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Quilt Marking: Problem removing the blue chalk

by Bonnie
(Hurbertus, WI)

I cannot get the blue chalk off my quilt by spraying with cold water. I even tried to rub it off.

What's the problem?


I'm assuming that you're using the blue powdered chalk that is used in a Pounce Pad.

There are two forms of the chalk that you can use with the Pounce:

  • Ultimate Pounce Powder: This is a powdered version of tailors chalk that you can iron off with either a steam or a dry iron. It comes in white only.

  • Chalk Powder: This comes in either white (plain chalk) or blue (a blue pigment was added to the white chalk). The company strongly recommends pretesting your chalk on the fabrics you'll use. This chalk does not iron off. It either brushes or washes off. The blue will usually need to be washed off.

Since your question is specifically about blue chalk, we know that this type can be removed either by brushing or washing. Neither of which has worked for you.

While I couldn't find specific washing instructions on the manufacturer's web site, I was able to track down a response from Hancy Mfg., the creator of the Pounce Pad, to a quilter who had the same problem as yourself.

The manufacturer suggested blotting the marks with a clean white cloth and a solution of half white vinegar and half water. The person using this suggestion reported back that as she was wetting the quilt, it didn't look like it was working. However, once the quilt had dried, the marks were gone.

I've found several quilters who have had the same good result with this.

The prudent thing would be to test this on just a small portion of your quilt so as not to make the problem any worse if it doesn't work for you.

One of the best tips I can offer if you will be marking a machine quilting pattern directly on your quilt top is this...

Create a small quilt sandwich from the scraps leftover from cutting out your quilt's pieces. Use the marking tool or tools you plan to use and draw some lines on this sandwich, do a little stitching on these lines and then put it aside.

When you are finished piecing/appliqueing your quilt top, go back to that quilt sandwich and remove the markings according to the manufacturer's directions. Assess how well it worked. Make changes to your quilt marking tool(s) if there's a problem removing the marks.

Why bother with this extra work?

Quilt markings remain in a quilt top for as long as it takes to quilt the quilt. Sometimes it takes awhile, I know it does for me. Starting this sample sandwich at the beginning gives those marks some time to age, to mimic the situation you'll have when you quilt this quilt. You'll need this sandwich, anyway, to test your threads and tension settings before you quilt. Why not make it do double duty and save yourself from a headache later on.

I wish you luck in the removal of those pesky, irritating marks. Please let us know of your results.


Julie Baird

Comments for Quilt Marking: Problem removing the blue chalk

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Removing blue chalk marks
by: Rainy

The first time I used all the discussed methods attempting to remove the blue chalk mark. Terrible and time-consuming and in the end I still had traces of the blue marks.

So I tried again with another quilt. I found SUCCESS this time.

FIRST I Used my Oreck hand vac and vacuumed over the chalk lines.

SECOND I mixed HE laundry detergent (Kirkland Clean) in ratio one part to 4 parts water and sprayed over the chalk lines soaking well.

THIRD. After setting 1 hour I washed in cold water with two rinses.

FINALLY I spread out the wet quilt and inspected.

100% of the chalk marks came out except 5 corner blocks where I think the quilt folded over and didn't get properly agitated. Since the quilt was wet, I sprayed undiluted white vinegar on those 5 blocks and within minutes the chalk marks disappeared.

I ran the quilt through the rinse cycle.

Blue Chalk Marks from Pounce chalk dispenser
by: ilokelani

I tried all of the above methods to get the blue chalk from my light colored Quilt squares to no avail. First heat as instructed, then vinegar and water as suggested, then I decided, I could not give it away the way it was so I washed it in Tide and Sprayed the blue with Shout.

Still on there.

I then tried Awesome from the Dollar Tree and it came out. I had nothing to lose since I could not give it away with the blue on it.

Here is what happened. The blue chalk got into the quilt batting and that is why it did not come off easily. I was pretty heavy-handed with the chalk so I suggest a lighter hand with the blue.

No problem with the white chalk.

From the Editor: I'm so glad you didn't give up. You saved your quilt!

Making marks only as dark as you need to be able to see them is so important. You hit the nail on the head!


Julie Baird

Removing Blue Chalk
by: Anonymous

I tried the above mentioned suggestions, but did not remove the chalk. I then washed (sigh) my quilt on a delicate setting using minimal laundry soap.

Still did not remove the chalk!

Finally, I used a regular wash cycle with additional detergent. It worked. After using "fluff" mode for the dryer, I have the quilt air drying. I will touch up with the iron.

Will have to think of another method of marking my next quilt.

From the Editor: Whew! It's so frustrating when it happens.

I can only imagine your relief!


Julie Baird

blue chalk issue
by: Karen

I was panicked about removing the blue 'pounce chalk' from a holiday gift I'm just finishing!! Just read your article and the white vinegar/water worked using a (new) toothbrush. THANK YOU for your assistance in saving the gift!

How I removed blue chalk from my quilt.
by: Nancy

I used a blue chalk pen to mark a quilt. I could not get it out. One person told me to use a stiff toothbrush and brush out the chalk. This did not work the quilt had sat for a few years. I even tried using Clorox wet wipes. This did help lighten the color. I had to keep rubbing and it took a long time. I was afraid I was not going to get all the blue colors out.

I did a search on the internet and found one solution that was one part water and one part white vinegar. It said the person who had used this method had wet down the quilt and it looked like the blue chalk was not going to leave the quilt. When she came back after the quilt had dried the color was going. I tried this and it helped to lighten the color, but did not remove it.

My final attempt was to use Resolve Triple Oxi Advanced Carpet Stain Remover. I put the nozzle close to the fabric and got the cleaner to foam up. I then used a toothbrush rubbing vigorously. I then used a clean white cloth and dabbed at the blue chalk. I was able to remove all the blue chalk.

I found the blue chalk that had been treated with all the above methods came out easier when I used the Resolve than the spots I only used only the Resolve on.

From the Editor: First, congratulations on persevering and getting the chalk out.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share. I hear from a lot of quilters who have had this same problem. I'm glad to be able to point them to your efforts.



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