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How to Set Permanent Marker on Fabric & Plastic

how to set permanent marker on fabric

Do you like to decorate a T-shirt or any fabric using a permanent marker? Well, it is possible, and you can do it by following easy methods.

The most popular marker that you can use for fabric is the Sharpie Permanent Fabric Markers. You can also use the Arteza Fabric Markers, Crayola Fabric Markers, Shuttle Art 36 Colors fabric Markers, and Dyvicl Metallic Paint Markers, among others.

In this article, we are going to share with you the methods on how to set permanent markers on fabric and plastic. It is easy, and you need things that you can find around your house. Let us get things started.

How to Set Permanent Marker on Fabric – 3 Methods

In these methods, you may use the Sharpie permanent markers or any markers mentioned above. Also, prepare other things that you will be using, such as T-shirts or any fabric, iron, colorless fabric paint, and fixative spray product. Also, you may use the Sharpie-Stained Fabric Markers, which can make the ink permanent on the fabric. Now, let us follow the methods below in setting the permanent marker on the fabric.

Using the Iron

The first thing to do is to wash and dry the fabric you are going to use. You may do this to a T-shirt or any clothes that you want to draw or write using a marker.

In one instance, your fabric or T-shirt is new, you may treat it with a sizing chemical. It serves as a protective filler that can aid in resisting stains. After coating the new fabric with sizing, you may wash and dry to make the ink absorb in the fabric.

Once you are done decorating your fabric, you must preserve the ink of the marker using heat. Also, you must be sure that the ink is completely dried before you run it through the heat-setting method.

In this step, you will be using an iron to preserve the ink marker. You must set the iron to the hottest setting, especially if the fabric is cotton. Once the fabric is dried and the iron is ready, press the decorated areas with ink on both the front and back of the fabric.

Leave the pressing for about five minutes on the front and back sides. Another way to heat your fabric is by putting it in the clothes dryer that is set in the hottest setting for about 15 minutes.

Using a Fabric Paint

Another method to preserve the ink of your marker is to paint the decorated area with colorless fabric paint. Once you have washed and dried your fabric and decorated it with your pen, you may apply this transparent fabric paint over the lines and arts you have made on the fabric.

You must paint both the front and back of the decorated areas of the fabric. However, in this method, the fabric might quite stiffen. For T-shirts and other clothes, you may use the Tulip Soft Fabric Paint, Jacquard 8 pack Textile Color Fabric Paint, and the Tulip Washable Slick 3D fabric Paint, among others.

Using a Fixative Chemical Product

Fixative chemical products can also be used in setting the permanent marker on fabric. Also, you have to choose a fixative that can be utilized with cold water. Some fixative products are mixed with water and then sprayed.

Once you have already done your decorations on the fabric, get the fixative chemical and spray it on the decorated areas with the ink of the marker. Alternatively, you may also soak the fabric in the solution for several minutes, then let it dry. It will set the ink on the fabric.

How to Keep Permanent Marker on Plastic

how to keep permanent marker on plastic

Meanwhile, you can also use the permanent marker on plastic. However, if you try writing the marker on plastic, it will make a smudged mess. It can be prevented by doing some ways on how to set the marker on plastic. Here’s how.

Step1: Choose the appropriate permanent markers

The oil-based permanent markers work best in plastics. They become permanent on this type of surface. Besides, they leave a shiny finish and stay longer. Some of the brands that you can use for plastics are Sharpie Extreme Permanent Markers, Shuttle Art 30 Colors Permanent markers, Staedtler Permanent Marker, Bongdou Oil-based Waterproof Paint Marker, and Phosea Acrylic White Permanent Markers, among others.

Step 2: Clean the plastic surface

Prepare your plastic surface by cleaning it first with a soft cloth, warm water, and soap. Remove the dirt, grime, or oils on the plastic before you do your writing or drawing. You may also rub alcohol on the surface to ensure that it is clean. Once done, let it dry.

Then, sand the plastic using fine-grained 120-grit sandpaper. It will provide some teeth on the plastic surface and make it quite rough. It will make the marker ink absorb more in the plastic. Keep in mind that you only sand the area where you will put the marker ink. Once you are done sanding, damp it with a wet cloth and then pat it dry.

Step 3: Seal the marker ink

Decorate the plastic using the permanent marker. Then, to keep the marker ink in the plastic, you must seal the ink using clear nail polish or apply a coat of matte polyurethane. Leave it for several hours until it is dry. It will set the marker on plastic and will make the marker ink shine too.


Decorating a fabric or plastic using a permanent marker is a creative thing to do. The only problem is how you will set and keep the marker ink on these surfaces.

By applying the methods mentioned in this article on how to set a permanent marker on fabric and plastic, you can be free from this issue. Indeed, you can freely write and draw on these surfaces and make them permanent and unique.

If you have any suggestions about this topic, you may write them in the comment box below. We appreciate and are thankful for them.

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