I recently read a blog post from another quilter about Frixion Pens and their use on fabric. Jenny at Quilt Skipper posted about it. I think it's an excellent article and resource. I have always wondered about the use of Frixion pens on fabric and never felt comfortable using them on my quilts in a spot that wouldn't be hidden in the seam allowance. Now I know why. I still love and use them, just not any place that might show up later. I also don't use them as a line to sew on. Because the ink is essentially a chemical, what will that chemical do in years to come. Will the fabric deteriorate where the pen was used? My gut instinct tells me yes and that's why I don't use them. If you're not familiar with the pens, please read the article before you become familiar with them and if you already use them, I hope you take our advise.
I've included exerts from the blog post. However, you can read the entire article here.
"Frixion Pens-All you need to know"
In Jenny's words, "If you’re not familiar with Frixion pens, they are a line of pens and highlighters made by Pilot that are heat erasable. Frixion pens make a crisp, clear mark which goes on smoothly and easily with no skipping. After quilting, you simply steam the ink lines away and poof, they are gone! This seems like the Holy Grail of marking methods for us quilters. It is important to note that Pilot did not design the pens for fabric and did not test them on fabric while developing the concept.
But quilters/textile artists had problems with the pens, namely two: -Sometimes they left what I call a “ghost” mark after steaming the initial mark away. It was faint, but certainly not something you would want to see on your quilt. -If the quilt got cold, the marks reappeared.
Quilters wrote articles noting that if the marks reappeared in the cold, it was because the quilter did not thoroughly steam the marks. This simply is not the case. The ink combination used in the pens has two parts-one part makes the mark and one part makes the mark disappear. There is still ink left on your quilt after steaming, you just can’t see it. The ink is still there and will reappear in the cold.
I know it sounds odd talking about a quilt getting cold! But if you throw your quilt in a suitcase or the back of your car or, in my neck of the woods, drive up to Tahoe in the winter, your marks will come back. But even worse for competition quilters, if they are shipped and get cold, the marks will be back on your quilt at the show you sent them to-not a good thing."
"So in summary, straight from the manufacturer’s mouth so to speak, a summary of using the Frixion pens on fabric:
1. Frixion pens combine gel ink and thermo ink. You are marking your quilt with a gel pen that disappears. 2. The marks will reappear if the quilt gets cold (anything below freezing I think-I did not confirm the specific temperature) unless the mark is completely removed with an ink remover. Even after a thorough steam of the marks, they will reappear in the cold. This is part of the inherent chemistry of the ink combination. 3. To completely remove the ink so that it will not ghost or reappear in the cold, you will need an ink remover and also may possibly need to scrub the area. The manufacturer has tested Amodex and Mötsenböcker’s Lift-Off 3 and found them to be fairly effective in removing the ink. 4. Frixion pens sometimes leave a ghost mark after steaming. This is the thermo ink showing on the quilt, not the gel. The Pilot rep said to rid the piece of ghost marks you would need to treat it with the ink removers listed above."
So there you have it, from a great blogger, Jenny at Quilt Skipper. I personally love Frixion pens and will continue to use them but I'm even more picky about when and where I use them on fabric after reading this. Remember, the Pilot Pen Company did NOT design these pens for use on fabric.