How do I permanently write on a shirt?

If you have permanent marker on fabric—whether it be an autograph or your own creation—it will inevitably end up fading over time through wear and washings. However, there are some tricks you can use to make the marker design last longer.

Here's how to make permanent marker stay on fabric in four simple steps.


When using permanent marker on fabric, opt for a 100% natural fiber fabric, such as cotton or linen. Natural fibers absorb the ink better than synthetic fibers, such as polyester. Also, in addition to permanent markers, fabric markers are a good choice because they're designed to hold up to many washings.

The Spruce / Jesi Lee

How to Get Permanent Marker to Stay on Fabric

Be sure to protect your marker design on the fabric from additional moisture, such as rain and sweat, until you can take steps to preserve it. Aim to preserve it as soon as possible after you create your design. Here's how:

  1. Allow the ink to dry completely on the fabric.
  2. Get out your ironing board, and heat your iron to the highest temperature acceptable for the fabric type.
  3. Place a clean white cotton cloth over the marker design.
  4. Using a dry iron (no steam), iron the spot for at least one minute and up to five. Don't rub the spot, which can smear the ink. Instead, alternate between applying firm pressure and lifting the iron to prevent scorching.

An alternate method to using an iron is to toss the marked fabric into the dryer. Set the cycle to the highest temperature recommended for the fabric, and tumble for at least 15 minutes. This will help to set the ink into the fabric fibers. However, the ironing method does this in a more targeted manner.

Furthermore, don't spray the design with a commercial fabric protector because this can cause the ink to run. It is also best to avoid washing the fabric unless you really need to. For washing, turn the fabric inside-out if possible, so the marked portion is on the inside. Use only cold water and gentle detergent; the fabric can be dried in the dryer or hung to air dry. Note that hats should be spot-cleaned or hand-washed.

The Spruce / Jesi Lee

Fabric Display and Storage Tips

If you've chosen to frame your fabric design or put it in a display box, be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight. Even lamps and overhead lights can cause fading. The piece also should be displayed or stored in a room that has consistent humidity and temperature.

For storage, use archival tissue paper to wrap the fabric. The tissue must be both acid-free and lignin-free (a chemical compound derived from wood). It is also important to use the right type of storage container to prevent yellowing. One choice is an archival storage box. These boxes are usually made of acid-free paper. However, if you are concerned about the box getting crushed, purchase a plastic storage container. The box should be made of cast polypropylene to be safe for your keepsakes.

The Spruce / Jesi Lee


  • How long does permanent marker stay on fabric?

    Permanent marker wasn't originally designed to be permanent on fabric, so it will fade over time. The amount of time it remains depends on how often you wash and use the fabric.

  • Will permanent marker stay on polyester?

    Permanent marker doesn't absorb into polyester as well as it does natural fibers. But it will still remain on the fabric, especially if you take steps to preserve it. It just might start out fainter and fade faster.

  • Does Sharpie wash out of clothes?

    If you're looking to get permanent marker out of clothes, wash them as soon as possible. Try to blot up as much of the ink as you can while it's still wet, and then treat the area with a laundry stain remover before washing in cold water. If the stain isn't gone, wash again before drying.

How do I permanently write on a shirt?

Do you like to decorate a T-shirt or any fabric using a permanent marker? Well, it is possible, and you can do it by following easy methods.

The most popular marker that you can use for fabric is the Sharpie Permanent Fabric Markers. You can also use the Arteza Fabric Markers, Crayola Fabric Markers, Shuttle Art 36 Colors fabric Markers, and Dyvicl Metallic Paint Markers, among others.

In this article, we are going to share with you the methods on how to set permanent markers on fabric and plastic. It is easy, and you need things that you can find around your house. Let us get things started.


  • How to Set Permanent Marker on Fabric – 3 Methods
  • How to Keep Permanent Marker on Plastic
  • Conclusion

In these methods, you may use the Sharpie permanent markers or any markers mentioned above. Also, prepare other things that you will be using, such as T-shirts or any fabric, iron, colorless fabric paint, and fixative spray product. Also, you may use the Sharpie-Stained Fabric Markers, which can make the ink permanent on the fabric. Now, let us follow the methods below in setting the permanent marker on the fabric.

Using the Iron

The first thing to do is to wash and dry the fabric you are going to use. You may do this to a T-shirt or any clothes that you want to draw or write using a marker.

In one instance, your fabric or T-shirt is new, you may treat it with a sizing chemical. It serves as a protective filler that can aid in resisting stains. After coating the new fabric with sizing, you may wash and dry to make the ink absorb in the fabric.

Once you are done decorating your fabric, you must preserve the ink of the marker using heat. Also, you must be sure that the ink is completely dried before you run it through the heat-setting method.

In this step, you will be using an iron to preserve the ink marker. You must set the iron to the hottest setting, especially if the fabric is cotton. Once the fabric is dried and the iron is ready, press the decorated areas with ink on both the front and back of the fabric.

Leave the pressing for about five minutes on the front and back sides. Another way to heat your fabric is by putting it in the clothes dryer that is set in the hottest setting for about 15 minutes.

Using a Fabric Paint

Another method to preserve the ink of your marker is to paint the decorated area with colorless fabric paint. Once you have washed and dried your fabric and decorated it with your pen, you may apply this transparent fabric paint over the lines and arts you have made on the fabric.

You must paint both the front and back of the decorated areas of the fabric. However, in this method, the fabric might quite stiffen. For T-shirts and other clothes, you may use the Tulip Soft Fabric Paint, Jacquard 8 pack Textile Color Fabric Paint, and the Tulip Washable Slick 3D fabric Paint, among others.

Using a Fixative Chemical Product

Fixative chemical products can also be used in setting the permanent marker on fabric. Also, you have to choose a fixative that can be utilized with cold water. Some fixative products are mixed with water and then sprayed.

Once you have already done your decorations on the fabric, get the fixative chemical and spray it on the decorated areas with the ink of the marker. Alternatively, you may also soak the fabric in the solution for several minutes, then let it dry. It will set the ink on the fabric.

How to Keep Permanent Marker on Plastic

How do I permanently write on a shirt?

Meanwhile, you can also use the permanent marker on plastic. However, if you try writing the marker on plastic, it will make a smudged mess. It can be prevented by doing some ways on how to set the marker on plastic. Here’s how.

Step1: Choose the appropriate permanent markers

The oil-based permanent markers work best in plastics. They become permanent on this type of surface. Besides, they leave a shiny finish and stay longer. Some of the brands that you can use for plastics are Sharpie Extreme Permanent Markers, Shuttle Art 30 Colors Permanent markers, Staedtler Permanent Marker, Bongdou Oil-based Waterproof Paint Marker, and Phosea Acrylic White Permanent Markers, among others.

Step 2: Clean the plastic surface

Prepare your plastic surface by cleaning it first with a soft cloth, warm water, and soap. Remove the dirt, grime, or oils on the plastic before you do your writing or drawing. You may also rub alcohol on the surface to ensure that it is clean. Once done, let it dry.

Then, sand the plastic using fine-grained 120-grit sandpaper. It will provide some teeth on the plastic surface and make it quite rough. It will make the marker ink absorb more in the plastic. Keep in mind that you only sand the area where you will put the marker ink. Once you are done sanding, damp it with a wet cloth and then pat it dry.

Step 3: Seal the marker ink

Decorate the plastic using the permanent marker. Then, to keep the marker ink in the plastic, you must seal the ink using clear nail polish or apply a coat of matte polyurethane. Leave it for several hours until it is dry. It will set the marker on plastic and will make the marker ink shine too.


Decorating a fabric or plastic using a permanent marker is a creative thing to do. The only problem is how you will set and keep the marker ink on these surfaces.

By applying the methods mentioned in this article on how to set a permanent marker on fabric and plastic, you can be free from this issue. Indeed, you can freely write and draw on these surfaces and make them permanent and unique.

If you have any suggestions about this topic, you may write them in the comment box below. We appreciate and are thankful for them.

How do I permanently write on fabric?

The most popular marker that you can use for fabric is the Sharpie Permanent Fabric Markers. You can also use the Arteza Fabric Markers, Crayola Fabric Markers, Shuttle Art 36 Colors fabric Markers, and Dyvicl Metallic Paint Markers, among others.

Does Sharpie stay on clothes permanently?

Is Sharpie permanent on clothing? Well, Sharpies are intended to be permanent markers, but the reality is the marks do fade somewhat with frequent washing. If spot-treated using our methods we've outlined, Sharpie marks really don't stand a chance!

What is the best thing to use to write on a shirt?

If you want to draw or write on your t-shirt, sharpies are fine too. Craft stores sell fabric paint and fabric markers, and you can also buy t-shirt dyes, decorative patches, studs, and rhinestones to add to your shirt.

Will a Sharpie signature wash out?

If your shirt has been signed with a permanent marker, wash the shirt in cold water with a normal detergent. If your shirt is extremely dirty or has an odor from sweating, start the wash cycle with cold water, add detergent, and after the cycle has gone for about 3 - 5 minutes, stop the cycle and let sit overnight.