Heat Erase Pen — Is it Permanent?

23 06 2011

I noticed my wholesaler added Pilot’s Frixion Gel pens to their site this week.  I’ve seen them at quilt shows, but never picked one up.  In the description by the wholesaler the selling point for quilters is “when you’re ready the ink will magically disappear with the touch of a hot iron. ”  The main reason I never picked one up is I didn’t want to put a hot iron on a quilt after it was quilted.  I went searching online and found in the description of the pen that the ink will disappear at 140 degrees F. 

Ready to do a little experimenting I took a walk to Staples this morning and picked up a package.

I grabbed a scrap of fabric and did a some writing.

I turned my iron on to the cotton setting and held the hot iron just above the marked fabric — I did not touch it to the fabric.

Just like magic the marks disappeared!  The possibilities are starting to tumble through my brain.

But I’m not finished just yet.  While reading the description of the pen on Staples website, I found that if the pen is exposed to 140 degrees or greater the ink will become invisible.  Not a problem according to the package, just place it in a freezer at 14 degrees F. or less and the ink will become visible again.  If that is the case for the pen, what about something it marked?  So into the freezer goes the test piece.

I just can’t wait to see the results and 5 minutes later I’m taking a peek.  Uh oh, in just 5 minutes the marks are reappearing.

Am I upset?  Not at all, no where does the manufacturer recommend these pens for fabric use, nor do they state that marks are removed permanently.  They say the marks disappear with friction.  Which they do.  This is fair warning for quilters that see these pens at quilt shows.  PLEASE don’t buy them to mark a quilt top.  Can you imagine your horror if you left your quilt in a cold car overnight and all the marks where back?  I can still see some possible fabric related uses, but not on anything that will show on the outside of a project.  I haven’t tried washing my sample, but I don’t want to have to wash customer quilts.  So even if it does wash out, I won’t be using it on other people’s work.

Just to be completely fair, I tried again and this time put the iron down on the test piece.  I got the same results in the freezer, in fact I checked within a minute after I put it in the freezer and the marks were already starting to reapear.


Completely unrelated, some of you may wonder why this site has lain dormant for almost 6 months.  On January 5 as I was getting ready to take the boys back to school on the first day after vacation, I felt something “go” in my neck.  The pain was instantaneous and by the time I got home from taking the boys to school the right side of my face and my right hand were numb and the pain was excruciating!  I made my first visit ever to a chiropractor the minute they opened and have been seeing him ever since.  The first few weeks I was absolutely useless, everything hurt including turning the page for a book — never mind anything sewing related.  I have never watched so much TV in my life (thank goodness for Hulu since we don’t have  TV reception).  I have slowly been easing back into quilting over the last couple of months.  I believe the injury is from years of longarm quilting (it is in the same spot that would get sore at the end of the day — it was a pinched nerve and some deterioration in the vertebrae in my neck).  I now work at the computer and machines for much shorter periods of time before changing to a different activity.




5 responses

23 06 2011

Great info, thanks for doing the research. I have thought about using these too, and am glad I hesitated. 🙂 Angela from Accidentally Angela

23 06 2011
Becky Ezra

it was this morning that i read full discussion on TQS about this pen.
it seems by Batik it bleach the fabric, by freezing it, it comes back.
many quilters dont dare to use it due to unknown future with this pan.

23 06 2011

Glad you are feeling some better, will put you on our prayer list at church and also on mine.

24 06 2011
Kathy E.

Glad to see you back in Blogville, Sonya!

24 06 2011

Welcome back. Hope your neck heals faster now. I live in western WA and we don’t get much cold weather – some winters no snow at all. For use of a quilt around here, no one is worried about these pens. I can see the difference, though, if I were to live in a colder climate and keep a quilt in my car, etc.

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