If you have been wanting to use Cricut infusible ink and wondering if you need to use Cricut blanks, look no further I'm going to share with you what I found using Cricut blanks!
From the first time I learned how to use Cricut infusible ink, I absolutely fell in love with the product. It is a pretty expensive product for what you get, but if you can get it on sale, it is the bee's knees for creating shirts, mugs, coasters, and bags.
I'm going to talk all about this line of products from Cricut (the Cricut Infusible Ink transfer paper and the Cricut Infusible Ink Pens) and walk you through some of the common questions about the product line. I'll share specific tutorials on a completely different post!
What is Cricut Infusible Ink?
Cricut Infusible Ink is an ink transfer product that allows you to create peel-proof, flake-proof, wash-proof products. The ink transfers are permanently infused with your base material and allows you to have a smooth, professional-style quality to your projects.
Infusible Ink Product Line
Cricut similar to Apple has a complete product line of machines and supplies that work well together. There are two specific products in this line:
- Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets
- Cricut Infusible Ink Pens
- Heat Resistant Tape
The first two products are the actual ink that will be transferred to the base material. The heat resistant tape is used to hold the material in place while transferring the ink from the blank.
Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Paper
These come in a bunch of solid colors as well as assortment of patterns (scroll down to see images of the colors and patterns).
Cricut Infusible Ink Pens
How is Cricut infusible ink different from vinyl?
Infusible ink is different than vinyl. With vinyl, the artwork is sitting as a layer on top of the product. Infusible ink allows the artwork layer to be permeated and infused into the product.
What are Cricut infusible ink pens?
Cricut infusible ink pens allow you to freehand draw or use the Cricut machine to draw an outline on cardstock in the color that you want to transfer onto the base material. Using that artwork, you can then use a heat press to transfer the art layer to the base layer.
How is Cricut infusible ink different on shirts?
The infusible ink is a layer that melds into the fabric layer of the shirt which allows it to be one with the fabric. This allows the fabric to stretch without worrying about whether the artwork will be ruined due to stretching.
Infusible Ink Differences To Other Methods of Transfer
What's the different between screen printing versus infusible ink?
Screen printing allows you to use vinyl adhestive to create the artwork stencil and add ink over the design. Infusible ink allows you to create the project artwork and heat transfer it to the base layer without the need for squeezing on ink to the areas.
With both screen printing and infusible ink, you get a product where the art layer is infused into the project canvas. In my opinion, screen printing requires more effort because you need more project materials like a frame and ink, it requires moer steps due to having to tape off areas with painters tape, and it requires more work to squeegee the paint over the design. Infusible ink requires less work because the ink is already melded into the design. From a price perspective, infusible ink is a little bit more expensive, but allows you to save the headache in the messiness of the ink.
Difference between Infusible Ink and Sublimation
The infusible ink process is the same as the sublimation process, but that you are not digitally printing the design via a printer. Sublimation is solid ink that is digitally printed in a transfer sheet, it is then heated up to transform into a gas state that allows it to penetrate the base material, then allows it to transform back to a solid again to meld and become uniform with the material. The infusible ink is either cut out from the material or drawn with a pen and then transferred to the material.
What types of materials can I use Cricut infusible ink on for shirts?
A shirt that has a high polyester count (greater than 65%) and is lighter in color tend to do best with Cricut Infusible Inks. For Cricut Infusible ink to transfer properly on t-shirts, the ink needs to bind with polyester material. Since the infusible inks are transparent, white or light colored surfaces have better outcomes when the ink is infused with the shirt blanks.
Shirts with greater than a 65% polyester count will work with Cricut Infusible Ink, with most projects faring better at the 80% blend of polyester. Anything below a 65% may cause the infusible ink to fade.
Can Cricut infusible ink be worked on cotton?
Yes, as long as there is a blend of polyester greater than 65%. In order for infusible ink to permeate into the material, there needs to be a polyester or poly-material that binds to the ink.
Do I have to use Cricut's blanks for infusible ink?
No. While Cricut recommends their own product line using their blanks, the Cricut infusible ink can be used a non-branded Cricut products as well. For shirts, blanks that have a high polyester blend are recommended. For mugs, blanks that are sublimation ready should be used.
There are a multitude of party blanks that can be used with Cricut infusible ink as long as they are noted for sublimation (which means they are polyester or made with poly-coated materials). Many of these third party blanks can be used successfully with Cricut infusible ink, even though Cricut does not guarantee results with it.
In short, yes, you can use Cricut Infusible Ink on non-Cricut shirts. My favorite place to get shirts is at jiffyshirts.com because I can buy the shirts in bulk so inexpensively (we're talking like under $3.00 a shirt) and with free shipping as compared to Cricut's.
How to Use Cricut Infusible Ink
I'm going to talk about the high level process of using the products in the Cricut Infusible Ink product line.
Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Paper
Design using your cutting machine, weed it like you would vinyl, and then transfer it onto the material using heat. The output is a seamless project where the ink blends in with the base layer.
The transfer sheets will look less vibrant when you cutting it with the machine. When the ink is transferred with the heat press, the colors really do tend to pop out more! Here's a comparison of my daughter's drawing on the left, and what it turned out like on the right.
Cricut Infusible Ink Pen
Use the pens to design the artwork on cardstock (freehand or with your cutting machine) and transfer it onto the material using a heat press.
Tip: When you design with the pens, they might look dull on paper initially. Once the ink gets transferred with heat, the vibrance and color of the design will stand out.
What colors does Cricut Infusible Ink come in?
Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets
Cricut has a great line of patterned transfer sheets ranging anywhere from leopard print, tropical floral, jeans, water color, western, buffalo check, grassland, camping designs, and mermaid designs (there are several more).
There are also solid color transfer sheets that you can purchase. The following colors are available:
- Blue Sky
- Bright Green
- Bright Teal
- Cherry (red color)
- Party Pink
- Rose Pink
- Suntan (medium brown)
- Tangerine (orange)
- Tennis Ball (neon yellow)
- True Blue
- True Yellow
- Ultra Violet
- Warm Grey
- Wild Aster (maroon)
Cricut Infusible Ink Pens
The following are the available colors for infusible ink pens. They do come in different packages bundled together. The colors available are:
- Bubble Gum
- Dusty Rose
- Orange Peel
- Light Green
- Apple Green
- Forest Green
- Sky Blue
- Something Blue
- Azure Blue
- Vivid Blue
- Light Purple
- Dark Gray
- Wild Aster*
- Sky Blue*
- Party Pink*
- Neon Pink**
- Neon Blue**
- Neon Orange**
- Neon Yellow**
- Neon Green**
- Deep Teal***
- Burnt Red***
* means that they are available only in the Water Color Splash bundle
** means they are only available in the Neon Bundle
*** means they are only available in the Nostalgia bundle
This is my favorite bundle and if you find it at $29.99 (off of the original $49.99 retail prices), it is a freaking steal. I can't find the 30 pack set on Amazon or Walmart, but they can be found here.
Can Cricut infusible ink be layered?
Yes they can! The colors will blend where the sheet colors overlap. When designing your project, the artwork needs to ensure that the lighter color does not need to come through over the darker color.
Another thing to note that multiple attempts on the same material at high heat will cause the infusible ink designs to fade.
it's recommended that you layer down the lighter color first, followed by the darker color on top.
Heat Required for Cricut Infusible Ink
Cricut Infusible Ink uses a high heat of at least 400°F to infuse the ink into your base material.
What can I make with Cricut Infusible Ink?
Ideas for projects with Cricut Infusible Ink include shirts, totes, coasters, cups, plates, pillows - the possibilities are endless!
Can I use Cricut Infusible Ink with Silhouette?
Yes, Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Paper and Pens can be used with the Silhouette machines!
Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Paper with Silhouette Cameo
Yes, Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer paper can be cutting using a Silhouette machine with the following cut settings:
- Blade: 5
- Speed: 4
- Force: 26
- Pass: 1
Cricut Infusible Ink Pen with Silhouette Cameo
You can use the Cricut Infusible Pens with the Silhouette Cameo as long as you use an adapter for the pen.
Considerations for Using Cricut Infusible Ink
If you had to compare the biggest concern to using Cricut infusible ink, it would be the fading of the ink. Similar to the biggest concern for vinyl is warping with different heats, infusible ink's biggest challenge is ensuring that you are using the right material in order to infuse the ink. If you don't, you risk the chance of your artwork fading and not being as bright as you may have hoped.
You can find more questions and answers here.
Where to Find and Buy Infusible Ink Transfer Paper and Pens
After researching online, if you are really wanting to see the entire collection of options, the main official shop for infusible ink is the best place to go.
I've been looking on Amazon, Walmart, and Target and their selections are really slim compared to the main shop! Cricut also has incredible deals on transfer paper and pens (like under $8.00 for infusible ink transfer and under $29.99 for a 30 pack of infusible ink pens).
I would honestly go buy a bunch of shirts from jiffyshirts.com and check out the material and making sure it's greater than 65% polyester. If you are just starting out with infusible ink, I would get:
- 30 Pack Infusible Ink Pens (wait for them to go on sale at $29.99)
- Infusible Ink Bundle (they are regularly $7.99 on sale price for two sheets)
Project Ideas for Infusible Ink
Here are some project tutorials that might help you as you start with using infusible ink:
- How to Make Coasters with Infusible Ink
- How to Make Shirts with Infusible Ink Pens and Markers
- Cricut Joy Cards
Is Cricut infusible ink worth it?
If you want a design that blends into the material of the shirt or material without the layered look, I would absolutely say yes!
Overall, Cricut Infusible Ink is a product that gives a beautiful commercial-level, permanent heat-transfer effects with rich color that doesn't fade. It provides an infused design to your material of choice and allows you to not worry about it fading, cracking, warping, or peeling (even in the wash).
Other Cricut posts you might love
If you loved this review on the Cricut Infusible Ink line, you might also enjoy these other posts on my Cricut machine below!
- Best Places to Buy Cricut Infusible Ink Blanks
- What is a Cricut Machine
- Cricut Joy Pros and Cons
- How to Make Your Own Stencils in Cricut Design Space
- Cricut Shirt Maker
- How to Use Cricut Markers and Pens
- Make Earrings with Cricut
- Cricut versus Silhouette
- Cricut Joy Labels DIY Pantry Organization
- Cricut Infusible Ink Pens Tutorial
- Cricut versus Silhouette Comparison
- Cricut Home Organization Project Ideas