How to Get Pencil Markings Off of Cross Stitch Fabric

Remove guidelines and keep your stitching in place.
Remove guidelines and keep your stitching in place. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Fabric pens, markers and pencils are often used to mark off areas on cross stitch fabric to guide the stitching process. As helpful as they are, the pencil marks are not always completely covered with the cross stitching threads. When pencil marks show through on the fabric of a finished piece, washing the piece is not an option because it will shrink the fabric and may ruin the delicate and tautly pulled stitching. Pencil marks can be removed in other ways on finished cross stitch pieces.

Things You'll Need

  • Art gum eraser
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • Mild dish soap
  • Tooth brush
  • Dry towel

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Pull the fabric tightly around the pencil mark to spread it out. Hold it in place with your hand.

Rub an art gum eraser gently over the pencil mark until the mark is gone.

Brush away any bits of rubber so they do not spread more pencil lead across the fabric.

Stubbon Pencil Marks

Mix 1/4 cup of room temperature water with 3/4 cup of rubbing alcohol and two or three drops of mild dish soap in a mixing bowl.

Dip a toothbrush into the mixture and scrub it gently over the pencil mark. Keep the toothbrush away from stitching, as it may catch on threads and ruin the piece. Continue rubbing gently with the brush until the pencil mark is gone.

Rinse the toothbrush with plain water and brush the water over the scrubbed area of the fabric to rinse the soap residue away.

Blot the cross stitch fabric dry with a dry towel.


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