Friday, April 24, 2015

FriXion Erasable Gel Pen Freezer Test

FriXion erasable gel pens are designed to completely erase with the heat of ironing, never to reappear; however, internet rumors abound that the ink reappears if the fabric gets cold enough.  After receiving a set of these pens at the last Christmas bee, I promised my fellow quilters that I would put them to the test.

I wrote the name of each color:  black, purple, pink, orange, brown, blue, and red upon a piece of plain white muslin.  No problems there, the pens were terrific at marking.  

I immediately ironed the muslin and all the marks (and I mean everything) completely disappeared as advertised.  Now I just had a scrap of white muslin, identical to every other scrap of white muslin in my sewing room, so I thought I had better mark it or it would end up in my Dear Jane by accident.  I wrote "test piece" on it with a Pigma Pen, because marks from those pens are forever.

The scrap of muslin then got washed in the washing machine with warm water, then put in the freezer for a few weeks.  Here is the result:

This is a fairly accurate picture.  All the colors came back at about 5-20% of their original intensity.  Pink did the best, you can barely make out the 'K' in "PINK" above "ORANGE".  

Now, most people would say, "Well, I am never going to put my quilts in the freezer!" and they are right, of course.  But my family, like thousands of others up in Wisconsin, have a cottage on a lake out in the middle of the north woods.  A cottage which remains unheated for most of the winter, a very cold cottage! Christmas presents kept in car trunks in Green Bay can get bitterly cold too. (No one runs out of freezer space over the holidays when you can say things like "Get the ham out of the Buick.")

I like FriXion pens; in fact, I like them a lot, but I would not use them on the top of my Dear Jane, or on any quilt I ever plan to send to the great white north.  Something to consider.

Happy quilting,
Susan in Texas


Jane Eborall said...

Very interesting post. I don't think we have those pens in the UK but I'll keep a watch out if we do. Thanks for doing the research too.

Jo in TAS said...

I'd heard the stories but glad to know someone who has actually proven it! Good job!

Jeanne said...

Thanks for the reminder. The pens are wonderful, but it's good to know where and where not to use them. I've also found that when marking on dark fabrics, ironing doesn't completely erase the pen. A shadow remains.

Mary said...

I have heard so many pros and cons on these pens. I don't think I want to take the chance. You are right about how cold it can get up north. I would not like seeing any mistakes show up years later. Thank you for the info.

Jodi said...

I have also experienced these pens "bleaching" dark fabric when ironed. I only use them on light colours or where they will be inside a seam allowance when sewn now. Not many places in Australia where they will ever get cold enough to reappear but I do keep that in mind too.