Thursday, March 17, 2011

the not so "magic" frixion gel pens

51+OjOZ0bOL._SL500_AA300_Every once in a while we stumble on a new product that just seems too good to be true.  Quite a few customers have brought these to classes or bees and tell us how wonderful they are.

Me? ... I'm always skeptical.  My pretty much hard and fast rule is that if I don't know what's in it, I won't use it on my quilt.  Pretty much a wait on the sidelines kind of girl to see if the hype is really as good as it seems.

Plus I've been too busy to try them out ... so I was quite pleased to see a review written by Charlotte Warr Andersen posted on Becky Goldsmith's blog.  Charlotte doesn't have her own blog so has given permission for us to pass this information on.
    I thought I'd give you all a heads up about Frixion Erasable pens. A student showed me hers at Road to California in January. She drew a line, thin but quite black, and then ironed it and the line totally disappeared. It looked like the coolest thing ever! 
     So I went in search of these pens, which you can get a Staples. I bought the pack that has three colors in it - black, red and blue. Being quite the skeptic about things that are too good to be true, I read the back of the package. In small print it says: "Do not expose to extreme temperatures (<14 degrees F;> 140 degrees F). If pen is exposed to temperature that reaches 140 degrees F the ink will be colorless when writing. To restore color, cool to at least 14 degrees F and the ink will again write in color." 
    Aha! I said to myself. If you iron the ink it's going to be way over 140 degrees so it's going to disappear. So I took some fabric and scribbled on it with all three colors. Then I ironed it and, sure enough, all the scribbles disappeared. But then I put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes and all the lines reappeared. I left it for about a week and a half while I went travelling and today I tried to wash the ink out. It didn't come out with soap and hard scrubbing and not even after I put rubbing alchohol on it. So then I ironed the piece dry and all the lines disappeared and then it went back to the freezer and all the lines reappeared (perhaps just a bit fainter). 
     This experiment was enough to persuade me that these pens are too good to be true and even sort of creepy - the ink is always there even if you can't see it. I wouldn't use them on any fabric or quilt you really cared about. 
     If I had a blog I would have put this on there but since I don't any of you who want to pass on what I've written can feel free to copy and paste this post.
As I said, Charlotte does not have a blog, but you should be sure to check out her website!  "Her specialty, for which she is renowned, is fabric portraits which feature meticulous hand appliqué involving hours of work.  
As for my opinion of the pens ... I am sure they have their uses.  But for now, I'm happy to leave them with the office supplies and use marking pens that we know work just fine such as the fine blue pen, the white pen by clover (neither should be ironed until they have been thoroughly washed out with plain water) and the occasional watercolor or leaded pencil when necessary.
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us. Erasable or vanishing pens are always troubeling. I already was amazed this was OK. I never like to draw with whatever what on my projects.


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