Does Infusible Ink Work on Cotton: Pros and Cons

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infusible ink on cotton

Yes, it does!  You just need a little trick here and there.  Infusible Ink, they say, is the new generation sublimation.  But how does it work?  Can it adhere to all fabrics, like cotton?  What are the pros and cons of infusible ink on cotton?

Learn about Infusible Ink and how to achieve the best t-shirt prints using it.  Do you want your designs to seem like one with your shirt? Then you may want to find out how does infusible ink work on cotton.

Infusible Ink

Infusible Ink was originally called the Cricut Infusible Ink.  Others call them pre-printed sublimation sheets. It is a system of Cricut DIY products that make prints on shirts appear more professional with personalized heat transfers.  

These days, there are more uses to Infusible Ink that brings out its best performance; especially by finding ways to overcome the many limitations that Cricut Infusible Ink has. But before talking about it let’s understand the difference between Infusible Ink and HTV on shirts.  

Infusible ink has a different process from HTV or vinyl.  With HTV or vinyl, the design is attached to a base material called vinyl using adhesive.  On the other hand, with an infusible ink, the material becomes one with the material itself.  You will have your design transferred onto your blank or material as if it is one with it.

You can have vibrant designs that can overcome flaking and wearing off as fast as other printing methods.  But of course, this will depend on the type of blank or material you are embedding your infusible ink on.  Why?  Read on to learn more.

What are the materials used in this process?

sublimation paper

Glitter Colorful White

The infusible ink system includes the following:

  • Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets in various solid colors and patterns
  • Infusible Ink Pens & Markers
  • Infusible Ink blanks like t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, and coasters.
  • Glitter Colorful White from TeckWrap.

Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets

Infusible  Ink Transfer Sheets are like sublimation sheets that you can print with any kind of printer and then cut out with your cutting machine.

Once you purchase an Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet, you’ll notice the colors look pale, but they’ll change to their vibrant versions once heated with a heat press and transferred.

The Difference Between Infusible Ink and Sublimation

infusible ink printing

Photo by SHUJA OFFICIAL on Unsplash

Both Infusible Ink and Sublimation can give the bright, and smooth transfers as if they’re one with the products.  The only difference is that with Infusible Ink the designs are already on the Transfer Sheets, which are limited.  While with sublimation you can virtually craft your designs.

Although you can also draw your designs using infusible ink markers and pens on any laser paper, sublimation is more practical and you can experiment more with its plethora of designs and patterns.

Infusible Ink Over Sublimation?

Those who are just starting with crafting and has to invest yet on sublimation printers can always do Infusible Ink transfers and leverage on sublimation.

Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets are ready to be cut, pressed, and transferred.  They are literally pre-sublimated transfer sheets.  

The Difference Between Infusible Ink and Heat-Transfer Vinyl or Iron-On

When we look at the results, Infusible Ink and Iron-On or HTV Processes are almost the same vivid, clear, and smooth designs on your shirt.

The difference is in the process of applying them.  With Iron-On you attach the design on top of a base material using adhesive.  While an Infusible Ink Transfer becomes one with the material that you won’t feel any bulges.  It’s just seamlessly smooth, as if it’s naturally part of the base material.  

Infusible Ink Over Iron-On?

For purposes of making a particular project, we must choose the technique that will give us the best output.  So, there is really no best technique over another. Sometimes you may even wish to use more than one technique for special projects!

You may want to consider these things when deciding on the best technique:

If you want to have vivid, sharp, and lively-colored designs that will stay on your shirt longer, and that will never peel, flake, or crack, choose Infusible Ink.  They are permanent transfers.

Now, if you’re aiming for a project with a dark-colored base or something that’s 100% cotton, use Iron-On or HTV.  Additionally, for projects with a specialty effect like glitter, or holographic, you’ll have to use Iron-On which offers these kinds of finishes and more.

Materials Recommended for Use with Infusible Ink

Materials that are recommended for use with Infusible Ink are the following:

Base materials like t-shirts, coasters, mugs, tote bags, etc.  that are poly-coated.  There are blanks that are poly-coated and are compatible with Infusible Ink,

Those labeled sublimation-compatible can also achieve the purpose although the quality is not guaranteed.  

Are Cotton T-Shirts  Compatible with Infusible Ink?

No, Infusible Ink designs are not compatible with 100% cotton.  The Infusible Ink heat transfer process needs special polymer or polyester-based substrates.  These substrates are designed to bond with this kind of infusible ink.

Since not all types of shirts are compatible with Infusible Ink projects, this has limited the possibilities of crafting with it.  There is a possibility that with the clamor for this kind of printing technique, more compatible infusible ink blanks will be available in the near future.  

How does Infusible Ink work?

Gather your materials.  There is really not too many materials when you use infusible ink.  You are spared from the other processes you would normally do with sublimation.  That’s probably why they refer to Infusible Ink as pre-sublimated sheets.

The Infusible Ink System was designed and rigorously tested for the best results.  It is highly important that you use compatible products with it.  Of course, you may use generic products that are sublimation-compatible, but quality results are not guaranteed.

Using blanks with the Infusible Ink Compatibility Badge is a must.  After preparing your blanks that have the Infusible Ink Compatibility badge, you may now begin the following processes:

  1.  Making your design

In making your design, which is the first step to the Process, you can explore the many options on Design Space.  Yes!

Go to Design Space and find the image or font you want.  Everything you can find on Design Space can be used as your design for Cricut infusible ink sheets.

Just remember to use a font that is thick enough.  The transfer sheets are thick, so you might have difficulty weeding.

You can also use Canva and other design applications that give you the best output and the easiest way to generate your designs.


Or better yet, you can draw designs and write texts on laser copy paper using Infusible Ink Pens and Markers.


How do you draw using Infusible Ink Pens and Markers?


To draw for Infusible Ink, you treat it just as you would with other Cricut pen or marker projects.  Remember that pen and marker inks can bleed, so draw your lines with at least one line’s width of space between them.  This process will ensure the lines don’t bleed together during transfer.

  1. Cutting Your Design

After you’ve made up your mind on how you’d want your shirt to look, you may now cut your design.  Cut your design on “mirror” by setting it on your mat liner side down (ink side up).

Then, set your machine to “Custom” and Select “Infusible Ink Sheet”.  Once this process is done, remove the excess transfer sheet.  Carefully cut and weed the excess transfer sheet.

Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet comes with a butcher paper.

  1. Pressing

Put your design side down onto your blank (that’s Infusible Ink Compatible).  Use heat-resistant tape to hold the design, ensuring it stays where you want it to be on your blank.  Then, with the butcher paper on top, press with light pressure within 40 seconds at 385 degrees.

Remember, in applying heat the design is infused into your  blank with a heat press. The heat press ensure that you create permanent transfers.

What fabric can you use infusible ink on?

You can use Infusible Inks on polyester surfaces.  So, what matters all the time is that a shirt has a high polyester count.

Infusible Inks are transparent so they need to be on white or light-colored surfaces to be visible.

This being said a good t-shirt is one that has a high polyester count and is light white, colored, or pastel.

How do you use infusible ink on cotton?

There is a technique for applying Infusible Ink on cotton.  With this technique, there is a need to use the Glitter Colorful White HTV. 

For colored fabrics and non-polyester fabrics like a cotton t- shirt, you need to use the white glitter HTV.  White, especially one Heat Transfer Vinyl HTV that glitters, gives you a base that’s a plain background.  This base will make it more porous allowing the colors of the Infusible Ink design to bond well with it.

What infusible ink works on a 50% cotton shirt?

Infusible Ink works on a 50% cotton shirt, although the output is not as vivid and long-lasting as 100% polyester.  With a cotton blend, the effects are the same intensity depending on the polyester count.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Is a cotton blend better than a 100% cotton shirt?

Polyester and cotton blends tend to be more durable than 100% cotton.  The best trait of a cotton shirt is of course its ability to offer comfort whatever season it is.

Is a Cricut blank the only compatible material for Infusible Ink?

Of course not! Poly-coated blanks are the best for Infusible Ink and other crafting projects with the use of crafting machines.  And so are TeckWrap’s craft blanks that are also Infusible ink-friendly.  Plus, there are a wide range of blanks that you can choose from, at a friendlier price too!




Do I need a printer to make infusible ink projects?

No.  This is one of the advantages of Infusible Ink, the Infusible Ink designs are pre-inked and ready to cut.  For beginners, this is a great way to start crafting without the too much machine costs.

But if you want to layer designs that you need to print on HTV, you may use a sublimation printer, or any laser printer that can match your HTV or Sublimation Transfer Sheets.

Can I use infusible ink pens and markers to draw directly on my blanks?

No.  It is not recommended to draw directly onto your blank.  Sure, you can use even just a laser copy paper to draw but you need a smart cutting machine to draw your design onto it first.  Then, transfer the design from your laser paper to your blank.

Are infusible ink pens and markers  different from fabric pens?

Infusible ink pens and markers use a technology that enables a heat-activated process to bind the infusible ink with a  compatible material.  This infusion is a permanent transfer that will not crack, flake, wrinkle, or bleed.

infusible ink printing

Photo by Tobi:

Final Thoughts

Infusible Ink, although quite an innovation, has limited crafting options.  But with its capacity to stay longer on our shirts or craft blanks without cracking or peeling off, we are willing to find a way to make it work.

Use the layering method, HTV as the first layer and then Infusible Ink on top.  And if you are thinking of doing this, choose TeckWrap’s HTV collection, which will make you excited to craft some more.

Plus, you may want to use HTV to combine layering for extraordinary projects!  HTV should be layered on top of a transferred Infusible Ink design.


heat transfer vinyl



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