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Silhouette and Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets Tutorial and Review (Good, Bad, and Be Warned)

Wondering if you can cut Cricut Infusible Ink sheets with Silhouette CAMEO? You can!

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I grabbed a couple of sheets of Cricut Infusible Ink along with the Infusible Ink Markers and Pens to test out and review so I can share the good, bad, and..a big ol' warning with you.

What are Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets?

Although Cricut's not calling it so, basically Cricut Infusible Ink sheets are pre-printed sublimation sheets on a clear carrier sheet that can be cut with cutting machines including Silhouette CAMEO and Portrait.  There are a dozen or so Infusible Ink patterns you can pick from along with several solid color Infusible Ink sheets.

How does Cricut Infusible Ink work? 

When applied at a temperature of 400 degrees for one minute, the ink from the paper-based sheet (or from the Cricut Infusible Ink Markers) is infused into the polyester-coated blank (aka any sublimation substrate).

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 Cricut Infusible Ink vs Sublimation

Since there seem to be a lot of questions about the difference between the Cricut Infusible Ink sheets and sublimation I did a quick side by side comparison between the two on a recent Facebook Live.

How to Cut Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets with Silhouette CAMEO

Start in Silhouette Studio with creating your design.  Be sure to size the design so it fits on the sublimation blank where you are gong to apply it.  I would also suggest you put a weeding box around your design. Create a weeding box tightly around your design by using the Draw a Rectangle tool from the left sidebar. 

WARNING!!!! The most important step is to reverse your image. Select it > right click > flip horizontally. If you do not do this, your image will read backwards once applied to the final surface.

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Move to the Send panel and adjust your cut settings. The best Silhouette cut settings for Cricut Infusible Ink is: Blade 5, Speed 4, Force 26, 1 Pass.

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I would suggest you add this as a custom cut setting so you can easily pick the Infusible Ink as a material next time you cut it.

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Place a sheet of the Infusible Ink on your cutting mat. 

Because the sheets are so tightly rolled in the box and because they are paper-based they do not want to stay flat. They curl up a lot so you'll want to use a very sticky cutting mat. It's helpful that the backing is a clear materials rather than paper which means it won't get stuck to the mat and rip.

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Load the cutting mat into your Silhouette CAMEO and send it to cut. 

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Now it's time to weed away. Weed away the excess area around your design and any negative areas.  You can kind of bend the material to help pop the cut areas up before using a hook or tweezers to grab them. Be careful as the paper-based material can be a little tricky to weed.

Trim around your cut design to remove it from the rest of the Infusible Ink Sheet.

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How to Apply Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets 

Designs cut from Cricut Infusible Ink sheets need to be applied at 400 degrees for one minute to surfaces that have a polyester coating.  Think sublimation blanks... 

At that temperature, the ink is infused (now you understand the name) into the substrate. It will NOT sit on top like a transfer, but instead be transferred into the surface. 

So grab your sublimation blank - it can be a Cricut Infusible Ink blank or it can be any sublimation blank or fabric with at least 50% polyester - and flip your cut design onto it so the design is face down. See why it's so important to reverse/mirror your image in Silhouette Studio before you cut? The clear gridded surface should be facing up and since it's sticky and see-through it's helpful for getting your design to stay in position on the blank while you press. 

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Place it on your heat press (or you can use an EasyPress 2) on a pressing pillow and covered with the included paper.  Apply firm pressure for 1 minute. 

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When the time is up carefully (it's hot!!) remove from the heat and peel away the Infusible Ink Sheet.

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You'll see that the ink has moved from the sheet to the surface and the colors are much more vibrant.  The results are actually very impressive - but not surprising if you're familiar with the print quality of sublimation.

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Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets Review: Pros and Cons

The good news is IF you know what you're doing, you can get great results with Cricut's Infusible Ink sheets. The bad news is - if you don't, you may very well waste a lot of money because these things aren't cheap and Cricut's out-of-the-box instructions are lacking. I think the packaging is too.

Cricut Infusible Ink Cost

If you're wondering about the price of Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets - they're not cheap. I spent a total of $65 on 6 sheets of Cricut Infusible Ink and a 5 pack of Infusible Ink Pens and 5 pack of Infusible Ink Markers.  The 4 12x12" sheet pack was $17.99 (2 patterned and 2 solid) and the 2 sheet pack (1 patterened and 1 solid) was $12.99. The  price of Cricut Infusible Ink Markers and pens is  $14.99 for the 5 pack.

That's pricey- especially for anyone who realizes you can print an infinite number of your own custom pattern sublimation sheets for about $600 with a sublimation printer such as a Sawgrass SG400

Ironically before I ordered my Infusible Ink, I had printed a full sheet of an almost identical pattern on my sublimation printer

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The ink sheets came so tightly rolled they were a challenge to get to lay flat on the cutting mat.  I'm sure the decision to roll the sheets this way was based on getting the smallest possible packaging for store shelves and shipping - but the customer experience out of the box is lacking because of it. 

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Also lacking, in my opinion, are Cricut's directions. 

The three steps on the box refer you to the Cricut Infusible Ink website for more directions where you can watch a video of how to use the sublimation sheets. BUT they fail to mention you MUST reverse the image. If you watch closely you'll catch that the design isn't (yet??) mirrored in the software either.


The packaging also indicates you can't use "incompatible base materials" which is extremely vague. Those unfamiliar with how this sublimation-technology works won't realize until after they've applied their image it can only be applied to light colored polyester surfaces.  Infusible Ink sheets will not work on cotton or darks. 

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The good news is once you get past all of that and understand exactly how to design, cut and apply Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets you will see why some people will absolutely love them.  They do give great end results with the colors very vibrant and crisp!

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If you want the look and feel and quality of sublimation without investing in a sublimation printer - you are going to get it with this product. They're an intro to sublimation at a fraction of the cost.

While I think the price is steep, just like the Easypress, I think you're paying for the convenience.  To a lot of dining room table crafters, who have no room to store a sublimation printer nor the budget to add one, Cricut Infusible Ink sheets will be a great way to get sublimation results without a sublimation printer!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!


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14 comments

  1. Hmm, I can kinda see this being useful BUT it's so much easier to find someone to print your design onto sublimation paper for you. No cutting or weeding, one of the big benefits of sublimation! And it'll cost less! Thanks for trying it all out for us though!

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    1. Where can I find someone to print sublimation sheets for me? Do certain businesses do this?

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  2. The paper is butcher paper, not parchment paper, there is a difference. At :40 minute mark the image is reversed? You can see the tail of the speech bubble is on the right just as it is when they reveal it. It's reversed because the image is face down on the shirt.

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  3. Thanks for this review. Of course Cricut wants you to use only their products, but the prices are a bit high. I got some sheets and the markers the other day and will be looking for onsies and shirts that I can use them on, other than the Cricut ones.
    I am wondering about the markers too. Have you given them a try? It says you need to use laser copy paper, wondering what the difference is. When I've looked online it just says that it is a heavier weight, wondering if something other than laser will work. Not that it's expensive, but just wondering about it and if I already have something that will work.

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    Replies
    1. I will have a blog post on them on Thursday 6/27

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    2. laser paper can withstand higher temperatures. Laser ink is "burned" into the paper as opposed to ink jet that lays on top of the paper.

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    3. I used a shirt from Walmart that only cost like $4/5 dollars. It was 95% Poly and worked great. Way cheaper then Cricut's shirts at $10. I think you pay for the name more than the actual material. It's sad they do that to crafters.

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  4. do i absolutely have to get the easy press 2 to get a good result? can i just use my easy press 1 ? like if I've done a few projects before the infusible ink sheets would my press be "hot" enough?

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    Replies
    1. On the Cricut website you can find a page in which Cricut lists press settings for both the EasyPress 1 and 2. Sorry I don’t have the link to share, but I know it’s there, because I’ve visited it before.

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    2. put the heat to the highest setting of 360 and if doing a shirt or tote bag leave it for 120 seconds. I did both with my friends easypress.

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  5. Can you use sublimation printers for regular printing as well, or is it’s usefulness limited to doing crafty sublimation printing?

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    Replies
    1. From everything I have read and researched, once you use it for sublimation that's all you can use it for.

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  6. I only have the cricut press 1st edition that goes to 160 degrees. I read that you can heat it for twice the time and it will work. any thoughts on that? I did pick up a package at Michaels with a $5 off coupon which worked so spent $12.99. but don't want to waste it if my easy press won't work.

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    Replies
    1. On the Cricut website, they have s page that lists the Easy Press 1 vs. Easy Press 2 settings. Sorry I don’t have the link right now, but I’m sure you’ll find it there.

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