Putting infusible ink on aluminum is literally my favorite Cricut party trick… it’s easy but stunning. Plus? It seems to be the best kept secret on the block! So for today’s project we’re taking that secret out for a spin.
I’ll be adding an infusible ink backdrop to an aluminum sign and then layering a cute Easter design (from this month’s set of FREE Easter SVG’s) on top with vinyl.
So this is really a two for one tutorial: infusible ink and vinyl.
Ready to jump in?
- Cricut Maker
- Fine-Point Cutting Blade
- Cricut Standard Grip Mat (that’s the green one!)
- OR Cricut Fabric Grip Mat (that’s the one I use… it’s pink and holds everything)
- Cricut Easy Press 9 x 9
- Easy Press Mat
- Cricut SVG Files (free at the bottom of this post!)
- Black Vinyl
- Infusible Ink Transfer sheet (Sparkle Mermaid Pattern)
- Transfer Tape
- Weeding Tool
How to add a offset background to your vinyl sign:
Ready to take the leap but not sure which machine is right for you? Check out my Explore Air 2 and Maker comparison before pulling the trigger. I go over the pro’s and con’s of each machine and even have an easy to read check list of each machine’s features so you can decided which cutting machine is perfect for you.
Step 1: Upload & Cut your SVG’s
Alright y’all first things first, go ahead and download the files at the bottom of this post. Then you can upload the cut files straight to Cricut Design Space.
This particular design has a background that I created with Cricut’s new offset tool (that we’ll cut out of infusible ink) and a front layer (the words that we’ll cut out of vinyl). Since we’re doing two different materials we’ll have to treat them differently. For the infusible ink layer we’ll need to mirror the design… the vinyl layer we’ll leave alone.
Then we’ll select infusible ink as our material (since it’s first) and then we’ll switch to vinyl after the first layer cuts so that the material cuts with the right pressure for both materials.
So let’s start by cutting out the infusible ink.
Remember that it’s actually ink so you’ll want to use clean dry hands to handle it. Place the infusible ink sheet on your cutting mat and use your brayer to smooth it down. Then load it in your machine and let it work! Once it’s done you can load your vinyl into the machine (make sure the vinyl layer is set to mirror: off, material: vinyl). Then click go!
We’ll weed the vinyl in a minute but the infusible ink will take like five seconds to weed… simply remove the excess ink from around the edges. Don’t worry about using a weeding tool (it actually might hurt the transfer sheet) instead use your hands to remove the excess ink.
Step 2: Apply the Infusible Ink to the Aluminum
Okay y’all now that we have our infusible ink sheet cut and weeded let’s go ahead and put it on our little sign blank.
For these aluminum sheets you’ll notice that one side is silver and one side is gold. Both sides actually have a film on them: the silver side has a clear film and is compatible with infusible ink. The gold side also has a film (it will be silver when you take the gold film off) and is not compatible with infusible ink. So make sure you’re working with the right side.
I like to take the film off the silver side and then leave the gold film until right before it’s time to heat everything up. That way I don’t get them confused!
Once you’ve taken off the film go ahead and put your design on to the aluminum sheet. Use the grid lines to line it up straight and then smooth it out with the brayer once it’s in the right spot. The carrier sheet itself is pretty sticky but once it’s smoothed into place go ahead and add a few pieces of heat resistant washi tape to the corners.
Infusible ink needs to stay 100% still while it’s being heated or it will be hazy when it’s done. The washi tape will help it stay straight.
All set? Place your aluminum sheet onto your easy press mat, set your easy press to 385 and 40 seconds… once it’s heated up you can carefully place it over the infusible ink sheet and hit go. After 40 seconds lift the easy press striaght up and then set the whole thing aside.
Trust me… that aluminum is going to be H-O-T hot… we don’t want to touch it for a while. Instead we’ll change gears and work on our vinyl.
Step 3: Weed your Vinyl
Okay ladies put down the heat press and pick up your weeding tool… it’s time to weed this vinyl! If you’ve never weeded a project before it’s super easy. We’re basically taking all of the negative space out of the design: the inside of the e’s, the middle of the o’s and the vinyl surrounding all the letters.
Use your weeding tool to remove all of these little pieces until all that’s left is your original design.
Just be careful of all the little loops and pieces in this design… they tear easy!
I like to cut off the excess vinyl as I go (so it doesn’t get stuck on a piece of the design I want to keep) and use my fingers/weeding tool to hold down the little loops as I pull the excess vinyl away.
BONUS TIP: If you weren’t sure what “weeding” was you might want to check out this post… it’s a full glossary of every single Cricut term I could think of and it will help you get a handle on what everything means. So you’ll know what the heck all these Cricut people are talking about!
Step 4: Apply your Design
Let’s put it all together! Now that our design is weeded the aluminum blank should be cool enough to remove the infusible ink sheet… simply peel it back from the edge and it will reveal your design on the aluminum blank.
It’s like magic!
Now that our background is ready we can put our words over top. With small words and loops the easiest way to move our quote is definitely transfer tape. Cut a piece that will cover your entire design, then peel back one edge.
Line the sticky transfer tape up on one edge of your design and smooth it into place. I like to smooth it from side to side in one continuous motion so that there aren’t any bubbles or wrinkles that can pop up.
Once the edge is in place grab your scraper (or brayer) and grasp the underside of the transfer tape in one hand. Now as you use one hand to pull the backing of the transfer tape away use the scraper to smooth the transfer tape down onto your design with the other hand.
Perfect! Now use your scraper to really push the transfer tape down onto your design. Once it’s firmly attached flip the whole thing over and peel off the white backing.
If you start having trouble just set it down and firmly smooth the transfer tape back over the design so that it’s all bonded together, then go back to pulling off the carrier sheet.
This should leave your design on the transfer sheet.
Ready for the final step? Line up the top design with your background. Make sure it’s square and even on alllllll sides… then use your scraper to smooth down the middle of your design all the way across the front.
Once it’s smoothed down and in place you can use your scraper to push the vinyl down once the background. You’ll want to use firm pressure all the way across the piece. Once it’s in place you can peel up the transfer tape leaving the vinyl in place.
Looks perfect darling!
I love how it turned out! I decided to use a command sticky strip to add mine to a type tray in my living room… I think these little aluminum sheets look best with a background!
I paired it with a tobacco basket and a fluffy bunny tail design from the same FREE Easter SVG download. Click here if you want to follow that tutorial next!