Tried & Tested: Fabric Colour Pens


One way of adding a new look to your clothes is to add some colour. I have been using fabric colour pens to enhance the colour of an old jersey skirt. It's doing some wonders .... but I'll update you all in another tutorial! Before I go any further with this post.... this is NOT a sponsored post!

Fabric colour pens are great especially when you can combine them with any sort of sewing project. Here are some tips:

a) Enhance a t-shirt with some colour. May I add that you could get a lovely design together with some bleach dye too. Note: careful with the bleach though.
b) Add some pizazz to a pair of canvas shoes
c) Create your own design on a cotton tote bag or pencil case

Sharpies vs. ZIG
So, which ones have I tried? I've tried both Sharpie and ZIG. You can buy Sharpies at both Popular and Art Friend, and while I could only find ZIG at Art Friend, I found a lot more colours to choose from. If you are members of these stores, you get an additional 10%. 


I tested out the two pens on two separate swatches of cotton fabric:

a) No Heat Fix - Sharpie and ZIG
b) Heat Fix - ZIG only

Only ZIG states that you need heat fixing. 

After waiting for 4 hours, I then separately dunked the fabrics in cold water and mild soap for about 30 minutes.  I'm not sure why I waited... hmmm... maybe the results would have been different?


I didn't see any bleeding and the ink did not even run during the soak!  What's more surprising is that even the ZIG that wasn't heat fixed did not run or bleed!

Sharpie plus points:

  1. I liked the brush tip and that the plastic casing was see through - it's always good to know when you need to buy a new one!
  2. The barrel of the pen is thick which makes it easier for the little ones in terms of grip .
  3. The cap has a clip-on which allows you to clip it onto anything - useful when you don't have a pocket.

Sharpie minus points:

  1. I did feel the Sharpie was messier than the ZIG.  The Sharpie leaked a bit and some of the colour went onto the barrel of the pen. Not good when you want to prevent messy fingers and wanting to keep your work surface clean!

ZIG plus points:

  1. Brush and bullet tip in one pen!
  2. The brush pen felt easier to write than the Sharpie (my view!)
  3. I didn't have to heat fix even though it said you had to - note, I did wait a few hours before washing it though so the results may have been different had I washed the non-heat fixed ZIG swatch immediately.

ZIG minus points:

  1. No clip on cap
  2. Caps fall off easily if you cap them on the other end while using the pen, so watch out if you just leave them on the table .....roll.... roll...roll... gone missing!


I prefer ZIG, but I think that's because it has a wider range of colours available here in Singapore (Art Friend) and also because it has the brush and bullet point together on one pen! What about you? Which do you prefer? Do you recommend other brands?

Note: This is not a sponsored post.

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  1. I think this looks interesting. I am going to have to get some fabric pins and give them a try.

    1. Fabric pens are great and versatile! Share with us what you get!

  2. I hadn't realized that the Sharpies you were using before were specific fabric markers, not just regular Sharpies. I'd be curious to find out if there were a difference when machine washing the fabric. Where I live there is *very* little choice in pretty much everything, but when I go to the States I stock up on supplies! Thanks for your review! :) Lisa

  3. Very good tests and comparison. A friend just advised me to use Sharpies for my eco printing identification since I need to write down the species of leaves before boiling. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ooh, that's a very good idea, Terriea!

  4. Thanks for doing this testing for us. It's always nice to see a product going through a test before making a purchase!

  5. I love working with fabric markers and dabbed into a project or two.. nothing spectacular - just to feel what it would be like. Thank you for the review.I haven't tried the ZIG because we don't have it in my country but I will certainly buy some when I go abroad.

  6. Thanks for linking up at the Creative Spark Link Party! I hope you will stop by again today to link up! http://bit.ly/1kbGQ7W

  7. Great review !!
    I'll try to find ZIG here