Excited about Cricut’s new Infusible Ink products? This article has everything you need to know about using Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets!
Have you tried out Cricut’s new Infusible Ink products yet? I have, and they are AWESOME! I use heat transfer vinyl a lot, but I think Infusible Ink might be my new favorite heat transfer product. It’s super easy to use and your finished project has no bumps or texture or anything on top of it. It’s perfectly smooth with bright, vivid colors, and the ink is permanent so it lasts through wash after wash!
This post is all about Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets: what they are, how to use them, what types of projects you can do with them, and tips & tricks for using them. (I also played around with the Infusible Ink pens and markers and made some amazing mandala coasters; check out my tips and tricks for Infusible Ink pens and markers.)
Everything You Need To Know About Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets
Cricut Infusible Ink comes in two products: pens/markers and transfer sheets. The pens and markers are sort of like regular Cricut pens except that you don’t draw directly onto your project; instead you draw onto a sheet of copy paper and then use a heat press to press the ink from the paper onto the project. The transfer sheets are similar to a sheet of heat transfer vinyl where you cut out your mirrored design and then press with a heat press to transfer the ink from the transfer sheet onto your project.
- Everything You Need To Know About Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets
- Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets FAQs
- What is Cricut Infusible Ink?
- What are Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- How do Infusible Ink transfer sheets work?
- Which machines can use Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- Which blanks are compatible with Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- Where can I buy Infusible Ink transfer sheets and other supplies?
- Are Infusible Ink transfer sheets wet? Is this a messy project?
- Can I use a regular iron with Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- What other supplies do I need to use Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- Are Infusible Ink transfer sheets like sheets of heat transfer vinyl or iron-on vinyl?
- When should I use Infusible Ink transfer sheets, and when should I use heat transfer vinyl?
- Can I use multiple layers of Infusible Ink transfer sheets to make a single design?
- Do I need a printer to use Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- Do Infusible Ink transfer sheets expire?
- How should I store unused Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- Why are the colors in the Infusible Ink transfer sheets so muted? I thought they were supposed to be bright and vivid!
- Can I reuse my Infusible Ink transfer sheets after the first press?
- My Cricut cut through the liner of my Infusible Ink transfer sheet! What do I do?
- How do I weed my Infusible Ink transfer sheets after they are cut?
- How do I care for the projects I make with Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
- How do I make a project with Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets FAQs
What is Cricut Infusible Ink?
Infusible Ink is a new line of Cricut products that allow you to get professional-quality heat transfer projects at home! In the most basic terms it’s ink that “infuses” into your project; instead of being a physical layer of material that attaches to your project with a layer of adhesive (like heat transfer vinyl), Infusible Ink actually sinks into your project, dying the project itself.
Infusible Ink permanently infuses into your blank leaving you with a seamlessly smooth image that lasts forever! It becomes one with the project itself, so the image will last until the t-shirt itself frays into nothingness. It doesn’t flake, peel, crack, wrinkle; it stretches and moves with the fabric of your project if you make a shirt or tote bag, and it’s completely smooth, like you “printed” directly onto your project!
What are Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets are pre-printed sheets of material containing Infusible Ink that are designed to work with your Cricut machine. You can load them into your Cricut machine just like any other material (by loading it onto a cutting mat) and your Cricut will cut out your design. Then, when you press the transfer sheets with a heat press, the ink leaves the transfer sheet and becomes permanently infused into your project!
Infusible Ink transfer sheets come in a variety of solid colors and printed patterns so you have tons of choices when it comes to your project design! You can see all of the color and pattern options here.
How do Infusible Ink transfer sheets work?
The science behind how Infusible Ink works is actually pretty cool! When you look at Infusible Ink transfer sheets, the colored ink on the paper is in a solid state, just like any regular ink. But Infusible Ink is special because when you apply heat, it goes through a chemical transformation and turns into a gas! At that point the ink comes off the transfer sheet and infuses directly into your project. Then, once the heat is removed and your project cools down, the ink turns back into a solid within your project and it is permanently infused into your project.
One thing to note, this only works on certain materials; the ink “sticks” best to poly-based materials like polyester fabric or poly-coated ceramic coasters. Luckily Cricut has a whole line of blanks that have been tested to work with Infusible Ink! Currently you can get tote bags, t-shirts in mens, womens, and kids sizes, baby onesies, and coasters.
Which machines can use Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
Which blanks are compatible with Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
All of the Cricut blanks work with Infusible Ink transfer sheets! You can make tote bags, coasters, t-shirts in Mens, Womens, and Kids sizes, or baby onesies.
Where can I buy Infusible Ink transfer sheets and other supplies?
Infusible Ink products (pens, markers, transfer sheets, and blanks) are available exclusively at Michaels through the end of September. You can find them in stores or online. They will be available through Cricut’s website and other retailers starting October 2.
Are Infusible Ink transfer sheets wet? Is this a messy project?
Nope! The pre-inked transfer sheets are totally dry and the ink is in its solid state while on the transfer sheet. The ink only transforms into a gas when the right amount of heat is applied, and at that point you will have the transfer sheet pressed up against your project blank; the gaseous ink will only have one place to go, so it’s actually a pretty clean and contained technique!
Can I use a regular iron with Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
Unfortunately no. Regular household irons just don’t get hot enough to cause the chemical transformation in the Infusible Ink products. You need to use a heat press or Cricut EasyPress 2 that can reach temperatures of 400 F (you can also use the original Cricut EasyPress but with varied results because it doesn’t quite get hot enough…)
What other supplies do I need to use Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
The exact supplies you need when doing an Infusible Ink project vary depending on the exact type of project (for example, you need a lint roller for making shirts, but not for making coasters, etc.) but here are the basic supplies you need:
Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets: Obviously!
A heat source: The Infusible Ink system was built to work with the Cricut EasyPress 2. You could also use any other heat press machine, but a regular household iron does not get hot enough for Infusible Ink (the original Cricut EasyPress doesn’t quite get hot enough either, but you can use it if you want, you just risk less vibrant colors or incomplete transfers etc.)
Cricut EasyPress mat: You really should use an EasyPress mat for Infusible Ink; a regular towel works fine for iron on vinyl but it absorbs too much heat out of your project to make it work for Infusible Ink (you need all that heat to stay in your project blank rather than absorbing into the towel).
StandardGrip mat: Best for holding Infusible Ink transfer sheets.
Cricut compatible blanks: In theory any poly-coated blank will work, but Cricut only guarantees the brightness and long-lasting-ness of Infusible Ink on their blanks that have the Infusible Ink compatibility badge. They’ve done rigorous testing on the compatible blanks and know they work great; any other blanks might work, but they weren’t designed to work with the Infusible Ink system, so results aren’t guaranteed.
Heat resistant tape: Really important for holding multiple pieces/colors of your designs still while you apply heat, otherwise your design will ghost.
Lint roller (for fabric projects): Even if you don’t see any lint on your blank, lint roll it anyway. Some lint is so small you can’t see it, but it will still leave weird colored speckles on your finished project if you press it along with the Infusible Ink.
Lint-free cloth (for coasters): For the same reasons as above, you need to wipe down coasters with a lint-free cloth (like a microfiber cloth) before pressing.
Butcher paper: This protects your EasyPress from any escaped Infusible Ink, and also protects your blanks from overheating from direct contact with the EasyPress plate. Cricut recommends white butcher paper that is 14-32 lb.
Cardstock: This protects your EasyPress mat and work surface from any escaped Infusible Ink. Cricut recommends white cardstock that is 80 lb or heavier.
Scissors: For trimming away the excess transfer sheet so you can save it for another project.
Are Infusible Ink transfer sheets like sheets of heat transfer vinyl or iron-on vinyl?
Not really. Heat transfer vinyl is a layer of material that is attached on top of your base material, but Infusible Ink transfer sheets contain ink that actually infused into your base material and becomes permanently a part of it, rather than sitting on top.
When should I use Infusible Ink transfer sheets, and when should I use heat transfer vinyl?
Well, if you want, you can use them both together to create a super cool project! But there are some times when one material is better than the other.
Here are some important considerations:
- Heat transfer vinyl can be applied to almost any surface that can stand the heat of the heat press.
- Infusible Ink products must be applied to a compatible Infusible Ink blank.
- You can use heat transfer vinyl on any color of fabric or base material.
- Infusible Ink products work best on white or light-colored fabrics.
- Heat transfer vinyl can be applied with a regular household iron.
- Infusible Ink requires the Cricut Easy Press 2 (or a heat press that reaches 400°F)
- Fancy finishes or effects like glitter, metallic, foil, holographic, etc. can only be found in heat transfer vinyl.
Can I use multiple layers of Infusible Ink transfer sheets to make a single design?
Yep, and I’ll show you how at the bottom of this post! There are two things to be careful of: First, if you do two layers on top of each other, the ink colors will blend where the transfer sheets overlap, and second, multiple applications of high heat to the Infusible Ink products may cause the colors to fade. So basically you have to try to consolidate the transfer sheets as much as you can, avoid overlapping sheets, and try to get it all done in as few presses as possible.
Do I need a printer to use Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
Nope, the transfer sheets come pre-inked with Infusible Ink; no printer required!
Do Infusible Ink transfer sheets expire?
Not really; they are designed to last for at least a year if you store them properly according to the directions on the package.
How should I store unused Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
The best way to store unused transfer sheets is to put them back in their original packaging in a cool, dry location. This will help avoid color fading or damage to the sheet.
Why are the colors in the Infusible Ink transfer sheets so muted? I thought they were supposed to be bright and vivid!
Don’t worry, they will be! It’s part of the magic of the chemical reaction that happens when heat is applied; the ink you see on the transfer sheet is in its solid state, but once it transforms into its gaseous state and bonds with your project, it’s a slightly different color (read: brighter and way more vivid!) You can look at the package your transfer sheets came in to see what the finished colors and patterns will look like.
Can I reuse my Infusible Ink transfer sheets after the first press?
Nope, it may look like there is still some ink left on the transfer sheet after you do the transfer, but it’s not enough for a second project. When you apply heat to the transfer sheet, the Infusible Ink detaches from the sheet and permanently infuses into your project, leaving only traces behind on the original transfer sheet.
My Cricut cut through the liner of my Infusible Ink transfer sheet! What do I do?
Don’t worry, it’s okay! The liner of the transfer sheets is thin and it’s perfectly fine if the cut goes all the way through in some places. If the rest of the liner is still intact that should be enough to hold your design in place while you press.
How do I weed my Infusible Ink transfer sheets after they are cut?
The best way to weed the transfer sheets is with your hands. Take the transfer sheet off the cutting mat and trim away any unused portion. Then gently bend and roll the transfer sheet between your hands to “crack” the pre-inked material along the cut lines your Cricut made. You’ll hear some cracking sounds and the edges of the cut pieces will start to come up off the plastic liner. Bend and roll the entire sheet so that all of your cut lines are cracked, then carefully grab the background pieces you want to remove and pull them off the liner, leaving your design on the backing sheet.
How do I care for the projects I make with Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
For fabric projects like shirts and tote bags, Cricut suggests that you machine wash them inside out with cold water and mild detergent (basically on the Delicates cycle) and then tumble dry low or hang them to dry. And don’t use fabric softener, dryer sheets, or bleach. You can iron or steam your fabric projects if you want to, just be sure to use low temperatures so the ink isn’t re-activated.
For coasters, wash them with warm water and a glass cleaner. Make sure you don’t use any colored cleansing agents because the color might transfer, and don’t use any harsh scrubby things like steel wool or scrubbing pads.
How do I make a project with Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets?
The basics of using Infusible Ink transfer sheets to do a project are pretty simple.
Step 1: Choose which transfer sheets you want to use and a compatible blank.
Step 2: Create your design in Design Space, then load the transfer sheets into your machine so the Cricut can cut it out.
Step 3: Weed away the excess Infusible Ink transfer sheet material.
Step 4: Apply heat with a heat press that reaches 400 degrees F.
Step 1: Choose your transfer sheets and a compatible blank
For this example project I chose a kids-sized t-shirt as my blank. And I decided I wanted to try a mix of multiple colors and patterns, so I used three of the patterns that came in the “Mermaid Rainbow” Infusible Ink transfer sheets pack.
Step 2: Create your design
Open up Design Space and create your design. If you want to make a pre-designed project you can click the “Projects” button on the left and then search within the Infusible Ink category. If you want to design your own project, click the “Images” button to find fun graphics and designs from within the Design Space library.
Before you make your project, make sure that all of your line types are set to “Cut”; you can see this by selecting an image or a layer and looking at the Linetype drop down menu in the toolbar at the top of the screen. And if there are any pieces where the spacing between images is important, make sure those layers are “attached” by selecting the layers and clicking the grey “Attach” button at the bottom of the layers panel.
Click the green “Make It” button to send the design to your Cricut for cutting.
Always make sure that your design is set to mirror when doing heat transfers (regardless of whether you use Infusible Ink or iron on). You can do this with the Mirror toggle below each mat thumbnail in the Prepare screen.
On the Make screen choose “Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet” as your material. If you are using a Cricut Explore series machine, set the Smart Set dial to “Custom” first.
The software will tell you to load the fine-point blade into Clamp B; you won’t need any accessories in Clamp A for this project.
Load your first sheet of Infusible Ink onto your StandardGrip mat with the liner side down and the ink side up, then load the mat into your machine. Press the flashing Go button to start the cut.
Once the machine finishes the cut, you can unload the mat and remove the transfer sheet from the mat. If you have multiple colors in your design, follow the on-screen instructions to load the next sheets for cutting.
Step 3: Weed your design
Carefully remove the Infusible Ink transfer sheet from the cutting mat, and use scissors to trim away any unused portions of the transfer sheet so you can save them for a future project.
Weed your transfer sheet by “cracking” it: gently bend and roll the transfer sheet between your hands to “crack” the pre-inked material along the cut lines your Cricut made. The edges of the cut pieces should start to come up off the plastic liner and you can remove any of the background pieces that you don’t want in your final design. Be sure to remove the centers of letters as well so that the only things left on the sticky liner are the pieces you want to transfer to your blank.
If you cut multiple colors or patterns and want to try to put them all together into a single press, use the “slice and set” method to trim the liners so they can all fit together on one liner without any overlap. Choose one color to be the “main” color, and set it aside for now. For all your other pieces, trim the background liner as close as you can to the actual inked transfer sheet. Then arrange those pieces onto the sticky liner of your “main” color; this way all of your pieces are stuck to one single liner, and the liners from one piece don’t overlap and cover up the inked material of another piece.
You can see in the photo below that I weeded all three pieces of my design, then trimmed away the excess liner around the mermaid tail so I could stick it between the two splashes without the liner from the tail covering up the ink from the splashes. It’s totally fine to have multiple layers of clear liner on the back of your Infusible Ink transfer sheets, you just don’t want to have any of the liner between the inked part and the project itself.
Step 4: Apply heat
For fabric projects you need to pre-heat your blank to remove any moisture from your blank. Place your t-shirt on top of your EasyPress mat and put a piece of white cardstock inside the t-shirt to protect the back side of the shirt from the ink. Then use a lint roller to remove any lint or fuzz from your shirt.
Cover your project with a piece of butcher paper that is larger than the plate of your EasyPress, then place the EasyPress on top of the project and hold for the recommended time. In this case my EasyPress was set to 385 F and 15 seconds for the pre-heat.
After you’ve pre-heated your shirt, let it cool down completely. Then take your Infusible Ink transfer sheets, flip them over, and position them ink-side down onto the surface of the blank (you can use heat resistant tape if you have multiple pieces that need to stay together).
Cover your project with butcher paper again, place the EasyPress on top of the butcher paper, and press for 40 seconds (or whatever the recommended time is for your project in the Cricut Heat Guide).
DO NOT MOVE THE EASYPRESS while it is heating! This can cause your image to “ghost” making a weird duplicate shadow version of your image that is slightly misaligned. Just set the EasyPress down and press gently, but don’t move it around!
When the EasyPress is done, carefully remove it from your project and put it back in its stand.
Then DO NOT MOVE YOUR PROJECT UNTIL IT HAS COMPLETELY COOLED DOWN! Same reason as above: while the ink is still hot and in its gaseous state, any slight movement can cause the ink to transfer to the wrong area of your project.
For fabric blanks it should only take a minute or two for your project to cool down, but if you’re making ceramic coasters it can take like fifteen minutes for them to cool all the way down because ceramic really holds onto heat.
After your project is completely cool, remove the butcher paper and carefully peel away the liner and transfer sheet. The transfer sheet paper should come away with the liner, but if it separates, just carefully pull the paper away from your project after you’ve removed the liner.
And you’re done! Enjoy your new shirt!
BONUS: 15 tips & tricks for using Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets
1. Always follow the guidelines from Cricut EXACTLY! There’s no going back with Infusible Ink, so it’s important to get it right the first time so you don’t waste valuable ink and blanks! Cricut has their guidelines clearly posted in their Heat Guide, including instructions telling you when to tape a design down, or place a blank face up vs face down. Just do what they say and your projects will look great!
2. Use the right heat settings on your EasyPress 2. The heat settings are really important with Infusible Ink. If your heat press isn’t hot enough the colors won’t be as vibrant or saturated and you may have other issues such as the ink not fully transferring in spots. If it’s too hot you risk destroying the pigment in the ink.
3. NEVER move your EasyPress during the transfer. Seriously, don’t do it! The ink has to cool completely before it transforms back into its solid state, so if anything moves while the project is still warm it can cause the transfer to shift and create a ghost image in a slightly different area. Always let your project cool completely before moving anything, including the butcher paper on top.
4. Don’t forget to mirror your designs before cutting them. Heat transfers are always done face down, so make sure you set the Mirror toggle on when doing Infusible Ink projects.
5. Always use cardstock under your project! The Infusible Ink can bleed through your project when you press it. It will go straight into your EasyPress mat if the cardstock isn’t there, and then it could transfer into other projects you do later. And make sure your cardstock is big enough to cover the whole mat! You can see what happened to my friend Cori’s mat in her Infusible Ink troubleshooting post here (look for the picture of a sleeve with green leaves on it, then just read the whole post, there’s tons of good info in there!).
6. Always use butcher paper on top of your project! The butcher paper protects the plate of your EasyPress from any escaped ink, and protects your project from the heat/scorch marks from the EasyPress.
7. Don’t reuse your butcher paper between projects. Even if your paper doesn’t have visible ink or scorch marks, there might be microscopic bits of ink on the paper that could transfer to the next project, so it’s just safer to use a new piece each time.
8. Always be sure the liner of the Infusible Ink transfer sheet is big enough to cover all parts of your design. If the liner isn’t large enough to cover the whole design, you may get lines in your final project where the heat press pressed over the edges of the liner. This is especially important if you’re layering multiple sheets or colors. When you press the second color, make sure the liner is large enough to cover not only the new color, but also the previously applied portion of your design.
9. Make sure your EasyPress is big enough to cover your entire design. Similar to making sure your liner covers your entire design, you also need to be sure that your EasyPress plate is big enough to cover your whole design. With heat transfer vinyl you are able to press half your design and then do a second press to get the other half, but it doesn’t really work that way with Infusible Ink. The ink might bleed if anything shifts between presses, and if the edge of your EasyPress plate overlaps your design, you’ll get a line in your finished project from the temperature difference in that spot.
10. If using multiple colors of Infusible Ink transfer sheets, always apply the darkest color last. This helps prevent the darker ink from “bleeding” into the lighter areas of your project when applying heat multiple times.
11. If using Infusible Ink transfer sheets AND heat transfer vinyl, always apply the HTV last. HTV will always stick on top of Infusible Ink, but Infusible Ink will not “stick” to HTV. Plus the second application of high heat to the heat transfer vinyl might damage or melt it, whereas the Infusible Ink can handle a second press.
12. Always use heat resistant tape when making designs with small pieces. The clear backing liner is sticky and will probably hold your design in place while pressing. But if your design is made up of multiple pieces on multiple liners, you can use heat resistant tape to make sure they stay exactly where you want them while pressing. If anything shifts while you press, the image will “ghost”.
13. Make sure your hands are totally clean and dry. This also means no lotion or oils or you risk messing up the ink while weeding the transfer sheet.
14. Don’t use a weeding hook when weeding transfer sheets. When you poke the hook through the transfer sheet, you can transfer small dots of ink from the sheet itself onto the plastic liner. So even if you hook a piece and remove it from the liner, there may still be a tiny dot of ink left that will transfer to your project!
15. You can “wrap” your design around the edges of your coasters. If your design is a little bigger than your coaster, you can wrap the paper around the edge and tape it down firmly. When the coaster is heated it will pick up the ink on the sides as well as on the top. (Unfortunately this little trick doesn’t work for the fabric blanks; if you try to press across seams or around edges you just end up with weird light spots on your project.)
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How To Use Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets
- Infusible Ink transfer sheets
- [EasyPress mat]
- Choose which transfer sheets you want to use and a compatible blank.
- Create a design in Design Space, or choose a ready-to-make project. (Make sure all Line Types are set to "Cut" and any layers where spacing is important are "Attached")
- Mirror your design by switching the "Mirror" toggle on when previewing the mats.
- Set the material to "Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet" and load the transfer sheet onto your StandardGrip mat with the shiny liner side down, then load the mat into the machine.
- Press the flashing Go button to begin the cut. If you are using multiple colors, the machine will pause when it is done cutting out the first sheet and allow you to load the next sheet.
- Unload the mat and remove the transfer sheet from the mat.
- Gently roll and bend the sheet in your hands to "crack" open the cut lines, then carefully weed away the excess transfer sheet material. (If you're using multiple layers of transfer sheet in one project, trim the liners of the sheet so that you can place all of the layers together onto one liner without any of the inked material being covered up.)
- Pre-heat your EasyPress 2 according to the Heat Guide recommendations for your specific material and blanks.
- Place your t-shirt on top of your EasyPress mat and put a piece of white cardstock inside the t-shirt to protect the back side of the shirt from the ink.
- Clean your shirt with a lint roller.
- Place a piece of butcher paper on top of your shirt, then press to pre-heat your shirt according to the Heat Guide recommendations.
- Once the shirt is cooled down after pre-heating, place your transfer sheets face down onto your shirt (you can secure multiple pieces with with heat resistant tape if necessary).
- Place a piece of butcher paper on top of your shirt again, then press with your EasyPress according to the Heat Guide recommendations. Don't move the EasyPress while pressing!
- Carefully remove the EasyPress when it is done pressing, but leave everything else where it is until the project has cooled completely.
- Remove the butcher paper, liners, and transfer sheet material from your project once it's cool, and you're done!
- Always follow the instructions found in the Heat Guide exactly
- Use an EasyPress 2 or other heat press that goes up to 400 degrees F
- NEVER move your EasyPress during the transfer
- Don't forget to mirror your design before cutting
- Always use cardstock under your project
- Always use butcher paper on top of your project
- Don't reuse your butcher paper between projects
- Make sure the liner covers your entire design before pressing, even already applied portions of your design
- Make sure your EasyPress plate is big enough to cover your entire design
- If using multiple colors of Infusible Ink transfer sheets, always apply the darkest color last
- If using Infusible Ink transfer sheets AND heat transfer vinyl, always apply the HTV last
- Always use heat resistant tape when making designs with small pieces
- Make sure your hands are clean, dry, and free of lotions or oils
- Don't use a weeding hook when weeding Infusible Ink transfer sheets
- If you're making coasters you can "wrap" your design around the edge if it's a little too big to fit just on the top; make sure you tape the edges well!
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