Floral Fabric Art with Sharpies [Tutorial]

Fabric printing with Sharpies

Just recently, I was looking for a small amount of floral knit fabric, enough to make a size 3 dress bodice and I ran into a couple of problems: I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, and I objected to paying $8 and upwards in postage plus the price of the fabric when I have loads of fabric in my stash.

So I did some ‘research’ (read: spent hours getting distracted by amazing but unrelated tutorials) on Pinterest and came across the idea of using sharpies and rubbing alcohol to create lots of patterns. You can check out my Fabric painting and printing Pinterest board here for some other amazing ideas.

I couldn’t help but give it a go, it is very inexpensive, and I was amazed at the quality of the results.

Sharpie art fabric finished product sew4bub.com

I had the hardest time photographing this – the background is white and it was a horrible overcast day 😦

So, if you would like to make your own sharpie floral fabrics, here is how you do it:

You will need:

  • Ultra Fine point Sharpie (I used black)
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Cotton tips
  • White or light coloured fabric (I used a white cotton/spandex jersey)
  • A window or light box (or incredibly dodgy light box-like set up – see below)
  • A printout of the design you would like to use

One of the best things about this project is that you don’t need any artistic ability at all to achieve great things. I printed and traced the pattern directly from the printed image – if you would like to use the same image you can get it here

  • Get your gear together and set up your ‘light box’ this is what mine looked like (old fridge shelf suspended between 2 chairs with a lamp underneath).
  • layer up your printout and fabric on your light box and trace over the lines directly onto your fabric with your sharpie.
  • After you have finished your design remove the paper from underneath.
  • Take your cotton tip, dip it in the isopropyl alcohol and then dab along the design lines.


  • Let your design dry, and then iron to set the ink.

Then your done – I just love this and it would be simple enough to do with kids too.

Sharpie fabric art sew4bub.com

If you have a go at this, be sure to grab some pics and hashtag them #SEW4BUB I would love to see your creations!

As always, thanks for reading.

Liz xx




14 thoughts on “Floral Fabric Art with Sharpies [Tutorial]

    • I have one that I have washed 3 times without any noticeable fading, but from what I have read it depends very much on the type of fabric you use. Sharpie does have a range of pens that are meant for repeated washing and maybe these would be a safer bet, although I haven’t tested them out with the alcohol yet

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  2. Love it! I did this process on a silk scarf last year, free style, just to play. One looked tie dyed, one geometric and another just a montage of tropical images. Love yours!

    • I used a design that I purchased (this link is in the post) If you would like to use this design you need to purchase it from the site linked. However you can do this with just about any design so if you don’t want to buy a design have a search around in google images, I am sure you will find something fab.

  3. Your light box is perfect. I have an old refrigerator drawer, clear acrylic, that would work beautifully. It’s smooth, too, so no grid lines or anything to mess up my tracing. Thanks for the tips!

  4. I have heard that black sharpies do not bleed–they turn purple with alcohol but then return to black. It doesnt look like you found this to be true. It is beautiful!

  5. Has anyone tried this and found the sharpie to turn back black? Fade with washing? How about with small colored areas using color sharpie markers?

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