The easiest tutorial: layering infusible ink sheets + pens
Okay…. So you’re into infusible ink, but you feel limited by the few sheets that Cricut makes and now you’re asking what next? Well, I have two pieces of good news for you: 1) Amazon‘s stock of infusible ink sheets, and 2) infusible ink PENS.
In this tutorial, I’m gonna to explain how to use infusible pens, and how to layer them with the infusible ink sheets to create super unique designs like this:
Here’s what you need:
The blanks you use have to be sublimation blanks. They have a special coating on them that helps the ink fuse with the material. Mugs are very popular sublimation blanks (get some here: https://amzn.to/3GOGwqu)
Infusible Ink Pens
Infusible Ink Sheets
Parchment or butcher paper
The normal stuff you get from the grocery store works fine!
Regular printer or copy paper
Again, just normal printer paper is perfect for this!
Here’s how you do it:
First - find (or make) your design. Decide what you want to be done using the infusible ink pens, and what you want done using the transfer sheets. Select the layer that you want to do with the pens and make sure the operation is set to “pen”. Then select the layer that you want to do with transfer sheets and make sure the operation is set to “cut”. Layer them the way you want them to look on the blank, and then “slice” them. The reason you want to slice: it minimizes the “overlap” of the inks when you actually apply them to your blank.
Next, you’ll mirror your image (always mirror your infusible ink!) and send it to your mat. You’ll see that Design Space wants to send it to two (or more) different mats. This is fine!
Next, make sure you have the right things loaded.
Insert your infusible ink pens the same are regular Cricut pens. Check for dust inside the adapter first, and then gently push the pen down until it clicks. Make sure that the arrow is facing you when you insert it.
You're also just going to want to use regular copy/ printer paper. The lightgrip mat is the answer for this!
Once one step is done, load the other mat. For Infusible Ink transfer sheets, I like to use the stronggrip mats. The transfer sheets can be tough to weed, and the stronggrip mat is sticky enough to hold it in place through the process. Load your transfer sheet shiny side down.
After your transfer sheet is cut, it’s time to weed! It weeds much like HTV or regular vinyl. There is a shiny backing that is pretty sticky - keep as much of this as you can! It’s basically your “transfer tape”.
It’s important to know that the transfer sheets are sometimes hard to weed - especially the Cricut brand. It won’t always come out “clean”. Those little white papery bits that stick around are okay - they shouldn’t hurt your design as long as none of the pieces have the colour or pattern of the ink on them anymore.
There is no “weeding” for infusible ink pens. The most you may want to do after your image is drawn is trim the excess copy paper from around the picture
Side note: only trim everything from around the image if your drawing is going to be totally surrounded by the transfer sheet. If it’s not, make sure you leave a bit of copy paper so you have something to tape down.
Before your next steps, make sure you have your butcher paper or parchment paper cut and ready. You’ll want this because infusible ink markers are super pigmented and they will bleed onto your press if you don’t!
Then, attach your layers together using the exposed sticky part of the transfer paper to hold them together. This is the part where I want to add this: if you don’t want to press both of your layers at the same time, you can do one at at time, but make sure you press the infusible ink transfer sheet first and then the pens. Make sure you let it cool in between presses
Then, use the heat tape to secure the entire design to your blank. Make sure you push all the bubbles out of the sticky transfer tape, and tape it down as tight as you can to avoid the ink bleeding out around the edges.
Then, tape your butcher paper down over the design. Do your best to avoid putting tape over any of the ink in your design - heat doesn’t travel through it very good so your ink might be blotchy if it overlaps!
Pro tip: make sure you tape the bottom extra good - this will keep it from shifting around when you press it.
Next, insert it into your press. If you’re using the Cricut Mug Press, check out my tutorial here for more tips on how to use that.
Once the press is done, let the mug cool for 20-30 minutes and peel everything off. There’s your finished product!