A new way of marking: Pilot Frixion Pens??

I love that my bloggy friends are also my eyes and ears. I really appreciate how you would email me about my quilts in magazines before I even see them, or cool tips and tricks, or about the cool products out there I might like to try out. Linda had email me many weeks ago about the Pilot Frixion pens. I contacted Pilot, and was graciously sent the following samples (thanks, Pilot)!


The concept of these pens are super cool. The ink is thermo-sensitive, and is removable by erasing/friction (because friction generates heat). The little nubs at the end of the pens are the erasers.


They aren’t made specifically for fabrics, but look at their performance on fabrics. Now you see it… on fabric,


Now you don’t, after I dab the fabric gently with a warm iron! No snake oil salesman’s gimmick here… these pens work for real! How cool is that?


Onto the finer points about these pens, specifically related to quilting:

1. I think these pens are definitely assets to quilters!

2. When to use…

a) Marking on quilts, especially when dealing with stencils. I oftentimes have trouble centering my stencils exactly because most stencils are opaque rather than see-through. So, if I find that I have to re-trace the designs should they not line up exactly where I want them to be using these pens, easy peasy, dab with a warm iron, you are ready to start again, and again if necessary!

b) Marking applique placements for hand-appliquers. I have in the past used washable fabric markers to mark the placements for applique pieces. I can definitely see myself using these pens to mark as well.

c) For quilters who are on a run. If I don’t have time to wet my quilt to remove markings after quilting a quilt, these pens would certainly come in very handy. I can just use them to mark and quilt. After the quilting is completed, I just dab with a warm iron to remove the marking, and I will be ready to bind the quilt!
d) These pens make it easy to audition quilting motif RIGHT on my quilt tops because, again, if I don’t like what I draw, I just break out that iron!

3. When not to use…

a) Whenever an iron or heat is involved. For example, don’t use these pens to mark placements on an applique background fabric if you are using the fusible method — BAD idea, unless you are confident all the pieces are where you want them to be, and you don’t need the markings anymore (then, it becomes a good idea!)

4. At this point, probably the gel and fine tip pens are most useful for quilters.

The Pilot representative also discolosed:

We will have an on-line coupon for FriXion pens coming up next month, if you or any of your readers are interested. You can sign up on www.notjustapen.com and will get an email letting you know that your coupon is ready to be downloaded. There are a limited number of coupons available, so the early birds get them first!

Please feel free to leave in the comment section what other uses these pen are good for, and what you think of them. I have to admit I haven’t exhausted all the goodness of these pens yet, considering the fact that they are rather new to me too!

Alrightie, that’s all from me for now. I am off to do some commissioned designing! Be good till I return tomorrow! Hugs!

Update: Thanks to Polly’s alert, I did look up the thread on Quiltropolis! Below is an excerpt from Thread#469762005…

” I tried eight colors of the roller ball style pen and six colors of the
felt-tip type highlighter pen. All of the colors disappeared with the
application of heat – those they did leave a white “ghost” of themselves on
the surface.

All of the colors re-appeared when put into the freezer.

All of the colors washed out easily with a light hand-washing using a little
bit of liquid hand soap or dish soap and did not reappear even when ironed
dry and then frozen. There was no “ghosting” visible and no trace of the
pens’ colors, either. “

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27 thoughts on “A new way of marking: Pilot Frixion Pens??

  1. This is so exciting–I can’t wait to get these pens and try them on my quilting projects. This sounds like what I have been trying to find.
    Thank you for the tips—I can use all I the tips I can get.

  2. These pens really sound good–at first. But there was a discussion recently on the Treadleon sewing machine list that brought out some cautions about them. I don’t think I can quote all the messages here (not allowed) but you can go to the Treadleon web site; here are the directons for joining the list to see the discussion:

    “Go to the Quiltropolis (our servr) home page at http://www.quiltropolis.com

    Click on “Mail Lists” – you’ll get a page with a list of all the Quiltropolis. lists. Check “Treadle On” and then below there are keys to join or leave.”

    Several people on the list tried these and there are instances where the writing shows up later and also, if for any reason, the fabric/quilt is subjected to cold the writing will show up again. It might be worth your time to check out the discussion.

    It sounded like such a good idea but there are apparently limitations.

    P.S. I LOVE your blog!

  3. Funny how life is – I just posted a tutorial on making denim pot holders this morning and used the Frixion pen for marking the quilting lines. Wrote a little about it and now I read your post. I hope these are the miracle markers we have all been waiting for.

  4. Hi Wendy! I’m glad I could point you toward something new to try. While it all sounds wonderful from what you’ve posted – thanks so much for testing it for us! – after reading a previous comment, I do wonder about the long-term affects to fabric. It’s the same sort of concern quilters had when the blue wash-out marker first appeared: marks may come back. There doesn’t seems to be a perfect marker, but with care, it sounds like these Frixion pens are worth giving a go. Thanks for the link to the coupon registration. I hope to get one to try.

  5. I have been seeing discussions about these pens for awhile in my machine embroidery groups. They are saying nothing but good about them. I cannot wait to get my hands on some myself.

  6. Sounds like a terrific helper!! I just made my first-ever non-straight-line quilting by using pieces & parts of 4 different stencils & a blue marker that I had to scrub/dab/scrub some more to get out. I was worried I would take my stitching out with it, and it was a real pain considering there were lots and lots of little squares & triangles involved. These sound like just the ticket, if they’re ok in the long term.

    Another use – centering marks for embroidery placement. I do a lot of machine embroidery & I currently use 2 pins, perpendicular to mark where I want the center of my design to fall. I don’t use chalk, because I’ve found I don’t always embroider at the dead center, and chalk often leaves a mark in the fabric, especially if it’s neoprene, knit or terry cloth – the fabric most often used for embroidery, go figure. Pins leave bitsy holes, but up till now, it was the best I could come up with (aside from those expensive marking stickers!). These sound like just the thing!

  7. Coincidentally, I just discovered these pens a week ago and tried them out. They certainly do disappear almost instantly with ironing. However, in my testing, even after running them through the washer with a load of regular laundry, the images still came back completely when I put them in the freezer. Now, I know we don’t plan on freezing our quilts, but they could get that cold during shipping in the winter, and it is an indicator that the ink remains in the fabric. The ink remains, it does not dissolve and dissipate when heated. So, I would not use them for an heirloom quilt. They are a very neat tool to use on the right kind of project, maybe a table runner or wall hanging or kids quilt.

  8. Nice to see your comment about the Frixion pens. I look forward to future reviews you may have regarding them. Right now I’ve read too many negative reports about the ink reappearing at the most inopportune times, so I’m going to wait.

  9. I’m looking forward to trying these pens. I signed up for the coupon, so I’ll wait until then. Thanks for the review and the link.

  10. I JUST TODAY bought 2 3-packs of these pens, for $9, at Office Max. I’ve really been wanting to try them for marking stitcheries. Normally I use a blue wash-away pen, but mostly the lines are too thick, so I’m excited to try these!

  11. Thanks for the introduction to the Pilot pens! I’ll be trying them, not only for sewing projects, but for school projects too. I’ve got ideas for a lesson in molecules, heat, and friction that my boys will love learning while using these pens.

    PS…I’ve almost finished my quilt top on my first quilt. Yikes! I have no idea how to quilt this thing! I’m digging through your posts so I’ll know where to start. :) Happy Friday!

  12. These pens have been on my list to try for about 6 months now! I just haven’t gotten around to getting them, but I keep hearing more and more about them and I can’t wait to try them!! Thanks for the tip about the coupon!

  13. Our local quilt guild Ways and Means has been selling these the past few months. They did extensive testing and the consensus was to iron out and then wash. (I don’t remember if they put them in the freezer but since I don’t plan to do that and I live in the south, I don’t anticipate that being a problem for me.) I tried the pen and loved it. Glad to see it comes in many colors.

  14. Thank you for this wonderful tip. I make baby quilts, and had been using the washable markers from Crayola for markings, but the tips make such wide lines that I had problems with accuracy at times. Since I always wash the quilts I make, I don’t think I will have any problems, and ironing out the lines will make previewing the work so much easier. Thanks again.

  15. Barb W

    I bought 3 at a quilt show and I have already used one up and they are great. They mark easily and when the pressing is done it is gone. If you make a mistake you can erase it or press it off and start all over again. They are wonderful!!!

  16. I tried these pens on 8 different fabrics. They ironed out beautifully. I put them in the freezer overnight and they did not reappear. I plan to test them on scraps of my quilt before I put them on a quilt

  17. I had a conversation with Sharon Schamber a couple of weeks ago when I saw she was selling Frixion pens in her booth. She tested them thoroughly before she started using them on her quilts. She told me that she does not use a dry iron, nor does she use a normal steam iron–she found that the markings did return some with the use of these. I think she has a professional grade steam iron that forces steam into the fabric, and she washes her quilts, and marks do not return on her, even when placed in the freezer. I know this is an old thread, but since I just ran across this, I thought I would share. :)

  18. These pens are great on the damp Pacific coast, where water soluble marker pen lines disappear over time, I take it due to our high humidity.

  19. Pingback: My 2 cents: Accurate piecing | Ivory Spring

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