How to Set Permanent Marker on Fabric

If you’re interested in using Sharpie ink to decorate a T-shirt, this is the post for you. Many people have issues when using fabric markers due to how they can’t set the ink right for the Sharpie design to stay permanent.

After reading through this post, you’ll be left with a better idea about how to create marker designs in fabric using Sharpie ink that stays permanent. 

Iron Method

  • Start by washing your fabric either in the washing machine or giving it a hand wash.
  • Once you’ve finished your marker design, you need to use heat-setting methods to keep the ink in the fabric. 
  • Once the ink has completely dried into the fabric type, use a dry iron at the highest temperature. The hottest setting is important for making sure that the permanent marker stay on the fabric. 
  • Press the decorated areas on the front and back sides of your fabric on an ironing board to make sure that the technique works properly. 
  • Press the iron on the fabric for at least one minute, but ideally five minutes on both sides. 

Fixative Chemical Products

  • Fixative chemical products can be effective at preventing Sharpie marker ink from fading on your clothing. 
  • Start by using a product that works well with cold water. Mix the product with cold water and add it to a spray bottle. 
  • After you’ve finished drawing your design and the regular Sharpie ink has dried, spray the area with the solution.

Fabric Paint

  • Colorless fabric paint is one of the easy methods specifically designed to keep designs on your fabric. 
  • After you’ve washed, dried, and designed your fabric, add a layer of colorless fabric paint over the top. 
  • This helps the permanent marker stay permanent. However, be sure that both sides of the fabric where the design is located are coated in the fabric paint. 

Also read: Fabric Markers US


Now that you have a better idea about how to keep permanent marker ink on your T-shirt fabric, you can implement the steps mentioned above. 

When it comes to using any products for cleaning, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This is to make sure that you don’t ruin your clothes and preserve Sharpie designs more efficiently. 

We hope that you can put the information found throughout this post to good use on how to set permanent marker on your fabric. 


How long do Sharpie markers stay on fabric?

Permanent markers traditionally aren’t meant for fabric. They’re meant to stay permanent on other materials, such as paper. However, there are specific Crayola fabric markers and Sharpie permanent fabric markers that are better suited for designing fabric.

Does Sharpie marker permanent ink stay permanent on polyester fabric?

The synthetic fibers present in polyester clothes mean that the ink doesn’t set as permanently compared to other clothes that include natural fibers. 

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.