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tinting embroidery with markers


Hey! It's one last day of embroidery tinting! This one is definitely the boldest of them all, giving the tinting a whole new look. If you've missed the embroidery tinting posts so far, here's what we've done: crayon, colored pencil, watercolor paint.


You can buy fabric markers that are designed for coloring on fabric, and if you do, be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Or, you can be daring and a rebel, and use permanent markers! Why a rebel? Because after I finished up my project, I saw on the package that my BIC markers are not recommended for fabric.

Hmm...they worked well for what I was doing. But, they don't wash well. My testing had the ink bleeding a fair amount with just a quick rinse. So, this is for artwork only!

You'll also want to test this a bit on the fabric you'll be using. Different fabric and markers will draw and bleed in unique ways, and it's better to find this out before you get too far into your project!


Trace your pattern onto your fabric. You might want to use something darker, like a fine point black marker, if you have details that you'll be coloring over. (This pattern is from my Trick-or-Treaters pattern set, and I had a hard time seeing the eyes and mouth after it was filled in.)


Start coloring in your design, but don't color all the way to the edge. The marker will bleed a bit, so this way it doesn't go outside the line. You can always color a little closer if you need to, but you can't go back!


Fill in all the areas you're coloring. You should be able to get the color pretty even, but if it's not, go over the areas that seem lighter.

When you're finished, place a piece of paper over the coloring, and iron it really well to help set the ink. Remember, this won't permanently set the ink, despite the fact that you're using permanent markers!


Stitch round the design to complete your work. I decided on black for around the colored area, because I thought that with the bright color, it looked more coloring book/cartoon-like. What do you think?

If you've enjoyed these embroidery tinting posts, but still want to learn more about the getting started with stitching, be sure to check out my Embroidery Basics page.

And now, you can even learn how to stitch in Italian! Vale has translated all of the Basics lessons, and you can find them on her blog. (I always thought it would be fun to learn Italian, so this is pretty cool for me!) Thanks, Vale!


  1. Have you tried the textile medium? I use Folk Art brand. You mix it with acrylic paint, and should be applied like the markers (stop before the edge because it bleeds). Follow the directions on the bottle but after heat setting the paint it is washable (by hand).


  2. I've never used the fabric markers before, do they blend well for shading or are they better for just solid color? Thanks for all the tinting techniques this week!

  3. Thank you very much Mollie!!

  4. Fabric markers are better for solids in my experience. Curious if anyone has tried Sharpie brand permanent markers and if they were less likely to run?

  5. I find that it's more difficult to blend with any kind of markers.

    lewmew: I'll give them a test tomorrow and report back!

  6. I have used permanent markers on fabric, and you always have to wash it twice: the first time it bleeds a lot, but with the second you have a nice finish again. Give it a try!
    Love your blog!

  7. I am embroidering some pre-printed butterfly squares for a quilt. I would love to color tint them, probably with crayons -- I love the look.
    However, if I crayon tint first, then iron it, the pre-printed outlines become permanent. Otherwise they wash off with water or liquid (why I'll be unlikely to use paints or markers).
    However, if I embroider first, even with cotton floss, no metallics or rayons, even then I'm concerned about the lengthy ironing needed as part of crayon tinting. I'd be water-remiving the printed lines first probably, before tinting.
    However I'm concerned the ironic ng would be Flattening the threads and stitches at the very least? And perhaps causing other probs while absorbing the excess crayon and heat colorfasting?

    Has anyone done this and can give tips?

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