Using Infusible Ink on 100% Cotton Materials

Previously I could only use Infusible Ink (sublimation) on high polyester content shirts. Now with this trick I can do it on 100% cotton shirts too!  Have you ever priced infusible shirts? They are EXPENSIVE! Now you can take any material, even 100% cotton material and treat it. Then use infusible ink on it.  I got t-shirts from Dollar Store and did sublimation on them with this trick!

Previously I showed you how to put infusible ink on hard surfaces with polycrylic.  Now I will show you how to do infusible ink on cotton materials.  Some of you may recognize the yoda design from the previous infusible ink tutorials.  I had an extra and used it on the potholder in the last picture.  You can download the file on my download page.

What you will need

  • Infusible ink Pen or Sheet
  • Something to put it on
  • Easy Press
  • Polycrylic
  • Spray bottle and measuring cup
  • Water
  • Barrier for the middle of the shirt or material
  • Download File
Polycrylic used to put glitter inside bulb ornaments
Where to Get Materials to Use Infusible Ink on Anything

Firstly Dollar store is a great place to get t-shirts cheaply.  Or Hobby Lobby and  JoAnnns always have inexpensive shirts.  I got the flour sack towels at Walmart cheap too.  And if you don’t have any polycrylic left over from doing glitter ornaments, you can get it at Walmart too.  One small can will last you for a really long time, so buy the smallest you can get.  A small spray bottle can be found almost anywhere.

Pre-Treating the Fabric You Want to Use Infusible Ink On

First, make sure the surface is clean and dry.  Put down butcher paper on the table to protect it.  And I will warn you,  polycrylic does not smell pleasant but diluted I didn’t even notice it..  Dilute the polycrylic with water.  I filled my 8 oz. spray bottle half way with water and filled a clean medicine cup from cough syrup (about 15 ml) and poured it in.  Shake well.  The solution will be cloudy and lasts a long time. If the material is multilayered (like t-shirts), put a plastic bag or old cutting mat that is worn out between the layers.  Spray the solution on them to soak them and let them dry about 24 hours.   I used masks that I am not using anymore to trial this on.  If you try this, DO NOT USE THEM AS MASKS AFTER THIS!
Masks I trialed this method with
Heating for Using Infused Ink

I would definitely use a heat press for this.  An iron usually doesn’t get hot enough and usually isn’t big enough to cover the whole project.  

The heat settings don’t vary by the material you are using but the time does. The temperature is 400 degrees.  The time goes up the more heat resistant the material is but 45 seconds worked for most of my projects. 

Make sure the table is protected. The infusible ink will bleed onto the table if it isn’t cut to the exact right size.  You don’t have to trim it but the parchment paper on the bottom will get covered in ink. So put a heat shield with a sheet of parchment paper down and then the material.  Next the infusible ink.  Then put another piece of parchment paper on top. 

 Heat the sandwich for the appropriate time (see above) and then let the material cool.  Be careful because the materials are hot (duh).  

Again after using the heat press the material is hot!  Be careful.

This method works with infusible markers too.  And also with thing printed on a sublimation printer.  I printed some of the art on my new sublimation printer, which is the subject of my next post.  I will link to it here when it is done.

A note on the potholder.  It was rubberized on the back and the rubber did roll a little after heating but flattened out after washing.

I waited a couple days before I did the pressing due to scheduling but they were dry after 24 hours and I washed them in the washing machine and everything was fine after.

16 thoughts on “Using Infusible Ink on 100% Cotton Materials

  1. I tried this method and it worked great except there was a ring around the area that I sprayed with the poly mixture. Is there a way to get this out and how can I prevent this next time?

    1. I have never had this happen. Did you let the liquid dry completely? Maybe turn down the temp a little, or wash it once after about a week? If you still have the problem let me know.

    1. Wait a couple of days before washing. Do not bleach. Other than that whatever the fabric takes. Note: The design does fade a bit over time but that takes a lot of washes!

  2. When doing the ploycrilic with Infusible ink did you let it dry 24 hours before pressing or 24 hours after pressing, meaning do you want it wet while pressing.

    1. I let mine dry 24 hours BEFORE pressing. (24 hours may not be necessary. The material just needs to be dry.)

  3. I wanted to make dish towels as a gift using infusible ink. But, I think 100% cotton is going to make the best (absorbent and soft) dish towels. If I pre-treat them as you suggest, is the towel going to lose it’s softness and absorbency?

    1. I have done this many times. At first the towels are a little stiff, but not much. After they are washed once they are as soft as they started as!

    1. As long as they stand up to the heat. I tried with the Dollar Tree bags and they melt when I apply the heat.

  4. Thanks for the tip! Once the project is complete, what has happened to the diluted polycrylic? Is this safe to do on shirts for babies and other small humans?

    1. I wouldn’t use it on baby stuff. I don’t know if it would be a problem, I am just extra careful. The diluted polycrylic can stay in the spray bottle almost indefinately (I have had mine for 2 yearsz and it still works) or you can wash it down the drain with lots of water.

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