Covering Stains with Fabric Markers

jeans decorated with flowers

You’d never know that these flowers are hiding stains! Fabric markers are designed to be permanent and machine-washable, and they come in a bunch of great colors. Read on for some tips about how to use them.

I used these fabric markers. I didn’t get paid to review them or get the markers for free, although that would have been awesome. I bought these because I really like that brand of fabric paint, so I figured I’d try their markers out. (But that’s totally an affiliate link.)

These particular fabric markers don’t need to be heat-set; you just let them dry for 24 hours and then you’re okay to machine-wash the clothing. They’re non-toxic, so they’re safe for kids to use. And they aren’t sloppy wet like some markers are, so they didn’t bleed through to the back side of my jeans. (But they might bleed through something thin, like a t-shirt, so it’s always a good idea to be safe and put some cardboard inside the clothing before you color on it.) And any fabric dye or marker will show up much better on light-colored fabric than dark fabric.

Eeew, stains!

I actually picked the markers to use based on what color the stains on the jeans were. There were large smears of something orangeish-yellow, and since there was so much yellow, I wanted to work with that color instead of fighting against it. (I don’t remember where the stains came from… I think I wore them around some little kiddos, so maybe kool-aid?) But in general, as long as the color of your marker is darker than the stain, you should be fine.

testing the color of fabric markers

Here’s a cool trick that I recommend doing before you start decorating your jeans: Make a mark on the inside of the waistband to test out each color you are thinking of using in your design. This is because the colors will show up slightly differently depending on the base color of your fabric, and testing them ensures you won’t have any surprises when you start drawing your design.

I freehanded some simple flowers in the colors of my stains: brown, yellow, and orange. You can see in the video how I space the petals at the beginning, and then fill out the flower. I usually rotate the jeans as I go, so that I’m always drawing from the top, but I didn’t want to do that for the video and make you all seasick.

You can use a ruler if you want to be precise about the placement of the flower petals, or fold a circle of paper and start the tip of each petal at a fold, or even use a protractor. You can also trace a template or use a stencil, but real flowers are a little wonky, and I personally didn’t want my flowers to look like they were stamped on. So I varied the size and style slightly from flower to flower, but used the same colors so they would all go together.

jeans decorated with flowers

Obviously the placement of the flowers was dictated by where the stains were, but I also added some extra flowers down the leg and around the side where there weren’t any stains. This made for a more pleasing arrangement of flowers, and it looked more purposeful (and less like I was just trying to cover kool-aid stains).

I also decided to add some glittery gold fabric paint to the top of my flowers, for some extra glitz and sparkle. I added a very small amount, basically scratching the flowers with the tip of the paint bottle. It highlighted the flowers beautifully, and made them stand out even more because they catch the light as I move.

covering stains with fabric markers

Here’s another stained pair of shorts that I decorated with a swirly scroll design in blues and greens. I planned the first few swirls to cover the stains, and then added more and more because I was having fun with it.

jeans decorated with gems

I also added a little sparkle to this design, using some rhinestones and little gems. Of course the gems are optional, but I think sparkles make most things better. I used an assortment like this, and glued them on with my favorite fabric glue. You can also use hot-fix gems, or glue/stitch some beads to the jeans.

If you prefer a goofier design, you can outline your stain with the markers, add a face and legs/arms, and make a little stain creature. This is an especially fun idea for kids’ clothes, and a great way for them to use their imaginations.

See? You’d never know there were stains lurking under the pretty designs! I hope you pin this idea for later or try it out today, and give new life to some stained clothes. Or embellish a pair of plain jeans, a jacket, or a t-shirt just for fun!

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About SnazzyBot

I am an artist and fashion designer with a passion for helping people bring their own creative dreams to life. I love sharing my projects with fellow crafters, and I hope you find ideas and inspiration on my blog! As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use my affiliate links to make a purchase.

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