Tips on How to Mark a Quilt for Machine Quilting

For most of us, marking the quilt is not our favourite part. It’s a somewhat dull procedure but quite important too in some cases. You don’t always need to mark your quilt. 

In some important cases, we need to mark our quilt before performing machine quilting. It will be quite challenging to perform the machine quilting without those marks. Chances of error will increase manifold. 

So we should all be prepared to mark our quilt when we need to make some formal or complex quilt. There are many ways to mark our quilts before working on them. 

Many tools available in the market can confuse you or even scare you. We will clear all the confusion regarding those tools and methods for you. 

This article will learn about different methods and tricks to mark our quilt. We will also learn how to make sure that marking is correct.

So prepare your quilt; it’s time to learn something new and valuable for your quilting journey.

Let’s start. 

Why is Quilt Marking Necessary?

Every quilter knows that marking is not an enjoyable job. But it is necessary to do the machine quilting. Quilt marking is reasonably required when we are dealing with complex pattern quilts. 

It’s essential to mark our quilt before starting the machine quilting. If we have no marks, there are chances of error in the process. It will be tough for us to work on the machine quilting if we don’t have any marks.

Quilt marking is highly dependent upon the complexity of quilt patterns and shapes. You can mark the quilt according to your needs and requirements. The more you mark, the more effortless your job will be.

You can always quilt without marking, but it will make your job much harder. The chances of making an error will skyrocket, and it can spoil your quilt. Marking acts like a navigator, guiding us while we are quilting. Without them, it can be a bit harder.

So it’s always better to mark your quilt before you start the quilting process.

How Can You Mark the Quilt?

There are multiple ways to mark your quilt. You have many options available with you. Some are very easy, and some are a bit tough. However, every method has its disadvantages too. 

This section will learn about all possible methods to mark your quilt. We will learn about each process to quickly decide which one to use.

So prepare your quilt top; it’s time to make some marking.

i. Chalk pen

The official name for this pen is “Pen-style Chaco liner”. But for the sake of simplicity, we can call this a Chalk pen. 

This pen is quite a famous choice for marking the quilt. This pen is very smooth. Before starting working, test this pen on your fabric. Don’t press the pen too hard on the fabric.

Always use contrasting colour chalk. If you use matching coloured chalk, you won’t see it. 

There is one problem with this procedure, though. Sometimes, the chalk colour doesn’t turn correctly, or the colour can smudge to an unwanted location.

ii. Hera Marker

Most of the quilters like this little device very much. Many people can vouch for it. 

This tooltip works like a dull butter knife. But thanks to its smooth finish, it will never snag your fabric. It just creates a crease in your fabric as a guideline. It’s temporary and not permanent. 

Hera markers are a great choice when it comes to drawing straight lines. Just use a ruler and a marker. You will get perfect linear markings, which are easily removable.

Hera marker is excellent for left-handers and right-handers alike. It can work perfectly in the case of both small hands and large hands. You can always choose this marker for your marking work without any confusion. 

iii. Masking tape

If you want to mark your quilt quickly and don’t want to look fancy while doing it, then we have a product for you. Masking tape is the go-to method to mark your quilt promptly.

Just lay down your ruler and stick the masking tape with its reference. You can use a piece of tape as many times as you want. The tape needs to be sticky enough. 

Masking tape won’t leave any sign of marking. Just remove the tape afterwards.

If you cannot see a fine hera marker or chalk line, then go for masking tape. It’s wide enough for you to see it. 

However, there are cons too. You cannot make any complex shapes using this marking method as it can only create straight-line marking.

iv. Quilt pounce

This is a somewhat new method to mark your quilt. In this, you can transfer stencils onto fabric by running the pounce pad. It’s something like a chalky ink pad.

This method is efficient and accurate if you use stencils for your work. 

v. Water-soluble pencils

These pencils can help you a lot. The marking color of this pencil can easily be removed with water. The colour will become invisible as soon as you clean it with water.

These pencils come in different colours. You can easily choose any colour you want. Although, you should test these pencils before using them to mark the quilt. There are a few cases of colours returning after some time. 

So you need to make sure that these pencils are suitable to work with your fabric.

vi. Water and Air soluble marking pens

As the name suggests, these pen marks will become invisible after some time. As the ink comes into contact with air, the marks will vanish. It sounds like a pen from the future.

It would help if you tried it first. Who knows that the ink colour will return after some time. So better be safe by trying it first.

vii. Stencils

It is a somewhat uncommon method. You can use stencils for marking on your quilt.

You can put your stencil over the quilt and start tracing the designs. It will mark the design which you intended to cut.

viii. Golden Threads quilting paper

This paper is ideal for intricate design. It comes into a roll. You need to trace the design on the paper, pin the paper to your quilt. Then quilt through the paper.

When your quilt is completed, pull off the paper from the quilt. It is a pretty straightforward method. 

Just keep in mind how you trace the design on the paper. Sometimes the graphite from the pencil can spoil your quilt. So keep in mind regarding tracing technique.

ix. Border fabrics

You can use border fabrics to mark the mark. You can trace your design using border fabrics. Like designs of foliage, floral or paisley patterns are an easy way to go.

You don’t need to stitch over the design precisely. You can use it as a guide and then create a design according to your taste.

x. Registration Marks

You can use the registration mark also. Dots and minor marks which indicate turning points and curves are called registration marks. These marks can guide you while you are quilting. 

xi. Refillable wax pencil

These pencils come with a variety of colour refills. They are not very common, hence not so famous. These pencils can mark your quilt according to your need.

Tips When Using any Quilt Marking Tool

You must keep a few tips in your mind while marking the quilt. We will have a look at all these essential tips.

i. Always test your marking method first

Never mark your quilt without knowing the entire work of the marking tool. It can induce unwanted errors.

ii. Always follow instructions

Every method has its own set of instructions and procedures. Always make sure that you follow the instructions provided. Every product is different from one another. So make sure to know about them.

iii. Do not press hard

Marking pens and pencils should be used with caution. Just make sure that you don’t press them too hard, or you can damage your quilt. Not only a quilt, but you can damage your marking pencil and pens too.

So these are a few things which you should keep in your mind. They are straightforward tips, which you should keep in mind.

How to Mark a Quilt

We have discussed all the available methods and tools for marking the quilt. Now let’s see how to mark the quilt.

  • Prepare your quilt sandwich. Lay your quilt sandwich on your working table.
  • Take any available tool which you prefer. 
  • Start tracing or marking the design over your quilt top. Use rulers if you want. Mark all the way you want. 
  • Start the quilting process according to the mark traced by you. Make sure to follow the marking correctly.
  • Remove the marking according to their type. Like in the case of chalks, use water to remove the mark.


You have various marking options available with you. Every method has its pros and cons. You need to compare each method before selecting the one you need.

We will recommend the “Hera marker”. According to us, this is the best method to mark your quilt. It works flawlessly. It would help if you considered it.

I hope you like the information provided here. Happy Quilting.

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