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Quilt markings with chalk rub off

by Patti
(Cleveland, Wisconsin)

How do I keep chalk from rubbing off while quilting?


Chalk's greatest weakness—that it rubs off easily—is also its greatest strength.

And it can be a REAL drag!

The only thing I've ever read about that makes the chalk 'stick' longer is to spray it with a cheap hairspray. (Click here for more information.) I have not personally used this 'trick' myself, but I do think that I'd want to wash the quilt after I was finished to get rid of the hairspray completely.

When I mark with chalk (and I do so frequently) I resign myself to 'remarking as necessary'. My old far-sighted eyes need an easy-to-see line, so it's just part of my process.

I do find that I like the ease of use and the line made by the Bohin Mechanical Chalk Pencil the best. The line is finer (great for feathered quilting designs) and the markings seem to last a bit longer.

Readers, your thoughts on this subject are greatly appreciated. Just use our 'comments' link below to share your experiences! Thank you.

Thank you for your question.


Julie Baird

P.S. Patti, one final thing I'd like to add...I stick to white chalk as much as possible. If colored chalk is needed, my recommendation is to 'test, test and test again!' We receive comments regularly from quilters who've used colored chalk and now once the quilting is finished, they are having a wicked hard time removing the chalk.

If you think you'll be using chalk to mark your quilt...draw some lines on some of the leftover scraps of fabrics from the project. Use all the different chalk markers that you could possibly consider (and note what they are on the scraps--I'd think I could remember all of them...but life has a way of messing with my memory!). Then let those scraps sit as you piece the quilt top.

Once your quilt is finished, use these scraps for your practice quilt sandwich to test your tension and thread choices. Then try to remove the marks.

Remove any and all markers from consideration if you have a harder time removing than you're willing to spend—or risk—on the finished quilt.

You may find this article Remove Quilting Lines left by Chalk Markers helpful.

Comments for Quilt markings with chalk rub off

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by: Roberta

The best marking tool I've found is a disappearing ink pen!

Depending upon the fabric, the lines last 45 minutes to several hours. So I just mark an area that I can complete in an hour or so, then move on.

The lines show up on almost every color I've used since finding it.

Just keep your quilting template handy!

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