Are you looking for something to draw on fabric? It may be your t-shirt, it may be a sheet of cloth, or it may also be tote bags. No matter what type of fabric you’re talking about, most people would suggest you either fabric markers or Sharpies.
What’s confusing is, once you go through all the different forums and videos, you’ll find an equal number of opinions stacking on both sides. This can confuse you about which one you should go for.
To help you with that, we’ll be discussing everything about fabric marker vs Sharpie today. By the end of this article, you’ll get to know the features each of them is offering, where they came from, and which one is more suitable for you.
Fabric Marker Vs Sharpie: the Differences
In this section, you’ll find all the features you need to look for while choosing between fabric markers and Sharpies. We’ve tried to include all sorts of factors that can play a role in deciding which is more suitable for you.
When you’re saying, “Fabric markers”, you’re actually referring to a wide range of manufacturers, as this is the name of the product. So, While the exact origin year of fabric markers is unsure, it’s safe to assume that it was after 1962, as that was the time when they started producing marking pens commercially.
On the other hand, when you’re referring to Sharpies, you’re actually referring to a specific brand of markers, as this is the name of a certain company. The Sharpie markers started being produced around 1964, and the products are being improved henceforth.
Today, Sharpie offers a lot of different products under different line-ups, and all of them offer unique features. We’ll talk about the most general features so it’s easier for you to compare.
The stroke is one of the first things any artist would consider. When it comes to that, Sharpies and fabric markers are quite different. You can get both types of products in different variations.
In the case of Sharpies, you’ll find most of them in finer strokes, whereas the fabric markers can be bought in almost any stroke type. The Sharpies offer a versatile stroke with a little bit of fade-in, but the fabric markers offer solid strokes all across the lines.
There’s a decent amount of ink flow in the case of both fabric markers and Sharpies. However, the Sharpies offer more ink-flow compared to the fabric markers. You won’t have to draw multiple times on the same line for filling out any gaps with Sharpies, which is definitely a plus.
Sharpies and fabric markers both come at high brightness. The difference between them is that fabric markers can be vivid, and once you paint with them, they will put an opaque layer.
The Sharpies are a bit transparent, so you’ll find a bit of the surface exposed.
Sharpies usually come with sharp and thin tips, whereas the fabric markers can be purchased with different types of tips. We recommend using thicker tips for filling large areas. The medium tips are versatile, as they’ll allow you to fill in spaces and draw delicate designs.
Finally, if you’re focusing on small details, then you should certainly get a marker with a thin tip.
The Sharpies are very easy to work with. It’s usually seen that you don’t have to apply too much pressure to work with this, and the credit behind this goes to the superior ink-flow of the Sharpies.
Here, the fabric markers lag. These markers don’t offer much ink flow, so you need to apply a lot of pressure to have a uniform ink flow. If you’re going to fill an area with colors, then you’ll have to draw a few times before you fill it.
As you need to put a lot of pressure, working with the fabric markers can sometimes be tough. Another thing to keep in mind when working on fabric is, you need to ensure that the surface is completely plain. Otherwise, there’s a chance that the ink will get scattered.
Due to the un-uniform flow of ink, there will be a lot of bleed with the fabric markers. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a great fade effect with the fabric markers.
Because of the bad ink flow, the fabric markers can’t be controlled easily. This is where the Sharpies shine. You’ll be able to control the flow of ink with the pressure of your hands, and this will allow you to implement some great fade effects on the fabric.
This is where it gets better for fabric markers. The fabric markers are usually very long-lasting. No matter how much you wear them or wash them, you’ll find them intact on the cloth. Although, they will still fade over time.
The problem is with Sharpies here. Even if you get Sharpies that are labeled “Permanent”, you won’t be getting a permanent color from them. Sharpies wear out very fast, and that gets only worse if they’re put in the laundry machine.
If you’re willing to work with Sharpies, then we strongly suggest not to put them in the drier. If possible, avoid washing at all, although they can last hand washing a couple of times.
Sharpies tend to fade quicker than the fabric markers, so you don’t want to draw on something you’re planning on using for a long time.
Now, it’s time for a verdict. Which one’s better between fabric marker vs Sharpie?
Don’t believe what people are claiming because it all comes down to your preferences. If you’re drawing on fabric that you’ll be washing and using for a long time, then fabric markers are a better choice.
On the other hand, Sharpies are better for delicate designs and short-term usage. These are easier to work with as well.
Sometimes, combining fabric markers and Sharpies will help you get a unique design too. So, get creative with it, and choose your weapon!