Pros and Cons of Every Day Marking Tools

Quick Tip Tuesday (QTT) 
Watch the video or read the article below. It’s the same info!
After all, it’s all about crafting with machine embroidery!

What's marking tools are in your embroidery machine tool box?

Hi, I’m Jan Davis from Crafting with Machine Embroidery. And today is QTT – Quick tip Tuesday.

Today’s tip comes from…  our marking tool box.
What’s in your marking box?

In my marking box I have lots of different tools that I use for crafting and for placement for my embroidery designs.

I always get the question: What is the best tool to use for marking? Simple answer – whatever works best for you.

But you need to keep in mind two things for your marking.

One, is the design going to cover your marking area or not. If it’s going to cover, you don’t have to worry about anything. Mark
away and embroider away it’ll be covered. Nobody is going to know the difference.

But if the mark is going to show the second
thing you need to take into consideration is are you going to remove
the mark while it’s in the hoop before it embroiders or when you take your project out of the hoop?

This can make a difference on what you’re going to use as a marking tool.

So let’s do pros and cons of some of the marking tools in my box.

Every Day Chalk

Good old regular everyday chalk


  • Cheap to buy
  • Many colors and thicknesses to choose from.
  • On projects it doesn’t need to be removed it’s easy to use and not worry about removing.


  • Difficult to brush off of fabric without causing movement in the hoop.
  • Could cause fabric distortion from wiping it off when not in the hoop.
  • Due to thickness of chalk placement could be off.
  • Chalk can be messy on the hands.
A pen and pencil

Every day pens and pencils as a machine embroidery marketing tool:


  •  A pen is permanent which is a pro if you don’t need to remove the ink after marketing
  • Pens come in lots of colors
  • Cheap to buy and easy to find.
  • Easy to use for accurate placement.


  • A pen is permanent and doesn’t come off. So if you need to remove it – you can’t.



  • Easy to buy
  • Cheap to buy
  • Easy to use for accurate placement.


  • Doesn’t erase – it smudges on fabric
  • Rubbing or erasing mark can easily stretch or warp the project fabric if the mark needs to be erased. 

Marking Tools Specifically Made for Marking on Fabric.

Fabric Erasable Pen

One side of this tool is the pen with ink, while the other end is the erasable area.


  • Thin line for accurate marketing.
  • Made for marking on fabric.
  • Erasable area is connected to the pen.
  • The mark does erase without pushing or rubbing hard


  • It takes time to erase the ink.

Friction Heat Pen


  • Different pen thicknesses for accurate marking
  • Disappears with heat. Do not use steam only heat.
  • Many colors to choose from.


  • Doesn’t erase on fabric. The eraser smudges the ink.
  • Not the cheapest marker.
Fabric Marker Air Erasable Pens

Fabric air erasable pen

The warning on the pen cracks me up. It reads, “Warning
this pen is made for fabric. Should not be used on leather or fake leather or used to write your checks.” Why because it’s disappearing ink.

As you can tell by the warning this type of marking pen has been around for quite awhile. How many checks do we right any more?


  • Thin line for accuracy.
  • Ink disappears
  • Easy to find in the stores


  • Ink disappears quickly. Sometimes within 30 minutes of application.
  • Cannot be use to mark and come back later to embroider. The mark will be gone.

What’s your favorite marking tool for your machine embroidery projects?

If it’s pins, tape, one of the above marking tools, or something else.

Let us know in the comments below.

I want to challenge everyone to use only one marking tool.

No, not really,  I’m just kidding. That would be ridiculous. Different marking tools work for different people, and projects. So use one marking tool or all of them. Whatever works for you!

Until next time.

Happy embroidery  

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