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How to use Cricut Infusible Ink on Tumblers Without a Mug Press
Hello crafty friends! Today I’m going to show you how to use Cricut Infusible Ink on a 20 oz. skinny tumbler.
The best part of this project is that you don’t need a mug press or any other fancy equipment. Also, you don’t need to buy Cricut blanks to use Cricut Infusible Ink. All you need to do is look for sublimation blanks, or if you have a project where you’re using fabric just look for 100% polyester material.
When I first started working with infusible ink I messed it up a lot and I didn’t like it so much, but now I love it. I hope you will too.
For information on how to apply vinyl to tumblers see this post https://dailydoseofdiy.com/vinyl-tumblers-tutorial/
Let’s get started!
Supplies Needed for Infusible Ink Tumblers
- 20 oz. skinny sublimation tumbler – https://www.dailydoseofdiyshop.com/products/sublimation-blank-tumbler-20oz-skinny
- Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets – https://amzn.to/381FlFb
- Heat resistant tape – https://amzn.to/384i2uk
- Shrink wrap sleeve (optional) – https://amzn.to/2XA2Bbl
- Parchment Paper
- Heat gun (for the shrink wrap method)
- Cricut cut mat, standard size
- Oven / Convection Oven
- FREE Skinny Tumbler Template SVG file (more information on how to get this at the bottom of this post)
Infusible Ink Tumbler Video
Step 1: Load Design into Cricut
First, download the SVG file and upload it into Design Space. If you need extra help with downloading and uploading SVG files read this post or you can see more in the video.
You can get access to my free resource library full of SVG files here. Once you’re in the SVGs are in alphabetical order. Just click on the name of the SVG you want and the download will automatically start. For this cut file scroll down to “S” in the library for “SKINNY TUMBLER TEMPLATE”
Once you have uploaded your SVG file you can choose which design you would like to use and insert it into Design Space. Today I’m going to use the blank template and add my name to it.
Tip: These tumblers are not tapered – if you are using a tapered tumbler you’ll need a different template.
To do this I’m going to add a text box, type my name, and then choose my font. If you choose the System tab in the font menu it will show you all of the fonts you have downloaded on your computer.
For this design, I’m going to use the font ALS Mitzi Doodle from fontbundles.net.
After typing my name I wasn’t happy with the way the C and the H joined together so to fix this I selected my text and from the top of the layers menu, I clicked Ungroup. This lets me move my letters one at a time.
When I’m happy with the way the letters line up I select all of my letters and use the Weld tool at the bottom of the layers menu.
Now, my name is done and I’m going to put it over our blank template. The blank template uploads into Design Space the way it will need to be placed on the tumbler, from left to right and with the top of the design at the top of the tumbler and the bottom of the template at the bottom of the tumbler.
I want my name to be sideways so I rotate my text 90 degrees. Then, I’m going to make sure the text is centered on the template. I’ll select the template and my name and come to the top Align menu and from the dropdown select “center vertically”.
After your design is centered click Attach at the bottom of the layers menu. This will make sure that your letters get cut out of the template.
Then click Make It.
Step 2: Cut & Weed the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet
Next we’re going to cut our design on the Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet.
One thing you need to know about using infusible ink is that you will always need to mirror your design. Turn on the mirror feature from the mat screen.
Next, you will need to set your material. If you have a Cricut Explore set your dial to Custom. Browse from the materials and type in the search bar Infusible Ink transfer sheet.
Once Infusible Ink is selected Design Space will remind you to make sure that mirror is on and the material should be placed on your mat inked side up.
Putting your infusible ink transfer sheet onto your cut mat will be just like any other material. Just start by lining it up along the edge first and then smooth it out. Now you’re ready to load it into your machine!
Don’t worry – infusible ink gets much brighter after it’s exposed to heat!
When your design is finished cutting, flip your mat over and peel your mat away from your design to keep your material from tearing or curling. I also like to trim off the excess material so I can use it for other projects.
If you’ve never used infusible ink it feels like paper on a sticky transfer sheet. You don’t even really need weeding tools. You can pull off the parts of the design you don’t want by slightly bending the design along the cut line and grabbing the part that sticks up with your fingers.
For our design I will start by pulling off the extra vinyl from around the edge leaving only our square template cut. Then we’ll pull up the main letters and leave the centers of the letters in place.
Tip: For mirrored designs I like to flip it over and look at the back to make sure that I didn’t forget to weed any part of the design.
Step 3: Prepare the Tumbler : Tape Method
Before we put the ink on the tumbler you need to make sure the surface of your tumbler is clean, so you want to take a microfiber cloth or something that will remove any dust or debris from the surface.
Next, before we put the infusible ink on our tumbler we’ll need to trim either the left or right side of the excess sticky transfer sheet to leave just the infusible ink paper.
Now, I’ll grab my tumbler and wrap our infusible ink transfer sheet around it with the inked side of the paper facing the tumbler. I want my name to start at the top of my tumbler so I’ll place the ‘C’ at the top.
Tip: Place your tumbler in the middle of your transfer sheet and wrap one side at a time. This way you can make sure that the infusible ink covers the entire cup from top to bottom. Take your time to make sure there is no white rim around your design. Don’t worry – I’ve made my template slightly larger than the tumbler to help ensure that won’t happen!
Once you’re happy with the placement of your transfer sheet you’ll need to grab some heat resistant tape. Start by taping down the side of the infusible ink where we cut off the edge of the transfer sheet.
Make sure to tape down the corners of the infusible ink and wrap the tape around the top and bottom of the tumbler. DO NOT put the tape on the sides of the tumbler! The infusible ink will not stick to the tumbler where the design overlaps.
Now you’re going to roll your tumbler, pulling the other side of the infusible ink transfer sheet tightly against the cup. You want your design to overlap at the seam. Make sure to check again that the infusible ink covers the entire cup. We don’t want a white rim at the top or bottom.
Next you’re going to tape along the seam with more heat resistant tape.
You’ll tape the whole seam first, then tape around the top and the bottom so that it attaches the infusible ink to the rim of the tumbler as well. Fold the tape over the rim and over the bottom of the tumbler to get a good seal.
Step 4: Prepare the Tumbler: Shrink Wrap Method
Next I’ll show you another way to prepare your tumbler with shrink wrap. This method will ensure that your infusible ink design is tight against the tumbler so you won’t have any “ghosting”.
“Ghosting” means your ink has faded and doesn’t look quite right. This happens when your infusible ink transfer sheet moves during the heating process. I’ve heard some people say that taping causes ghosting more often, but I didn’t have any trouble. I’ll show you the finished product with the tape method and the shrink wrap method. You can decide for yourself which method you like best.
Shrink wrap sleeves are easy to use and are super cheap on Amazon. If you’re using a design with a lot of text or intricate designs you may want to use shrink wrap.
Before you put the sleeve on your tumbler, wrap a piece of parchment paper around it. This will keep the plastic of the shrink wrap from sticking to the plastic transfer sheet. Now, just place your tumbler inside the sleeve and grab your heat gun.
With your heat gun on a medium heat setting apply heat evenly to the whole tumbler. As you apply heat the shrink wrap sleeve should start to tighten around the cup.
Tip: You might be able to use a hair dryer on a high setting if you don’t have a heat gun. However, I’ve never tried it that way before. If you try it let us know in the comments how it works!
Now your tumblers are ready to go in the oven!
Step 5: Bake Your Design onto Your Tumbler
Fair warning, I’ve read that some people say you shouldn’t put your tumblers in the oven. Instead, they recommend putting them in a convection oven. I didn’t have any trouble putting mine in the oven. If you’re uncomfortable doing that you may be able to find a cheap convection oven at Goodwill.
Set your oven to 400 degrees and place the tumblers in for 15 minutes. Place your cups on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to make sure the plastic of the shrink wrap doesn’t get stuck to anything in your oven.
Next, after your timer goes off, take the cups out of the oven and let them cool completely. This should take about 20 minutes.
Now, remove the shrink wrap, tape, and transfer sheet to reveal your awesome new tumbler!
I did not notice a difference between just using heat tape versus using shrink wrap. However both of my designs we’re larger. If doing small text or intricate designs your best bet will be the shrink wrap.
Don’t forget to sign up to get the free SVG files. Simply go here https://dailydoseofdiy.lpages.co/svg-library/ and fill in your first name and email address and we’ll send the link and password right over to the free resource library.
Thanks so much for crafting with me today!
Chris Butler has helped thousands of crafters learn how to use their Cricut machine without feeling overwhelmed. She is a best selling author and an up and coming designer. For fun Chris enjoys designing SVG Files, hanging out with her family (preferably at the lake), traveling, and volunteering at her church. She is a wife and mom of two crazy fun kids.