Sunday, November 13, 2011

Magic Pens are a Disappointment

After posting about the wonderful iron-away pens I purchased in Houston, see yesterday's post, I received several comments from readers about how these pens are not all they are supposed to be (thank you to the readers who shared information).  Evidently the markings reappear if the fabric becomes cold.  So I performed a test with the six colors I got in the packages I purchased.  Here they are, just after scribbling on the fabric.

I took my hot iron and ironed away the pen markings through the middle of the scribbled lines.

And after the fabric had cooled, I put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  Here is what it looked like.

It's a little difficult to tell from this photo but some colors reappeared more so than others, but basically they all reappeared to a degree.

I'm pretty disappointed that this is how they work.  I sort of feel ripped off and it makes me wonder if the vendors at the Houston show know this about these pens and purposely neglect to tell you or if they are in the dark, like I was.  I don't want to tell anyone that they shouldn't buy these as I feel everyone should make their own decision about what or what not to purchase and perhaps the pens will work perfectly for some other type of application.  I'm glad I found out how they work before I had used them in a large project and only to find later that the project is ruined because the pen markings reappear.

It's really too bad that they don't work like I was hoping.  How perfect and magical would that have been?

In other news...

See this?

This is a beautiful (and heavy) glass plate that I received from fellow Twelve by Twelve member Karen Rips and her husband Ted.  Ted is a glass artist and Karen had him create a plate for each member of the Twelve by Twelve group.  He made a plate that matched one of the quilts we made for our challenges.  You can see the comparison of my plate to the actual quilt here <click>. And if you scroll through the posts before and after mine on the Twelve by Twelve blog, you will see some of the other plates that Ted created.

Speaking of the Twelve by Twelve group, we have made our final decisions on what our next challenge round will be.  Check out this blog post by Gerrie <click here>.

Have a lovely Sunday!


  1. I'm missing the magic. Darn it! I'll be passing on your review to my fellow group members who all thought we'd found the perfect pen. VBSigh
    Beautiful glasswork. The sun will make it magical for sure!

  2. Terri,
    You can still use them for sending secret messages. You iron the messages away, then the receiver puts it in the freezer to reveal the secret message. Give them to a teacher and I'm sure other uses will magically appear!


  3. I continue to wonder why people see this as an insurmountable problem. First, who puts their quilt in the freezer? Now, I understand that some people live in cold climates and may transport their quilts in a car. But even if the markings reappear, just iron the quilt to make them disappear. How difficult is that? But that's just me.

    While I haven't tried this yet, I'm told that washing a quilt in Simple Green will remove the ink permanently. (i guess I'm going to have to test this theory so that I can speak more authoritatively--and I just love being authoritative.). In any case, I absolutely love these pens for marking embroidery designs.

  4. I'm enjoying the discussion that everyone is bringing to this topic. Here is a copy of a response I emailed to @Barbara on my point of view of these pens:

    A couple of scenarios that concern me:

    1. I ship a beautiful quilt to a show for display or exhibit. I've used these pens on it and ironed away the markings. Shipping this time of year (winter) can be in very cold temperatures as shipping carriers do not heat their transportation vehicles. The quilt arrives at its destination, is hung at the exhibit and lots of weird markings are appearing on it.

    2. I use the pens to mark a painted design on a fabric. I then paint inside the lines of the design but not all the pen markings were covered with paint. I iron away the marks, make a handbag with the painting and give the handbag as a gift or sell it. The person carries the bag around in the middle of winter time. Do they really want to iron the markings away each time they have had it out in the cold?

  5. P.S. @Barbara,

    I do hope you'll come back to share your Simple Green discoveries. Although the thought of putting that on my quilt scares the bajeezes out of me.

  6. Thanks for sharing all the info on these markers!! And what a personal and amazing gift the glass plate is!!!

  7. Terri, It seems the ink undergoes a METAMORPHOSIS when heated, then a reverse METAMORPHOSIS when cooled again. Hmmmmmmmmmm

  8. Did you wash the fabric at all? If not, would that make any difference? I keep on hoping.. I live in the south, and although it does get cool here, I don't think my quilts will get "freezer cold", so it still is tempting..

  9. Thanks for the warning. I've seen these and thought they'd be perfect for quilt marking. Now I know better!

  10. How frustrating! Thanks for the warning -- I'll steer clear of them! I hate when something that's promised to work one way doesn't! Thank goodness you didn't discover this on a quilt! (Gosh, you'd have a metamorphosis of another kind, wouldn't you?!)

  11. Our local quilt shop called the company who said any residue will come out by washing...not that I always want to wash my piece...just saying.

  12. @Julie - I tried soaking the test piece for about 15 minutes and also agitated with some mild soap for a couple of minutes. Nothing came out. I used hot water.

    Also, like you mentioned, the items I'm making are not ones I want to be washing either.

    My advice with these Frixion pens is to proceed at your own risk. Always test test test!


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