Embroidery pens: How to choose the right one for you
Explore a range of embroidery pens and find the right pen for your next project.
Every keen stitcher needs an embroidery pen in their stash! There are a few ways to transfer your design to fabric, but we find an embroidery pen is the easiest method.
Embroidery pens are available in a variety of styles which work with heat, water and air to erase the ink. Find out which pen is right for your project with our detailed guide. We’re including our favourite embroidery pens and where you can purchase them, too.
We’re focusing on soluble embroidery pens. These let you draw directly onto your fabric. You can trace your designs through the fabric using a lightbox, or a natural source of light if you prefer. Once you’ve transferred your design, and stitched it, remove the ink with heat, water or air, depending on the pen.
Other types of embroidery pens include iron-on transfer pens and magic embroidery pens (more on these later).
Without further ado let’s find the embroidery pen for you!
Main image: Threaders pens, Amazon
5 best embroidery pens
1. DMC water-soluble embroidery pen
Water soluble embroidery pen
DMC is a trusted brand choice for embroidery enthusiasts. They supply high-quality threads, needles and other accessories. Their embroidery pen is no different! The pen is ideal for most embroidery projects, easily removed using water, or simply a damp sponge.
The pen is available with blue ink which is vibrant enough to be easily seen on light and medium-coloured fabric. It won’t work well on blue and darker fabric.
All you have to do is choose your embroidery pattern and trace the design onto your fabric using the pen. If your fabric is thicker, a lightbox you trace. No lightbox? Placing your design against a window and using natural light will also work.
2. Threaders heat erasable embroidery pen
Heat erasable embroidery pen
These nifty little pens write like a pen but erase like a pencil! You have two choices to erase these pens; either use the eraser attached to the top of the pen or use dry heat.
The attached eraser is so helpful if you’re tracing or drawing your design on the fabric and make a small mistake. You’re able to erase small parts of the design without starting over.
You get three pens in the set: blue, red and black. This has you covered for pretty much any project!
3. Prym self-erasing embroidery pen
Self-erasing embroidery pen
There’s no need for any of the elements with Prym’s handy self-erasing pen. Draw your designs as you wish, stitch and the ink will disappear on its own. The erasing time varies from fabric to fabric, so it’s always worth doing a test first.
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For a large project, a self-erasing pen might not be the best option. It may disappear before you get a chance to finish your embroidery. But for smaller motifs and designs it’s perfect and saves you washing or ironing time.
4. Clover fine embroidery pen
Fine-tipped water-soluble embroidery pen
If you’re keen on highly detailed embroidery designs a fine-tipped embroidery pen is a must-have! Stitching over this pen will feel like a breeze, especially when you need to stitch intricate details.
Available in blue, this embroidery pen by Clover is versatile across all light and medium-coloured fabrics. Once you’ve drawn or traced your design, stitched it and are ready to remove the ink, just dab it with a damp cloth.
- Buy now from LoveCrafts
5. Sulky transfer pen for embroidery
Iron-on transfer embroidery pen
This embroidery pen is a little different from the others on this list. Instead of drawing directly onto the fabric, use this pen to draw your design onto transfer paper. Once you’re happy with your design, use an iron to transfer it from your transfer paper onto your fabric.
This method has its pros and cons. You do not need to draw directly onto the fabric, which is great if you prefer to design on paper. However, since you need both transfer pens and paper, this method is more pricey than just using a fabric pen.
With any technique in embroidery, it’s about experimenting and finding out which process works for you.
Magic embroidery pen
You might have heard the term ‘magic embroidery pen’ but not be sure what it is. Well, actually it’s an entirely different embroidery technique than any other pens in this guide.
What is a magic embroidery pen?
A magic embroidery pen is a punch needle tool. This technique is totally different from traditional embroidery and gives a very different outcome.
In usual embroidery techniques, the needle goes through the fabric. With punch needle embroidery the needle stays on the surface. It gives a similar look to rug making. We do have a full guide on punch needle embroidery if this has piqued your interest.
Punch needle kit with magic embroidery pen
If you’re new to punch needle embroidery and want to give the magic embroidery pen a whirl, we’d recommend starting with a kit. An embroidery kit is a great way to get a taster for the craft, it gives you direction for your first project.
This sunshine punch needle embroidery is a delight! It comes with all the tools you need (including the magic embroidery pen) to create this simple, and beginner-friendly design. The kit also includes a detailed beginner's guide and illustrations.
Choosing your perfect embroidery pen
Finding your perfect embroidery pen is about trying and testing what you like the most. As an embroiderer, my personal preference is the heat-erasable embroidery pen. It's vibrant and also very satisfying to watch the ink disappear just by using a hair dryer!
How to transfer your design using an embroidery pen
Now you’ve chosen your method and favourite embroidery pen, find out how to transfer your embroidery design. We’ll show you a simple technique in an easy-to-follow video tutorial.
Katie Dolan edits our needlework sections, focusing on our embroidery and cross stitch articles, as well as making videos for our arts and crafts projects. Katie runs her jewellery business, Ophelia Jewellery Art, on Etsy, where she sells beautiful resin-pressed flower earrings. She has a wide range of craft interests including embroidery – she particularly loves all things pop culture and a less traditional approach – The Simpsons and Rick & Morty are among her favourites to embroider. She has recently completed a silversmith workshop and hopes to expand her jewellery business with these new skills. When she’s not crafting, she’s usually fuelling her Harry Potter addiction with a Sunday film marathon and a couple of butter beers!