How to transfer your child’s art into gifts using your Cricut Maker. This is an easy demo of how to turn a drawing into a mousepad.
Every year my sons’ public school has a fundraiser where you can purchase your child’s art on different products. It’s a neat way to support the school and the boys’ grandparents love getting custom products. This year, thanks to COVID (boooo pandemic), this fundraiser never happened. At Christmas, I decided to try using Infusible Ink pens to transfer the boys’ artwork onto mousepads for their grandparents. It was a fun project to do together and not terribly time-intensive. Here’s how to make your own!
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Tips for Using Infusible Ink Pens to Transfer Art
Infusible Ink is Cricut’s version of sublimation. Infusible ink works inclusively on polyester products, and the more polyester the product has, the better the ink will transfer. Think of infusible ink as dyeing your fabric with a design. You can read more about how infusible ink works here.
You’ll exclusively be working with a plain white product or “blank.” Whatever product you use needs to be mostly polyester fabric and I can usually find compatible blanks if I search for “sublimation blanks” on Amazon. I’m working with these sublimation mouse pads for this project. Cricut has their own infusible ink blanks which are the only products they guarantee their ink on, but I’d have good luck with other brands.
Here are my top tips:
- Thicken lines by hand tracing the lettering with your pens. Whatever ink is on your sublimation paper will transfer to your product. More ink = a stronger transfer/final image.
- Adjust the temperature of your heat press based on the product recommendations. Cricut has a handy heat guide, but most sublimation blanks will tell you what temperature to use. You also need to adjust your press time based on the recommended settings.
- Similar to iron on vinyl, the infusible ink needs to be mirrored. If you’re hand drawing the design, that means your words (or image) will need to be mirrored (aka flipped). You can draw the image on regular paper with regular pens, then trace it onto the sublimation paper with infusible ink pens so it’s flipped/mirrored. Or, if you’re really good at this, you can write any letters backwards.
- Make sure the blank doesn’t have any fuzz or other debris on it. Use a lint roller to remove anything before pressing an image on.
- The color you see when you draw with the Cricut pens on your sublimation paper is NOT the same color you’ll see once pressed on your final product. It tends to be a muted version of the final color.
- Preheat your blank before placing your design face down on it.
- You can use heat resistant tape to hold the paper down to keep it from shifting during the pressing process.
- You DO NOT need a Cricut to make this if you draw it all by hand!
We found that drawing the whole piece of art twice was a bit much for the kids so they drew the design with the Infusible Ink pens directly on the sublimation paper, but the WORDS were traced so they were backwards from a regular piece of paper underneath. This solved the mirroring issue.
How to Transfer Children’s Art Using the Cricut
Here’s a video of the process.
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