I love the look of sublimation projects but lets be honest, as a hobby crafter, it’s a little on the expensive side to invest in a dedicated printer and ink.
I couldn’t justify that expense just to give a new craft a try. We all know crafting is not a cheap hobby but I just wasn’t ready to make that level of commitment.
Perhaps if I was to create a business out of it, I might be able to justify the cost but there are so many t-shirt and custom apparel makers out it, it just didn’t seem like it was worth it to run my own equipment.
And then I realized there was a cheaper way, sublimation markers!
I know I’m a little late to this Cricut Infusible Ink craze every other crafter is promoting but I didn’t really like how much the materials were and the limited supply of base material. It honestly didn’t make any sense to me. You use sublimation because it washes well and for most of the product line’s base materials, you can just use another method that isn’t as expensive and not as limiting in terms of patterns. The one thing where it did make sense was apparel but it needs to be a non-porous synthetic material like polyester. I really don’t like polyester shirts, they cling and make you look fat. The whole line of products just wasn’t all that appealing.
But I bought a set of the Infusible Ink markers anyways and thought maybe I’ll think of something good. The markers are like the cheapest and most flexible product in the lineup.
And that day is here! I was watching my daughter color the other day and it reminded me I had this set of Infusible Ink markers sitting in my drawer.
With these sublimation markers, I’m not limited to the Cricut designed sublimation transfer sheets or the expense of a dedicated printer and cartridge. I could create my own coloring pattern!
I also found some blanks that were cheaper than the ones offered in the Cricut lineup.
If you’re interested in bigger sublimation projects with a dedicated sublimation printer, check out my sublimation printer for beginners guide.
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Materials for Sublimation Marker Project
Cricut Infusible Ink – I like the Cricut brand of sublimation thermal markers the most because they are the most affordable. You can get a pack of markers or pens for way less than the alternate brands.
Laser Copy Paper – You will need a high temperature rated paper to draw on.
Heat Press or Iron – The cheapest heat press for beginners is the Cricut Easy Press. You also use a high temperature iron on the linen setting.
Cutting Machine – I use a Cricut. Check out my recommendations for Cricut machines and accessories for beginners for more info.
Butcher Paper or Teflon Sheet – You will need to shield the copy paper from the direct heat source.
Synthetic Blanks – I used a tote here but there are many different options. Here are a few of my favorites:
Template – I have included this floral mandala design for free. It is available in my resource library.
How to use Infusible Ink Sublimation Markers
Step 1: Draw out your design using the draw function in Cricut Design Space
If you are importing the design, you will need to select everything and make sure it is in “draw” mode.
I find the pen works best on copy paper because the marker tends to soak through on more intricate designs. If your design is simple, you can stick to the marker. Alternatively, you can just print or draw with a regular pen but the outline just won’t make the transfer.
Be sure to “mirror” you design especially if has words on it.
Step 2: Color in your design
This is the best part. I have to admit, coloring is harder than it looks! It’s more of a mental challenge to slow down and stay within the lines.
Step 3: Sandwich the design between the blank and teflon sheet/butcher paper.
Step 4: Heat at 400 degrees F for 30 seconds.
Be sure to apply a little pressure. The colors become gaseous and infuse the blank material.
How to Make Watercolor Print and Cut Projects with your Cricut