Today we are going to talk about Infusible Ink, which is the Cricut version of sublimation printing. Infusible Ink is pens, markers, or sheets of ink that infuse with the fabric leaving you with a design you can’t feel, unlike vinyl. The ink only fuses with polyester, this means the higher the polyester count the better it will fuse. The absolute lowest percentage of polyester that works is 65%, however, there is some fading after washing when you use 65%. The lowest I personally would go is 80% as the design comes out very bright and crisp and does not fade after washing. Keep in mind the higher the percentage the better the design will look. Cricut blanks are 100% polyester, you don’t want to splurge for the Cricut brand you can use sublimation blanks. Using sublimation blanks gives you a bigger variety of items you can make however you need to remember whatever blank you choose you have to have a way to press it without the heat source moving. Speaking of heat you should always check the Cricut heat guide! A heat press or EasyPress is a must for larger designs, you can get away with an iron-on small simple designs on shirts…but it is not recommended (and won’t work well for coasters) because you need high consistent heat and can’t move the heat source.
OK so now let’s talk about the infusible ink itself, it comes in rolls, markers, and pens. The rolls do come in solid colors or patterned, all rolls come with a small square of fabric and two pieces of butcher paper. The ink on the transfer sheets is going to be a more muted color than what it will look like after applying heat so base your design off the package.
For the pens and markers, you want to make sure to pay attention to your design, if it is very intricate then you will most likely want to use the pens as they will draw a thinner line. When using the pens and markers you will place laser copy paper in the Cricut to draw on then apply that to the blank. Now regardless of if you are using the rolls or the pens/markers, the image has to be mirrored…that means unless you can draw images mirrored you will need to use your machine to draw. So how can you put a hand-drawn item on a blank? You will scan in the picture and upload it. Unless you use third-party software and do a lot of editing the majority of the images you upload will turn into outlines you can then color (or fill in) with the pens/markers. This is a fun project to do with kids! I would recommend using the pens for the outline.
Now that you have your design it is time to make it. When using the pens or markers make sure you test your supplies to make sure they aren’t dry then load the pen in the machine. When using the rolls you will place the shiny side down. If you used the pens or markers your design is ready to go!
Once the sheet is cut you will weed the image. The easiest way to do this is to roll the design. Then use your fingers to weed the design, personally I found that using the usual weeding tools was actually more difficult.
If you have a multicolored design you will need to layer your design, however, layering with Infusible Ink if not like layering with vinyl. You are going to place the image together on the transfer paper, so you will want to make sure that one of the colors has enough transfer paper to hold the entire design. You will transfer each item of the design onto the one piece of transfer paper, this can be difficult to line up depending on how intricate your design is.
This will allow you to only press the design one time, this is important because the amount of heat is important. Applying heat multiple times can also cause ghosting if any ink from the previous layer gets on the butcher paper or transfer sheet.
Follow the heat guide for temp, time, and how to layer the items. You have to use the EasyPress mat (or heat press) or ironing board or towel is not recommended as it does not provide a consistent enough pressure.
I hope this answers all your Infusible Ink questions. Have you used Infusible Ink before? Is it something you want to try? Let me know down below! If you are interested in my Cricut 101 course you can find it here.