Infusible Ink Guide

AUTHOR DISCLAIMER: I am in no ways an expert in this medium, but it has become my preferred

medium over HTV.

Q: What is infusible Ink and how does it work?

A: Infusible Ink is a specially formulated ink that is heat activated. It comes in rolled sheets, and

is available in numerous colors and patterns. When activated by heat, the ink on the paper

vaporizes and “infuses” itself into the garment’s material, essentially dying the garment with the


Q: How is this different from HTV?

A: With vinyl, the glue is heat activated, and the decal sits on top of the fabric; with Infusible

Ink, the ink literally “stains” the fabric of the garment with your design, so the design becomes a

part of the fabric. Unlike a vinyl transfer, an infusible ink transfer will stretch with the garment,

with no fear of it pulling off.

Q: What special materials do I need?

A: Infusible Ink works best on the Cricut blank shirts, which are 80% polyester. Any garment

that is at least 80% polyester will accept the ink. Cotton blends DO NOT accept the ink as

readily—the design will transfer, but it will appear faded, or may bleed, as the chemical reaction

needed for the ink to bond with the polymer is not as strong as it would be on polyester.

If you buy the infusible ink sheets, everything that you need to create a shirt is included in the

box, including the sheet of “butcher paper” (actually parchment paper) needed to go over the



Q: Do I need to use a Cricut Press? Can I use a professional heat press or an iron?

A: I have not personally used a professional model heat press, but I can say that a regular iron will not work on infusible ink. Whatever heat tool you use must be able to reach up to 400 degrees F, and a standard household iron will not each this temperature. Moreover, a household iron’s primary heat zone is in the center, and not evenly distributed across the plate. The Cricut easy press and a professional heat press heat uniformly across the plate.


Q: What about Transfer Paper or Transfer Tape?

A: Transfer tape is not needed for infusible ink. Each sheet of infusible ink comes attached to a sticky transfer sheet. When you place the design on the shirt, place the sticky side down; the stick helps to hold the pieces in place.


Q: Why do I have to mirror my design?

A: The colored side of the infusible ink sheet is what gets cut; when you put the design on a shirt, the colored side goes face down to the shirt, meaning that anything on it will be a mirror image of what the machine cut. If you do not mirror, then your design will appear backwards when you press it.


Q: What if the Whole Thing Didn’t Transfer?

A: Simply press the design again, but incrementally with less time. Lift a small corner to see if the color transferred successfully—if it didn’t press it again. Be aware that pressing too many times can cause the design to “bake off” from the sticky transfer sheet.


Q: Can I layer Infusible Ink Sheets?

A: I have not personally done this—there are video tutorials that show people who have used the layering method successfully, but it is not really recommended. With each pressing, the ink loses some of its vibrance, and if you press too many times, you will lose the color. Too much pressing can also cause the design to shift on the shirt.


Q: What if I want a multi-colored design?

A: Infusible Ink markers are your friend. These markers work just like normal coloring pens, except that their ink is formulated to be activated by the heat. Draw your design on standard copy or laser paper (or have the machine draw it for you), color it in, and press it. Voilà—a multi-colored design in infusible ink. (The little COVID mask dude was made with infusible ink markers). You can also set your Cricut machine to ‘draw’ and you can color in the drawing.


Q: What Can I Make With Infusible Ink?

A: As long as the base material (the blank) is at least 80% polyester, you can make anything you want. Polyester face masks are available on Etsy and Amazon (search ‘sublimation blank’).

Cricut also produces wine bottle bags, square and round coasters, onesies, and tote bags that are specifically formulated for Infusible Ink.


Q: How Do I Care for my Infusible Ink Garment?

A: I take no chances, and I hand wash all my infusible ink shirts. (Woolite, cold water, line dry).

If you must use a machine, the instructions from Cricut are to Machine wash, inside out with cold water and mild detergent; delicate cycle recommended. Tumble dry on low. Do not use fabric softener, dryer sheets, or bleach (they will mess with the chemical structure of the ink)



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