Choosing the best fabric markers for your next craft project shouldn’t be that hard but it is. Of all of the different fabric markers on the market we have selected the best of the lot, and paired them with a “guide to fabric markers” to help you choose the right option for your next craft project.

Fabric markers are an excellent and affordable way to transfer awesome designs onto fabric. Marker paint or ink can be applied to virtually any fabric type including synthetics if you choose the right product. Other methods of transferring artistic designs onto fabric like heat transfers are less accessible and costs are substantially more.

This is also a fantastic activity for kids and groups to participate in. Fabric markers are convenient and requires very few supplies to get started. Beginners and seasoned artists alike can create fun and personal designs, together, without having to cater to individual skills individually.

When children get to create their own designs and then wear them, nothing can be more gratifying. Just as well, seeing a family or friend wear your creations is just as great. Check out the guide below to get started with fabric marker crafts or if you think your project would be better served with paint check out our fabric paint guide!


Complete Guide To Fabric Markers: How To Choose Your Markers

Fortunately, when searching for fabric markers, you only have to decide between two different types of markers. Your choices are really limited to alcohol based markers and paint based markers. Always steer clear of water-based markers as they will wash away easily.

In the guide I will discuss the difference between paint and alcohol based inks. Each will produce different results. Once you understand the different types of fabric markers you will be able to select the right fabric paint for any project and fabric you have in mind.

Fabric Marker Types

Fabric markers are a great alternative to fabric paint as they are very convenient and portable. Fabric markers are also a very good choice for kids crafts since they do not require any special setup and cleanup is minimal.

Fabric markers are available in both alcohol ink based and acrylic textile paint based versions. Choose the type of marker you go with based on the project and material you are using. Typical the alcohol based fabric markers will work best on any semi to non-porous surface including plastics, leather, and more. Acrylic paint markers will work on virtually any surface it will adhere to.


Acrylic Based Fabric Markers

Acrylic based fabric paint is the most common and popular form of fabric paint and will achieve the best results in most cases. Color pigment is added to acrylic polymer and then emulsified with water to create the fabric paint. The paint is then added to special markers meant for fabric application.

Acrylic paint markers are typically able to form the best bond with fabric and is also the most durable, holding up under repeated washing and resisting fading from light exposure. The other benefit is acrylic paint is usually more opaque which is important for saturated coverage..


Alcohol Based Ink Markers

Alcohol based inks are less commonly used for fabric mostly due to a fabric’s porous surface and more transparent coverage but you can still create beautiful designs. In this marker type, alcohol is used as a binder to deliver the pigment to the medium. Alcohol ink will achieve the best results on non-porous material as the pigment can bond directly onto the surface giving the best appearance.

If used on porous surface, alcohol pigments will have a more transparent look and will not have the color saturation of acrylic. More application will be needed to achieve a rich color. It is also important to note that this form of fabric paint will not always achieve great results on darker fabrics. Lastly, alcohol based inks are not nearly as wash-fast unless you seal it with a fabric sealer of sorts.

Should I use Alcohol Markers or Paint Markers?

Fabric paint aims to affix or bond the paint onto the fabric which eliminates the issue of worrying about what fabric type you are working with. Each will ultimately achieve a different look and effect, typically paint being more opaque and ink being more transparent. Technically speaking, fabric markers are available in the same pigments and paints as the paints jars.

A good thing to do is try out both types of fabric markers on your surface and evaluate the outcome. You might be surprised how different or similar the outcomes will be on the fabric. When choosing a marker keep in mind the nib type the marker is equipped with as it will determine type of lines you can paint.