WEEKEND CRAFTING ADVENTURES

Cricut Hat Press Project: Comparing Infusible Ink Versus Heat Transfer Vinyl

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press

 

No matter the season, hats will always be in! And there probably is nothing more exciting than being able to do your own hat project with the Cricut Hat Press. In this episode, Kim Wojtalewicz shares her experiences using both infusible ink and heat transfer vinyl to make hats. She takes us across the process—from preparing the materials to operating the app to bringing her ideas to life! Join Kim as she lets us in on a craft project that is near and dear to her heart. You just might get inspired to start producing your own hat designs.

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Cricut Hat Press Project: Comparing Infusible Ink Versus Heat Transfer Vinyl

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press

In this episode, I will share with you some experiences about a craft project that is very near and dear to my heart, one of my favorite things to make and wear, which is hats. I’m going to talk about my experience using the Cricut hat heat press to make hats. I’m going to share with you my experience using both infusible ink to make a hat and also heat transfer vinyl. I want to share with you the inspiration behind this project. The inspiration is that I’m the hat girl. I love hats.

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press
Cricut Hat Press: One of the hats I made my husband before before I had the hat press.

I love making hats with the Cricut maker. It was after the first couple of projects that I did with my Cricut maker I knew I needed to figure out how I could make hats. That was before the hat press was even created from Cricut.

I got creative and used my Cricut mini press and also something called a sewing ham. The sewing ham was used to put inside the curved shape of the hat to help give me some stability when I was attaching the heat transfer vinyl to the hats I was making.

 

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press
Cricut Hat Press: Made with my Cricut mini heat press and a sewing ham.

This was not easy. It was challenging to figure out how to get the vinyl on correctly and keep that stability underneath while I was attaching the vinyl to the curve of the hat. You would not be surprised at how excited I was when I heard that Cricut was coming out with a hat press because I felt like this was something that would be well worth the money spent because I make tons of hats. I wear them all the time. I make them for my husband, my boys, and me.

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press
Cricut Hat Press: Made with Cricut mini heat press and sewing ham

Project Materials

That is the inspiration behind this project. I did an unboxing video of the hat press and everything that comes with it in the box. If you haven’t seen the hat press or are wondering what comes in the box when you get it, look for that unboxing. It was really fun to do that. It was my first unboxing video.

I want to talk a little bit about the materials you will need if you are going to try and make a hat with the Cricut hat press.

 

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press

The first thing you’re going to need to find is some hat blanks. I like using five-panel hats. The five-panel hat does look a little bit more like a trucker hat and a taller crown and, lots of times, has the mesh backing and snap back. I like that. I can use it in lots of different ways, whether my hair’s up or down. It fits well with the rest of my family. Those kinds of hats are my favorite to use. Another reason why I love the five-panel hat is that there is no seam that comes down the middle of the front of the baseball hat.

You’ll look at lots of different blanks out there or baseball hats. A lot of them have that seam that runs right down the middle. For me, when I am putting designs on a hat or want to wear a hat, I like the look of that flat front panel. That’s what I look for in a blank when I’m going to attach the vinyl to the front of the hat. My two favorite kinds of hats that I have used many times before in putting heat transfer vinyl on a baseball or trucker hat are Yupoong hats and BK caps. Those two I’ve had lots of success with. I find that they fit a wide range of heads, whether it’s mine, my husband, my boys, or my friends and family. Those two kinds of hats have had a lot of success.

I also did want to let you know that I’m going to be talking a little bit about the infusible ink and using my hat press to put infusible ink on a baseball hat. When you are using infusible ink, or if that is the direction you choose to go for creating a hat, you need to use a specific blank hat for that ink.

That is a Cricut, either a baseball hat or a trucker hat. I used the Cricut trucker hat. I’m thinking they probably have a regular baseball hat that you can put infusible ink on, but I know for sure they have a white and black trucker hat. That is the blank I used when I was using infusible ink and my hat press for the first time.

You’re also going to need to figure out what you want to put on your hat, whether it’s a saying, an image, a scene, or anything you want. The sky’s the limit. Make sure when you are thinking about your design for the hat you’re taking into consideration not only the curve of the hat but also the size that you’re going to be working with. You’re probably going to need to keep your design. What I usually do is between about two and a half inches tall, and depending on what image I chose, if it’s more like a rectangular image, that can go a little bit bigger.

You can get to almost about 3.5 to 4 inches across the hat. If you’re doing something like a circle or something round, keep in mind that the curve of the hat is going to affect your design and how it goes on the hat. You will also need your hat press. I also use my Cricut mini press when I’m making hats. I find that comes in handy for some little spaces if I need to touch up the vinyl. Also, some Teflon sheets. You will also need some butcher paper for the infusible ink if that’s the direction you go.

Using Heat Transfer Vinyl

I want to get into my experience using the hat press to put some heat transfer vinyl onto a trucker hat. I decided to start with the heat transfer vinyl because that is something that I have done a lot in the past. I’ve made a lot of hats, so I know what I’m doing when it comes to getting the right size and all the materials. What was different about this for me was I was going to be using this Cricut hat press for the first time. I went with a design for my husband. I wanted to make him a new trucker hat. I wanted to use a retro sunset design with a mountain that would be on top of that retro sunset design. I found the SVG that I was using from Etsy and added one of the mountains I had in my Cricut design space that I already had in the image area on top of that design.

That design had no border around it, so it was retro colors in a sunset shape. I felt like it was going to need a little something more on the hat because I was using a white front with a black mesh and a snap-on back trucker hat from BK caps. I went into my Cricut design space after I uploaded the images and got it to the size I wanted. This was more of a horizontal sunset image. That gave me a little more flexibility in size, knowing that it was going to be on the front of the hat.

I went and chose to use the offset tool in the Cricut design space. If you haven’t tried the offset tool, it’s a neat little function that takes your image. When you highlight your image and go up to the offset tool, you will get a choice of either having rounded edges, or if you’ve got corners on your image, word, or phrase, you can choose to have it more of a regular corner. I chose the rounded edge.

Once you push the button to apply it, you can decide on the thickness. What that does is it creates almost a 3D outline of your image. Why that worked so well for me was that it was going to give me a nice crisp border around that entire sunset image that I was putting on the hat. Because the hat itself was white, I made that offset black. That created a way for me to layer the vinyl on top of that black background that the offset function helped me create. It created this cool-looking in-depth design on the front of the hat that I could put the mountain on top of. That was fun. I would highly suggest using it and trying it out with different images.

Even if you choose not to use it, keep it in your crafting keepers because it’s a cool function that helps bring some depth and even an almost 3D look to some of those images and designs. Once I had that design ready to go and had my Cricut maker cut out all of my vinyl, I had to get my hat ready. Something super important when you are making a hat is that you use a lint brush to get all of the lint or little pieces of material, fuzz, dust, or anything that’s been sitting on the front of the hat off with your lint brush.

I had to set up my heat press and put my hat on one of the coolest things that come with the Cricut hat press, which is this hat form. It looks like a ball, but it’s almost flat on the bottom, and you put your hat on it.

You unsnap the back of your hat and put the form in the hat. Make sure you keep that little handle. There’s a little handle for the form that says Cricut across it. You keep that facing out, and you can tighten your hat around the hat form.

No more sewing ham for me. I have something that is made specifically to fulfill that hat and provide the stability that you need when you’re applying your designs to the hat. That is one of my favorite things about this project and what comes with the hat press. I want to share with you a couple of things about the Cricut hat press, which I did not know when I first got it but learned quickly as I was setting it up.

In order to activate that hat press for the first time, you need to have either an iOS or Android device. What you’re going to need to do is get the Cricut heat app on that device. That is how you have to activate your heat press for the first time. I’m not sure if you do not have one of those devices or if using this or buying this heat press is right for you. Make sure to do some more investigation. If you do not have one of those iOS or Android devices and are thinking about purchasing the heat press, check into that because it is not cheap. The heat press is about $150. Before you spend the money on that, make sure that you have the correct device, hardware, and materials that are going to allow you to use that.

I now have my heat press activated. My hat is around my hat form, which is super fun. I’ve lint-rolled the front of my hat. I’m ready to attach my design to the hat.

I don’t think I mentioned it in the materials, but here is an important piece you need. You need some heat transfer tape.

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press

When you’re working with designs and putting them on the curve of the hat, you’re going to need to use some heat transfer tape in order to keep that image in place before you apply heat with the heat press.

Something that I also learned that backs up to my sewing experience is that the design is on your transfer carrier paper. That’s flat, and we’re putting it on something that’s curved. One thing I learned when I was sewing is that when you’re trying to sew around a curve, a lot of times, after you sew it, in order for the curve to look its best and to lay flat, you add some little cuts all the way around that curve.

I think about that in similar to the hat and how I’m trying to get this flat design onto a curved base or product, which is the hat. Put some little snips in that carrier transfer paper. I’m not talking about your design. I’m talking about that clear carrier sheet that you’re going to be using before you apply the heat. That sometimes can help your design get a better form to your hat. Maybe try that a little bit. Sometimes, depending on your design, it can be a little tricky to get it to lie flat and make sure that you’re getting the best press with the vinyl. Putting those little cuts around and attaching that design to the hat with the heat transfer tape is super important. After that, you’re going to look at your Cricut heat guide. This guide pops up on your phone or device that you’ve activated your heat press with.

You go in and tell it exactly what you’re making. It asks you what type of material you’re using, which is heat transfer vinyl, and what your base is. Mine is a cotton poly blend trucker hat. Once you give Cricut heat app all that information, it gives you specific heating instructions and walks you through the entire process. It wirelessly connects to the hat press. Once you say start new project, put your information in, and push start, it’s going to send the information to your hat press for the preheat of the hat, and it’s going to walk you through exactly what to do, which is continual motion with this hat press. The hat press is curved, just like the top of the hat you’re going to be doing.

They give very specific instructions. That is something that needs continuous motion back and forth while you’re applying that heat to get your heat transfer vinyl or infusible ink to attach to that hat.

This app walks you through everything. It’s a cool app. You can use it for lots of different things that you’re making with Cricut. The first time I used this heat app from Cricut was specifically for the hat press.

After I heated the vinyl with the Cricut hat press on this retro sunset mountain design I was making for my husband on the trucker hat, I peeled away the carrier paper. I always am using a Teflon sheet.

I give it one more once over with that heat press to make sure that everything has got a good attachment to the hat. This is where I will tell you I use my Cricut mini heat press. If there’s a little area of vinyl that I’m seeing has not completely attached or that I missed, instead of using the whole hat press again over the whole design, I make sure I cover my hat and the design with the Teflon sheet and use my mini press and get that tiny little area that needed to be pressed again in order for it to get a good press and attachment to the hat.

Trying The Infusible Ink

I will tell you that is something I did, even though the hat press is meant to get everything attached. For me, there were a couple of times where I had a little bit of piece of vinyl a little bit closer down to the brim of the hat or up by the crown where I needed to use that mini press to get the good attachment. That hat came out great. My husband has a new hat to wear now for the fall and going into winter.

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press

I now want to talk about this infusible ink. I have been interested in trying the infusible ink product from Cricut since it came out. Because I had this heat press and wanted to try the infusible ink, I decided that I would do an infusible ink trucker hat for myself.

WCA 11 | Cricut Hat Press

Here are a couple of things about this infusible ink. I mentioned it towards the beginning. You have to use specific blanks for infusible ink for them to work. There is a lot of information on the internet and on different sites about infusible ink and the different materials you can use it on. I do not want to waste material or money. I decided to go with the Cricut infusible ink and the Cricut blank trucker hat that you use when using infusible ink materials. This was very cool. Infusible ink is exciting because it doesn’t have any edges to it. If you’re thinking about vinyl and putting that on top of the base material, it’s always going to have a little bit of an edge. It’s being attached on top of, whereas infusible Ink, as the name says, infuses into the material.

You have to use specific blanks for infusible ink for them to work. Share on X

I thought it would be cool because the color would be deep. It’s different than peeling off the carrier sheet and having that vinyl on top. It is soaking into that material, which gives it a different design and effect that I was looking forward to trying. I chose a design in Cricut design space for my infusible ink which was a heart. I went in and used the offset tool to create that 3D look around the original heart. I chose some infusible ink that was called retro ombre ink. It had a rust color with some turquoise. I loved how that was going to look. All I wanted to do was a simple heart. I was going to do the rust ombre. It’s like a horizontal stripe. I was going to do that in the center of the heart.

Around the outside of the heart, I went with that deep turquoise color that came in this infusible ink set from Cricut. Cutting out the infusible ink paper, no problem. It’s very simple and easy. I did then get it ready to put onto the Cricut hat blank and trimmed it around to make sure I was going to get the best form on it.

When I was putting the heat transfer tape around my design, one of the things that I wasn’t sure about was if this heat transfer tape would affect how the infusible ink went into the hat. I had been reading up on infusible ink a little bit before I was using it.

What I was reading is that to get the best vibrant colors from your infusible ink, you need to have the heat setting at the correct setting and also even over that infusible ink when you are attaching it for the first time. I haven’t done enough experimentation with this infusible ink to understand all the ins and outs of it yet, but I was thinking about how that heat transfer tape might create a little bit of an extra layer, and that may affect the colors that come through on my hat. That will be something I continue to learn about and investigate as I use infusible ink moving forward in crafting.

I did try and keep that heat transfer tape to the edge of the carrier sheet. I tried to minimize the amount of tape that was covering the infusible ink. With my vinyl, it doesn’t make a difference if the tape is covering my design.

I wasn’t sure about infusible ink, so I was pretty careful. The other thing you need to have when putting an infusible ink design on a hat is butcher paper. This comes with your Cricut hat press when you get it in the box.

It reminds me of parchment paper. I’m not sure if there’s a difference between parchment paper and butcher paper. I used what Cricut gave me in hopes of getting the best result on my hat. You cover that butcher paper over and, using that Cricut heat guide, you’re going to put your material in, choose the infusible ink setting, and it sends the heat setting automatically to your hat press, and away you go.

It’s a very simple process. I loved using this hat press. My hat with the infusible ink came out great. I love it. I will wear it often. It was a fun new way to bring a different kind of design into my Cricut crafting.

The hat press, I love it. The hat form that goes inside your hat is something that I am super excited about because I never could find anything that fits into the shape of a hat the way the Cricut hat form does. That creates a nice surface to add designs to the hat.

Crafting Keepers

That brings me to my crafting keepers for this episode. I have two crafting keepers. My first crafting keeper is going to be that offset tool in your Cricut design space. That is a neat tool. You can use it for lots of different things in lots of different crafting projects. It gives a little extra depth to your design. It gives you a way to emphasize certain pieces of your design. That offset tool is something that I will continue to try and bring into different crafting projects. The other keeper is going to be that little tip I shared about sniping around the edges of your carrier paper when you are attaching your design to the hat and using your heat transfer tape to secure that design down to the curve of your hat. That crafting keeper is something that I continue to use as I make hats, and I make lots of hats.

Hopefully, that will come in handy for you if you’re going to try to make a hat or trying to get your design to get the best form and attachment onto the curve of that hat. That brings me to my satisCRAFTion rating for this project. I’m going to give it a four. I’m a hat girl. I love a good hat. For me, this met lots of my crafting fun needs and also gave me a couple of new hats to wear, adding to my hat collection.

In making hats, once you start, if it’s something you enjoy, the longest part of the project is figuring out what you want to put on your hat and attaching it to the hat. It’s a pretty quick project. It’s doable on the weekend. Let me know if you’ve made hats before. What are you making? What are you putting on your hats? Have you had experiences with the Cricut hatmaker? Shout them out to me and share them with me. I’d love to hear from you at Hello@WCAPodcast.com. Until our next adventure, take care.

The longest part of the project is really figuring out what you want to put on your hat and then actually attaching it to the hat. Share on X

 

SatisCRAFTion rating: 4 (I love making a good hat)

Crafting Keepers:

  1. Cricut Offset Tool 
  2. Cutting little triangles in carrier paper to help design go onto the hat better

Important Links

Materials List:

  • Cricut Hat Press
  • Cricut Hat Mold
  • Cricut Heat App ** Cricut Heat App to activate the Cricut Heat Press (iOS or Android device needed)
  • Cricut easy mini press
  • Ruler
  • Lint Brush
  • Teflon sheet
  • Butcher Paper
  • Weeding tools
  • Heat transfer tape
  • Heat pressing mat
  • Infusible Ink Trucker Hat: (Kim)
  • Cricut Blank Trucker Hat
  • Cricut Infusible ink
  • Heart SVG (Cricut)
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl Trucker Hat: (Andy)
  • BK CAPS Trucker hat
  • SVG ETSY “Horizon Retro Sunset”
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl
  • Favorite Hats
  • Bk CAPS
  • Yupoong

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