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“Can I use infusible ink pens on sublimation paper?” – If you find yourself pondering this question, the simple answer is yes. These pens are designed to be used with sublimation paper for creating vibrant, permanent transfers on suitable materials. Awesome, eh? Read on as we guide you through the compatibility nuances, proper usage, and tips to ensure that your crafting projects turn out flawlessly with these versatile tools!

Key Takeaways

  • Infusible ink pens allow you to create vibrant, long-lasting designs on materials by drawing on sublimation paper, which is then heat-pressed onto the final surface.
  • Optimal results require using quality sublimation paper, precise heat settings (around 385-400°F), and the right base materials, such as polyester or poly-coated items, to ensure that designs transfer well and remain vivid.
  • When troubleshooting common issues like fading or ink bleeding, ensure proper heat press settings, use compatible base materials, keep hands clean to avoid oil residue, and prep materials by removing moisture to prevent design distortion.

Understanding Infusible Ink Pens and Sublimation Paper

Various colorful ink pens

Imagine magic markers for the crafting world. That’s what infusible ink pens are. They work by transferring designs onto materials through a fantastic process that turns solid ink into a gas, which then soaks into the material and solidifies again. Sounds like magic, right? And what role does sublimation paper play? Sublimation paper is a special kind of paper designed to hold dye sublimation ink. When heat is applied, the ink is released onto materials like shirts and mugs, creating beautiful designs.

Infusible ink pens come as pre-printed infusible ink sheets or pens, while sublimation paper works with sublimation ink, moving the ink from the bottle to the paper and finally onto the surface. These pens can be used directly on sublimation blanks, where the ink  engages with the paper to transfer designs. With these tools, you can embark on a variety of crafting projects, such as making T-shirts, bodysuits, coasters, and more, all with vibrant and long-lasting designs.

Compatibility Between Infusible Ink Pens and Sublimation Paper

One could question the interaction between infusible ink pens and sublimation paper. Well, infusible ink pens are designed for drawing directly onto sublimation paper. When heated, a chemical reaction occurs that allows the ink to fuse with the paper and then transfer onto the fabric or base material. This process is known as sublimation printing.

Nevertheless, the outcome of your design might be influenced by the type of paper you use. For intricate designs, copy paper is a better choice than sublimation paper to prevent ink bleeding. If you’re layering, it’s advisable to use infusible ink transfer sheets for those projects. Butcher paper can also be used in certain crafting scenarios, depending on the desired outcome.

Also, the performance of the infusible ink pens may be influenced by the sublimation paper’s quality. If the paper isn’t of good quality, the ink might not transfer well, especially with detailed designs.[1]

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Factors Impacting Compatibility

Several elements can influence the compatibility of infusible ink pens with sublimation paper. One of the most significant factors is the heat settings used during the transfer process. Achieving vibrant and permanent design transfers requires precise heat settings, usually around 385 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The type of base material also plays a vital role. Items like T-shirts, tote bags, and coasters work well with infusible ink pens and sublimation paper. However, if you’re aiming for professional results, it might be worth investing in a sublimation printer. The quality of the sublimation paper can also influence the end result. High-quality sublimation paper can lead to better quality and more vibrant transfers. And remember, as long as the pens are sublimation-ready, you’re good to go!

Alternative Methods for Using Infusible Ink Pens

Picture of colorful pens

Despite the fantastic utility of infusible ink pens, other methods exist that can enrich your crafting projects. One such method is using laser copy paper. This type of paper can handle high heat, ensuring that the ink transfers vividly and remains permanent on your final product.

Another way to amp up your crafting game is by using the Cricut Design Space. This digital design app facilitates planning for your Cricut machine projects. You can design and customize to your heart’s content, using your own images or picking from a plethora of pre-designed options. The best part? You can tweak your designs and send them over to the Cricut machine for cutting or drawing when they’re good to go!

Laser Copy Paper

So, what makes laser copy paper the preferred choice when using infusible ink pens? Well, laser copy paper allows you to draw your design on it instead of directly on the blank material. It can handle high heat and keep the colors vibrant during the transfer process, thus ensuring a top-notch end product.

Using laser copy paper in infusible ink pen projects is beneficial because it can handle a high amount of heat, which is crucial for the process. Plus, the special coating on the paper prevents bleeding and ensures a clean transfer. It’s important to note that while any laser copy paper can handle a lot of heat without getting damaged, for the best results with infusible ink pens, it’s recommended to use paper made specifically for them.

Cricut Design Space and Compatible Materials

Cricut Design Space remarkably augments the functionality of cricut infusible ink pens, allowing you to create stunning designs using cricut infusible ink. It allows you to select your design and adjust it to fit on various items like clothes and wine bags. The key is to place the laser copy paper on a LightGrip Machine Mat and use the right heat settings to transfer your design.

Using the Cricut Design Space is a breeze. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Gather your materials: a Cricut machine, a LightGrip Machine Mat, and a Cricut EasyPress.
  2. Choose ‘laser paper’ as the material and load the infusible ink pen.
  3. Size your design and let the machine draw on the laser copy paper.
  4. Follow the heat settings with the Cricut EasyPress to transfer your design.[2]

Tips for Successful Infusible Ink Pen Projects

While crafting with infusible ink pens can offer a fun and rewarding experience, keeping a few tips in mind is essential for successful projects. One of the most critical factors is the heat press settings. They vary depending on the heat press and material, and using the right time and temperature settings ensures that the ink transfers sharply and vividly without issues such as fading or bleeding.

Preparing the base material is also crucial for a successful project. Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Infusible ink pens work best with polyester or poly-coated material for the best ink transfer.
  2. It’s advisable to clean the material to get rid of any debris.
  3. Preheat the material before starting.

Finally, careful handling of the infusible ink pens and following the guidelines can help avoid potential issues such as ink damage from oils or residue from fingers, designs getting warped due to moisture in the blank, and various unwanted transfer effects.

Proper Heat Press Settings

Picture of a single heat press machine

The correct heat press settings play a vital role in the success of infusible ink pen projects. The settings can vary depending on the specific product and equipment you’re using, so it’s essential to refer to the Cricut Heat Guide or Cricut Heat app for the right time and temperature settings.

If the heat isn’t right, the transfer might not turn out as expected. Here are some tips to ensure the best results:

  • Make sure the temperature is at least 385°F.
  • Avoid applying too much heat for too long, as this can distort the colors.
  • Ensure that the heat is evenly distributed across the transfer.

It’s all about finding the right balance.

Pressure is also an important factor in ensuring even ink transfer. The Cricut EasyPress Heat Transfer Guide provides specific recommendations for pressure settings because uneven pressure can lead to incomplete or faulty ink transfers.

Preparing Your Base Material

Additionally, adequate preparation of the base material is another success factor for infusible ink pen projects. It’s important to use polyester or poly-coated materials for the best ink transfer. Giving it a good once-over with a lint roller to get rid of any debris can help ensure a clean transfer.

The color and moisture content of the material can also affect how the ink spreads. If the material is dark, the ink might not show up as clearly, and if it’s moist, the ink can spread more. To stop the ink from bleeding, it’s best to use infusible ink blanks that are compatible and have a high polyester content or finish.

Comparing Infusible Ink Pens with Sublimation Markers

Row of sublimation marksers

Despite the apparent similarity between infusible ink pens and sublimation markers, each boasts unique features and benefits. The primary difference between the two lies in their tip size. Infusible ink pens usually have a smaller tip, perfect for those intricate details. They also come in color sets, as well as pre-printed sheets, unlike sublimation inks, which are usually bottled for the whole sublimation process. On the other hand, infusible ink markers offer a wider range of tip sizes for various design needs.

Both tools offer great advantages. Infusible ink pens stick to materials when heated, resulting in no peeling or cracking, and the designs can even survive being washed. Sublimation markers, on the other hand, can turn from ink to a permanent design when used with the right stuff. The choice between the two ultimately depends on the specific project you’re working on.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Infusible Ink Pens

Occasionally, using infusible ink pens can introduce challenges. One common issue is fading or incomplete transfers. This can occur if you don’t press long enough, use too little or too much heat, or if there’s moisture in the material.

Another common issue is ink bleeding. This can happen if there’s too much moisture in the blank or the ink doesn’t bleed through properly, resulting in uneven or faded transfers. Also, be sure to:

  • Handle your infusible ink pens with clean hands
  • Store them properly when not in use to prevent them from drying out
  • Avoid potential issues like ink damage from oils or residue from fingers
  • Prevent designs from getting warped due to moisture in the blank
  • Avoid various unwanted transfer effects.

Fading or Incomplete Transfers

faded sublimation image

Although fading or incomplete transfers can be disappointing, comprehending the causes can aid in preventing these issues. Here are some possible causes:

  • Not pressing long enough
  • Using too little or too much heat
  • Moisture in the material
  • Using a base material that’s not compatible with infusible ink pens

If any of these factors are present, the transfers might not turn out as expected.

To keep your projects from fading, follow these tips:

  • Fix any issues like ghosting, fading, splotching, or shifting.
  • Avoid touching the transfer sheet with oily or lotioned fingers.
  • Put a couple of pieces of copy paper around the blank when using the heat press to prevent ink bleed. Additionally, using heat resistant tape can help secure the transfer sheet in place.

Ink Bleeding

Ink bleeding can introduce frustration when working with infusible ink pens, but comprehending the causes can assist in avoiding this problem. If there’s too much moisture in the blank or the ink doesn’t bleed through properly, it can result in uneven or faded transfers.

The color and moisture content of the material can affect how much the ink spreads. If the material is dark, the ink might not show up clearly. If it’s moist, the ink can spread more. To prevent ink bleeding, it’s best to use infusible ink blanks that are compatible and have a high polyester content or finish.

We have another article for you covering tricks and advice for successful sublimation projects.


In conclusion, infusible ink pens and sublimation paper offer endless possibilities for crafting vibrant and permanent designs. By understanding their compatibility, using alternative methods like laser copy paper and Cricut Design Space, and following the tips for successful projects, you can maximize your crafting experience. Remember, the right heat press settings, proper preparation of base materials, and correct handling of infusible ink pens are crucial for successful projects. Happy crafting!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of paper do you use for infusible ink pens?

You can use laser copy paper for infusible ink pens. Make sure to draw your design on the paper and then transfer it to your blank for the best results.

Is sublimation paper the same as infusible ink?

Yes, infusible ink is a type of sublimation, introduced by Cricut, that simplifies the process, and it can be used with special sheets or markers to create designs on paper.

Can you use Cricut infusible ink pens on any material?

Yes, you can use Cricut infusible ink pens on compatible materials like fabric and surfaces made of specially engineered polymer or polyester-based substrates.

What’s the ideal heat setting for infusible ink pens?

The ideal heat setting for infusible ink pens is either 385 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit when used with sublimation paper. Aim for these temperatures to achieve the best results.

Can I use any laser copy paper with Infusible Ink Pens?

It’s best to use paper specifically made for Infusible Ink Pens to get the best results, even though laser copy paper can handle heat well.


  1. (n.d.). https://www.walmart.com/ip/A-SUB-Sublimation-Paper-8-5×11-Inch-110-Sheets-for-Any-Inkjet-Printer-which-Match-Sublimation-Ink-125g-Letter-Size-Sublimation-Paper-Heat-Transfer/417163169
  2. Cricut Learn. (n.d.). Cricut Learn. https://learn.cricut.com/collections/design
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