Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Heat Erasable Pen Review

Whoa that's a catchy post title, I don't think!

However, I think heat erasable pens are great- at least 5 orders of magnitude better than air erasing pens for embroidery projects, in my opinion, and thus worthy of a post!
I really enjoy embroidering, both by hand as well as freehand machine embroidery and it's great to draw your design straight on the fabric.
However, I really haven't had much luck with my purple air erasing pens. I have only tried two brands before giving up on them though, so others may be a lot better (please let me know if you've found a great one). I find that it either disappears very quickly, within a matter of minutes, or that I have to remove it with water when I would prefer not to. I was advised to store the project in an airtight grip seal plastic bag but even then it didn't last. In the project above, from last year, I used tissue paper but that can take an age and a lot of patience to remove afterwards as tiny pieces are always left.

Then I discovered heat erasable pens. I had been using them for a good number of years as a regular writing pen without even thinking of their crafty potential. They are available in a variety of colours but all basically are accompanied by a "rubber" (or eraser if your prefer) either on the lid on the bottom of the pen itself. The ink can then be erased by rubbing this against the writing and the heat from the friction causes the ink to disappear as if by magic, very handy if you make a mistake.
The first one I ever used on paper was Pilot's Frixion and thought it was great.
There is actually a warning on the back of the packaging to not expose the ink to extreme temperatures (-10degC to +65degC) and this gave me the idea that high temperatures from an iron might also cause the ink to vanish. This could be just what I needed and sure enough it was- Yay!! 
It works just perfectly, it writes on fabric nicely with a 0.7mm line and leaves no sign after heat is applied. I find the best place to buy them is online but you can sometimes pick them up on offer, Tesco have a pack of 3, one each of black, red and blue, on offer at the moment for £5. However, a pack of one black and one yellow highlighter is £6.25. I've never tried the highlighter but the other colours all work just as well as the black.
The next brand I found was in the lovely Japanese shop Muji, which is full of great stationary and other household bits and bobs. Muji's erasable pen is £2.50 and works well on fabric and erases without a trace as soon as the iron gets near. It's also finer than the Frixion at 0.5mm and writes on fabric smoothly enough.
However, it turns out that not all friction pens are equal when it comes to erasing from fabric. After not being able to get hold of a Pilot's Frixion late on a Sunday afternoon, I decided to try Papermate's Replay Max available from Wilkinson's for £1.20. The packaging informed me this time that the ink becomes permanent after 24 hours. This was potentially bothersome but I thought it could still be used for projects completed in a day. 
Well I thought wrong! 
Although the ink may be erased with the rubber, heat does nothing at all except perhaps spread it and therefore it's no good for fabric. This is a shame as it's the cheapest. However, this one is good for writing projects where it would be handy to erase a mistake but you want the result to be permanent in the end.
Another shop I really like is the Danish store, Tiger, it sells all sorts of lovely things. The stores used to only be located around London but much to my delight they're all over the UK now, yippee! 
Their erasable pens come in a pack of 2 in black for £3. Unfortunately, just like the Papermate, they're no good on fabric either. They don't budge with heat and leave a mess around the writing :-(
I would highly recommend the use of the Pilot Frixion or Muji for sewing projects (the others are great when used on paper though).
Please let me know if you have any thoughts or know of other pens to use out there.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Until next time, craft in earnest! Craftin' Ernest x

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