How to sign up for a free subscription - never miss a tangle!
What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


All contents of this website are Copyright © 2010 - 2023 Linda Farmer,, and artists where named. Copying content in any form other than for your own personal offline reference and inspiration is expressly prohibited. No content may be reproduced, pinned or republished without express written permission. This work is not allowed to be used in training AI systems. Commercial use of any content is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Artists for Respect
Your support helps keep TanglePatterns available!


Use this Random Tangle Selector with your TANGLE GUIDE to help you select tangles. See Pages 7 and 9 of the Guide for instructions. You can also use this to select random Strings: simply pop in any number in the range of 1 to 250.



Fabric Pens

Are you ready to tangle on T-shirts, canvas bags, visors, caps, aprons, sneakers, shoes — whatever your imagination can dream up on fabric?

TIPS: If you iron a piece of freezer paper on the under side of the T-shirt it will stabilize the fabric and make it a lot easier to handle.

Pentel Gel Fabric PensPentel Gel Rollers for Fabric

These are the fabric pens to have. And Sandy Bartholomew, author of Totally Tangled, recommends them.

A reviewer writes: “The tip is about as fine as you can get through any brush, but still lays down a beautifully even line. This is most highly recommended. If you’re painting shirts or onesies without using this or other fabric pen to lay down your lines, you’re working too hard.

Pentel Gel Rollers have permanent, acid-free and water-proof gel ink for fabrics, and a 1.0mm bold tip.

The ink is water-based pigment that withstands repeated washings.



Sharpie Permanent Markers

If you’re thinking about using Sharpie Permanent Markers, here’s what Sharpie says: “We do not recommend the Sharpie for letter writing as it is solvent base ink and will soak through paper. We also do not recommend the Sharpie for use on cloth as it may fade or bleed in the wash. Also, over time a yellow halo may appear around the marking.

Update: Sharpie now has markers specifically created for use on fabric – Stained by Sharpie Brush Tip Fabric Markers

Zentangle recommends Sakura IDenti®-pen Dual Tip Marker

At the October 2011 CZT seminar in Providence, the Sakura IDenti-Pen permanent dual-point marker was the pen used to tangle on Zentangle® t-shirts and everyone loved them.

For drawing your strings and shading your tangles try Fabrico’s Dual Tip Fabric Marker, Zentangle® recommends Light Gray.

Visit more TIPS & TOOLS pages

There’s lots more information coming in this section – just visit the drop-down links under TIPS & TOOLS at the top of the page. Visit often. And be sure to add your tips and recommendations in the comments if there are products you use that others would benefit by knowing about them. Or you can email me [linda AT tanglepatterns DOT com] and I’ll update the pages with your suggestions.

And remember too that there are lots more great TUTORIALS on that tab located on the pink alphabetic tangle menu bar.


14 comments to Fabric Pens

  • Janet Robertson

    How long should the fabric gel pen last? I used one for (2) 6″x6″ zentangles and ran out of ink. The zentangles were not heavily colored in. Would like to find a pen that lasts a little longer.

    • Linda Farmer

      I don’t have any recommendations on this Janet, maybe someone can jump in and let us know their experience. I suppose it depends to some extent on the absorbency of the fabric as well as the density of the patterns. Or the pens could just be old stock? Can anybody help us here?

  • paint213

    I would love to find a fabric pen for doing tangles on dark fabric. Anyone out there have a suggestion? I saw an old post somewhere about the Pentel fabric pen but they no longer have it available in white.

  • Elaine Fitchpatrick

    I did a shirt front about 12 x 12 using up two of the gel pens. Coverage was good, and I did do some fills. Bought my 2-pack of pens at Hobby Lobby where they sell blank canvas bags and bandanas, aprons, etc.

  • lginfla

    Has anyone tried the Marvy DecoFabric markers? They have a white one for dark fabrics.

  • Joyce H

    I just completed my first ZenTangle (and it was on fabric) and did not realize that the Micron 01 pens were not formulated for fabric. But it did a beautiful job on the small butterfly design and I do not plan to launder it since it is a wall hanging. The recommended pen for fabric has a point that is 4 times thicker than the Micron 01. Since I plan to do more small wall hangings, is there anything out there with the same fine point as the Micron 01 that is recommended for fabric?

  • Suzan

    Unfortunately according to their website, Pentel is discontinuing the gel pens for fabric. So stock up where you can!!!

  • May Loo

    After having the colors bleed on a canvas tote bag and cotton t-shirt because I used regular Sharpie pens, I bought a set of Sharpie fabric markers which are dual tipped ie there is a regular tip on one end and a fine tip on the other. I tangled a small piece of cotton then washed it in cold water with a little detergent and it came out fine.

  • Carole Brisson

    I have not been very successful finding a good WHITE marker to use on dark fabrics. What have you had food success with…..use on denim or black fabric? Thanks, Carole

  • I have used Tri Chem fabric ball point paints for 40+ years on any fabric I plan to wash. They wash well, tho the tip is fairly large, so getting tiny detail is tricky. And they come in any color you want including white. Tho the white will not be real bright on dark denims etc unless you go over it several time. (Tri Chem is available on line or thru fabric painting instructors such as me. You can check their web site to find one in your area.)

  • Wendy Lindahl

    Hi Linda,
    I enjoy getting all of your emails and creating Zentangles or “Tangling” as often as I can!
    One of my favorite white shirts recently got stained by a sharpie pen and my husband found this wonderful trick which actually worked to remove it!
    Thought I’d share with you and other Tangler’s who might also sometimes mess their clothes or hands in the joy of the moment!
    I used both hand sanitizer and alcohol 70%.
    Thanks for doing all you do to share others tangles and inspire me in this wonderful mindful practice!

    Here’s the link if you want to share the relief of the ink!
    Blessings to all!

    Wendy Lindahl
    Sedona, Arizona

  • Lee

    Hello Folks,
    Decided to put in on this topic.
    Hello , my name is Lee and I have a stationary problem – LOL ! Think is it next to impossible to not to have a large collection of pens if one tangles. I have decided to share what I have tried.

    Stained by Sharpie
    – tips are fine enough for detailed work (03)
    – comes in many colours, sold in packs of 8
    – light colours seem not to work on dark fabric
    – found that the pen will not last for a project
    done on 1/2 a small size runner.
    – found at times, the the colour will bleed.
    Acrylic Paint Markers by Daler Rowney
    – bought to use on glass, rubber, rocks and any
    thing else I can think to tangle on.
    – the tips are not small- about the size of a
    brand new crayon. ( 2-3mm )
    – 8 colours to a pack, water based for easy
    clean up
    – have found they work best on Rocks, Rubber,
    Clay pots… not so great on glass.
    – seems to last a long time.
    – have found in black or white, single packs
    – opaque paint marker
    – so far have tried it on rubber, glass, metal,rock ,
    clay pots and fabric, found it best for rubber, metal,
    rock , clay pots.

    Super Color by Pilot
    – sold as singles … Silver, Gold,Copper
    -seems to work best on glass , metal .
    – has a finer tip then any of the above.
    – can get messy to use. many clump out …. bit of a
    skill to use
    The above are the ones who get top marks with me. Been thinking liquid embroidery might be best for Fabric.
    Happy Tangling

    • May Loo

      I’ve tangled t-shirts and a canvas bag. The problem I had with Sharpies was the colors bleeding. I then tried fabric pens-cheap ones bought from Walmart? I’m not sure. They seem to work, but the colors are not as vibrant. And good luck trying to do detailed work on canvas! That’s why I stuck with large patterns on both the canvas bags and cotton t-shirts. Happy tangling to you too. By the way, I did something you are not supposed to do when you tangle: use a ruler. But then I try to be precise so the ruler helps in keeping everything looking “even”.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.