An Introduction to Cricut Infusible Ink
In the last 6 months, Cricut have released their Infusible Ink range and it has got a lot of people talking. I thought I’d do a short post to cover what Infusible Ink is, what you can use it for and how you apply it to your projects!
What is Infusible Ink?
Infusible Ink is a Cricut brand product which allows you to transfer ink to a medium using heat. It is currently available in two forms, as Infusible Ink pens, where your cricut can draw a design on to paper which you can then transfer using heat, and as Infusible Ink transfer sheets, which work similar to iron on vinyl in that you cut your design and then apply heat to transfer it to your garment.
Unlike heat transfer vinyl though, Infusible Ink is not an additional layer which is applied to your project and fixed in place by an adhesive. When heat is applied to Infusible Ink the ink is transferred from the paper transfer sheet and infuses with your material.
What can I make with Infusible Ink?
The current range Cricut have released for Infusible Ink is quite limited. It consists of t-shirts, tote bags and coaster blanks. These are items which Cricut have certified are 100% Infusible Ink compatible.
You can use other items though! My experience with using non-Cricut blanks has been mixed. I tried to use ordinary wall tiles however the ink did not take. With wood coasters I found that the ink successfully took but the colours were not as bright as they should have been. With ordinary t-shirts I had great success (look for clothing items with a high polyester content). It’s definitely worth playing around with different materials and testing which items will and won’t work.
Your blanks will also need to be light in colour so that the ink transfer is visible and the colours come out as expected. Think white or light pastel colours!
How to work with Infusible Ink
In this example I am going to apply a design cut from an Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet to a Cricut Infusible Ink certified coaster.
What you will need:
Cricut Ceramic Coaster.
Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet. For the example below I used the 'Watercolour Splash' Transfer Sheets
Butcher Paper. This is included with the Infusible Ink transfer sheets.
Heat Press or Easy Press. Unfortunately you cannot use an iron with Infusible Ink as they do not reach a high and consistent enough temperature.
Preparing your Project
The Infusible Ink process is very similar to working with heat transfer vinyl. Once you have your design you can send it to your Cricut machine to be cut. The key things to note for Infusible Ink are:
- Your transfer sheet needs to be placed on the mat colourful side upwards. I used the green Standard Grip mat for my cut.
- You always need to mirror your design
- You need to use the Custom cut setting for ‘Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet’ as shown below.
Once you’ve cut your design, you need to weed it. Infusible Ink is very simple to weed and you can generally just use the weeder tool to prise a section upwards before gently pulling it away from the backing layer. There is no adhesive on the Infusible Ink material so the sections you weed out feel and act similar to paper or card.
Applying your Infusible Ink Design
When you’re ready to apply your design to the coaster you’ll need to set your heat press or EasyPress to the correct temperature. If you’re unsure what temperature you need, check out the Cricut Heat Guide in the first instance. For the ceramic coaster, I used a heat press and set my temperature to 205°C for 240 seconds.
If you’re using a heat press, rather than an EasyPress, you’ll also need to set the pressure. Cricut advises ‘no pressure’ for Infusible Ink projects onto coasters. With my heat press the pressure is adjusted manually using a dial on the top. I tested my pressure was set correctly by applying my coaster slightly overhanging the edge of my heat press. I then tightened the pressure knob until there was enough pressure to prevent me from sliding the coaster out, but not so much that I couldn’t move it at all.
For Infusible Ink it is recommended to place a sheet of card beneath the project to protect your mat from any potential ink bleeding that may occur. Place your items in a stack on your heat press base or EasyPress mat in the following order:
Top (Top plate of your heat press or where you’ll add your EasyPress)
Cricut Coaster (side to be printed facing downwards)
Infusible Ink Transfer Design (Colourful side upwards)
Bottom (EasyPress Mat or heat press base)
Note: You receive sheets of butcher paper with your Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets so this isn’t something additional you need to purchase.
When your press reaches the desired temperature, press your coaster for the required time and then release the pressure and turn off your heat press. Infusible Ink is liquid based and so once heated it’s paramount that you do not move your coaster or ink design until they are completely cool. I usually remove the butcher paper and then leave the item for around half an hour to cool.
When your project is cooled you can simply lift the coaster and remove the other layers to reveal your finished piece.
Tip: If your butcher paper or cardstock have been discoloured from the heat or ink then it’s worth discarding them rather than trying to reuse them. I hate waste but there is a chance the discolouration could affect your next project so it's not worth the risk!