Are Paintstik Colors Eraser-Proof?

Paintstik-Colors-Eraser-Proof Cover Image
Paintstik-Colors-Eraser-Proof Cover Image

One of the things that makes me crazy is adding stitching to a shape and then deciding that it just doesn’t work. After several stops and starts on my current project, I knew I had to give up on lattice-work for this particular shape. But that left me facing a big (and rather scary) question. As in “are Paintstik colors eraser-proof?”

The second lattice stitch attempt (that I didn’t like)

After two (rather miserable) attempts at lattice work in this shape, I threw in the towel. The battlement couching was too solid, and this version was too fussy. Art brain was not happy and it was time to try something different.

What to do with the white marks?

But what about those white pencil marks? I had carefully marked the lines in all eight shapes, so there was a lot of erasing on the horizon – and the marks went right up to the paint. Oh boy…

Heavy application of Iridescent Paintstik colors

Let me back up just a little and show you how I add paint to my fabric.

I’ve been working with Shiva Artist’s Paintstiks on fabric for more than 20 years. For my most recent series of Stitched Paintings, I started with what I call Extreme Stenciling. (You can see how this works here and here.)

The paint on this fabric was applied in a very heavy layer. The paint had been on the fabric for months. There was no question about whether it was dry or heat-set. But was it eraser-proof? I wasn’t sure.

Are Paintstik colors (really) eraser-proof?

Will it work?

I took a deep breath and started erasing the first shape. I was both relieved and delighted to find that the painted section of the fabric looked fine. No peeling paint, no change in color, all good so far. The white marks were not easily removed, so I applied more elbow grease.

No loss of paint

You can imagine my relief when I discovered that yes, Paintstik colors are eraser-proof! The painted image on this piece is almost 20″ wide, and I had already done a good 10-12 hours of hand stitching. Starting over would have been a major bummer!

All cleaned up!

It took me a good hour to clean the markings off the fabric. But even with a lot of scrubbing with the eraser, there were still faint lines in the shapes. Thankfully, the lines were light enough that almost any filler in the shape would be sufficient camouflage.

Choosing a new motif

Fly stitch filler to hide remaining marks

I settled on a rope-like outline of whipped chain-stitch, and then filled the shapes with a simple fly stitch, leaving plenty of space for beads.

My detour turned out well rather than turning into a disaster. I honestly didn’t know if the paintstiks would hold up under a vigorous scrubbing to remove the pencil marks. I was a bit surprised (and totally thrilled) to discover that the Paintstik color was, indeed, eraser-proof.

Learn more

If you want to know more, you can learn exactly how I stencil images on fabric with sticky-backed vinyl stencils. I call them Renegade Stencils because they allow you to break the rules!

Every last detail is spelled out for you in the Stenciling on Fabric eBook. To be clear, I use a computer-driven Silhouette cutting machine to make the vinyl stencils, but the same techniques can be used with hand-cut freezer-paper stencils.

Thanks for reading

Your attention is the greatest gift you can give to a writer. I appreciate the invitation to be a small part of your creative world.

To join the conversation, leave a comment below.


  1. Katrina Wright on June 19, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Yikes! Just goes to show that terrifying mistakes can lead to amazing discoveries! Creativity requires bravery! Hard to remember in the moment though! :o)

    • ShellyStokes on June 19, 2020 at 11:22 am

      Yikes, indeed! Even after all of my years with the Paintstiks, I still run into things I haven’t done/tried before. Color me very happy that this misadventure turned out well. 🙂

  2. Theresa Buchanan on June 19, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you Shelly, that’s good to know, and the piece looks lovely.

    • ShellyStokes on June 19, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks, Theresa. This is the 5th piece in a series, and I’m having lots of fun with it. (At least when I’m moving forward instead of backward… 😉 )

  3. Barb on June 19, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    I really like the final result, you sure were brave! I was wondering what kind of fabric forms the substrate? I am guessing a cotton batik, but thought you might fill us in.

    • ShellyStokes on June 19, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you, Barb. The base fabric is a hand-dyed cotton by Carolyn Abbott of Minnesota. I would give you a link but she is long retired. I’m blessed to have a small collection of her pieces in my stash.

      I back my fabric with a light-weight woven fusible interfacing to give it more body. I like Face-It Soft from Lazy Girl Designs. Pellon also has something similar.

      For the record, I avoid stitching on batiks. The high thread count makes them difficult to stitch through.

  4. Roni Kirk on June 19, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks Shelly. Good to know we can erase without damaging our work. Your embroideed leaves now flow beautifully.
    Thanks for your comments about the relationship between writers and readers. Something I had never thought about. I do appreciate especially your gift of so much knowledge.
    Enjoy your sunshine and rain when it comes. It is cold and wet in Adelaide South Australia but I try not to complain when cold – 11C today isn’t really cold, or when it is 40C in summer.

    • ShellyStokes on June 19, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      Gracias, Roni. I am much happier with the piece after changing my direction.

      I borrowed the “Thank you for reading” sentiment from a fellow creative writer. His name is John Weiss. He is a painter, cartoonist and very talented writer of delightful, touching stories. I highly recommend his weekly newsletter at

  5. Kim on June 21, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Your piece is lovely. Can’t wait to see it beaded up. I haven’t had to use eraser on paintstix fabric yet, put your lesson is a good one for me to put in my mental tool box.
    Thanks for the great post!

    • ShellyStokes on June 21, 2020 at 11:36 am

      Thanks, Kim. I’m almost ready for beads and looking forward to that next step.

      The eraser bit is yet another one of the many things I’ve learned about using these paints on fabric. There are times when I think about using a different kind of paint, but I really don’t want to go through the learning curve again. 😉

  6. Robbie Payne on June 24, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    WOW…what a great post!! First off, nice to know I’m not the only one who will rip (or un-sew!) hand stitching!!! And to know the paint stiks will hold up to this erasing!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

    • ShellyStokes on June 29, 2020 at 4:10 pm

      You’re in good company, Robbie. I don’t do tons of un-stitching, but when it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. I’m soooo much happier with the results after I changed my mind. 🙂