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When I first saw Cricut's new EasyPress Mini, I knew I couldn't resist adding one more EasyPress to my craft room! I get so much use out of my 6″x7″ EasyPress 2 and 9″x9″ EasyPress 2. But, there are just some projects that need a little more precision. The ability to easily hold it by the handle and use the pointed edge gives you so much control.
Its size alone makes it hard to resist, but here's how practical it is: Remember when I shared the tutorial about screen printing hats or stretchy headbands? The EasyPress Mini is the perfect tool for heat setting the ink on these unusual shapes and sizes. It's extremely helpful when you have uneven surfaces around seems or zippers – where you may not be able to get the direct contact using a larger press.
Why heat press after screen printing?
With Speedball Fabric Ink, it's important to heat set the ink. This means getting the ink hot enough so that it will cure and become permanent on your fabric. I have found that 320 degrees for at least 40 seconds works well. After heat setting, the ink will remain vibrant wash after wash.
What better way to show you how the EasyPress Mini works than with a completely mini project – Mini Halloween Totes filled with mini candies! Here's a look at how I screen printed mini totes using Cricut vinyl.
Supplies Used in this Tutorial
- Speedball’s Hinge Frame
- Speedball Fabric Ink, Black
- Cricut Premium Vinyl
- Cricut Maker
- Transfer Tape (this tape is key to getting your vinyl to stick to the screen)
- Painter’s Tape
- Cricut EasyPress Mini
- Mini Tote Bags from Hobby Lobby
- Raffia from Target's Bullseye's Playground
- All the Mini Halloween Candy you can eat!
For this tutorial, I used my Speedball Hinge Frame. This can be a little tricky on an item like this because of the seams. To keep the printing surface as smooth and even as possible, I placed my design at the top edge of the screen. This kept the bag's handles from bunching up under the screen.
Once my bag is lined up just right in the frame, I add a scoop of black fabric ink. I pulled the ink towards me using firm pressure on the squeegee, making sure it went evenly over the entire bag's surface.
I peek under the screen to see if the ink covers the design completely. If there are any spots that need more ink, just lower the frame back down and add another coat.
Other Tips and Tricks
- After lining up the first bag, I traced the outline on a white piece of paper, taped to the board. This was my guide for lining up each of the remaining bags on the board.
- Make sure as you squeegee over the design you are getting an even amount of pressure to all of the design. Because of the seems and unevenness of these bags, I pressed a little harder than usual.
- Don't go over the design too many times! The canvas material doesn't soak up the ink like a cotton shirt. If you use too much ink (too many passes with the squeegee), it's likely to bleed.
- Purchase extra bags! Screen printing on canvas and uneven surfaces will take a little practice. Make sure you grab a few extras to practice with.
- You can put a block of wood in the bag like I did with the onesie tutorial but you may need to use the screen without the hinge attached.
- When using the EasyPress Mini on an area larger than the press, you want to make sure you heat the entire design. I overlapped a little to make sure I didn't miss a spot, heating each section for 40 seconds.