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Recently I shared about Cricut Infusible Ink and how it compares to my method of screen printing with vinyl (read about the comparison here). What I love about Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets are the different patterned designs available… patterns that you can't always achieve with screen printing. But, Infusible Ink is expensive if you plan to make multiple shirts. So, what about combining Cricut Infusible Ink and screen printing. You can get the best of both!
Cricut Infusible Ink + Speedball Screen Printing Ink
Cricut Infusible Ink is very similar to using iron-on vinyl. You cut your design on your Cricut machine (don't forget to mirror) and iron the transfer sheet on your Cricut brand shirt blank. The ink magically sinks into the fabric! I love that you can get a variety of patterned sheets. I was excited to find buffalo plaid Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets which are perfect for making holiday t-shirts. However, I wanted to make multiple shirts – which would mean purchasing an Ink Transfer Sheet for EACH shirt I wanted to make.
In my ebook, “The Complete Guide to Screen Printing with Craft Vinyl,” I walk you through the steps of using Oracal 651 to create a stencil that you can use for screen printing on shirts. The benefit to this method is that you can reuse the same stencil to make multiple shirts. This keeps your costs super low!
What if you have a design that needs a little pattern but the rest is a solid color? I found this adorable fa la la llama design from perslialou.com. I wanted to add a little touch of buffalo plaid for the scarf and earmuffs, but the larger part of the design is black. By using Infusible Ink for the small detail pieces, I just need about 2×4 of the transfer sheet per shirt. Then, I use one 12×12 piece of Oracal 651 vinyl for the remainder of the design. That one stencil will work for as many shirts as I need!
Supplies Needed for this Tutorial
- Speedball 10×14 Screen Printing Frame
- Free fa la llama SVG from Persialou.com
- Speedball Fabric Ink
- Cricut Buffalo Check Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets
- Easy Press 2
- Oracal 651 Vinyl – any color
- Painter’s Tape
- Transfer Tape
- Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2
- Setup your design in Design Space. Attach the earmuff and scarf background pieces so they will cut the right distance apart.
- Cut the black part of your design on Oracal 651 vinyl, turning on the mirror option.
- Cut the earmuff and scarf background piece on your Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet, turning on the mirror option. You will need one set per shirt you are making.
- Attach your Oracal 651 design to your Speedball screen. This is my favorite transfer tape for getting the vinyl to stick to the screen.
- Use a lint roller to prepare the surface of your shirt for the Infusible Ink.
- Put a piece of parchment paper inside your shirt just in case some of the ink bleeds through.
- Line up the screen on your shirt to determine the best placement. For tricks on how to line up your screen, you can download my free Design Sizing Guide.
- Place the Infusible Ink transfer design under the screen. Adjust the placement until it is lined up perfectly.
- Carefully lift your screen, leaving the Infusible Ink design in place. Cover it with the included piece of butcher paper. Heat press the design using your Easy Press 2 set on 385 degrees for 40 seconds.
- Repeat Steps 7-8 on each of your shirts.
- Line up the screen on your shirt, making sure the buffalo plaid area is positioned correctly with your design.
- Squeegee a thin layer of ink over the screen.
- Lift the screen to reveal your finished design!
- Allow the ink to dry for 2-3 days (use a heat gun if you want to speed up the process).
- Heat set the ink using your Easy Press 2 set on 320 degrees for 40 seconds. This will cure the Speedball Ink and keep it from fading in the wash.
- Enjoy your new custom made t-shirt!