other heat sources above, heat must still be applied to set ink on fabric pieces. Otherwise, there would be a possibility that the colors of a fabric marker would fade out.

So, heat setting the fabric marker with hairdryer is still better than not doing anything at all.

Step 1, Set up your fabric on a clothes hanger. If you have to heat set lightweight fabrics such as handkerchiefs, it is best to use a clothes hanger with built-in clips so as not to get blown away by the hairdryer.

Step 2, Put the hanger on a clothes rack. You may also use your closet rod.

Step 3, Blow dry your fabric using the highest heat level your hairdryer has. This process may take about 20 minutes or longer, depending on the density of the marker ink, the type of fabric, and the level of heat your dryer can conduct.

Frequently Asked Questions

clothing-markers

How long does it take fabric markers to dry?

The fabric should be left for at least a day (24 hours) to dry to ensure that the fabric ink dries out.

It would help to check the instructions of the fabric marker brand you bought to know how much time it approximately takes to dry out.

How long do fabric markers last?

Permanent fabric markers can last for several years, and excellent inks that have been properly heat-set on a suitable fabric can last as long as you wear the cloth.

Some fabric marker brands are of low quality and can quickly dry out. Read the product’s instructions, as it usually indicates the frequency of usage before it runs out.

The marker’s lifespan also depends on how you take care of it. Make sure to keep the cap on after using it. You can also revive fabric markers by turning them upside down so the ink can flow on the marker nib.

Can you wash off fabric markers?

Fabric markers are unlike washable fabric markers for sewing. It is designed to be permanent on the clothing. However, using hydrogen peroxide, you can still wash out fabric markers while it hasn’t dried out yet.

Similarly, fabric paint markers are irremovable once made permanent. But if still wet, this can be removed with vinegar, baking soda, and many more.

What is the difference between a fabric marker and a fabric paint marker?

Fabric markers can be ink-based, gel, or acrylic paint– sometimes called fabric paint markers.

Just like fabric markers, it is still necessary to heat set acrylic paint on fabric. You may use the flat iron method to do this!

Conclusion

Heat setting fabric markers may be done in a variety of ways. What’s best is that most of these methods are done at home with the things we typically use daily!

This includes using a flat iron, oven, clothes dryer, and hairdryer. Knowing how to heat set fabric markers is something that artsy and crafty people need to know as it would guarantee that their efforts wouldn’t go in vain.

Hopefully, this article allowed you to continue using fabric markers to unleash your artistic capabilities!

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a few words from the author

Laura-Walker

Hi, I am Eveline Kessler, a content creator. My love for colors and arts draws me here to join the Intermediarts team with Leilani. I am responsible for testing new products and techniques with her and providing honest reviews and tips based on our experience.

Laura Walker