Find out all you need to know about Cricut Infusible Ink and make gorgeous designs on fabrics, mugs, coasters, bags, and all kinds of other fun projects. At the end of this article, you will know how to create a fabulous Easter baby bodysuit (or t-shirt, or whatever you’d like) that you can proudly gift to a loved one or keep for your own bundle of joy!
Have you ever been frustrated by some of the limitations of iron-on vinyl? It can crack, it doesn’t last a super long time, and you can feel it. Also, you have to work with one color at a time; if you want multiple colors, you have to layer them and that can limit your designs. If any of this sounds familiar, then there is another solution: Cricut Infusible Ink™.
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Table of Contents
- 1 What is Cricut Infusible Ink?
- 2 How does Infusible Ink Work?
- 3 What is the Difference Between Infusible Ink and Sublimation?
- 4 What can I use Cricut Infusible Ink on?
- 5 What do I need for Infusible Ink projects?
- 6 Free SVG File!
- 7 Baby Bodysuit
- 8 Care and feeding of your Infusible Ink garments
- 9 Conclusion
What is Cricut Infusible Ink?
Cricut Infusible Ink™ is a beautiful and convenient option to vinyl that is permanent. You create designs just as you would with vinyl, but they are cut out of sheets that feel more like paper. And that paper comes in wonderful designs and colors. You then press that design onto t-shirts, baby bodysuits, coasters, keychains and all kinds of really neat object blanks!
Infusible Ink is different from vinyl though. Once you press it to a shirt or a mug, for example, you can’t feel it; it becomes a part of whatever you pressed it to. The colors are vivid and will make your designs shine! It is permanent, stretches with fibers and is dishwasher safe as well.
It can be used on all kinds of objects from fabrics to mugs to keychains to wood, even. It is so much fun to play and make things with it–you will want to use it for everything!
Cricut Infusible Ink™ comes in two forms: transfer sheets and pens. The transfer sheets come in colors and designs. You will find them in multi-packs in different sized sheets for your Cricut Explore and Maker series machines, for mugs and for the Cricut Joy. The Infusible Ink pens come in several collections from rainbow to watercolor to neon and more.
How does Infusible Ink Work?
Cricut Infusible Ink™ is a process which special paper with a coating and a special ink uses heat and pressure to “infuse” the ink directly into fabric or onto mugs, keychains, coasters, and more as if it is a part of the object permanently. It is similar to sublimation with a few difference which I’ll cover in a bit. If you are interested in sublimation, check out my article on Everything You Need for Sublimation.
Cricut Infusible Ink™ is quite durable. You can wash infused mugs in the dishwasher, and infused fabrics are permanent. The design stretches with the fabric and will last for far longer than vinyl before it fades if you follow the care directions. It works better in weather elements than vinyl as well since it is permanently infused.
What is the Difference Between Infusible Ink and Sublimation?
Traditional sublimation requires many components, whereas Infusible Ink only requires a few. There are a drawbacks, but overall, Infusible Ink is easier to use over traditional sublimation for the hobby maker.
With sublimation, you will need a number of expensive components. The first is a sublimation printer. You will either need to convert one or buy one outright. Converting a printer is complicated and it is easy to make mistakes. It is the most cost-effective solution for a sublimation printer, so most people go with this. You will also need design software, so you will need to budget for that.
You will need additional supplies for sublimation. Sublimation paper, special ink on a regular basis, a convection oven for tumblers and mugs, tongs, heat gloves, butcher paper, Teflon sheets and more are required. There is a lot to buy, and you will need a lot of shelf and work space for it.
With Cricut Infusible Ink™, you will only need a few things. You will need the Infusible Ink transfer sheets and/or pens, a Cricut machine, cutting mat, EasyPress® and/or a Cricut Mug Press™, and various accoutrement like butcher paper and tweezers. Many of these items you will already have from working with vinyl. You will also need less space when working with infusible ink, which is a bonus!
As for what you can make, there are differences. Sublimation allows you to print in full color designs. Cricut Infusible Ink™ comes in single color and patterned transfer sheets that you cut your designs out of. You can use the Infusible Ink pens to draw multi-color designs and color them in, however.
With sublimation, there are a ton of different blanks and brands you can use. There are different sublimation papers, and even different sublimation ink brands to try for your sublimation printer. With Cricut Infusible Ink™, you have the colors and designs that are available by Cricut, and that’s it. However, you have the Cricut name behind the transfer sheets, pens and infusible ink blanks, and the quality is exactly as expected: top notch. And you can always try a non-Cricut sublimation blank with the infusible ink and see how it works.
What can I use Cricut Infusible Ink on?
Infusible Ink is used with objects called “blanks”, generally. These blanks have a special coating on them. They are called “sublimation blanks”. Cricut has its own line of Infusible Ink blanks that work perfectly with Infusible Ink transfer sheets and pens. I highly recommend using them. Cricut has placed a special identifier on their infusible ink blanks that looks like this:
If you see this image on the front, you can be assured it will work well with your Infusible Ink products. You can use other brands of sublimation blanks. Some may not work as well as the Cricut ones specifically with Cricut Infusible Ink™. But it can be good to experiment. Some places to pick up other blanks are amazon.com, 143vinyl.com, heattransferwarehouse.com and jpplus.com. If you have a brand you like, please let me know in the comments!
What do I need for Infusible Ink projects?
Cricut Maker series, Explore series or Joy machine: Cricut’s Infusible Ink transfer sheets can be cut on all of the Cricut cutting machines that are sold today (April 2022).
Cricut fine point blade or Joy blade: The Infusible Ink sheets are cut with the Fine Point or Premium Fine Point blade. Get Premium Fine Point replacement blades here.
Cricut StandardGrip Mat (green): Use the green StandardGrip mat with the Infusible Ink sheets for both the Maker and Explore series machines and the Cricut Joy. Get the StandardGrip mat here.
Cricut Design Space on your computer, mobile phone or tablet (install it)
Internet access: You will need internet access for Cricut Design Space when making a new design or accessing others’ designs.
Cricut EasyPress®, EasyPress® 2, EasyPress® 3 or AutoPress™ or a heat press: You will need a heat source to press the Infusible Ink to your sublimation or Infusible Ink blank. You can use an EasyPress® or a heat press for fabrics and other flat objects.
Cricut Mug Press™ or convection oven: A Mug Press™ works well for 11 and 15 ounce mugs, and a convection oven is great for both mugs and tumblers. See my article on The Best Convection Ovens for Sublimation if you’re planning on sublimating many tumblers or mugs at one time.
Cricut EasyPress™ Mat or pressing pillow: In order for the Infusible Ink design to completely infuse on fabrics, you will need to use an EasyPress™ mat or a pressing pillow. The mat and pillow ensure that all of the fabric comes in contact with the design.
Tweezers: After pressing and removing the Cricut Infusible Ink™, bits of the transfer paper may remain. Craft tweezers are used to remove those bits.
Cricut Infusible Ink™ blanks or sublimation blanks: For best results, use Cricut Infusible Ink™ blanks. Make sure to look for the Infusible Ink compatibility logo. Try out other sublimation blanks to see how they work with the Infusible Ink specifically if you’d like. Make sure they are “sublimation blanks”.
Cricut Infusible Ink™ transfer sheets: These are the Infusible Ink transfer sheets that you will cut your designs from on your Cricut cutting machine.
Cricut Infusible Ink™ pens: These are the pens you will use to draw designs with and press to your Infusible Ink blank.
Copy paper for Infusible Ink™ pens: Designs that use Infusible Ink pens are drawn on regular copy paper.
Free SVG File!
Grab this free SVG! Use it for sublimation if you or a friend have a sublimation printer, or use it for Print Then Cut for heat transfers or other ideas. The file is a zip with 3 SVGs: one in pink, blue and purple. If you don’t have a friend with a sublimation printer, a local t-shirt printer may be able to print it for you, or there are vendors on Etsy that do this already. Feel free to make whatever physical products you’d like for personal use!
Easter is coming up and it’s a great time to do a project for it. I have a friend with a baby due any day now, so I’ve come up with a “My First Easter” baby bodysuit for us to make. I created a simple design from elements in Cricut Design Studio. If you don’t have Cricut Access, you can find a free Easter image under images (there are some nice eggs and a bunny), or find some inexpensive, basic egg cut files at designbundles.com or hungryjpeg.com.
Supplies you will need for this project
- Cricut Maker Series or Explore Series machine or Cricut Joy
- Cricut Fine point blade
- StandardGrip cutting mat (green)
- Cricut Design Space installed on laptop/computer, mobile or tablet with internet access (install it)
- Cricut EasyPress, EasyPress 2, EasyPress 3, AutoPress (May 2022), or a heat press (I own this one)
- Cricut EasyPress Mat or pressing pillow
- Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets
- A piece of white cardstock
- A lint roller
- Heat tape (optional)
- Butcher paper or the paper that came in the Infusible Ink package
- A baby bodysuit that is at least 65% polyester
Step 1: Open the Design
Open my project in Cricut Design Space. You can choose to use my design or you can create your own. If you don’t have Cricut Access, there are several free Easter graphics to use, and you change the font of the text to the Cricut default font or any of the fonts on your computer (or any you’ve installed that are for personal use.)
Click on the link. Select “Open in App”, then “Open Cricut Design Space Application”. Once Cricut Design Space opens, select “Customize.” If you have Cricut Access, skip to Step 3. Step 2 walks you through switching the egg and font to free options.
Step 2: Change to a Free Egg and Font if Needed
If you need to change to free objects, we will need to delete the egg and select a new one.
Detach and move the egg
Select the graphic. Click on “Detach” on the bottom right, then select the egg, and click, hold and drag it out of the way.
Select a new egg
Click away from the egg. Click on “Images” on the left. Type “easter” in the text box and press enter. Under filters on the left, select “Free” for free images. Select an egg or another image. Select “Add to Canvas” on the bottom right.
Resize and Place the Egg
Click on the egg. Click, hold and drag the corner with the arrows (bottom right) inward to make the egg smaller. Once it looks about right, click, hold and drag it in between the two texts. We will align it in a moment. Resize again if necessary.
Align the egg and text
Click, hold and drag around the text and egg to select all. With everything selected, click on the “Align” drop down at the top. Select “Center Horizontally”. This will line everything up for us.
Change the Font
You will do this step for the top text and the bottom text.
Deselect the design if necessary. Select the top text. Click the “Font” dropdown on the top. Select “System” at the top of the window near “Search Fonts”. Try different system fonts.
Resize the font if necessary by clicking, holding and dragging the text or by changing the font size number in the “Font Size” box at the top. Move the text back into place. Repeat for the bottom text. Realign again if you need to.
Delete the First Egg
Delete the first egg so you are not charged for it. Select it and press the backspace or the delete key. Save your design by pressing the “Save” button on the top right.
Step 3: Make It
Machine selection and mirroring
At the top right, click on the drop down and select the machine you will use next to the drop down in the upper right (if you have multiple machines). Select Make it. If you are using a Maker 3, Explore 3 or Joy, you will be prompted with a selection. Select “On Mat”. On the next page, select “Mirror” on the far left. Then select “Continue” on the bottom right.
Set the material
Select “Browse All Materials”. In the “Search” text box, type “infusible ink” and press enter or click on the search icon. Select “Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet”, then click “Done”. Now it’s time to load the materials onto the mat and into your Cricut machine.
Cut the Design
Loading the Mat
Place the Infusible Ink sheet onto the green Standard Grip mat.
Cutting with your Cricut
Load the mat into your Cricut machine and press the load button (arrows). When prompted, press the Go button (“C” or play button). Cricut Joy users, you will start from your computer or tablet/mobile. Allow the Cricut machine to cut the design. When prompted, select the Load button again to remove the mat from the Cricut machine.
Weed the Design
Create a weeding box by cutting a border around the design with a craft knife. From the edge, separate the Cricut Infusible Ink from its backing material. Gently roll the infusible ink back and forth. It will make a crackling noise. Be sure not to overdo it. This will help with the weeding process.
Using your fingers, begin weeding by pulling the infusible ink sheet away from the backing material. As you progress, crack the paper when necessary to pull bits out and off. If there are any stubborn parts, use your tweezers first to dislodge them. If you cannot get them free with your fingers or the tweezer, then carefully try your weeding tool. I have found that infusible ink takes some patience to weed, but experience will help.
Prepare the bodysuit
Placing the Cardstock
Lay the bodysuit atop the EasyPress Mat or your pressing pillow. Fold a piece of white cardstock so that it can be pushed easily into the bodysuit, supporting the entire front of it. Preheat your EasyPress 2 to 385°, heat press to 385° or your EasyPress to 360°, You can always check your heat setting on the Cricut Heat Guide page. (The EasyPress 3 uses an app to set the temperature and the AutoPress has not been released as of April 2022.)
Clean and Preheat the Bodysuit
Clean the front of the bodysuit well with a lint roller so that there are no stray fibers, hair, dust or anything else that might cause issues with the Infusible Ink. Place a piece of butcher paper that is larger than the platen of the EasyPress or covers completely the bodysuit if you are using a heat press.
Press the bodysuit with the EasyPress or heat press for 15 seconds. Let cool completely.
Press the Design
Remove the butcher paper if you haven’t already. Place the design ink side down (your design should read correctly left to right). Use heat tape on the corners (optional) to keep the design from moving around while pressing. Place butcher paper on top of the design.
Using the EasyPress 2, heat press or EasyPress press the design for 40 seconds, 40 seconds, or120 seconds respectively. Let cool completely. Once cool, remove butcher paper and heat tape if used. Use tweezers to lift and remove the design.
And we’re done! Congratulations!
Care and feeding of your Infusible Ink garments
Taking care of your infused fabrics will help them last as long as possible. Make sure to wash them on cold, gentle cycle, inside out with mild detergent. It’s best to hang dry, but if you must dry them, tumble dry low. No fabric softeners or bleach.
I hope this has been helpful in understanding Cricut Infusible Ink. You’re ready to make your first garment project! It’s hard to cover everything, and I’m sure I missed a few things. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to know or any questions you have. I love hearing from you. Until then, happy, happy crafting!