Can You Make Colored Pencil Permanent on Fabric

Can You Make Colored Pencil Permanent on Fabric

I’ve gotten a few questions from readers asking how to make colored pencil permanent on fabric. Almost to the person, the problem has been colors that either fade with use or wash out when laundered.

This isn’t a typical topic for this blog, but it’s a holiday day (happy Labor Day!) and the questions did arouse my curiosity, so here we are!

Can You Make Colored Pencil Permanent on Fabric

Let’s first take a look at whether it’s even possible to make colored pencil art permanent if you’re drawing on fabric.

I’ve drawn on a lot of things over the years—mostly just to see what happens. But I’ve never tried colored pencils on fabric, so have no personal advice to offer.

So my first thought was that colored pencil doesn’t work on fabric at all.

Then I recalled a local quilt show that included a beautiful quilt enhanced with colored pencil drawings. The quilt would have been wonderful without the drawings, but the drawings definitely added to its appeal.

The quilters were avid in their craft, so I had to conclude that colored pencil does work on fabric.

Since these ladies were serious quilters and many of the quilts were made as heirlooms, I had to conclude there is a way to make colored pencil permanent on fabric.

The question then is: How?

How Do You Make Colored Pencil Permanent on Fabric?

I did a little research and came up with a tutorial from Sandra Leichner, who makes fabric art. She suggests the use of something called a colorless extender. Sandra’s website is no longer available, but the brand of colorless extender she used is Jacquard and, guess what? It’s available through Dick Blick!

How it Works

What you do is make your drawing on the fabric, then lightly paint over it with this color extender. Let it air dry, then set it with a iron. Easy, right?

Sandra included a step-by-step tutorial with her post, and she included some handy tips. So  If you’re interested in doing colored pencil on fabric and want to make it permanent, then you may find Colored Pencil on Fabric helpful.

I certainly hope so, at any rate.


I don’t know about you, but this article sparked a few ideas. Fine art wall hangings anyone?

Whether you quilt or do fabric art or not, I hope you enjoyed this fun little article.

And if you do try drawing on fabric, let us know how it turns out! I, for one, am curious to know more.

Sign up for Carrie’s free weekly newsletter and be among the first to know when she publishes new articles.


    1. Viv,

      Thank you for the question.

      Unfortunately, I have no answer for you because I don’t do colored pencils on fabric.

      The link in this article is to an article written by someone who does do colored pencil on fabric. She may be able to help you.

  1. PennyB

    I have used colored pencils on fabric in my quilting for many years. It is not only possible, I have wall hangings that are 7-8 years old and are just are crisp and bright as they were when I made them. The trick is to use textile or fabric medium. And to color in a stroke fashion rather than circular or any other pattern. Then, dip a small paint brush in the textile medium and brush it on in the same direction as the strokes. The pencil color will now look much more like paint. It is a beautiful and lasting effect. And, I have to believe that these days, there would be videos on YouTube showing the technique.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *