Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Project - Testing Fabric Pens

I have a love/hate (well, maybe more irritation than hate!) relationship with fabric pens.  I love the idea of being able to free hand draw on my t-shirts or add accents to the fabric I dye.  I'd be happy with just black, but color would be nice .... I hate how they actually are to draw on fabric with.  So I keep trying new ones!

I've had a couple of new pens sitting around for awhile and decided it was time to test them out.  I also keep reading about people who use regular old Sharpies and decided I'd give those a try, too.

The photo below shows my before (on the left) and after (on the right) test.  I used a scrap of 100% cotton fabric.  After letting the inks set for a couple of hours, I heat set them by ironing on the back for about four minutes on the cotton setting.  I then put the test fabric through two loads of wash - the washer was set to cold, but it's summer in Phoenix.  Unless it's out of the refrigerator, the water's warm at best!

As you can see, the color held on all of them.  There were big differences in what I thought of the pen tips and line widths, though.  The "before washing" photo is on the right in all of these.

This is the test for Marvy's DecoFabric 3mm pen.  I thought it did the best for having a vibrant color that stayed bright through both washes.  However ... I didn't like the pen tip.  It's thick and a bit floppy, which made it hard to get a thin line.  If I had a small area to fill in, though, I would definitely use it.  Notice the blue and red shadows in the after photo?

Those shadows came from the regular Sharpie sample!  Not good.  The color faded a bit, but the bigger problem was the way it spread on the fabric while I was drawing.  A plus side is I liked the pen tip!

This is Sharpie's new fabric pen "Sharpie Stained."  A couple of problems here.  First of all, I did not like the brush tip.  It was floppy and very hard to mark on fabric with.  And then, the ink didn't seem to sink into fabric very well.  See the bottom petal?  I went over those lines twice and they turned out really nice.  All in all a "no," though.

Here's the surprise of my tests - Sakura's PigmaGraphic 1 pen.  I stumbled across it in my art supplies while looking for a fine point Sharpie and decided to add it to the tests.  I'm glad I did!  The tip is great (it's what I use on paper art) and the pigment stayed sharp through the two washes.  It was the easiest by far to get a fine line with and barely had any spreading while drawing.  This is definitely the one I'll be using on a t-shirt project I'm working on.

I'll buy some in different colors see if they do as well as the black does.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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