How to Make Graphic Tees. Learn how to use the Cricut machine and Infusible Ink to make your own professional quality graphic tees at home.
I don’t know about you, but I love graphic tees. I think most of the ads I get on Facebook are for cute or funny t-shirts on Amazon.
Did you know you can make your own graphic tees at home that look store-bought with your Cricut machine? You can with Infusible Ink!
Infusible ink is one of my favorite products to work with. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but once you know the basics you will be on your way to making t-shirts for yourself and all your friends.
How to Make Graphic Tees with Infusible Ink
- Cricut Machine
- StandardGrip Cutting Mat
- Cricut EasyPress
- Cricut EasyPress Mat
- Infusible Ink
- Butcher Paper
- Lint Roller
Cut Out Infusible Ink Design
Start by finding a design you like in Cricut Design Space. If you search “shirt” under Image Sets, there are a ton of great options to get you started.
Below is the file for the two shirts I am showing you how to make today, if you want to make these exact shirts.
Cricut Design Space File: Graphic Tees
Set your design to fit one of the apparel blanks that Cricut makes. (If you do not want to purchase a shirt from Cricut, make sure your shirt has a high polyester count. 100% cotton shirts will not work with Infusible Ink.)
When sizing your t-shirt design, make sure you can press the entire design without moving the EasyPress. If you make a design that is larger and have to move the press, it may not transfer correctly.
Click Make It. On the mat preview page, select Mirror Image for every mat you are cutting out. Click Continue.
Select Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet from the list of materials. If you are using the Cricut Explore Air 2 make sure the Smart Set Dial is set to Custom.
Place the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet liner side down on the mat. Load the mat into the Cricut and click Go.
Apply the Infusible Ink Design
Once your design has been cut out, unload the mat. Cut away the excess material from your design using scissors.
Gently roll the design in all directions to “crack” the cut. This makes it easier to see where to weed.
Do not use a weeding tool with infusible ink, as it may transfer some of the design onto the plastic carrier sheet which will then transfer to your shirt. If you need help getting small pieces off the plastic, use a pair of tweezers.
Trim the clear liner so it does not extend past the EasyPress heat plate.
Pre-heat the EasyPress. Use the Heat Guide to determine exactly what temperature and how long to press your design. It will vary based on the EasyPress you are using (EasyPress or EasyPress 2), as well as what base material you are using.
Place your shirt on the EasyPress mat. Position a piece of light colored cardstock inside the t-shirt between the front and back layers.
Use a lint roller to lint-roll the entire surface. This ensures no lint fibers or debris affect your final design.
Cover the shirt with butcher paper, shiny side down. (Each roll of Infusible Ink comes with butcher paper in the package. You can also purchase more on Amazon, if needed.)
Pre-heat the shirt for 15 seconds. This will remove wrinkles and any excess moisture in the shirt. Remove the butcher paper and let cool.
Position your infusible ink design, liner side up onto the shirt. Cover the design with butcher paper.
Press the design according to the Heat Guide recommended settings. Do not slide or move the EasyPress while setting the design. When the timer beeps, carefully lift the EasyPress straight off the shirt without shifting the infusible ink or butcher paper.
Remove the butcher paper and peel off the liner while warm.
Don’t re-use the butcher for another design, as this may transfer ink from the old project to the new one.
Note: The camping design originally had the year 1982 on it. I used the Contour tool to hide the year. I added my birth year, 1979, using a similar font called Southwest. Then, I attached the designs together.
How to Use More Than One Color Infusible Ink
For the second shirt I made, I wanted to use both colors of the Galaxy pattern.
Unlike vinyl, you cannot layer colors of Infusible Ink on one design. This will cause the colors to blend, and pressing multiple times may lighten the design.
My design doesn’t have any overlapping layers, but if yours does, slice the image, so no layers are overlapping.
RELATED: How to Slice in Cricut Design Space
Follow the instructions above to cut out the designs.
Choose the largest shape, and leave that one on the plastic liner. Then, you will lift the individual pieces off the other liners. Affix them to the larger liner as needed for the design.
Since mine was not layered, and there was no clear markings on where to place the letters, I had to get a little creative to place them down in the correct spot.
I started by removing the small letters from the plastic carrier sheet. Then, using some washi tape, I secured the larger plastic liner to the table (sticky side up) at the top edge.
I placed the weeded letter design under the plastic liner in the correct position and secured it with another piece of washi tape.
Then, I carefully stuck the letters to the adhesive plastic using the weeded piece below as my guide.
Once you have the entire design on one carrier sheet follow the instructions above for applying the Infusible Ink to the shirt.
As much as I love vinyl (in particular glitter vinyl), infusible ink gives you an even more professional result. Instead of sitting on top, the design becomes part of the t-shirt.
So many fun designs come with a Cricut Access subscription. I seriously found about 100 t-shirts designs I would love to make.
How to Care for Infusible Ink Shirts:
- Machine wash inside out with cold water and mild detergent
- Tumble dry low or line dry
- Do not use fabric softener, dryer sheets, or bleach
You may also like: