What are Fabric Crayons?

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Fabric crayons may look like ordinary art supplies, but they can be used to draw on fabric to create a number of innovative craft projects. These crayons make it easy to decorate T-shirts, hats, shoes, and other wearable art projects. They can also be used to create one-of-a-kind homemade quilts, pillows, and home decor items. Both children and adults can use them, but kids need close supervision during the process of heat setting the design.

Stencils can be used to draw designs onto fabric.
Stencils can be used to draw designs onto fabric.

There are many different brands of fabric crayons, so crafters will need to read the instructions carefully before beginning a project. The vast majority of crayons allow the user to simply draw or write directly onto the fabric and set the design with an iron, although others are designed to help users create their own iron-on image transfers. To use these crayons, the person must draw the design on non-glossy paper. Once he's created a suitable piece of artwork, the artist can transfer the image by placing it face down on a synthetic or synthetic-blend fabric and ironing the back of the paper.

For a greater variety of fabric decoration looks, individuals can try using crayons in conjunction with fabric paint. A crafter can draw the outline of a design in crayon, then use puffy fabric paint to add dimension. Individuals can also try accenting a crayon image with glow-in-the-dark, pearlescent, or metallic fabric paint to create even more unique effects.

Another way to use fabric crayons to create a more sophisticated look is to color in an image that has been rubber stamped onto the fabric. Floral images or simple geometric patterns can be stamped onto a piece of fabric using a fabric ink stamp pad. Then, the crafter can simply color the design with the crayons and set the image with an iron.

A project that has been colored with these crayons is machine washable, and if the directions have been followed correctly, the design should be permanent. Crafter will want to avoid throwing the garment into the dryer if it has both crayon and fabric paint on it. Washing the item in cool water is also a good idea.

Fabric crayons, fabric paints, and fabric ink stamp pads can be purchased from any large craft store. Most stores will also have stencils, stamps, and an assortment of clothing items that can be used to create wearable art. Crafters who are not sure what materials they need to complete a project should ask a sales representative for assistance.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the wiseGEEK team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

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Discussion Comments


Fabric crayons can make for a really cool project for a Girl Scout troop or campers.

You just take a cotton pillowcase and some fabric transfer crayons, then have every camper write their name, a small message, or even draw a little design.

Then you transfer (or supervise them) ironing the transfers onto the pillowcase, and distribute one to every girl.

You can even have everybody design their own individual one, but I like having the names on the pillowcases -- it makes for such a nice memory keepsake of their group.


One thing to remember with transfer fabric crayons is that the image is not going to be transferred exactly down to the last iota.

Most transfers turn out a little fuzzy, at least. It is important to let kids know that to begin with, so they don't get disappointed by the end result.

One other quick tip -- thicker lines usually mean a better transfer.


This is so cool -- I had heard of fabric paint and fabric markers, but I never heard of fabric crayons.

In fact, the only crayons I had ever heard about were washable crayons, so you could avoid getting crayon marks stuck on clothes.

You learn something new every day!

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