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How to Heat Set Fabric Markers: Easy Methods You Can Try at Home?

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

how to heat set fabric markers

Fabric markers are brilliant tools to decorate your old clothes and garments with a low budget. There is a wide variety of fabric markers, such as those used on clothing, which gives a watercolor-like effect, or those specialized for silk and satin.

However, painting with fabric markers requires some essential aftercare steps to prevent ink from bleeding and damaging your products during the first laundry. This procedure is called heat setting.

To heat set fabric marker paint, apply heat over the fabric paint to help the resin bind into the cloth and stay there permanently. Therefore, it is a vital part that you must NOT skip.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to heat set fabric markers using three techniques:

  • Iron Your Paint: Apply high heat to the paint on your fabric using an iron. Then, place a piece of paper between your cloth and the iron so that you do not burn the ink on the iron surface.
  • Bake Your Paint: In other words, put your products into the oven for 15 minutes at 350℉. Place your cloth on a piece of paper and roll them up before putting them into the oven.
  • Use Your Clothes Dryer: Make use of your readily available clothes dryer at home to heat set the fabric paint in just an hour.

For these three methods, you will need to prepare a few pieces of paper, whose size are approximately 8 inches by 11 inches; or 20 by 28 cm. The paper acts as a partition to prevent your fabric paint from interacting directly with the heat source and burning.

A scrap cloth can be an alternative. Any additional materials will be listed in each section. Therefore, carefully read over everything before you get started. Now, let’s dive into this amazing tutorial!

Make Sure The Paint is Dry

I know you are excited to heat set fabric markers, do the laundry, and put on your astounding masterpiece. However, be patient and wait until the paint on your cloth is completely dry.

Otherwise, you may risk causing some ink bleeding on your fabric during the heat setting process and ruin your beautiful products. Therefore, let your clothes air dry for at least one day before you begin any aftercare steps.

Slightly touch the painted area to check if there is any paint left. If there is none, you can start with the next step. Continue reading to learn the first method.

How to Heat Set Fabric Markers

1. Iron Your Paint


Using an iron as a heat source to set fabric markers on cloth is the most popular technique. Moreover, you can try applying this method to heat set permanent markers on fabric.

Note that children MUST ask their parents for permission and assistance while proceeding with these steps. Using a high-temperature iron is extremely dangerous and may cause severe burns.

Apart from an iron and a piece of paper, you will need to prepare an ironing board or a thick blanket to operate on. Once you have everything ready, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Set your iron to 350℉ or approximately 176℃, and let it heat up. Turn OFF the steam setting to dry heat the fabric. Using steam or water will cause ink bleeding.

Adjust the heat according to the type of fabric you are using. Lower the heat if you are dealing with delicate fabric such as silk.

Step 2: While waiting, turn your clothes inside out so that the painted side is on the inside.

Step 3: Place your product onto the ironing board.

Step 4: Place a piece of paper inside your clothes to prevent the paint from dying the other half of your clothes.

Step 5: To make sure no paint will be burnt and stuck on the iron, place a scrap cloth on top of the area where you will proceed.

Step 6: Now that your iron is heated to the desired temperature, slowly iron the painted area over the scrap cloth or paper, then back and forth for about two to four minutes. You should move the iron constantly so you do not scorch the fabric.

Do NOT iron for less than two minutes and more than four minutes. Otherwise, the paint will not set or even run out.

Step 7: If your fabric is large, you should reposition the scrap cloth or paper to other areas and repeat steps until the entire painted area is heated.

Step 8: Remove all paper and scrap cloth and let the fabric dry completely. Do NOT touch the painted area during this time.

Step 9: Wait AT LEAST four more days to put your clothes in the laundry. Wash your fabric with cold water the first few times to make sure the colors don’t bleed.

That’s all about heat set fabric markers with an iron. If this method seems too complicated, try the following tricks to see if they work better!

2. Bake Your Paint


This technique is safer than the previous one. However, you must also be careful while doing this tutorial. There are no additional materials other than an oven, a piece of paper or newspaper, and a baking tray.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350℉ or approximately 176℃, and set up your fabric while waiting.

Step 2: Place the newspaper on the baking tray, followed by your painted fabric.

Step 3: Roll the two pieces up loosely so that they end up in one piece. It should look like the shape of a roll cake.

Step 4: When your oven reaches the wanted temperature, place the baking tray along with your prepared product into the oven and let it bake for 15 minutes.

Step 5: Keep an eye on your fabric and paper to check if there is any burning happening. Immediately remove your fabric when there are signs of burning.

Step 6: Once the time is over, take your product out and let it cool completely. Refer to step 8 and 9 in the previous method for more detailed instructions.

3. Use Your Clothes Dryer

You may wonder if your clothes dryer is a good source of heat. Well, the answer is yes. Your clothes dryer can be a great alternative in this case. In fact, this trick is the most convenient one among the three.

You don’t have to prepare anything else apart from the painted product itself and a clothes dryer.

Step 1: Put the painted fabric into the clothes dryer by itself. I recommend NOT to add any other clothes inside since you can dye them with the painted fabric.

Step 2: Set your dryer to its highest temperature.

Step 3: Set the timer to one hour. Leave your clothes there and feel free to do other chores while waiting for your painted cloths.

Step 4: When the heat setting is over, remove your fabric, and let it cool completely. Once again, refer to the two last steps in the first method for detailed instructions.


It is important to learn how to heat set fabric markers after you have drawn on your fabric. This aftercare step will be helpful in keeping your paint long-lasting and durable.

I hope you have enjoyed the tutorial. Let me know the method you chose in the comment section. If you find this article helpful, share it with your friends and family as well.

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