Designing a t-shirt or hoodie can be time-consuming and costly. If you have the skills, but not the equipment to do it yourself, then you’re out of luck. But what if I told you that there was an easier way? Cricut sublimation is a process used for printing clothing and other textiles with heat-sensitive materials like dye sublimation paper and vinyl sheets.
The advantage of this process is that it eliminates all hassle from transferring designs to fabric. No need for screens or stencils! Here we will discuss how Cricut sublimation works and why so many people use it today!
What is sublimation Cricut
Sublimation is exclusively available to Cricut users. Cricut has a wide range of products that work with the sublimation process, from shirts and tiles to custom enclosures for their cartridges. Because only certain cartridges can be used with a special printer, not all Cricut crafting enthusiasts have access to this process.
Sublimation is a process in which heat is used to transfer dye into natural fabrics, like cotton and polyester. It’s the perfect alternative to screen printing on fabric because there are no messy screens or solvents to deal with. Just Heat Transfer Material (HTM) and an ordinary household iron.
What is Cricut sublimation printing
The cricuit board is complicated in structure and has high demands on the material, colorfastness, hardness, etc. We choose photonic crystal as our material for this project.
The above graph is the absorption coefficient of various materials. It shows that the absorption coefficient of photonic crystal is smaller than other common materials such as a-Si, PEN, etc.
However, a smaller absorption coefficient does not mean better performance in sublimation printing. In the printing process, the ink will be absorbed by our material as well as the cricuit board. In order to ensure that the colors of printed materials match with cricuit boards, we must adjust its absorption coefficient.
This way, we can design a new kind of photonic crystal that has a small absorption coefficient and excellent performance in sublimation printing.
What is Sublimation Cricut crafting?
In Cricut crafting terms, sublimation is the process of transferring dyes from a sheet of dehydrated (solid) ink to a blank you intend to customize.
Sublimation transfers can be thought of as dehydrated tie-dye sheets that dye things after high heat is applied. It does not require solvents or pressing, and they do not touch anything. Sublimation is also used by makers of stamps, stencils, stencil masks, resin crafts, and papercrafts.
What Can I Make With Cricut Sublimation?
With Cricut products such as pens and mugs (and no shirts). It’s easy to make personalized, one-of-a-kind items for yourself or as gifts. Sublimation mugs are especially popular right now, and it’s easy to see why; the process allows you to easily create beautiful mugs with intricate designs on them!
Similarly, sublimation pens can be created by printing images onto transfer paper and applying the sheet with the image printed on it, onto Cricut vinyl.
Once you have the mugs or pens ready, they can be used just like any other mug or pen. You can even use sublimation sheets that come with a protective coating on them. Then use a heat press machine to transfer the image onto your shirt!
Cricut’s wide range of products allows you to customize just about anything. There is no limit to what you can create with sublimation.
How Does Cricut Sublimation Work?
The sublimation process begins with one color ink applied to the transfer sheet. Then it’s laid onto a piece of vinyl that has been cut via Cricut. This piece is placed in a heat press at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 seconds, and after it leaves the press, it’s allowed to cool before being removed from the Cricut vinyl.
Then the sheet is applied to any smooth surface that has been prepped with a high-heat adhesive spray, or primer that can withstand those temperatures. Even large objects can be sublimated over with this process. As long as the material they are being applied to is smooth and heat resistant.
Fabric, scissors, and a ruler for ironing fabric are also helpful items. Sublimation Cricut Guide
Design your image in the Cricut Design Studio software. When you open the program click on “Make It” at the top of the screen and then select “Design size” and the size you want your image to be. Make sure that you can cut on your mat. If it is too small for your particular machine then the blade may not fit over the age. It could ruin your mat and blade.
When designing in Design Studio, make sure that all of your colors are set to BLACK. This way when your machine cuts it only cuts the shape leaving behind the color underneath.
Next, go to “File” and select “Print.” Make sure that you select “For Cricut Machine” when it asks. The print box will come up with a preview of what your image will look like when you cut it. Make sure that there is NO color behind the shape you want to cut. If there is a color behind where you will be cutting you WILL NOT be able to see the image. When it is done cutting and this will result in a useless project.
Now cut your image out of vinyl with your Cricut machine. When your machine cuts, it will only cut the shape leaving behind the color underneath. Next, weed out all of your pieces by pulling away from the excess vinyl around your shapes.
Now iron on your transfer tape. Start at the LEFT side and pull off a piece of transfer tape and line up your weeded image with your taped image and then iron. This will keep your image in place so you can move it to its final destination or take it off the transfer tape without ruining the image.
Slowly remove the transfer tape while you are positioning your image where you want it. Be patient, be careful and work slowly to avoid creasing or cracking your image. After you have removed all but the last corner of your transfer tape. Take a credit card or something similar and gently rub it across your image to make sure that it adheres completely to the surface.
Now you are ready to cut out your final product. If you are cutting plastic, I would suggest using a good pair of scissors instead of trying to peel off the excess vinyl. Because it can be tricky and you will ruin your project if you peel off your image too soon.
Once you have cut out all of your shapes, iron on the transfer tape again to pick up all of your pieces. Carefully remove the vinyl from around each piece. This part is much easier than weeding the image because you are only peeling off one piece of vinyl at a time instead of trying to pull off all of the excesses around your image.
Now it’s time to assemble your final product. Start with step #7 for this part. If you are assembling cardstock items then skip steps 7-8 and start with step 9. But if you are assembling something more delicate like plastic or glass (like the vase I made) then follow steps 7-8 before moving on to step #9. Voila! You’re done!
Cricut Sublimation Tips
Make sure that everything is lined up correctly when you start out because it can be very difficult to fix mistakes later on. Always make sure that your colors are set to black. If you want a clean project with no background color showing through.
This also makes it easier when you are lining things up because the image will be on top of the color instead of having to line them up on top of each other. When assembling delicate items like glass or plastic I would suggest using a good pair of scissors to avoid any accidental cracking or breaking.
Sublimation is the process used in all white ink onto dark transfer paper for iron-on onto dark fabrics. It requires special printing plates that are made just for the Cricut. There are companies that say they do sublimation but their products are all printed onto transfer paper that you have to then iron onto your items.
The thing with Cricut is it prints the image directly on the fabric. So if you use someone else’s method for sublimation, all you’ll get is a mess of ink over everything. Sublimation is done with heat that makes the ink go into the fabric. If you use an iron it will burn your shirts and make a huge mess. That’s why all of my sublimated products are designed to be printed on transfer paper, then put in the dryer for about 10 min.
The biggest problem with sublimation is that it’s SUPER expensive to do. The printer I use has a minimum of $500 for printing. You still have to pay for the plates as well as the transfer paper.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Sublimation with Cricut?
Sublimation ink sheets can be pricey, depending on how many you’re purchasing at once. It usually comes as a set of one black and one or two color sheets. You will also need to buy transfer paper which is really just vinyl that has been printed on with the sublimation ink.
Since there is no solvent needed for this process. You won’t have to worry about cleaning out your Cricut carts either!
Once you have everything you need, sublimation is actually very simple. You can even purchase heat transfer kits that come with a spray adhesive and vinyl — simplifying the process even further!
How can the cricut be used in sublimation printing?
The Cricut cutting machine has been used to create stencils that can be used to print designs on various materials. The use of the Cricut in sublimation printing is popular among crafters and scrapbookers. Because it allows them to create customized textiles and other items.
For those who do not know, sublimation printing uses heat to transfer dye or ink onto a material, without the use of an intermediate film. The Cricut can be used to cut out designs in a special heat-transfer vinyl (HTV) that is then laid over the fabric as a stencil. The machine cuts through both layers of HTV at once and leaves two stenciled shapes. One on the top layer and one on the fabric. The Cricut can also be used to cut out designs in direct-to-garment (DTG) vinyl. So that garments with custom images can be created.
Direct to Garment Printing:
The Cricut is often used for DTG printing. If you’re not familiar with this process. It’s a way of printing directly onto a garment (t-shirt, baby onesie, pillowcase) using heat and the Cricut cutting machine. It’s also commonly referred to as DTG – or direct-to-garment – printing.
DTG is widely regarded as the most cost-effective way of decorating garments. This type of printing is much more common among crafters and hobbyists than HTV stenciling is because it allows for higher resolution images to be printed onto different types of fabric.
With a Cricut, you can turn a photo into a custom t-shirt with ease. There are many DTG print services that will allow you to upload your art and have it applied directly onto an item for low prices!
Before purchasing the HTV, you will want to check that it is compatible with the fabric. Different types of fabrics require different materials and you don’t want to end up wasting money by purchasing an incompatible product!
The Cricut creates stencils out of vinyl, heat transfer vinyl (HTV), or direct-to-garment (DTG) vinyl so that custom images can be printed directly onto items. HTV should be used on cotton, polyester, or other fabrics that are not too thick. Because the material needs to be soaked in water after receiving the design so that it conforms to the shape of the fabric.
HTV Stenciling Process:
While there are other methods for cutting out a stencil, the Cricut is one of the most popular choices. The process for cutting out a design with HTV using a Cricut is as follows:
- Cut your design in an HTV material with your Cricut.
- Weed out or remove all of the excess vinyl from around your design so that it is left with only the design that you want to transfer.
- Soak the HTV in warm water (100 degrees Fahrenheit) for 20-30 seconds, making sure that all of the material is submerged. This makes it more pliable and easier for the material to conform to your fabric’s shape. You can also use a squeegee to help submerge the material and remove air bubbles.
- Position the weeded piece of HTV onto your fabric and use a heat press (also known as iron) to apply pressure and heat at 330 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 seconds. This transfers the dye from the HTV to your fabric!
- Remove any pieces of HTV that did not transfer to your garment.
- Dry the clothing item in a dryer on medium heat for 30 minutes, removing it while still warm and taking care not to stretch the material. Do NOT let it air dry!
DGT Printing Process:
The process for DTG printing is similar to that of HTV. Because you use specialized vinyl that can be printed by the Cricut in either image-editing software or on the machine itself.
To use the Cricut for DTG printing, you first have to create your design in either Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Because the printer only uses one color at a time, you will need to save your file as a .svg or another format that can be cut out by the machine.
After saving the completed design as either a .svg or .dxf, you will want to set your machine for DTG printing. This process is different with each model of Cricut. So refer to the manual that came with your device for instructions on how to change this setting.
After changing the setting on your Cricut, load your vinyl into the cartridge and send your file to the machine. Just like with HTV, you can weed out or remove all of the excess vinyl from around your design so that it is left only with the parts that you want to transfer – this will make it easier to cut!
You can also use a squeegee to help submerge the material and remove air bubbles. Now, set the machine for DTG printing and load your Cricut Cuttlebug with a piece of stiff cardboard to get a smooth cut.
Cricut Sublimation Software – Cricut Design Space:
Another way that the Cricut is used for creating stencils is through their design space software. This free sublimation software allows you to use your own images and typefaces. Or you can download clip art from their website to create a custom stencil on an HTV material!
To cut out your design in HTV using the Cricut Design Space:
- Import your artwork into design space and use the “trace” tool to outline it.
- Remove anything that needs to be weeded, such as text or any small pieces of your design that can be lifted off and put back on without losing their adhesion (like a tiny heart!).
- Place a piece of HTV on top of your design and trace it. A hard surface such as a table or countertop works best.
- Weed out your design so that just the outlines are left with excess vinyl removed, then cut out the shape using your Cricut!
The machine will only be able to use one color per pass, if you have multiple colors in your design. You will have to send it to the machine repeatedly until all of the colors show up.
To use the Cricut Design Space for creating a stencil with DTG printing:
This is How to use Cricut Design Space.
- Create or import an image into the design space.
- Add color to your design using their library of clip art.
- Select a color from the library and add it to your design.
- Add text if you want, then select a font! You can also resize or change the color of your letters with ease by clicking on them after they’ve been placed in your design space.
- When everything looks just right, save your file as a .svg and cut it out using a piece of stiff cardboard in your Cricut Cuttlebug!
After cutting, weed out the excess vinyl so that only your design is left. You can then send your stencil through your printer to create your final product!
After experimenting with both methods described above, you may find that one works better for you than the other. If you’re more of a computer-savvy crafter. Then using design space is most likely your best bet because it is free, functional, and easy to use! However, if you prefer the feel of actual material in your hand while crafting or plan to cut out multiple stencils at once to sell. Then purchasing a Cricut machine might be a better investment for you.
Both the design space program and the specific cutting machines are user-friendly. It will allow you to create your stencils quickly and efficiently with minimal hassle! Whether you make HTV stencils or DTG ones, both methods will produce great results when used properly.
We guarantee that stenciling your custom shirts will soon become a thing of the past once you realize just how quickly and easily. This can be done with the help of some vinyl and a cutting tool!
The Sublimation Cricut is a great tool for digital scrapbookers. Those who love the tactile experience of crafting will be able to enjoy it with this machine. Those who prefer working on their laptops can still use it as an effective way to create projects that are just as worthy of being framed or displayed in your home!
The benefits of using sublimation Cricut are endless. If you have the budget to invest in one, then it’s worth looking into how this technology can help your company grow and flourish. Be sure to ask yourself whether or not the costs will be worth the return on investment for your business before making any final decisions. We hope our blog post has helped give you some ideas about what is Sublimation on Cricut.