Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Bohin Ceramic Pencil for Embroidery Design Transfers, Sewing, and Quilting


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I’ve received lots of questions lately about the Bohn Ceramic Pencil that I wrote about a year ago last February! I think someone must be recommending them for certain projects (besides me!) and so people are looking for them!

I use the Bohn Ceramic Pencil to transfer embroidery designs on darker fabrics, and even on white fabrics such as silk. The chalk, though white, is matte, and it shows up quite well on shiny white silk.

Bohn Ceramic Pencil for Transferring Embroidery Designs, Sewing, and Quilting

The pencil is pictured there on the right. It’s a mechanical pencil, and fine enough for good lines for stitching over. I like it very much!

But, it is hard to come by! I don’t know of any online sources for it, though Erica’s does carry the yellow ceramic refils (but strangely enough, no pencil!).

I bought my pencil at Sarah’s Fabrics in Lawrence, Kansas. While they don’t sell notions on their website, I have heard from another reader that they were very gracious about selling it over the phone and mailing it to her. Their website is mostly in Flash, so I didn’t link you directly to their contact information. You can find it by entering past the introduction.

I think the pencils are a nice tool and worth having in your toolbox. If you come across them anywhere while you’re out shopping, pick one up! You’ll be glad you did!

Hope that helps, Robbie, Kassandra, and Julie! And of course, everyone else looking for a good white transfer pencil!


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(18) Comments

  1. Does it work like a transfer pencil where you draw your design on paper and then can iron it onto fabric, or do you draw directly onto fabric?

    I love turning my drawings into embroidery (I’ve even been having fun giving them away as free patterns on my blog), but have never found a method I was quite satisfied with to get them from the paper to the fabric. Right now I mostly depend on carbon paper.

  2. Hi, Corvus –

    Actually, you draw directly on the fabric. It’s not an iron-on pencil. I normally trace my designs, and occasionally, I’ll use dress-maker’s carbon. The ceramic pencil works for marking on fabrics that aren’t white – it works, for example, on natural colored linen – and it also works on shiny white fabrics. The advantage is that it does brush or rinse off better than most transfer pencils. Plus, it’s a nice, precise line produced by a mechanical-type pencil, so no sharpening required….


  3. Hello Mary. I purchased one of these Bohin pencils at an International Quilt Exhitition from a booth that the Bohin company had rented. Anyway, I kept the bag (who knoww why). One the outside of the bag is a website: http://www.bohin.fr Unfortunately, the site is in French and I am unsure if they sell any items. I did not pursue any time with the site (Oh the reasons are too many to mention). Anyway, I am passing this information on to you and others who are interested.

  4. Thanks all, for the information on the Bohin pencils. Wow. I just realized I spelled it wrong!

    The sewline pencil looks just like the Bohin one, only in pink!

    And it’s good to have the original company website – thanks for that, Linda!


  5. Tanja Berlin is carrying these now. They’re new to her site (just this month I think). The one she carries is red and white, but I think it uses the same size lead as the one in Mary’s photo. It comes with grey and white leads. I’ve been very tempted to buy one.

    In the little bit of searching I’ve done on these pencils I haven’t found one that comes with two colours of leads other than the one on Berlin Embroidery.

    I’ve found 4 colours of lead refills on various sites. I think they were grey, white, yellow, and green. (It’s been a while since I searched.)

    http://www.berlinembroidery.com/prickandpounce.htm#bohinHer price seems fair ($17.95 Canadian) given that the pencil comes with two colours of leads.

    1. Hi, Carolyn – I haven’t tried the Clover pencil, so I’m not sure. I know the Bohin uses ceramic lead that can be erased or wiped off with a damp cloth, or laundered out. The leads are nice and fine, and come in several colors. But since I haven’t seen the Clover pencil up close, I don’t know how they differ. If I get a chance, I’ll take a look at the Clover one. Thanks! ~MC

  6. I have a “Sewline Fabric Pencil” It says it has a “specially formulated lead” It is a mechanical pencil with both black and white lead. It also features it as “Japanese selection.” Will that work in place of this bohin ceramic lead pencil?

  7. I found a Bohn Ceramic Pencil on amazon. Though it’s not called ceramic, it appears to be the same thing. Do a search for Bohin mechanical white chalk extra fine marking pencil 91473

  8. What is the trick of loading in a new piece of lead into the pen? I am having trouble getting it to come out so I can use it.

    1. Hi, Maureen – the lead may be too sort. Hold the clicker down and pull the current lead out and then I just hold the clicker down and push the new one back in, but I think you can open the pen and put it inside… Can’t remember off the bat, and don’t have it right in front of me! But hope that helps!

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