What to do when your quilt is attacked by a toddler wielding a dry erase marker

I had just finished my mini quilt for the Bee a {Modern} Swapper swap.

Patchwork and birds mini quilt

I had solved my conundrum over what to do about quilting around the bird in the middle of the quilt.


I had finished the quilting around the rest of the quilt.


The only think I had left to do was to attach the binding and send the quilt off to its new home.  I was pleased to be finished, so I brought the quilt downstairs to take a photo.  Before I could return my pretty mini quilt to the sewing room to add the finishing touches, disaster struck in the form of a 2-year-old who had gotten her hands on a dry erase marker.

The horror!!

Here’s a tip: dry erase marker is more or less permanent on fabric.  Do not ever allow a child to unleash her “creative additions” on your quilting project with dry erase marker.  At least give her a washable marker or an ink pen.  I’m sure those would come out easier than this, which, did not come out at all!

In case you were curious, here is the list of various cleaners and chemicals I used on the marker in an attempt to remove it.  Oxiclean MaxForce laundry stain remover, Resolve carpet cleaner, extended soak in oxyclean, Mr. Clean magic eraser, extra concentrated oxyclean, nail polish remover, pure acetone, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, bleach pen, mineral spirits, and Greased Lightning cleaner.  Hmmm … I think that’s all.  I received several other suggestions that I did not try (Murphy’s oil soap, hairspray, rotten milk), but really, I think I covered the spectrum of chemical reaction that could have removed it.

When it became clear that I would not be able to remove the marker, I made a plan to cover it.  I traced the edges of the various sections of the quilt and marked where the damage was.  When I had finished that, I drew out an appliqué pattern to cover it.

Then it was just a matter of creating the actual fabric appliqué.  To keep with the style I had already started in the center of my quilt and have a piece large enough to cover all the damage, I ended doing raw edge appliqué on two dozen little leaves, a large tree, a bird, and three flowers.  Phew!

But we’ll call it a success.

IMG_5507 There is one bit of marker left that I could have covered with a different arrangement of the leaves, but I’m leaving it uncovered as a remind of what I went through with this project.

IMG_5509I finished it off with some aqua Ta Dots for the binding.

IMG_5511You can see on the back where I added the appliqué after the quilt was already together, but since this is a wall hanging, you’ll never even notice.



11 replies
  1. M. E. Stephens
    M. E. Stephens says:

    Wow! I’m impressed! Nice save! Good idea to remember just in case. 🙂

    Once years ago, my then-little-brother was shaking an erasable ink pen and it actually spattered out the end (the lid was off) and onto my dress. We tried a lot of things to get that out too, but to no avail. I was really sorry because I really liked that dress/jumper, but my brother felt so bad I tried not to be too upset about it. I might have been able to save it with something like this, but it seems like the “decorations” were pretty wide spread.

  2. kate C
    kate C says:

    Fantastic! I like it better now that the original! (which I liked just fine, in case you were wondering!) Glad you are keeping it for yourself!

  3. Shena
    Shena says:

    Kudos to you for persevering and saving the quilt. I probably would have stuffed it in a closet and cut my losses. It looks fabulous with the extra tree and bird added. You did an incredible job and I agree with the other commenters who said that it actually looks better. (Though I did love how it looked before too.)

  4. cynthia andrews
    cynthia andrews says:

    I am so glad you “saved” the mini and did more embellishments! it is gorgeous – what a great lil helper you have

  5. Elizabeth Kramer
    Elizabeth Kramer says:

    I love trees and so I adore the after quilt!
    But I also wanted to chime in for others that might have similar disasters, hairspray may do it! I wouldn’t believe it either but it SAVED me when I got pen marks all over a ring bearer handmade white pillow right before the wedding!
    (P.S. lesson learned – do not throw a pen in a bag thinking you are being smart and may need a pen later…)

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