This post shares all about how to make a personalized Infusible Ink tote bag, as well as a detailed guide about working with Infusible Ink. Infusible Ink is an exciting new material that will help you create professional-quality, long-lasting personalized gifts this holiday season. This post originally appeared on by Brittany Goldwyn and was sponsored by Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
How to make a gorgeous Infusible Ink tote bag!
I have to be honest—I am really blown away by how beautiful Infusible Ink is. So I’m excited to share this personalized reusable bag DIY gift idea with you guys today. This is the second project I’ve done using Cricut’s Infusible Ink (well, fourth if you count the two failures I had on this project…which I will share!).
Since Infusible Ink is so beautiful and long-lasting, I knew it would be the perfect thing to use for something I’ve wanted to make for my brother’s girlfriend for a while—a personalized gift dedicated to her love of shuffle dancing 🙂 Also, she’s very eco-conscious, so she’ll get a ton of use out of a reusable bag.
First let me make one thing clear: I am old and very lame. So it will be difficult for me to talk about shuffling without sounding very How Do You Do, Fellow Kids. For all of you other old and lame people, shuffling is a dance style that involves fast heel-and-toe twisting and stepping, running man variations, some moonwalking (I think?), and foot swiveling, all to give the appearance of “gliding.” Can you tell I’ve been Googling “what is shuffle dancing”? 🙂
Since you probably haven’t heard of it, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that there aren’t a ton of shuffle-themed gifts out there. So this is a perfect candidate for a Cricut project! You can use a Cricut machine to make so many things—it isn’t just for scrapbooking or putting a vinyl “it’s fall, y’all” sticker on a mug. The possibilities for personalizing gifts are really endless.
And Cricut’s new Infusible Ink expands the tools available to you when making professional-quality personalized gifts. So let’s jump right in and talk a bit about what Infusible Ink actually is before I walk you through creating a DIY personalized reusable bag using Infusible Ink.
Recap: Cricut Infusible Ink Overview
I shared a detailed overview of how to use Cricut Infusible Ink in this post about using it on square coaster blanks. But I want to provide a quick overview here, too. Unlike iron-on vinyl, which is attached to the top of a base material using melted adhesive, Infusible Ink becomes part of the material.
Cricut’s new Infusible Ink allows you to create professional-quality ink-based heat transfers at home. They create similar-looking products to the more traditional iron-on vinyl. However, the major difference is that while iron-on material is attached to the top of a base material using melted adhesive, Infusible Ink becomes part of the material.
The Infusible Ink transfer sheets come packaged in a solid state. They aren’t wet like other ink mediums. When you apply heat at the right temperature using a heat press, the ink turns into a gas and transfers cleanly to your design. The ink becomes solid again and becomes part of the base material.
The transfer is seamless and never peels, wrinkles, or cracks. The ink comes on transfer sheets that look a lot like a sheet of vinyl or paper, and they come in patterns and solid colors. Cricut is rolling out new patterns and colors just like they do with their vinyl, and the transfer sheets are gorgeous.
Take your Infusible Ink projects to the next level by learning about how to use it to create custom mugs with the Cricut Mug Press!
Infusible Ink tote bag project
Alright, so I shared why I’m making this custom tote bag for my brother’s girlfriend already. But the good news is that if you want to make a tote bag like this, you can easily replicate the tutorial using whatever design you’d like. The key is just knowing how to work with Infusible Ink.
Supplies for this project
- Cricut Explore Air 2 or another Cricut Machine
- StandardGrip Green Mat
- Cricut EasyPress 2 and EasyPress Mat
- Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet
- Cricut Tote Blank
- 12 x 12 white cardstock
- Butcher paper
- Lint roller
- Scissors and tweezers
Here’s how I made my personalized Infusible Ink tote bag
Step 1: Prepare your cut file and transfer sheet
Personalize your cut file as desired and cut it using your Cricut and Design Space. The transfer sheet should be placed liner side down on a green StandardGrip mat. Make sure to mirror the design! Load mat and let your Cricut do the cutting for you.
Note: If you’re using a Cricut Explore machine, you’ll need to turn your dial to “Custom” first. Then you can choose Infusible Ink transfer sheets in Design Space. You can use any Cricut machine with Infusible Ink transfer sheets.
After removing the transfer sheet from the mat, trim away excess and then gently “roll” the design so the cut lines appear more clearly. Use tweezers to remove negative pieces from your design. Make sure to leave the design on your clear liner, but trim the liner so it isn’t larger than your EasyPress’s heat plate.
Note: Don’t worry if your machine cuts through your liner in areas. The sheets are very thin, and the design will still transfer fine.
Step 2: Prepare your tote bag blank
Preparing your tote bag blank will help you achieve the best possible transfer results. It only takes a few minutes, so you definitely don’t want to skip these three easy steps. First, put your white cardstock (not colored) on your EasyPress Mat. Then slide both inside the tote bag.
This transfer process works by using heat to convert solid-state Infusible Ink into gas. Therefore, the butcher paper and cardstock act as barriers to protect your tote bag, EasyPress heat plate, and mat. They also help capture moisture, which can mess up your design.
Second, use a lint roller to clean off the area where you’ll be infusing the design. This step is very important, even if you don’t see lint! Most fabrics have lint fibers that you can’t see. However, the ink infusion process will press the lint into the blank. This will lead to speckles in your design.
Third, cover the freshly cleaned area with the butcher paper that came with your Infusible Ink transfer sheets. The butcher paper must be larger than your EasyPress’s heat plate. Preheat this area to remove moisture and wrinkles. Then remove the butcher paper and let the tote cool.
Note: Cricut does not recommend reusing butcher paper because it absorbs ink that is lost in the transfer. This ink may then get on other projects, your EasyPress’s heat plate, or your mat. You can use regular white butcher paper if you use everything that came in your package. Don’t use parchment paper.
Step 3: Transfer the design to your tote bag blank!
Do not begin transferring your design until your tote has cooled completely. If your blank is even still just a bit warm, the design can begin transferring and shift. This leads to a “ghosting” or “smudged” effect (example of that shared in my mistakes section at the end of this post!).
Place the design face down with the clear liner facing up, just as you’d position an iron-on design. Cover with butcher paper larger than your EasyPress’s heat plate and then heat the design based on the specifications outlined in Cricut’s Heat Transfer Guide. (For this project, I used my EasyPress 2 at 385 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 seconds with light pressure and a warm peel.)
When the EasyPress beeps, carefully lift it, return it to its safety base, and walk away. I mean it. Walk away and let the tote bag cool completely! Then remove the butcher paper and transfer sheet. Use tweezers to remove any part of the design that separated from the liner.
Care for your tote by washing it inside out with cold water and mild detergent. You can tumble dry this if you’d like to as well. But no fabric softener, dryer sheets, or bleach.
Note: The designs are not reusable. Once you transfer the design, you gotta chuck the transfer sheet. Even though it might look like there is still some ink left, the magic has happened. Sorry!
Check out how to layer iron-on vinyl for a customized tote bag project, how to use holographic mosaic iron-on material, how to use the Cricut Maker’s knife blade to cut wood, and all of the different things you can make with wood and chipboard in a Cricut!
And here is my finished Infusible Ink tote bag!
Absolutely no bleed-through on the inside of the tote bag, either. Really impressive. Here are some more shots of the final personalized reusable bag!
Now the fun stuff…my Infusible Ink tote bag fails
Alright, so let’s be real here. The finish project looks amazing. The colors are stunning. But this was my third attempt at this project…yes, third. Infusible Ink is beautiful and easy to work with…IF you follow all of the directions very closely. There is very little room for error. So let’s walk through a few errors I made with Infusible Ink so you don’t have to make them!
Error #1: Not applying enough pressure
This is my first stab at this design. The Cricut heat guide recommends 385 degrees for 40 seconds with light pressure. So…since I was multitasking (do not multitask while doing an Infusible Ink project!), I misread it and thought it was a “no pressure” application.
This is what happens when you set the EasyPress 2 down on the design but don’t apply any pressure. Yeah…you can see the results are not appealing. Some of the spots transferred deeply, but it’s mostly blotchy and faded.
Error #2: Design too large
This one was a huge flub. I got the pressure right—isn’t this pattern completely gorgeous?—but the size was wrong. When you put the butcher paper on top of the design, it makes it a bit harder to see where the edges are. Unfortunately I placed my EasyPress incorrectly and cut off one edge of the design.
Yeah, obviously don’t do this. Trim your butcher paper or make a small mark on the butcher paper showing where the design ends if you can’t see through it. This worked for me the third time around.
Error #3: Ghosting
This failed transfer also had some ghosting. You can see it on the dots above the main shape. This was likely caused by me shifting the EasyPress just slightly while trying to position it correctly to cover the entire design. Reminder: Set your press straight down onto the design to transfer it…and don’t move it at all!
Error #4: Stray pieces
And, finally, the third error on this transfer. I missed the tiniest piece of transfer paper on the edge of the liner. It obviously transferred on as well. Not the end of the world, but also not ideal.
I’m glad I made the mistakes though, so I can share them with you and you won’t make them. But even with the flubs, how gorgeous is the transfer color? I’m really impressed by how vivid the patterns and colors are—and how professional the transfers look when done right. I can’t wait to try some more colors and patterns out on different blanks. Enjoy your projects!