If you caught my DIY journey from earlier this summer, you’ll know I’m a newbie to the Cricut smart systems and the DIY space in general, having been more the observer than an active DIYer. But I try not to shy away from new challenges and love the creativity and ideas that the space brings. For this reason, I am always seeking new ways to upskill, learn and create, so I wanted to test the brand’s main heat press, and see how it lives up to its EasyPress name as I attempted to design, and customize two DIY projects in one weekend.
Each of the projects I tried require use of Cricut’s DesignSpace application – where you create the design for your projects (the application is free, and available for both desktop and smart devices, and offers a variety of entry points for pros and newbies like me, alike).
As I’ve previously noted, there is a bit of a learning curve to learning Cricut systems, but Cricut has done a great job of providing support and varied entry points – no matter where you might be on your DIY journey.
What I used:
The machine is one of several EasyPresses Cricut offers, but this format is its largest, and this is important if you’re planning to work on larger surfaces or seeking professional iron-on results in 60 seconds or less. For example, you can use the press to create your custom designs on larger T-shirts, sweatshirts, banners, blankets, pillow covers, totes and more. Or even launch your own side-hustle or DIY your own home decor. In the past, I always resorted to buying personalized gifts or custom special occasion items, rather than making them myself; but there is something plain empowering in being able to create what you’ve envisioned. This is a continuation of that journey, now into the heat transfer space.
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The EasyPress 2 features a heat plate with a ceramic-coated surface to evenly distribute heat every time and to help control the temperature (which reaches up to 400℉) so you can get the best results on your projects. The EasyPress is compatible with most major brands of iron-on material, and works well with all Cricut Infusible Ink products (more on this in a bit).
Other EasyPress options include:
- Cricut Easy Press Mini – Heat Press Machine For T Shirts and Small HTV Vinyl Projects, Amazon, $95.
- Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine (9″ x 9″), Amazon, $228.
- Cricut EasyPress 3 9×9, Cricut Canada, $280.
- Cricut EasyPress 3 12×10, Cricket Canada, $350.
And if you’re wondering why not simply use a traditional iron? Well the answer is that the transfer results are less consistent and even (you can flip your iron upside down to see why the grooves and holes can impact the transfer), particularly over time.
I also used the press with Cricut’s 12″x12″ EasyPress Protective Resistant Mat for Heat Press Machines (available on Amazon for $28), but this isn’t a necessity – you can use evenly folded towels for many projects in a pinch.
Here is an example of just two but different customized items you can make in a weekend using the EasyPress, and off the top, I didn’t expect the press to be as versatile as it is.
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Customized coasters to gift
- DesignSpace Template
- Cricut Maker 3 Smart Cutting Machine
- Blank sublimation/ceramic coasters (what Cricut calls its customizable blanks) $18.
- Cricut infusible Ink Pens, 15 count, Cricut, $21.
- Copy paper/laser printer paper, Amazon, $33.
- Light grip machine mat, Cricut, $15.
- Heat resistant tape, Cricut, $10.
Total cost: $18 for the coasters and $48 for the other materials you would keep and reuse, if you don’t have them on-hand.
Total time: About 30 minutes
I wanted to start with something pretty simple to lower the intimidation factor and opted for a pre-designed template that DesignSpace offers to its users. From there, I literally followed the instructions and set my Maker 3 to draw out the lovely minimalist flower patterns on my copy paper, before attaching them face-down on my coaster with the heat resistant tape (which holds the images in place as the EasyPress works its magic).
The EasyPress was easy to use, because I just had to follow instructions for the heat temperature and time I needed for the images to transfer effectively (240 seconds). The important thing to note here is that the coasters get really, really hot, and you do have to wait for them to fully cool down before touching them.
Overall, I loved the simplicity and true-to-name ease-of-use of the EasyPress. Going through the process firsthand, in the future I think I may even skip the template and Cricut Maker 3 part and just use Infusible Ink pens to create my own design on copy paper to transfer onto similar materials, and see how that works out. I’ve seen that you can also use infusible ink transfer sheets on coasters (including fun patterns), so that’s another option if you want a bolder, full-colour design.
Customized baby bodysuit
- Cricut Maker 3 Smart Cutting Machine to cut your design
- Everyday Iron-On or Smart Iron-On in whatever colour you like, Cricut, $11 (but you have more to keep for the future).
- Standard Grip Machine Mat (only if using other iron on materials), Cricut, $13. (You may also want to invest in the Machine Mat Variety Pack, which features all three grip strengths).
- Lint roller, Amazon, $5.
- Baby bodysuit blank, Cricut, $10.
- Your design.
Total cost: $10 for the bodysuit and $24 for the mat and Iron-On materials (but you, again, get to reuse these).
Total time: About 15 minutes to make the design, and another 20 minutes to print, cut and apply it.
Where the previous project used infusible ink pens, with this one I decided to try Cricut’s Smart IronOn, which eliminates the need for any grip mat, but you can use any IronOn vinyl (Cricut also has some fun options, including holographic, foil, metallics, glitter and patterned options, plus more).
Using the baby bodysuit template in DesignSpace, I had an idea of how my design will look and decided to use a combination of shapes and letters in two fonts for my design, based on a quote I felt was fitting for the intended little wearer (“From little seeds grow mighty trees”).
Worth noting here is that it’s important to mirror your final design before cutting it, because once you apply it face down, the results will be flipped as they would be in a mirror. If you skip this step, your design will be flipped backwards, as will any text.
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I then used my Cricut Maker 3 to cut the design I created, weeding out the excess material around the design. This part took a little longer because I had fine details in the trees and the Smart Iron-On feels a bit tackier than regular vinyl.
The next steps basically required me to first use a lint roller on the bodysuit (don’t skip this step, even if the item just came out of the bag) and to place the heated EasyPress on my chosen bodysuit to “prime it” for the transfer, eliminating heat and moisture.
I positioned the design where I envisioned it sitting, heating the EasyPress and applying it for 45 or so seconds with light pressure and flipping the bodysuit to repeat the process on the back for 15.
I found I had to use higher heat and a bit of a longer time than the heat guide recommended to allow the design to fully transfer, but it’s always best to start slow and repeat the process if necessary than to overdo it on first try. I waited before the suit was fully cool to remove the Iron-On backing, and just like that I had a sweet, customized baby bodysuit with a quote that personally resonated.
You can of course personalize other clothing or accessories with names, phrases or anything else that catches your fancy. If you have an upcoming special occasion like a bachelorette, you can also customize T-shirts for your crew and more (as mentioned, in the past, I’ve had to purchase these items at a considerable markup, but am now more confident I can make these items myself).
I loved the simple nature of applying the press to my projects, and as hinted, I was pleasantly surprised by the versatility of the applications I could create; in the past, I always thought transfers were limited to printer-made iron-ons that are destined to crack and peel.
I can see the usefulness of smaller versions of the EasyPress, but I love the option of being able to create custom blankets, and larger items.
My only wish is that the EasyPress had a longer cord for the outlet, as I’m somewhat limited in where I can use it, and that unfortunately doesn’t include easy access to the outlet, but I get why not everyone may want a long cumbersome cord.
And while I played with a variety of transfer materials and blanks, I have to say, I love Cricut’s Infusible Ink for the quality of their transfer, which actually infuses into the material rather than sit on top of it (the pens were also just very enjoyable to work with and watch). The safety features, even heat, and specific guided instructions for each project and material equipped me to get the best results with little stress, and to create some pretty adorable and personally-meaningful designs, so I’m looking forward to a few future projects I’ve already started plotting out.