How to Prevent Sharpie Bleed on Fabric

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Things You'll Need

  • Sharpies

  • Paper

  • Iron

  • Opaque fabric paint

Sharpie markers adhere to fabric well but might bleed.

Using the right method, Sharpie designs on fabric will last for years to come. Drawing on shirts, book bags and other fabric items with colorful markers personalizes and decorates them. Sharpies, with their fine tip, wide top and variety of colors, is often the choice of designers. Washing the item after decorating may cause color bleed. There are ways to prevent this from happening.


Step 1

Wash the fabric to be decorated prior to designing. Prior washing will prevent shrinkage and bleeding of the fabric's dye after application of the markers.

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Step 2

Allow the Sharpie ink to dry completely on the fabric. After drawing, give the marker ample time to dry. Waiting 24 hours will ensure the marker is dry.

Step 3

Iron over the design. Place a piece of drawing paper over the design and turn the fabric over. Iron on medium over the backside of the design. Allow to cool.

Step 4

Paint over the design with opaque fabric paint. The clear paint will seal in the marker. Cover the entire area or paint only on the marker lines. Allow to dry 24 hours and wait at least 48 hours before washing.


If layering colors on the fabric, allow each color to dry before applying another.


Certain fabrics will bleed out their dye for several washes. When this occurs, some of the marker will bleed out. For loose dye fabrics, wash several times before designing.


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