Using Cricut Infusible Ink

Today we have a guest blog post from JoAnn Davy, who is one of the moderators in my Teach Me Cricut Design Space Facebook group, about the Cricut Infusible Ink system.

Infusible Ink

What is it? How do you apply it?  Pros and cons when compared to HTV? What materials are needed?

The Infusible Ink system gives you vibrantly colored, smooth, permanent, professional-quality transfers that become one with your “blank” (shirt, bags, pillow covers, coasters and other items). This is in contrast to HTV/Iron On that sits on top of the material and may make the item feel stiff and can ripple and peel off.

Infusible Ink Products

The infusible ink products are divided into two major categories:

  • Infusible ink sheets – come in packages of either two or four sheets in a variety of colors and patterns.  The sheets are either 4.5”x12” for the Joy or 12”x12” for the Maker/Explore.
  • Ink markers are used in combination with laser printer paper and allow you to draw and color your design.

These are inserted into the Cricut to draw designs. They comes in a variety of color sets and in either 1.0 mm or .4 mm tips

These are used to color or draw your design freehand on laser paper. These come in either single or dual tips in a variety of sizes: 2.0 mm Marker, 1.8-3.6 mm Brush Tip Marker and 1.0 mm/2.5-3.2mm Dual-Tip Markers (note the freehand marker do not fit in any of the Cricut machines.)

Other items needed:

  • A heat press or the Cricut Easy Press.  Whatever heat press you use it should be larger than your design.  An iron will not get hot enough nor does it give you even heat across the heated element.
  • Butcher Paper – you get a couple sheets of it with the Infusible Ink sheets, but you will need to buy some if you are only planning to use the markers.  It protects the surface of your press.
  • Pieces of white cardstock. This is to protect your Easy Press mat and/or the back of your Blank (shirt, bag, etc.)
  • Laser copy paper – (Only if you are using the markers.)  Laser paper has a smooth finish on it that helps prevent bleeding.  It is made to withstand high heat and will give you better results than ink jet or standard copy paper.
  • An Infusible Ink compatible blank (shirt, bag, etc).  The Cricut blanks have been thoroughly tested and will give you the best results.  You can use other brands but they need to have a very high polyester content.  The Infusible ink bonds with the polyester through a chemical process when heated. Here is a chart comparing the results of many polyester blends. The blank should also be light colored (white, cream, light gray).  The ink will not show up very well on dark colored fabrics.

Using the Infusible Ink sheets

Use Cricut Design Space create your project.  It is easiest if you use simple shapes and thicker lettering. Make sure that your design is smaller than your press. You do NOT want to layer Infusible Ink.  If you have a multi-colored project you will want to Slice one color out of the other.

When ready to make your project – carefully remove the ink sheet from the package and unroll it. Set the white butcher paper aside (you will need it later). Place the ink sheet onto the standard (green) mat with the ink side up-clear carrier sheet down. Using clean hand that are free of oil and lotions, make sure it is well adhered to the mat but don’t touch any more than necessary.  MIRROR the image on every Mat and set the material to Infusible Ink Sheet.

Check that it cut through the ink sheet layer but not the carrier sheet.  If you don’t think it cut deeply enough, without removing the mat you can hit to GO button and have it cut a second time. 

Weeding the Ink sheets

This is totally different than weeding vinyl.  If you only used part of the sheet, trim off the unused portion, carefully roll it back up, put it back into the black plastic bag and back in the box for later use. Roll the cut area through your fingers gently folding back at the cut lines. You may have to fold enough for it to crack.  Then you can just grab a loose corner of the ink sheet and pull it off the backing.  It is OK to use tweezers to grab small pieces but the typical pointed weeding tools are not recommended as they might scrape ink onto the carrier sheet.  It is fine to leave some of the paper backing stuck to the carrier sheet as long as the ink layer is removed.

If you are doing a multi colored image, cut and weed the other pieces then place those pieces in the correct locations on the carrier sheet of the largest piece. In the example above, you would place the blue wing, beak, legs and eye into their proper places on the brown ink sheet so that they can all be pressed at one time.

Pressing the Ink sheets

The best advice is to follow with directions in the Interactive Cricut Heat Settings Guide for specifics. 

Indicate which press you have:  If you have a full-sized heat press determine its maximum temperature. If maximum temperature is 400°F or above use the EasyPress 2 settings. If the maximum temperature of your press is less than 400°F use the EasyPress settings.

Indicate “Infusible Ink sheet”.    Then indicate the blank you are pressing it onto 

It will indicate the Time, temperature, pressure, when to peel and display a diagram showing how to layer.

It is very import to follow the details and layer correctly. This is for t-shirts and it varies slightly for each different blank.

  • Preheat the press to indicated temperature.
  • Place shirt on the pressing mat.
  • Insert cardstock or a piece of thin cardboard inside the t-shirt to prevent bleed through onto the back of the garment.
  • Rub the adhesive type lint roller over the garment.  If you don’t do this the ink will stick to the lint which will be brushed away leaving tiny un-inked spots.
  • Cover the garment with clean butcher paper larger than the heat plate.  Do not reuse butcher paper.  If there is any ink residue from prior use it will leave marks on your new project which will not come out.
This picture shows what can happen when you try to reuse butcher paper
  • Preheat the garment for amount of time indicated (this removes moisture) then remove the butcher paper and let cool.
  • Place the design face down, liner side up.  Be careful to center it and line up both vertically and horizontally.  If the Ink sheet wants to curl up, use small pieces of heat resistant tape to hold it in place.
  • Again cover with the butcher paper and press for the amount of time indicated.  Do not move the press around or else it will smear the ink and give it a blurry appearance.
  • Slowly and carefully lift the press up.
  • Remove the butcher paper and remove the clear carrier sheet.

Using the Infusible Ink markers

Use Cricut Design Space create your project. When done creating, be sure to set the Line Type for every item in the Layers Panel to DRAW and indicate the color of the Infusible Ink markers you want to use.

When ready to make your Design Space project, place a sheet of Laser Copy paper onto the light grip (blue) mat. MIRROR the image, set the material to Laser Copy Paper and insert the Infusible Ink marker.

When done drawing, remove the paper from the mat.  You can press the design as it is or use the Infusible Ink Freehand markers to hand color in areas.

You can also use the Infusible Ink Freehand Markers to draw your design from scratch on Laser Printer paper. Remember that the image needs to be mirrored so you will need to write text backward.  (This option is a great way for kids to create one of a kind designs).

Pressing the Drawn designs

The best advice is to follow with directions in the Interactive Cricut Heat Settings Guide for specifics.

Indicate which press you have:  If you have a full-sized heat press determine its maximum temperature. If maximum temperature is 400°F or above use the EasyPress 2 settings. If the maximum temperature of your press is less than 400°F use the EasyPress settings.

Indicate “Infusible Ink Pen/Markers”.    Then indicate what you are pressing it onto:

It will indicate the Time, temperature, pressure, when to peel and display a diagram showing how to layer.

It is very import to follow the details and layer correctly. This is for a baby bodysuit and it varies slightly for each different blank.

  1. Preheat the press to indicated temperature.
  2. Place bodysuit on the pressing mat.
  3. Insert cardstock or a piece of thin cardboard inside the t-shirt to prevent bleed through onto the back of the garment.
  4. Rub the adhesive type lint roller over the garment.  If you don’t do this the ink will stick to the lint which will be brushed away leaving tiny un-inked spots.
  5. Cover the garment with clean butcher paper larger than the heat plate.  Do not reuse butcher paper.  If there is any ink residue from prior use it will leave marks on your new project which will not come out.
  6. Preheat the garment for amount of time indicated (this removes moisture) then remove the butcher paper and let cool.
  7. Place the design face down.  Be careful to center it and line up both vertically and horizontally.  Use small pieces of heat resistant tape to hold it in place.
  8. Again cover with the butcher paper and press for the amount of time indicated.  Do not move the press around as that will smear the ink and give it a blurry appearance.
  9. Slowly and carefully lift the press up.
  10. Remove the butcher paper and remove the Laser paper. 
  11. When cooled pull out the piece of cardstock from inside the garment. 
  12. Note that it will appear that is still a lot of ink left on the Laser paper, but if you try to press it onto a second item the image will be blurry and faded looking.

Cricut Infusible Ink Project Samples

Here are some samples of things JoAnn has created with Infusible Ink.

Baby Bodysuits

The one on the left was done with Ink sheets. The one on right was drawn and colored with the ink markers.

Ceramic coaster done with Ink sheet.

Tote bag done with an Ink sheet

We would love to see your Infusible Ink projects! Click HERE to pick up your supplies now.

JoAnn Davy is a moderator for the Teach Me Cricut Design Space Facebook group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *