Choosing the Best Fabric Markers in 2021

Having the right fabric markers can make all the difference for your creative projects – in how beautifully your project turns out, and in how much fun you have doing it! So let’s have a look at the best fabric markers on the market in 2021!

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If you are in a hurry, here are my two favorite sets of ink-based and acrylic-based permanent fabric markers in 2021. If you have more, time, keep on reading!

  1. SHARPIE Stained Fabric Markers - Brush Tip
  2. SHARPIE Stained Fabric Markers - Brush Tip

    My Favorite Ink-Based Fabric Markers

    Assorted Colors, 8-Count


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Molotow One4All Twin Acrylic Markers Set
  4. Molotow One4All Twin Acrylic Markers Set

    My Favorite Acrylic-Based Paint Pen & Fabric Markers

    Twin Markers, Pencil Box Main Kit 1, 1.5 mm/4 mm, 12 Markers


    Buy Now on Amazon

Table of Contents

There are few arts and crafts projects as fun as making art on clothing or other pieces of fabric. Whether you are making clothing for yourself – to really display your own artistic vision – or as gifts for others, or you are making wall hangings, pillowcases or other home accessories or anything else, using the best fabric markers can make all the difference.

In this article, we will address these questions:

  • What is the best marker to use on fabric?
  • What marker will stay on fabric?
  • Can Sharpies be used as fabric markers?
  • What are the different types of fabric markers?
  • Do fabric markers wash out?
  • How can I get the best results with fabric markers?
  • Which fabric markers are better – ink or acrylic?
  • Can alcohol-based markers be used on fabric?

What Are The Different Types of Fabric Markers?

There are two main types of markers designed for, or good to use with, fabric – ink-based and acrylic-based. 

Ink-based permanent fabric markers

Ink permanent fabric markers are by far the most  popular, the least expensive and probably overall the easiest to use. They usually don’t require any special process, like heat setting, and dry quickly, so a few minutes after you’ve created your masterpiece you can pop it in the washer and dryer and it’s ready to wear!

Acrylic-based permanent fabric markers

Acrylic-based markers are a little more difficult to use – they flow differently, more like paint, and even if the manufacturer doesn’t say so it is always a good idea to heat-set your work before laundering – place paper or other fabric between the iron and the paint, and on the other side between the fabric and your ironing board or work surface, and use a fairly high heat.

Acrylic permanent fabric markers generally have more beautiful colors than ink markers, with a kind of inner light, depth and vividness ink-based fabric markers can’t match. That said, the ink-based markers I’ll recommend here are not only great quality and nice to use, but also chosen because of the particularly intense, saturated and beautiful colors they offer.

Alcohol-based permanent fabric markers

I will also touch briefly upon alcohol-based markers, which are super-high quality (and can be expensive) and really aimed at fine artists and serious crafters. They are not specifically designed or intended for use on fabric but can work beautifully once you get the hang of them.

How to Get the Best Results from a Fabric Marker

I won’t get into a real how-to description here, since it is ultimately just about drawing on cloth and having fun, but I will offer a few basic tips for making your projects as fun and successful as possible:

  • Use Clean Cloth – make sure the cloth you’re working on is as clean and dry as possible, to make the ink or paint adhere better and flow more predictably.
  • Practice – drawing on cloth is very different than on paper or other media, so do a few practice runs first before you decorate your heirloom wedding dress.
  • Keep the Body in Mind – when making designs on shirts or other clothing, make sure you keep in mind how the clothing looks on the body, and how much of the surface will actually be visible when the piece is being worn.
  • Use High-Quality Fabric Markers – don’t get cheap markers. You don’t have to pay a mint, and expensive fabric markers (or expensive anything  really) aren’t necessarily better, but good markers will make everything turn out better and be more enjoyable.
  • Heat Set the Fabric Paint – not all fabric markers require heat setting, but you can heat set any of them, and lots of artists and crafters swear that it will give more vivid and permanent colors and sharper details.
  • Use Dedicated Work Area – don’t work on your nice light Berber carpet, or your blonde wood dining table, or anywhere you don’t want to get messy, don’t wear nice clothing while you’re working and don’t, despite what the packaging says, count on the marker’s ink or paint to really be washable. Hands are one thing, but fine furniture is very different!
  • Wash Separately – along the same lines, make sure – even if you’ve carefully heat set your paint or ink – to wash your new fabric creation separately from any other clothes or fabric (including other pieces you’ve made) for at least one wash cycle, and possibly more.
  • Have Fun – more than anything else, making art on fabric is really a blast, so just have fun doing it! Even if you are starting some serious, highly focused and highly productive Etsy business, relax and enjoy – your end results will always reflect this.

How Can You Find the Best Fabric Markers for Your Arts and Crafts Projects?

Based on my own experience with lots and lots of different art markers and fabric markers, as well as advice and feedback from colleagues, my students and friends, and tons of verified customer reviews from Amazon and elsewhere, I have put together the short list of the very best fabric markers on the market today.

I will include several choices of the best ink-based fabric markers, as well as the best acrylic-based markers, and we will organize the recommendations as follows:

  • My Favorite Ink-Based Fabric Markers
  • Best Ink-Based Fabric Markers Overall
  • Best Ink-Based Fabric Markers for Kids
  • Best Big Cheap Set of Ink-Based Fabric Markers
  • My Favorite Acrylic-Based Fabric Markers
  • Best Acrylic-Based Fabric Markers Overall
  • Best Acrylic-Based Fabric Markers for Kids
  • Best Big Cheap Set of Acrylic-Based Fabric Markers

At the end of this article, in the Bonus section, I will talk briefly about the best alcohol-based fabric markers, which can be expensive, yes, but are wonderful art tools and can give absolutely fabulous results. But for now let’s discover the best fabric markers you can buy, and wear our art with pride!

Overview: Best Fabric Markers in 2021

Best Ink-Based Fabric Markers

  1. SHARPIE Stained Fabric Markers - Brush Tip
  2. SHARPIE Stained Fabric Markers - Brush Tip

    My Favorite Ink-Based Fabric Markers

    Assorted Colors, 8-Count


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Crayola Fine Tip Fabric Markers
  4. Crayola Fine Tip Fabric Markers

    Best Ink-Based Fabric Markers for Kids

    Crayola Fabric Markers, At Home Crafts for Kids, Fine Tip, Assorted Colors, Set of 10


    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. UCHIDA of America 30-Piece Graffiti Fabric Marker
  6. UCHIDA of America 30-Piece Graffiti Fabric Marker

    Best Big Cheap Set of Ink-Based Fabric Markers

    

    Buy Now on Amazon

Best Acrylic-Based Fabric Markers

  1. Molotow One4All Twin Acrylic Markers Set
  2. Molotow One4All Twin Acrylic Markers Set

    My Favorite Acrylic-Based Paint Pen & Fabric Markers

    Twin Markers, Pencil Box Main Kit 1, 1.5 mm/4 mm, 12 Markers


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip Set of 30 and Fine Tip Set of 30
  4. Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip Set of 30 and Fine Tip Set of 30

    Best Acrylic-Based Paint Pens & Fabric Markers Overall

    Bundle for Fabric, Rock Painting, Wood, Card, Paper, Photo Album, Ceramic & Glass


    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip
  6. Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip

    Best Acrylic-Based Paint Pens & Fabric Markers for Kids

    Acrylic Paint Pens for Fabric, Rock Painting, Stone, Ceramic, Glass, Wood, Canvas, Porcelain, Metal. Set of 12 Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Fumile Acrylic Paint Markers
  8. Fumile Acrylic Paint Markers

    Best Big Cheap Set of Acrylic-Based Paint Pens & Fabric Markers

    48 Colors Paint Marker Pen Set Ideal for Rock Wood, Metal, Plastic, Glass, Canvas, Ceramic,Easter Egg and more Painting, Bright Color, Low Odor, Easy to Ink, Convenient DIY


    Buy Now on Amazon

Best Ink-Based Fabric Markers

My Favorite
SHARPIE Stained Fabric Markers - Brush Tip

My Favorite Ink-Based Fabric Markers

Assorted Colors, 8-Count


For bright, lively colors that will really inspire you, look no farther than the most familiar name in markers – Sharpie. 

These bold pens have wonderful brush tips that are easy to use and allow a wide range of expressiveness, with different line weights, techniques, outlines and fills all quite easy to achieve. The pens flow wonderfully, the ink is really strong and lasts through many washings, and they dry very quickly and don’t require heat setting to become permanent fabric paint.

A great basic set of 8 colors, really high quality in every way and as suitable for beginners as they are for more advanced crafters and artists, the Sharpie Stained fabric markers are my favorite ink-based fabric markers, and I highly recommend them.

This is a tough one for me – I have to say that the Sharpie Stained markers above are my favorite to use, but I also really love using Tulip markers, which have exceptionally bright and beautiful colors, and flow so well on any kind of fabric I’ve tried. They dry quickly and don’t require heat setting.

Tulip fabric markers are also a huge favorite among customers – they are probably the most popular and highly rated of all ink fabric markers on Amazon, and people absolutely love using them. Customers talk about how well they respond to various kinds of drawing – fine work, fills, bold expressive motions and more subtle movements, how vibrant and permanent the colors are, and again how well they flow.

But mostly people seem to mention just how much fun these Tulip ink based fabric markers are to use, and how great the results are. That’s exactly my experience too, and I am happy to choose them as the best ink based fabric markers in 2021.

Please note that Tulip makes lots of different sets, with different color types and tips. The rainbow colors are a little more vibrant, while the normal colors are solid and deeply saturated – both beautiful, though! I would recommend trying the 20 pack of fine bullet tip normal colors and the 30 pack of Graffiti bullet tips rainbow colors, to have a wide range of possibilities and really get a feel for the Tulip experience. Or, if you only want a single pack, consider the dual tip fabric markers in 14 colors. I will include links here for a few other packs as well.

Best for Kids
Crayola Fine Tip Fabric Markers

Best Ink-Based Fabric Markers for Kids

Crayola Fabric Markers, At Home Crafts for Kids, Fine Tip, Assorted Colors, Set of 10


My top recommendation for fabric markers for children is from Crayola, of course. Yeah, a bit of an obvious choice, but these Crayola fabric markers really are great – fun, high quality, long lasting (both in the pen and on clothes) and super-safe to use.

Crayola fine line fabric markers are perfect for kids – bright, bold and a little bit messier than serious adult markers, these are pure fun and really spark your children’s imagination and creativity. They need to be heat set, using a clothes dryer or iron (but only with adult supervision!), but then will stay permanently in clothing through repeated washing and wearing, letting kids wear their creations proudly – it’s a safe bet they will outgrow the clothes before the colors or designs show any sign at all of fading!

And, like all Crayola products, their fabric markers are as safe and non-toxic as it gets. An easy recommendation, then, for the best, the most fun and the most inspiring fabric markers for kids – the Crayola Fine Line Fabric Markers.

Affordable
UCHIDA of America 30-Piece Graffiti Fabric Marker

Best Big Cheap Set of Ink-Based Fabric Markers



Ok, so these aren’t that cheap, but the Uchida graffiti fabric markers are of such great quality – with really vibrant colors, wonderful flow and control, and ink that lasts and lasts – that to spend a few dollars less seems silly. 

This Uchida marker set has a really well chosen range of colors, including a half dozen fluorescent colors, and they all set on the fabric beautifully and look great even after lots of washes and wearings. The tips are fantastic, really allowing a wide range of techniques and expression, and the whole pen seems like it is premium quality and feels great in the hand.

No, not the cheapest big set on the market, but the Uchida 30 piece graffiti fabric markers are far superior to anything less expensive, and in the long run a much better value.

Best Acrylic-Based Fabric Markers

My Favorite
Molotow One4All Twin Acrylic Markers Set

My Favorite Acrylic-Based Paint Pen & Fabric Markers

Twin Markers, Pencil Box Main Kit 1, 1.5 mm/4 mm, 12 Markers


Recognized by lots of artists and crafters as the finest acrylic markers on the market today, Molotow paint markers are an absolute joy to use – they offer superb flow, absolute control and expressive range, bright, consistent and inspiring colors and an amazing feeling in the hand.

Molotow Twin markers are especially nice, in my experience, having two incredibly usable tips – 1.5 MM and 4 MM – for all kinds of techniques and possibilities. The paint itself is as good as it gets, and these wonderful pens can be refilled to save money down the line.

These are absolutely premium quality acrylic paint markers, and come at a premium price, but for serious crafters or artists they are well worth the money. Molotow Twin dual-tip markers are, by a wide margin, my favorite acrylic-based fabric markers, and I highly recommend them for not only fabric but any and all arts and crafts projects.

Best Acrylic Markers
Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip Set of 30 and Fine Tip Set of 30

Best Acrylic-Based Paint Pens & Fabric Markers Overall

Bundle for Fabric, Rock Painting, Wood, Card, Paper, Photo Album, Ceramic & Glass


This is really a fabulous set – 30 medium tip markers and 30 fine tip markers in a beautiful selection of colors, with Japanese made tips that feel excellent – tight enough to control and do precise detailed work, but flexible enough for a little creative flair.

But I think what I really like about these Artistro acrylic markers is the quality of the ink. Brilliant colors, great consistency and finish, excellent flow and coverage and real permanence. And they are really and truly non-toxic, adhering to both American and European safety standards.

Molotow acrylic pens are better overall, and the real choice of serious fine and commercial artists and crafters, but these amazing Artistro acrylic paint markers are nearly as good, and wonderful to use and to create with, and at a fraction of the cost. That is why I have chosen them as the best overall acrylic paint markers for fabric.

Best for Kids
Artistro Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip

Best Acrylic-Based Paint Pens & Fabric Markers for Kids

Acrylic Paint Pens for Fabric, Rock Painting, Stone, Ceramic, Glass, Wood, Canvas, Porcelain, Metal. Set of 12 Acrylic Paint Markers Medium Tip


Going right back to the well, I am going to also choose the wonderful Artistro acrylic markers as my choice of best acrylic markers for kids, and for at least three good reasons.

  1. They are truly and verifiably completely non-toxic
  2. They are easy to use, especially with the great medium tips
  3. They are so beautiful in color, and provide such great results, that kids will be more engaged, more encouraged, and more likely to continue to explore their own creativity

I am choosing the 12 color set because the colors are bright, basic and very appealing, and kids should absolutely love them, and because this set is not terribly expensive – Artistro markers are actually quite a premium product, and while they are inexpensive for the level of quality, this set is even more affordable, if not downright cheap.

For not just fabric, but also rocks, wood, metal, glass and ceramic and so much more, these Artistro medium tip acrylic paint markers are wonderful and tons of fun, with great coverage and bright, vivid and well saturated colors. They are a great product, and my strong recommendation for best acrylic fabric markers for kids.

Here are some more excellent sets of Artristro acrylic paint pens in various sizes and with various tips, all excellent and highly recommended:

Affordable
Fumile Acrylic Paint Markers

Best Big Cheap Set of Acrylic-Based Paint Pens & Fabric Markers

48 Colors Paint Marker Pen Set Ideal for Rock Wood, Metal, Plastic, Glass, Canvas, Ceramic,Easter Egg and more Painting, Bright Color, Low Odor, Easy to Ink, Convenient DIY


As I’ve already hinted at, there are a lot of low priced acrylic marker sets which are pretty darn poor quality –  watery, thin and spotty paint, dried up barrels, extreme fading when they dry or after even a short time, difficult to use and uninspiring colors, to mention just a few problems.

But the big Fumile set is another story. In fact, Fumile markers are noticeably better than even some more expensive products, and have the beauty, intensity and permanence of color you would expect from a premium acrylic paint marker set. And the same is true of the tips themselves, which offer not only great flow but that perfect balance between control and precision on the one hand and artistic expression on the other.

It is especially important, when using these markers with fabric, to set them with heat, as we have discussed elsewhere. But once you do, you can expect your designs to not only turn out beautifully, but to look beautiful for a long time to come. A great and inexpensive set, the Fumile 48 color acrylic paint set is my choice for best big cheap set of acrylic fabric markers

Bonus: Can I Use Alcohol Markers on Fabric?

Yes, absolutely! Not only is it OK to use alcohol-based markers on fabric, but you can also get absolutely amazing results.

The best alcohol-based markers will act very differently than ink or acrylic markers on fabric, and will act very differently with different types of fabric, so it does take some practice. But once you master the overall process, you will find that the flow, the control, the effects (like fading, blending, washes and controlled bleeds) you can get from alcohol markers can take you to a new level of craft, and a new level of beauty.

Alcohol markers are expensive, and so this is probably not an option for everybody, but they really do make stunningly beautiful images on fabric, and are well worth investigating. In fact – again, once you’ve really mastered the process – you can make such attractive and high quality products that, if you are planning on selling them, you will find that customers will eat them up, and gladly pay a premium price as well.

I will recommend two different brands of alcohol-based markers for working on fabric – one a premium set, and the de facto choice of serious artists and crafters around the world, and a second that is much, much less expensive and yet amazingly high quality.

Even their small, basic sets are a bit costly, but Copic markers are the best of the best – they are a joy to use and offer stunningly beautiful results!.

Ohuhu 80 Colors Alcohol Based Double Tip Drawing Markers

Double Tipped Brush & Chisel Sketch Markers for Artist, Coloring Art Markers for Kids, Adults Coloring Book, 48 Unique Colors + 1 Alcohol Marker Blender + Marker Case


I didn’t choose these because of the super-cool brand name, but because they are almost absurdly good alcohol markers for the price, and an enormous range of colors as well!

Thanks so much for reading my latest article – How to Choose the Best Ink-Based and Acrylic-Based Fabric Markers in 2021 –  and please visit my blog – Art Side of Life – for tons of other inspiring ideas, resources, articles, buyer’s guides and a lot more.

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