If you have recently come across Cricut infusible ink pens, you are probably already tantalized by the possibilities these amazing pens provide. Crafters everywhere love them because they open up a world of new, easy, fast crafts that can be done with minimal mess and to amazing effect.
Any artist who can bring paper to life will love how these pens let them transfer their art to a range of other products, including shirts, bags, coasters, and even mugs. The pens can be used freestyle, drawing any design you like, or they can be combined with a Cricut machine – the choice is yours!
Whatever your style, you can now turn it into a wearable or otherwise practical walking art piece. Handmade mugs, personalized coasters, and your very own shirts are just a few sketches away with these incredible pens – so let’s learn more about them and how they work!
Why Are Cricut Infusible Ink Pens So Great?
|1. Cricut Infusible Ink Pen Set||Check Price|
|2. Cricut Ultimate Fine Point Pen Set||Check Price|
|3. Heat Resistant Tape||Check Price|
|4. Cricut Pen Set Metallic||Check Price|
|5. Cricut Explore Variety Pen Set||Check Price|
|6. Cricut Wisteria Fine Point Pen Set||Check Price|
There are quite a few ways to transfer designs to products and this isn’t new, so you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Why do we care about infusible ink pens?
The answer is that most of the existing solutions for adding designs to 3D items are not super satisfactory. If you have ever used the HTV process or transferred vinyls to a shirt or bag, you’ll know that it involves adding a material on top of the existing material, rather than blending it with the material.
This is always going to be less satisfactory. It creates a join, often visible, and a weak point to the product that may, with age, wear, and washing, start to come away. The design may wrinkle, crack, crease, or flake. While they are doubtless a great thing in themselves, these transfers have problems that can’t be ignored.
Infusible ink, however, does not involve applying a secondary layer to the fabric you want to print on. It fuses with the material itself, and there is an increasing number of blanks available for you to apply these inks to ever more surfaces.
How To Use Cricut Infusible Ink Pens
So, how do you use them? Let’s run through the list of items you will need before you start:
- White cardstock
- Laser copy paper
- Infusible ink pens/markers
- Butcher paper
- Lint roller
- Heat resistant tape
- A Cricut apparel blank (or another suitable blank, depending on what product you wish to create)
- Cricut Press Mat
- A LightGrip Machine Mat
- A Cricut Maker/a Cricut Explore cutting machine
- A Cricut EasyPress Mat
Step 1. Draw Your Design
If you are planning on drawing by hand, you can just set to work on the laser copy paper. If you are planning to draw using the machine, place a sheet of laser copy paper onto the LightGrip mat, and then load it into the machine.
Be aware that if you’re using the machine, you will need the Design Space software on a suitable device. You must make sure that whether you are drawing by hand or using a computer, you mirror the design, as otherwise, it will come out the wrong way around on your finished product.
If you’re drawing by hand, make sure you have guides to keep you within the correct size. If you’re using the machine, you will need to set the design size for the apparel blank. On the machine, set the Linetype to “Draw” and choose the kind of pen and the color you’re going to use.
You then needed to hit “Browse” and select “Copy Paper.” You can then insert a pen into Clamp A and press “Go.” You will be prompted when you need to change the color, as long as you have specified this to the machine in advance.
You should then get a complete design! At this stage, you can unload the mat.
Step 2. Color
If you want to color in your design, now is the time to do so. Either color your hand-drawn design, or take your design out of the machine and color it in. You should make sure your hands are clean and dry before doing this.
Step 3. Apply Heat
You should now prepare your heat press. Refer to the guide for your heat press for instructions about the temperature and any other setup, and make sure it is hot enough before proceeding.
Next, put the apparel blank on top of the EasyPress Mat and slip a sheet of cardstock inside the fabric. If, for example, you are transferring your design to a shirt, slip the cardstock inside the shirt and smooth out the fabric on top so you have a flat, level surface to work on.
Use your lint roller to free the shirt (or other material) from fluff, dust, fibers, etc. This is absolutely crucial and should not be ignored. If loose fibers remain when you make the transfer, the overall quality will be significantly reduced and the final result may be patchy or marked.
Cut a sheet of butcher paper that is larger than your heat press and spread it on top of the fabric. You should then preheat this to get rid of any moisture or wrinkles, ensuring that you have a smooth surface to work on. You can do this by setting your heat press to 385° F and applying it to the shirt evenly and lightly.
Next, lift off the butcher paper and set it aside, and allow the material to totally cool. Cut out your design and place it face down on the material. The ink should be facing the blank in order for this to work.
Tape down the corners so that the design will remain in place, using the heat resistant tape. Set the butcher paper back across the design, and then use your heat press at the recommended setting. Only press lightly, applying even pressure across the design for forty seconds or longer if recommended.
You should not move the heat press while applying heat to the design. Make sure that the heat press can be applied evenly and there are no seams in the way. Do not try and move the heat press around to touch on different parts of the design; it should cover the design wholly and be pressed in a single application.
When the time is up, carefully lift the heat press off, turn it off, and leave the project to cool. When the apparel is completely cold, you can carefully remove the butcher paper, the tape, and the design.
Discard the butcher paper and the design (neither can be reused for future projects, sadly) and then enjoy your beautiful work! This material can now be washed with gentle detergent in cold water. You should avoid using fabric softener, bleach, or a tumble dryer on it.
A similar process can be followed for other designs and other materials. Make sure that you always have the appropriate blank. If you wish to print onto a mug, for example, you will need a mug that has been designed for this purpose. You cannot just print on any old mug you find.
The same goes for clothing and bags. The correct product must be chosen before you try an infusion, or it is unlikely to work.
So, now you know how to use Cricut infusible ink pens to make your designs come to life. Create your own shirts, bags, mugs, etc., and have all your friends marveling over your extraordinary skills! This is great fun, and you definitely don’t have to be a master crafter to make use of these products.
What Projects Should I Try?
You might now be wondering what you should try first. There are many things you can do with Cricut markers, and as the technology expands, more products become available.
You might want to try making your own Christmas gifts for friends. If you aren’t very artistically gifted, try using the software to create designs (remembering to always invert the design so it appears the right way when applied to your product) so you can get something professional you’ll feel proud of.
We’re going to cover some of the common products that Cricut infusible ink pens are used to decorate to give you some ideas for things you could try.
As you will have seen in the above section, shirts are a common target for Cricut infusible ink pens, and they are probably one of the easiest ones to start with. The blanks are readily available and not too expensive, so these are a great option for you to try.
You also have a reasonable amount of space to work with, since a shirt is a large blank canvas for the most part. Use your ink pens to create a bold design and then transfer it to the shirt without having to mess around with the seams or fiddly, tiny designs.
There are many cute baby bodysuits on the market, but it can’t get cuter than one you have designed and personalized yourself, and this makes a lovely, thoughtful gift for a baby shower.
If you are going to try a baby bodysuit, you should place the EasyPress Mat and the cardstock inside the suit, instead of beneath it. This will help to even out the seams and give you a better adherence between the inks and the material. You may need a small mat for this.
If you want to apply your designs to a mug, this is also possible provided you have the correct blank. However, you may need to invest in a Mug Press, because (of course) the mug is a very different shape from shirts or other clothing.
The press needs to be able to apply heat at an angle and on a curve, and therefore a normal heat press may not work very well.
We’d recommend trying mugs after you have already got a feel for using the infusion pens and made a few successful projects. This will let you know how you feel about the process and could save you from buying a mug press or making expensive mistakes.
An exciting addition to the product line, coasters are great fun. Like mugs, they are practical, but they aren’t as fiddly because you can still work on a flat surface if you decide to make one. You can also make matching sets or give every family member (or friend) a different, personalized coaster just for them.
The tiles are ceramic and you can buy round or square ones, so they feel high quality. Prior to infusible inks, there wasn’t a way to print images onto tile, so this is a particularly unusual and impressive way to show your friends you’re a dedicated crafter!
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So Where Do I Start?
Are you convinced you want to have a go at this? We’re not surprised, so what products should you be looking at and how can you get going with this?
Most Cricut products are only available on the Cricut site, but you can browse many of their items on Amazon.com, as well as a few products that you might find help you expand your fun with infusible inks. We’re going to cover some of our top finds.
1. Cricut Infusible Ink Pen Set
You won’t get anywhere without the pen set, and this set has a great range of colors in it. It contains thirty pens, so you’ll never find yourself wanting a different blue or cursing because you haven’t got a suitable red.
These colors are a great starting point for anyone who is interested in learning how to do color infusion with Cricut pens. They have fine points (0.4 mm) for the best and most detailed of designs, meaning you’ll get something beautiful every time.
Be aware that this listing is for pens only, and they are not compatible with the Cricut Joy, so you need to check that’s okay before you purchase them. However, they should open up the world of infusible inks to you, letting you experiment and play around with some gorgeous colors.
2. Cricut Ultimate Fine Point Pen Set
If you’re looking for a somewhat swisher option, these Cricut pens are wonderfully vibrant. Again, you get a set of thirty bright, colors to make your designs beautiful, and they are still narrow pointed (again, 0.4 mm) for intricate designs and coloring.
They are compatible with all Cricut explore electronic cutting machines, and offer an extremely high quality, beautiful finish. They are nice to hold, acid free, non-toxic, and permanent once the ink has dried.
They create a very professional finish and they should be compatible with a Cricut maker as well.
The only disappointing thing is that there are no metallic colors in the packet. Of course, you know that before buying, but it would be nice if the set included one or two metallic pens to experiment with. However, the colors are bright and varied, and it’s a great option overall.
3. Heat Resistant Tape
Of course, you do need some other products in order to use the Cricut markers, and one of those mentioned was heat-resistant tape. You can’t stick your designs down without this, and designs that aren’t stuck will slip and are at risk of blurring (because the heat will print the image in a couple of places).
This heat-resistant tape is produced by Cricut and is specifically compatible with their systems, so it’s a great option. It is resistant up to 400° F and it will leave no residue on your designs or products.
It is also advertised as being compatible with other heat systems, as well as with household irons, so if you need to stick down your ironing for any reason, you should be good to go! It might be handy if you are trying to make beeswax wraps, for example, and you want to use your iron to do so. The tape will hold the fabric in place.
4. Cricut Pen Set Metallic
As the previous color sets contained no metallic options, you might prefer this set, which does. Admittedly, it is only five colors and all of them are metallic, but if you want to play around with that shiny-metal effect, this is a great option.
With copper, silver, gold, violet, and blue, you’ve got plenty of colors to choose from, particularly if you mix them with ordinary colors and use metallic pens for the highlighting. This is a sure way to make your designs stand out from the crowd, and you don’t need a lot of metallic ink to get a great effect.
They are only compatible with the Cricut explore, but they are a great option for those users, or for those who hand-draw their designs.
If you’re making wedding invitations, they are a particularly gorgeous way to brighten up your cards and make them look special, but they can also be used for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, or any other instance.
They have a thicker tip than the other ones we’ve recommended, at 1.0, but this does mean you get bolder writing. You may find that they don’t work so well for fine and intricate designs, but the extra thickness ensures the ink is visible and eye-catching. If you want your work to “pop,” these are the way to do it!
5. Cricut Explore Variety Pen Set
Sometimes, you just want black. Black looks swish and stylish, gives you bold lines, and helps other colors to stand out. As many Cricut infusible ink pens are used on white material, black is a cornerstone of your color toolkit, and that’s what makes this pen set useful to dedicated Cricut fans.
It has four black pens, with three different nib sizes, so you can alter the thickness of the borders of your work. The set is particularly notable for containing a 0.03 pen nib, which is rare among the Cricut pens and particularly useful if you do fine work.
Sadly, there is only one of these in the packet, and the others are thicker pens. All the same, most people use more black ink than other colors (since most designs will include black ink in some places), so you may find that it’s useful to have a packet of black pens to hand.
6. Cricut Wisteria Fine Point Pen Set
If you would like some especially beautiful colors, you may find that the Wisteria set is for you. This is targeted at those drawing blossoms and flower-like shapes in particular, although the pens can of course be used for any kind of art.
The colors contained in the set are Turquoise, Light Turquoise, Tawny, Light Green, and Magenta. They are all 0.4 tip size, so they are perfect for fine details and they write very smoothly. If you are creating greeting cards, drawings, wedding invitations, place markers, or any number of other products, they are a perfect and bright option that stands out from the rest.
They are, of course, somewhat limited in terms of the colors you get – since there are only five of them. They are beautiful colors, but if you want a greater range, you would probably be better off choosing one of the multipacks suggested earlier, so you get lots of different hues to explore.
Hopefully, you now know how to use Cricut infusible ink pens, and you have a few great ideas of what you might like to use them for. Cricut has produced a myriad of products, so make sure you check compatibility information before purchasing anything for your specific machines/tools, or you may find yourself disappointed.
Infusible ink pens, when used correctly, are a great way to apply lasting designs to almost any material (provided it has a high enough quantity of polyester to bind properly). You will find that products made this way don’t fade, flake, crease, or wear out, so they are a wonderful option for creating gifts that look professional and homemade simultaneously.
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