Infusible Ink Troubleshooting: Tips Tricks

Infusible Ink Troubleshooting: Tips and Tricks

I've been working with Infusible Ink for over a year now and I've learned a lot along the way. When you get it right, the results of Infusible Ink are vibrant, professional and beautiful. However, for me it has taken me awhile to get confident in using Infusible Ink. I'll be honest with you— it has been a frustrating journey at times. Even with following the "rules" to a T, I've still had unsuccessful projects. It's especially frustrating when you spend a lot of money on materials and supplies and then you get a failed project! I'm a pretty stubborn gal, so I've been determined to figure out Infusible Ink and I'm so excited to share everything I've learned with you so you can have successful projects too! 

Below I've listed a bunch of random tips and tricks of things I've learned over the past year. 

1. Place your Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet ink side up on the cutting mat.

When you're working with Infusible Ink, the transfer sheet always goes ink side up on your mat. Otherwise, you're going to cut your liner and you won't be able to weed your design. If you do this, you'll wreck the transfer sheet so make sure you always put it face up. P.S. Isn't this transfer sheet so pretty?! And that's before the heat is even applied, it comes out SO VIBRANT!

2. Mirror your image in Design Space.

Just like iron-on, you always have to mirror your image in Design Space before cutting your Infusible Ink— whether it's a transfer sheet or pens. It's the worst when you're watching your Cricut cut and then realize that you forgot to mirror your image!

Tip: If this does happen to you, pause your Cricut or turn it off immediately so that you won't waste anymore material. 

Tip: If you're using Infusible Ink freehand markers/pens, keep it mind that whatever you're drawing will eventually be mirrored on your project. So if you are drawing words, they will appear backwards on your project. You would have to draw or write them backwards for them to appear correctly on your finished project.

3. Use the fabric that comes in the transfer sheet box and start small!

I always recommend this with every material {especially if it's a new material}, but especially with Infusible Ink— START SMALL! Don't commit to a huge project if you've never tried Infusible Ink before. If it doesn't come out correctly, you'll just have wasted a lot of materials. In every transfer sheet box, there will be a piece of white fabric that you can use to try out Infusible Ink! Start here. Just cut a small shape from your transfer sheets and transfer that to the fabric. This will allow you to get a feel for working with the material. The first time I did the sample fabric, I simply cut a heart. Then once you've done that and got the feel for it, if you're feeling more adventurous, you may want to try and cut something a little more complex. Why? Because it will allow you to try out weeding smaller, more intricate designs. I created these koozies below and they were about 3x3" designs— these would be good designs to try cutting and weeding. I wouldn't recommend doing anything more complex than this, but the whole point is to get you used to weeding Infusible Ink since it's much different than anything else. I would also recommend you do a sample project when you're using Infusible Ink pens/markers for the first time. The whole point of this tip is to get you accustomed and acquainted with the material so you don't waste anything when you get to your project.

4. Heat resistant tape is your best friend.

One of the enemies of Infusible Ink is movement. When you're in the middle of transferring your Infusible Ink to your blank, if any part of your project (transfer sheet, blank, EasyPress, table, etc) moves, it can cause a ghosting effect. It will look like a shadow on your project and trust me, you don't want that. The carrier sheet that Infusible Ink is on is actually pretty sticky, but I almost always add heat resistant tape to help secure the transfer sheet or copy paper (if you're using pens) to the blank surface I'm using. It's just going to help secure your transfer sheet or paper to your surface and help it to not move! Plus, it's super inexpensive and I've had my roll for over a year now and I still have tons left. Tip: it HAS to be heat resistant tape! If you use regular tape, it will melt. Check it out here on our website.

5. When you are applying your EasyPress, make sure it lays completely flat. AKA: AVOID SEAMS.

Yes, I put that in caps because this is something I continually messed up and would get inconsistent transfers. You need your EasyPress to lay flat in order for it to have consistent pressure across the entire plat. Consistent pressure is what will give you a perfect transfer! If you lay your EasyPress on a seam, it is not laying flat on your project surface. Avoid seams on t-shirts, body suits or tote bags!

Check out the onesie that I made above. Do you see how the top portion of the lion has some ghosting/fading? That's because when I placed my EasyPress on top of the onesie, I placed it on top of the seam and it did not lay flat on the onesie. What I should have done was bump my EasyPress up against the seam so that I could keep the EasyPress plate laying flat. Keep this tip in mind for onesies, tote bags and t-shirts! 

6. Avoid any and all movement once your EasyPress is applied.

We briefly talked about movement in tip #4, but really— any and all movement should be avoided as soon as you place your EasyPress onto your project surface. Don't move your EasyPress, your EasyPress mat, or your work surface. This also goes when you are removing the EasyPress from your project. Make sure you lift up straight and go slow.  

Tip: Make sure your work surface is sturdy! You'll be applying some pressure with your EasyPress and you want to make sure your work surface can withhold any pressure and not move in the process. Note: some projects, like the coasters, won't require any pressure, but it's still a good practice to have a sturdy work surface.

7. Avoid lotion, oils or food before handling Infusible Ink transfer sheets.

You will be handling your Infusible Ink transfer sheets a lot with your hands. Any oils, lotion or residue from your fingers could ruin the ink on the transfer sheet, thus ruining your project. Check out the tote bag I attempted to make in the photo above. I decided I wanted to make this project without realizing that 30 minutes prior, I had applied lotion on my hands. Argh, this was a frustrating fail! See how the ink failed to transfer in certain spots? The lotion really killed this project, so make sure your hands are clean, dry and free from anything that could potentially interfere with the transfer.

Tip: If you have extra oily hands, you may want to wear gloves with Infusible Ink.

8. Avoid touching your Infusible Ink transfer sheet as much as possible.

You may be thinking, "Wait, what?" But hear me out before you skip past this section ;) Yes, it is inevitable that you will have to touch your transfer sheets. Think through the whole process: you get the transfer sheet out of the box, place it on your mat, take it off the mat, cut it to size, weed, place it on your project, and then some. However, as you are handling the transfer sheets, there will be times that you can do your best to keep your fingers off the sheet! Here are a few tips:

  • When applying the transfer sheet onto the mat, use a scraper tool or brayer tool to adhere it to the mat instead of pushing down with your hand (see photo above).
  • When you're weeding your design, do your best to only touch parts of the transfer sheet that you won't actually be transferring. You can also use a weeder tool to help pry up trickier pieces instead of rubbing your finger all around the area. I've also found that trying to use my fingernail helps too!
  • When you're handling the transfer sheet, try to only touch the back (the carrier sheet) or only place your fingers on parts of the transfer sheet that you won't be transferring or parts that you've already weeded.
  • Use a paper trimmer to cut your Infusible Ink. Not only will this keep everything square and straight, but it will also eliminate the need for you to hold the transfer sheet in your hand if you were cutting with a scissors.

These are just a few of the ways we can help to get successful transfers for our projects. Like I mentioned before, you obviously have to touch your Infusible Ink transfer sheets, but anytime you can choose not to touch it will help you in the long run.

9. If you find your transfer didn't transfer completely, you can try laying your transfer sheet down again and repressing.

In this t-shirt project, I had some fading/ghosting on the right-hand side of the shirt— you can see it a bit in the M and D. If you remove your carrier sheet to find you had an unsuccessful transfer, check out the carrier sheet to see if there is ink still on the letters. Most often, where you see fading on your t-shirt, there is still ink left behind on your transfer sheet. You can try placing your carrier sheet back down and then repressing for the allotted time. You'll have to place your carrier sheet perfectly back on your surface where you originally had it (I realize it's impossible to be perfect, but I'm just trying to stress that it really needs to get lined up well!). Just as a heads up, this can be tricky, especially with more complicated designs. 

Tip: As you are peeling up your design, if you notice immediately that the transfer didn't go perfectly, stop peeling up the rest of the design and place your transfer sheet back down. Like I just mentioned, it's so important to get your transfer sheet lined up back up perfectly if you're going to repress, so this will help to keep everything lined up.

Note: This doesn't always work, unfortunately. It's usually a last-ditch effort for me, but sometimes it does work— and honestly, what do you have to lose trying? I have found that it's really tricky with more complex designs because it's harder to line your design back up perfectly. 

Note: Cricut does not recommend because it can lead to more ghosting/fading, but like I just said— I like to use this trick when it's my last resort and I've got nothing to lose!

10. If there is any white transfer paper residue left behind as you're weeding, get rid of it. 

I've noticed that sometimes when I'm weeding, I'll be able to remove the transfer sheet but it will leave behind a white paper residue. Even though there is no ink on the paper, still remove this because it can ruin your project! When I see the white paper left behind, I try two ways to get rid of it:

1. Try peeling the transfer sheet from a different angle. Most times, this will remove the white paper too! 

2. If that doesn't work, I take a weeder tool and gently scrape it off. Just be careful that you don't puncture through your carrier sheet. 

As you can see in the photo above (see the arrow), I made the mistake of leaving the white paper on and it ended up interfering with my transfer! I was actually really surprised that it did, so take it from me and get rid of any white paper that you may left behind.

Tip: This doesn't always happen, so don't fret if it doesn't happen to you! Just keep this tucked away for future projects.

11. If your Cricut cuts part of your transfer sheet all the way through, don't worry about it.

We get this question a LOT. Your Cricut is supposed to "kiss cut" your Infusible Ink transfer sheet. This just means that it cuts the ink and not the carrier sheet it is on. Sometimes, your Cricut will cut through the carrier sheet too. If you find this is happening, don't worry about it— it shouldn't interfere with your transfer. If you are experiencing this a lot, you can try to recalibrate your fine-point blade or choose "less pressure" while you're cutting.

12. If you accidentally weed off a part of your design you actually need to be on the liner, simply place it back on. 

It happens. Sometimes when you're weeding, you'll accidentally weed the wrong part of your design. Don't fret, the carrier sheet that the Infusible Ink is on is sticky, so you can simply place it back on the sheet. Or you can use heat resistant tape to help place it back as well!

13. If you find your Cricut is having difficulty cutting the Transfer Sheet, it may be time for a new blade.

I recently put a new blade in my machine and it was night and day difference cutting my transfer sheet! It made weeding way easier.

Tip: You can also increase your cutting pressure to "More Pressure" if you feel like your Cricut is not cutting through well enough.

14. My most successful projects in the beginning were the ceramic and cork coasters. 

I would recommend starting with either the ceramic coasters or the cork coasters when you're first starting this out. This is totally just my opinion but I was able to successfully make those projects right away and struggled with the results of the t-shirt and tote bags.

Also, I found it a lot easier to work with Infusible Ink pens and markers in the beginning too! I've actually never had any transferring problems when working with the pens/markers, so you may want to start there as well.

15. Add more pressure for linen projects (t-shirts, body suits, pillow cases, etc.)

For the past year, the biggest problem I struggled with was getting inconsistent heat transfers on linen projects such as t-shirts, baby onesies and tote bags. Please take a look at the photo above and let's have a moment of silence for my failed Infusible Ink project (sigh). I even tried using tip #9 and didn't have much success. Up until this point, I had been consistently struggling with getting successful heat transfers for linen projects. I had no problems whatsoever regarding coasters! So as you can imagine, this was driving me nuts. I've chatted with Cricut, bloggers and my co-workers and couldn't figure out why. My first thought was that my hands were just extra oily, but I wasn't convinced that was it because I don't actually think that's true of my hands. 😂

Let's take a look at the EasyPress heating settings:

I followed the instructions to a T and still got the above results. And like I said, this had been happening nearly every time I made a tote bag, t-shirt or other linen project.

Then I showed the failed project to my husband, who's actually pretty crafty himself, and he suggested adding more pressure! Of course, at first I was like, "But I followed ALL. THE. RULES. so that can't be it" (I'm a die-hard rule follower at heart 😅). The next morning, I repeated the same project and instead of doing light pressure, I literally pressed down with all the strength I could muster. Side-note: I didn't have the same exact transfer sheet color for the apple— the one I used in the second attempt is more of a rustic, brown color compared to the red in the photo above. Just didn't want to confuse you! Here's the results:

 

Not going to lie, I was so mad but I was also so relieved to finally have a SUCCESSFUL project for a linen material. Since then, I've consistently applied more pressure for linen projects, even despite the Cricut heat guide instructions. This is just my personal experience, but I can't imagine I'm the only one out there who has/was been consistently struggling with making the t-shirts, pillows, etc.

As I, or our team here at Craft-e-Corner, discover new tips/tricks for working with Infusible Ink, we'll continue to add to this list. I absolutely love using Infusible Ink and I hope that this list helps you to get successful projects! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below. Happy making!

-Courteney

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