Romance is in the air, so I thought it would be fun to have some Valentine’s Day drinks to celebrate! To set the theme I made some cute Conversation Heart Coasters with Cricut’s new range of Infusible Ink products.
Normally, I don’t often make crafts that involve me purchasing lots of specialty, single purpose products.
But because Cricut kindly gifted me a whole bundle of their supplies to try out and review last year, I wanted to see what I could make with all the craft goodies they sent.
Inspired but the candy coloured transfer sheet in the Mermaid Rainbow Infusible Ink paper pack, I automatically thought a fun conversation heart candy design would be perfect to try on ceramic coasters.
Just like our Conversation Heart Gift Box craft project, these Conversation Heart Coasters make great Valentine’s Day gifts. You could even try personalising them with your own messages.
These ceramic coasters are very durable and start off as white blanks.
Coated in a special film that allows the heat transferred design to permanently sublimate into the surface, the finished result is a vibrant, long lasting image that looks very professional.
What is Infusible Ink?
Cricut Infusible Ink is a heat sensitive ink transfer product. The ink is built into a paper sheet that when heated to an appropriate temperature, turns to gas. The process of turning a solid into a gas is called ‘sublimation’.
The gasified ink then fuses with the base material as it cools, dying it permanently.
Infusible ink is a printing process that dyes the compatible base material, rather than printing or adhering to the surface.
Base materials need to be compatible and results are most effective with fabrics that are rich in polyester or surfaces that have a special poly coating. The colours will appear most vibrant on light or white bases.
The paper sheet’s colouring is not indicative of the finished colour and appears much lighter than the final vibrant result.
Cricut Infusible Ink sheets come in a range of colours and pre-printed designs. They can be cut with Cricut cutting machines, or even by hand.
The temperatures required to sublimate the ink effectively are very high, so it’s recommended that an EasyPress 2 be used for best results. Regular irons heat unevenly and may result in a splotchy design.
How to get the Best Results with Cricut Infusible ink
When used properly, Infusible Ink products create really outstanding craft projects.
But the downside is that this sublimation technology is quite unforgiving. If you take shortcuts, don’t follow the instructions properly, or just muck-up, you can end up with a big craft fail that can’t be rescued.
Blanks and Infusible Ink supplies are quite pricey, so here are some tips to help your project turn out amazing!
These tips apply to both clothing and coaster blanks.
- Read the instructions properly and make sure you have all your supplies ready and on hand.
- Use blanks that have been especially designed for ‘sublimation’ these have a high percentage of polyester or a special poly coating to absorb the ink.
- Moisture and oils can affect the Infusible Ink materials. Try to avoid touching the paper as much as you can, and be sure that your hands are dry and free of any lotions or oils.
- Always MIRROR your design, or you’ll end up with any writing the wrong way around.
- Use tweezers or hands to weed designs. The weeding tool isn’t effective and may damage your paper.
- Ensure you use correct temperature settings for your Infusible Ink projects. Regular irons may not reached the required temperature to sublimate the ink fully, so an EasyPress 2 is recommended for the best result.
- Remove any lint or dust from your blank, or you may find white specks in your finished design.
- Don’t move design while heating or before fully cooled or you may get ‘ghosting’ or shadowing in your image.
- Don’t reheat your design or you will fade your original print.
- When making clothing prints, add a piece of paper between front and back to prevent ink transfering through multiple layers.
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How to make Conversation Heart Infusible Ink Coasters
You will need:
- Cricut Infusible Ink Ceramic Coaster Blanks
- Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets (Mermaid Rainbow)
- Cricut cutting machine with fine point blade
- Cricut Design Space account (free to sign up)
- Cricut access subscription (optional)
- Computer, ipad or smart phone
- Cricut Standard Grip mat
- Cricut basic tool set
- Cricut Easy Press 2
- Cricut Easy Press Mat
- Thick scrap paper
- Butcher paper (comes with your transfer sheet)
1. Open up Conversation Heart Coaster Design in Cricut Design Space. It is already correctly sized for the ceramic coaster blanks.
2. Click ‘Make it’ then arrange the hearts on your mat to take advantage of the colour gradient changes. Use the measurements on your cutting mat as a guide to the layout.
Make sure you MIRROR the design. I’ve tried to arrange my hearts so they are mostly a single colour. The gradient is quite narrow so you’ll get a slight ‘ombre’ effect.
3. Cut Infusible Ink transfer paper on a Standard Grip Mat with a regular fine point blade.
4. Remove from mat and trim off excess paper. Weed shapes by rolling cut out design slightly and removing excess paper with hands or tweezers. The letters should just pop out. Take care not to lose the center pieces of letters like P and B.
Tip: Avoid touching the Infusible Ink paper surface with your hands as oil and moisture can affect the transfer quality.
5. Clean the coaster blanks with a lint free cloth to remove any dust or grease.
6. Place heart cutouts on shiny surface of coasters. Press adhesive film down gently to ensure the designs are firmly in place.
7. Prepare to heat your infusible ink coasters to permanently transfer the design. Place your materials in this order:
- EasyPress Mat
- Thick paper or cardstock to protect your mat (I’ve used a scrap piece of brown paper from a postal ‘tough bag’)
- Coaster, shiny side DOWN with transfer paper design attached
- Butcher paper
- EasyPress 2
The EasyPress 2 will heat your image THROUGH the coaster.
8. Set your EasyPress 2 settings: Temp 205°C (400°F) for 240 seconds. Once the EasyPress 2 has reached temperature, place on top of butcher paper with no added pressure and start timer. I’ve heat set all 4 coasters at once to save time.
Caution – The EasyPress 2 gets very hot! Ensure kids and pets are kept well away. Keep the cord clear or it may melt (I moved it out of the way after this photo).
9. When beep sounds, slowly lift press. Try not to move the stack, including butcher paper. Any movement at this stage while coasters are warm may cause design to blur or ‘ghost’.
10. Leave to cool for at least 30min. The ceramic coasters will be EXTREMELY HOT so don’t touch them until they have fully cooled. Discard protective papers (they may have some ink residue which can transfer to other projects if re-used).
11. Once the coasters are cool enough to handle, carefully remove the transfer paper. As you can see, all the ink that was once on the transfer paper, has now infused into the coaster.
The design is now part of the ceramic surface coating on the coaster. The colours are much more vibrant that colour on the transfer paper, and the surface is smooth.
To care for your new Infusible Ink coasters:
- Hand wash with warm water and glass cleaner
- Do not use steel wool, colored cleansing agents, or scrubbing pads.
Now it’s time to mix up a nice refreshing drink and enjoy your new ‘Date Night’ Conversation Heart Coasters. Not just this Valentine’s Day, but all year long!
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