Making hats has never been easier now that Cricut has released the Cricut Hat Press! Before, we needed to use the Cricut EasyPress Mini, or buy a large hat press or bulky attachment for a heat press machine. Well, not anymore! Now we can have the Cricut Hat Press, which comes with a Form that provides a firm surface for us to press against to give us the best possible press we can get for vinyl, infusible ink, sublimation and heat transfers!
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Today we are going to learn how to use the Cricut Hat Press, this fantastic new heat press machine. I am going to teach you how to use it to make several different types of hats using vinyl, layered vinyl, infusible ink, and even heat transfers. If you’d like to learn in-depth information about the Cricut Hat Press, please see my post All About the Cricut Hat Press.
Table of Contents
What’s in the Cricut Hat Press Box?
- Cricut Hat Press
- Safety base
- Cricut Hat Pressing Form
- Iron-On design for practice project
- Strong Heat Resistant Tape
- Quick Start Guide
- User Guide
The Cricut Hat Press comes with the Press, a Form and a sample of Strong Heat Resistant Tape. You will need Strong Heat Resistant Tape to hold the design in place as the Cricut Hat Press is moved back and forth during pressing. It is important that the design doesn’t move; especially infusible ink and sublimation to avoid ghosting. So don’t forget to pick up some Strong Heat Resistant Tape when you get your Hat Press.
What’s Not In the Cricut Hat Press Box
The Cricut Hat Press doesn’t come with any hats, so you will need to purchase a couple when you order yours. Cricut has two types of hat blanks that are rigorously tested and work very well with vinyl and infusible ink—the Cricut ball cap and Cricut trucker cap. We will use the Cricut ball cap in today’s post. You can also use non-Cricut hats from other brands. I’ve picked up some hats from Amazon that you’ll see today.
You’ll need a design or two for your hats, so I’m using some designs I’ve purchased and some I’ve made myself. Also, Cricut Access provides many Phrases and Images to use for hats, and you can find some great SVGs at Creative Fabrica. Cricut recommends a design size of 2.25” H x 4.25” W. The plate of the Cricut Hat Press will cover a design this size completely.
The Cricut Hat Press and Form
The Cricut Hat Press is a simple design. It is 4.3” D x 6.5” W x 5.1” H and weighs 2.4 pounds. It has a curved 3” W x 5” L plate, an on/off switch, a temperature button and a temperature indicator. It comes in “Zen Blue”, matching the Cricut Maker 3, EasyPress 3 and AutoPress. It works in conjunction with the Cricut Heat App but will work without also.
The Cricut hat press form is 6.5” D x 5.2” H x 7.5” W and weighs three pounds. It has a handle on one side. It snugly holds hats in place and provides a firm surface to press vinyl, infusible ink, sublimation ink and transfer sheets to your hat’s surface. It contains walnut shells which help eliminate moisture and direct heat.
If you have a nut or walnut allergy, please take necessary precautions. The warning is listed in several places and on the form itself.
Cricut Hat Press has three temperatures including low, medium and high; 255°– 295° F, 300°-355° F, 360°-400° F. For a more in-depth look, check out my post All About the Cricut Hat Press.
Setting up Cricut Hat Press
The first thing we’re need to do is register your Cricut Hat Press. In order to do that, we’ll need to install the Cricut Heat App. It works with iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices, and you can get the app at those links.
Once the app is installed, power on your Cricut Hat Press using the on/off button on the side (it is the lower button with the thermometer on it). The Hat Press should flash white on the power/temperature button, indicating it needs to be registered.
Sign in on the Cricut Heat app, if you aren’t already, using your existing Cricut.com or Cricut Design Space account information. If this is the first time you’ve ever used a Cricut product and do not have an account, you’ll need to create an account with Cricut.com or Cricut Design Space.
Once you have done this, your device will search for and connect to your mobile or tablet. You need to be within 7 feet of your Cricut Hat Press. You don’t need to manually connect via Bluetooth on your phone or tablet; Cricut Heat App will do this automatically.
Next, you will be prompted to set up your Cricut Hat Press. Select “Set Up”. All of the available hat presses to set up will be listed. Select “Connect” next to your Cricut Hat Press. You will see a “Connecting to Hat Press” page while it is connecting.
Once the activation is complete, you will see a message indicating Success. Your Hat Press is ready to go! You can now heat up and use your Cricut Hat Press with the Cricut Heat App.
How to Use the Cricut Hat Press
I’m going to show you how to make a Cricut ball caps with an Iron-On design and Infusible Ink. I also have a few other hats I’ve made that I want to cover. I’ve included links to the supplies to make these hats for your convenience.
- Cricut Hat Press and Form
- Strong Heat Resistant Tape
- Lint Roller
- Butcher paper
- Infusible ink transfer sheets (optional)
- Starcraft for Dark Materials Inkjet Printable Transfers or HTVRONT Heat Transfer Paper for Dark Fabrics (optional)
- Heat Transfer Vinyl
One important thing to note is not to sublimate or use infusible ink on the bills of ball caps, trucker hats and tennis visors. The heat is too high and may warp and/or bubble the bill. Also, avoid buttons, eyelets and mesh. Otherwise, you can apply over seams and the rest of the hat. Make sure your hat is at least 65% polyester if you will be using infusible ink or sublimation.
Prepare the Hat
First, put the hat on the Cricut Hat Press Form. Use the side of the form that does not have the handle. Remove any cardboard from inside of the hat and pull out the sweatband as we want the hat to lay as flat as possible against the form. Open any band in the back. The hat should fit all the way down, snugly, so that there is no gap in the top.
If it is a smaller hat, such as a large child’s hat, try using the smaller side of the form if necessary. Not all large children’s hats will fit on the form, and most small children’s hats will not fit at all.
Once you have the hat on the form, close the band in the back again. Set the form on its side so that the pressing area is side up and facing you.
Lint roll the pressing area of the hat to make sure any lint or debris is removed from the pressing area.
Set Up Cricut Heat
Next, turn on the Cricut Hat Press. In the Cricut Heat App, select the Transfer Material type and what it will be applied to. For the Cricut ball cap I will be transferring Everyday Iron-On to Cotton/Poly Blend. Send the settings to the Hat Press.
Make the Hat
Next, pre-heat the pressing area. This is to remove moisture and any wrinkles that may be present. Using the pre-heated Hat Press, press the “Go” button (looks like a play button) on the side. Press the area where the design will be placed to remove moisture and wrinkles. The Cricut Heat App will count down 5 seconds and beep when done. Remove the Cricut Heat Press when it beeps and set it back in its base.
After pre-heating, it’s time to place the design. The design should be ¼” to ½” above the bill of the cap or where it will be pressed on the hat. If necessary, snip notches around the design with scissors to help it lay flat across the hat over the curve. Use Strong Heat Resistant Tape to tape the design down well so that it doesn’t move or slide. Make sure Cricut Hat Press plate will extend ½” past each side of the design.
Tape butcher paper over the design. This will create a smooth surface to easily move back and forth.
Begin pressing over the vinyl design, moving Cricut Hat Press back and forth in a measured and moderate to slow rhythm. Press the “Go” button on the side of the Cricut Hat Press (looks like a play button). The Cricut Heat App will begin to count down. When the countdown has completed, the Heat App will beep. Remove Cricut Hat Press from the design. Wait for it to cool completely, then peel.
If you preheated the hat, the countdown will count the press time. If you did not preheat the hat, you will need to select “Skip” to skip the preheat.
In the Cricut Heat App, there is a “Detailed Instructions” link that you can select that will give you step-by-step instructions you can reference as you use the Cricut Hat Press.
For layered vinyl, I used Cricut Everyday Iron-On and Cricut Glitter Vinyl on a tennis visor. In this case, I tried pressing the first layer just long enough to tack it down like I do with regular layering. It didn’t stick, so I pressed it the full amount of time. I let it cool completely in between the layers. The vinyl didn’t warp like it normally would had I over-pressed the first layer for the full amount of time, so that’s something to make note of when you try layering.
Be careful with visors that have the same material in the top as in the bill. Infusible ink and sublimation can warp or bubble those areas due to the high heat requirements.
Single Layer Vinyl
I used Cricut Everyday Iron-On Vinyl on a canvas bucket hat. I learned that 100% cotton canvas needs a hotter temperature and longer time frame than the 100% cotton settings. In order to change the temperature and time, select the “Edit” link in the Cricut Heat App next to “Recommended Settings” once you have selected your Transfer Material and fabric type. There you can edit the temperature and time, and even turn the preheat on and off. Even at 340° and 75 seconds, it wasn’t enough, so next time I will try 350° and 90 seconds.
Sublimation for Dark Materials
If you’ve never used heat transfers before, check out my post How to Sublimate on Dark Shirts. It explains how to use transfer paper on dark shirts and other dark garments in lieu of sublimation.
For example, in order to get started on 4th of July accessories, I used StarCraft for Dark Materials Inkjet Printable Transfers on a dark, polyester trucker hat . You can also use HTVRONT Heat Transfer Paper for Dark Fabrics. It allowed me to use a brightly colored flag design on a dark blank and have the entire design show completely.
If I had used straight sublimation, the design would have melted into the black, as sublimation infuses into the material. In this case, however, it has a white background that is hidden by the ink sitting on top, so you can see the colors as if there were no black background. This works great for dark shirts too.
In order to successfully press heat transfers to hats, the Cricut Heat App settings will need to be manually set. To do this, open the Cricut Heat App. Select “Start New Project”. Select “Iron-On Designs” for Transfer Material and select the appropriate fabric type. Click on “Next” at the top of the app window.
Next, select “Edit” next to “Recommended Settings”. Set the Temperature and Press Time to the values indicated in the instructions provided by the heat transfers you are using.
Select “Done” at the top of the screen when you are finishing inputting the Temperature and Time. Send the settings to Cricut Hat Press. Press the heat transfer design to the hat using the “Detailed Instructions” link in the Heat App.
Lastly, I tried Cricut Infusible Ink on a trucker hat, and it worked beautifully. I used the Infusible Ink settings with Polyester as my trucker hat is 100% Polyester. I followed the directions it gave and the hat came out perfectly. With Infusible Ink, making sure the design doesn’t move is important. Use a good amount of Strong Heat Resistant Tape on all four sides. Also, be sure to use butcher paper, as Infusible Ink and sublimation tend to bleed ink. Just ignore that little piece I forgot to weed!
We’ve covered how to make hats with a single layer of vinyl, Infusible Ink, layered vinyl and heat transfer sheets. The Cricut Hat Press is versatile, allowing for many styles and brands of hats using many different techniques. The revolutionary Form provides a solid base from which to firmly press designs on entire surfaces of hats. This is not something you can get from using the Cricut EasyPress mini.
If you, your family and your friends love to wear hats, or you organize sports teams, or even if you want to sell hats, the Cricut Hat Press would be a great addition to your Cricut tools and accessories!
I love hearing from y’all. If I’ve missed anything or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Until then, happy, happy crafting!
- All About the Cricut Hat Press
- Cricut Hat Press – Tips and Tricks from the Cricut Official Site
- Cricut Hat Press FAQs from the Cricut Official Site
- How to Activate Cricut Hat Press from the Cricut Official Site
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