Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Prototyping in Paper

As you might notice from my most recent posts, I'm on a bit of a roll working on Jewish designs for Cricut and other electronic cutters. I tend to focus more on Jewish themes around the major holidays, as well as in response to an overabundance of nominally-Christian-themed arts and crafts.

Before I commit T-shirts to the designs I'm creating in my Design Space portfolio, I need to test size and proportions to see if the concepts in my mind will work.

Because it's relatively cheap, cardstock is my go-to prototyping medium. Cutting paper gives me a good idea of how long a design would take to produce, whether my design is too complex for the medium, whether the size I have in mind is appropriate, and whether or not it will scale up and down.

My first prototype of "David Ben Avraham/Bar Mitzvah" went a bit awry. I like to prototype lettering layers by setting them to "write" loading a fine point Cricut marker into the "A" tool side rather than cutting and having to worry about all sorts of little cut-out letter shapes floating around. I used 12" x 12" paper and the oldest of my light grip mats. Unfortunately, the "grip" has worn off and the mat didn't load correctly. I cancelled the cut halfway into the write. Then, for whatever reason, I reloaded the project on the same mat (and reusing the same paper), but with the letters set to cut out instead of print. Pieces of cut-out letters went skittering around the mat, getting stuck on the point of the knife, and doing all sorts of nasty stuff. That said, I learned some really important lessons.
  1. My original design concept has too much information on it to be legible at ten feet, regardless of whether I print it at 10" (normal women's T-shirt design width) or 12" (full width of the cutting path and of heat transfer vinyl).
  2. Even with basic cleaning up, the hand-sketched design had enough irregularities that it took the Cricut an extremely long time to run through what should have been very basic cuts.
  3. A distinct "edge" around the sides of all the pieces and edges in the project would have been very difficult to weed and to register properly.
So I spent several hours tracing over my design with Illustrator's "arc" tool and "direct selection" tool, translating my pencil and marker strokes into vector paths and Bézier curves, and eventually into shapes that would take color (so I know they are complete paths, and so I can separate them and organize them by color and layer in Design Space). Unfortunately, two of my complete paths refused to take a color fill. Sigh. Once that was done, I imported the .svg file into Design Space.

After organizing my layers, I ran a test cut in paper:


While the separated disks and sides of the scroll ends are nice in theory, I forgot to duplicate, slice, and dice the top handles, so there are two paper pieces where there should only have been one.

I fixed up the handles and set the three scroll surfaces to two different shades of brown.



A second, flatter version, welds those pieces into a single piece suitable for iron-on, though in a more cartoonish fashion. I would have loved to have been able to weld the open text and scrolls into a single piece for that version, but every time I tried, the refuses-to-fill center portion caused the entire shape to disappear. I left the text out of this one; it's just the template.


Another method I tried is a bit more stylized, using thick lines instead of different colors of heat-transfer vinyl. This style would be nicely visible, but leaves very little room for lettering.


I'm currently working on a T-shirt design for a sandek, the equivalent of an infant boy's godfather. I'll gather a few basic designs into a portfolio to prove I can create them, and customize from there as needed.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

More on Non-Western Alphabets, Bar Mitzvah T-Shirts

After talking with an Observant Jewish friend, I got the idea for a design I felt might be a bit more appropriate for a Bar Mitzvah t-shirt.

Design Sketch

Jewish men tend to have strong memories of the parshah (weekly Torah and Haftorah (Prophets) readings) they were required to learn for the public synagogue performance that defines most modern B'nai Mitzvah (Bar Mitzvahs). The readings are tied to specific weeks of the Jewish calendar. I came up with the graphic idea of a Torah scroll, open for reading, with the Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah's Jewish name, along with the parshah and date (intended to be written in Hebrew). I used "David ben Avraham" as a generic male name, and since my Hebrew and Jewish learning isn't that great and I wasn't at home when sketching, I chose the parshah "Vayyera" as one whose name I remembered, sketching it in English to be customized in Hebrew for any particular Bar Mitzvah.


Once I got home, I used a couple of brush markers to ink the outlines of the scroll, imported it into my graphics programs, and uploaded it into Design Space.


Note that the lines have been thickened, and the rollers colored in a single (flat) brown to make them easier to cut and weed. (I have since added a white underlayer for the parchment.)

Following the method I outlined in my previous post, I added my sample Bar Mitzvah boy's name and the words "Bar Mitzvah" in Photoshop and curved the text appropriately:



Vertical Text Typing Reversal

The problem came when I started trying to insert the vertical text in Photoshop: because I forgot to check the "switch orientation" icon, the letters were jumbled together, and when I started separating them by putting each on a separate line, they disappeared... and then they appeared, in reverse order. Even when I copied my text into vertical orientation, they were in reverse order... until I typed in my text into Character Map as it normally read.

So, if you are looking to include vertical text in a right-to-left language, you will need to remember to not reverse the order of your letters, with a notable exception:

"Ki Tetze"

I changed my sample parshah from "Vayyera" to "Ki Tetze" (כִּי־תֵצֵא‬) when I started blocking out my text. My main reason for this was a shorter name. That said, it's two words, and the last letter (yad) of the first word doesn't go all the way down to the baseline. 

Because I was having trouble getting vertical text in Photoshop, I selected a system font with Hebrew characters and copied my text into Design Space. At first, the typeface I'd originally chosen didn't show up in my system fonts there, but that was because I'd forgotten to refresh the tab to refresh my system fonts index.

Regardless of whether I entered text in Photoshop, Illustrator, or Design Space, I had to play around with line spacing to get the letters to appear as cohesive words, and with the size of my text box to make sure all those letters appeared in the text object. That said, the vertical orientation — and what I could do with it — varied from program to program.

Slanted Text

Because Design Space keeps each text block as a separately editable, but not warpable, object, rotating the text was sufficient to get it to align with the torah scroll. That said, the amount of difference in line spaces, along with the common use of the character yad as a vowel, required me to put "Ki" (kaf-yad) on a single line, with "Tetze" following as a separate vertically-aligned word.


Both Photoshop and Illustrator have better line spacing, however, keeping my letters as text causes them to handle text rotation differently from Design Space, as well as differently from each other.

Since Design Space treats each text object as a single, image-like object, using the rotation handle to rotate my vertical text ends up perfectly aligned to my slanted rolled parchment, even though each letter is on a separate line. If I place each letter on a separate line in Illustrator, rotating my object will cause my letters remain upright, but indent each line to follow the object's slant. 

Both Illustrator and Photoshop have text-orientation toggles that let you type normally, but format your letters vertically. In CS4, which is the (admittedly-ancient) version of Creative Suite I'm working with, the toggle is under the "Type" menu in Illustrator. In Photoshop, with the text tool selected, it's a small "T" with vertical and horizontal arrows that appears just to the left of the typeface selector on the text ribbon. That said, I had to rasterize my vertical text in Photoshop — making it ineditable — before I could rotate it. 

Finding New Faces

Being that I'm looking at doing some more artistic work with Hebrew text, I looked for and installed several dozen different free Hebrew typefaces I found at sources such as WebToolHub, FontSpace, Free Hebrew FontAlefAlefAlef and the Open Siddur Project. I was looking primarily for a couple of faces in Hebrew "script", of which I had none in my collection, as well as some variations in display fonts that would make for interesting (and potentially marketable) items.

These showed up nicely in Photoshop and Illustrator as expected, but didn't show up in Design Space until I saved my project and reloaded the tab.

Dates?

I'm sufficiently unfamiliar with the system of using Hebrew letters for numbers that it's going to take some more work before I'm able to complete the left-hand scroll with a reasonable sample Hebrew date. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Non-Western Alphabets and Design Space

Working at Michaels, I've seen a lot of T-shirts, hats, and sashes that say "Bride", "Bridesmaid", "Team Bride", and so on. I've also seen a lot of Bar and Bat Mitzvah favors that say something like

David's Bar Mitzvah
3-16-18
Regency Hotel
Mazel Tov!

That's fun if you're Reform, Conservative, or have many non-Jewish friends and family attending. But what about my friends and customers who are more "Observant" — a heading which includes Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Chassidic, and/or Haredi — customers who, if they wear T-shirts (and some of them might) would prefer to have that done up in Hebrew lettering? What about modern versions of the aprons my mother and grandmother wore growing up, embroidered in Hebrew with the words "Yom Tov" (holiday) or "Shabbat" (Sabbath), or the towels and potholders labeled "Milchig" (dairy) or "Fleischig" (meat) in the local Judaica shop? 

Wouldn't it be fun to do those up on the Cricut?

And that's just Hebrew. How about my Muslim customers, my Russian customers, my Asian customers... people who speak and observe their religions in languages not served by the Western alphabet?

It's possible, but it may take a bit of a workaround.

Since my linguistic vocabulary is limited to a few Hebrew and Yiddish (which uses a variation of the Hebrew alef-bet) words and phrases, my examples will be taken from those languages. 

Getting the Right Fonts

On the plus side, Windows (and I presume Mac OS) operating systems include access to the full Unicode character set for many typefaces, which means (in theory) I could use Character Map to bring up my characters, copy them, and paste them into Illustrator, Photoshop, or Design Space. Unfortunately, my current version of Windows and my old version of Adobe Creative Suite don't always talk the same typeface language (Open Text versus the older PostScript and TrueType), so it's a bit hit-and-miss as to what's available where, and whether or not the font designer added in a Hebrew character set.

At least for Hebrew, a quick way of learning if the typeface supports it is to load a blank document into Word or Photoshop, select a text area (or text tool), and look at your font dropdown menu. In Word, the typeface's primary alternate character set will be on the right, in the direction that language is usually read. In Photoshop, typefaces with code pages for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Hebrew alphabets will show up organized into sections below the main list of typefaces, with a few characters from each to show how the typeface looks in that codepage.

A more thorough (but tedious) way to check if any individual typeface has a particular character set is to go into Windows' built-in Character Map, select your font, and scroll down through the code pages. While your primary language can be directly entered from the keyboard, your alternate-alphabet language may have to be loaded by searching for your character by Windows' name for it, or by scrolling down to your desired character and double-clicking. 

Windows Paint, Photoshop Workarounds

If I try to upload a text file into Design Space, it'll get rejected — and I can't save a Windows document to an image format Design Space supports. But outside of Illustrator, Photoshop, and Design Space, there's no good way to turn text into images, except by screen capture. For me, the easiest way to save a screencap is to paste it into Windows Paint, crop out the extraneous information, and save it. (I could use Photoshop, but for something that quick and simple, I don't need Photoshop's long load time and large system overhead.)

Because I'd been having font issues in Illustrator, I did some basic composition in Word, capturing my screen and pasting it into Windows Paint, cropping down to my text, saving in .png format, and importing into Design Space
Example: "Sandek" (one of the godfathers (usually the grandfathers) at a brit-millah). Typeface: Frank Ruehl.


Layers and Effects

I hoped I'd be able to get around some of those codepage issues once I added Hebrew and Yiddish languages into Windows, but there are still things I can't do directly. As an example, I can get a very even large outline around a letter in Illustrator by duplicating the letter, adding a heavy stroke to the duplicate, and placing it behind the original letter. Unfortunately, saving the file in .svg causes Design Space to lose the stroke information, and I get two identical copies of the same letters.
Example: "Kallah" (bride). Original design as created in Illustrator. Typeface: Rod Regular.
Example: "Kallah". How Design Space interprets the .svg file
I found two ways to get the correct layering. The first was to export each layer individually as a .png file, import them into Design Space as cut-only images, load them both onto my design mat, resize them and align them to line up correctly.

Correctly aligned layers in Design Space
The second way was to export my design to Photoshop, color the bottom layer text the same as the stroke color, and save each layer separately in .jpg format.

Typing Text Directly

It's not impossible to use non-Western fonts directly in Design Space, but I will note an issue with non-left-to-right codepages: when I've selected Hebrew as my system language, Design Space (as well as Photoshop and Illustrator) will render Hebrew correctly right-to-left, but in order to have a legible, legitimate word, I have to type in my characters left to right.

"Kallah" rendered as typed in Design Space. Typeface: David Regular
As you can see, my text is entered correctly from right to left, but the characters are rendered left to right. For Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, or other right-to-left words to appear correct, I need to enter them in reverse order.
"Kallah" properly rendered, typed in reverse order.

Some Final Notes...

Being unfamiliar with the usual way of entering "pointed" characters,  I had to use Character Map and scroll down to the very bottom of the code page to find the Kaf with the dagesh — the dot in the middle — that differentiates it from a Khaf.

Because one of the things I was looking for going into this exercise was images for Rosh Hashanah, I found what appears to be a good source for Jewish, Muslim, and other religious and ethnic graphics. The images are not free, but they're reasonably priced, and the site doesn't require a paid subscription to look at the packages.

The fun font for "David's Bar Mitzvah" is "Bungee Shade" from Google Fonts, which is a collection of typefaces Google publishes for Web use. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Recycling Weeded Vinyl

One of the things I've learned really quickly about my Cricut is it can create a lot of wasted vinyl and specialty cardstock. While I've been pretty lucky about getting my initial materials on sale, that's still a dollar or more per 12" x 12" sheet of material, with a lot of leftovers from the small projects I've been working on.

One option for using these leftovers is to cut your printed vinyl close to edges of your design before weeding, and use the leftover unprinted vinyl for another project. This is fairly simple if your designs are all small and relatively linear, like the geocaching reference number for The Other Half's car, or the starship profile I ironed on my multiple-process mixed-media T-shirt.


It's a bit less simple if you've printed out a corner flourish for your desk or notebook.

In the former case, you can fill a sheet with multiple copies of your artwork (if you need them). As an example, I can print my computer club's logo two-across on a 12" vinyl sheet, and then cut off the remaining nine inches for another project.


As long as your vinyl sheet has a ninety-degree corner (more or less) to align to the top and left sides of the mat, and it covers the area of the mat that will be printed, you're good to go.

If your vinyl scrap is more rounded, you may need an iPad or an iPhone and the Snap Mat feature of Cricut's DesignSpace app. (Note: there's a beta version of DesignSpace for Android, but it doesn't have Snap Mat.) The way it works is, you lay your vinyl (or other material) on the mat, take a picture of the mat through the app, and use the Move handles to move your pieces to where your vinyl is on the mat. The process is a bit slow and tricky at first, but as long as your Cricut registers your mat properly, you've got a great way to save material.

But what if your piece has one or more large interior spaces, the type which can't be cut (except maybe carefully, with a blade on a self-healing mat), and/or which is better weeded? Isn't there anything you can do with that?

Of course there is... at least, I think there is. Here are some of my hypotheses and tests:

Background: ready-to-cut eat transfer vinyl consists of two (or sometimes three) layers: the clear carrier layer, the effects layer (in holographic and reflective HTVs), and the adhesive layer.
  1. Because the carrier is already resistant to melting at iron-on temperatures, can it be used as a protective layer for other iron-ons (such as layered HTV or typical inkjet t-shirt transfers)?
    • So far, it seems to work OK for regular HTV. I've used it to iron hand-cut reflective hearts onto an old pair of cycling shorts to improve my night visibility.
    • I haven't tried it yet with iron-on fabric or inkjet t-shirt transfers.
  2. After weeding, the exposed part of the carrier is tacky — tacky enough to grab weed scraps from either your iron-on project or your adhesive vinyl project. Can these be used as carriers to use the weeded vinyl?
    • If I have a large piece of HTV that has been weeded. Is the adhesive bond strong enough to reuse the carrier and have my Cricut cut the scrap vinyl?
      • So far, I've only tried it with the carrier from glitter vinyl.
        • It worked (relatively) fine for a scrap of reflective iron-on, which is almost as thin as foil HTV. The big issues were that the scraps could stretch out of plane (so they wouldn't lie flat on the carrier), and that it was difficult to keep bubbles from forming
    After re-cutting
    After re-cutting - close-up

        • It didn't work as well for the scrap of glitter HTV, largely because the HTV didn't want to adhere well to the used carrier.

        • Can I reuse the carrier as transfer tape for adhesive vinyl?
          • Sadly, the answer for this appears to be "no". The HTV carrier is thicker and less flexible than the regular adhesive vinyl and its transfer tape. Even after burnishing, my Oracal 651 and Cricut Premium Vinyl both wanted to stay adhered to the carrier rather than my project. (Sorry, no pics for this one)
Similar questions exist for regular (sticky-back) adhesive vinyl and its backing. As long as the weeded scrap stays in plane and has enough stick to adhere to the used backing, the Cricut should work just fine.
Of course, if you're going to try to reuse non-heat-transfer-vinyl in this way, you will need to make sure you keep the adhesive as pristine as possible, and the carrier must be free from lint and scraps as well.



I hope this helps some of you electronic-cutter folk get some more mileage from your materials.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Post Proofing Project Errors?

Just because #IWorkAtMichaels doesn't mean I have input to any of the projects you'll find on our website. While I do get advance access to our classroom projects, the instructions are already done and dusted by the time we get them.

That said, large companies such as Michaels and Wilton still move at the speed of print.

By that, I mean that product and project development cycles can run on the order of months or years, between identifying trends and their "stickiness" (projected life cycles), product design, prototyping, manufacturing tool-ups, packaging, marketing, and distribution. (When I was a teenaged member of the Girl Scouts' American Girl magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, we learned that the content of each issue was planned a year in advance, giving the editors time to line up experts, writers, and photographers, go through several rounds of copyediting and layout editing, getting the photography and graphics correct, and adding in reader contributions to fill the space to create the glossy magazine we looked forward to receiving in our mailboxes each month. View some of those vintage covers here.)

While electronic tools have sped up the writing and proofreading process to the point where many bloggers can post something daily, collaborative efforts that require research, beta testing, and/or technical copyediting still take time — and if you're publishing thousands of new pages (or updates) daily, some errors are bound to slip through.

When it comes to our in-store classes, I'll pre-read the Leader's Guide, figure if something's wrong or missing, and correct — even on-the-fly if we're missing one or more supplies, if a student wants to customize a project, or if an instruction step is missing. This is one of my strengths as an instructor.

Projects that originate on the website are another story. We only see them if we click through to the project. Today's email linked to a project whose supply list missed one of the necessary tools. I ended up using the customer service chat option to get the error submitted for correction.

All of us want our readers, students, and customers to be successful replicating the projects we post, and personalizing them for their own tastes and needs. The beauty of electronic publication means we can accept comments and error messages, and we can post-edit published pages to improve our users' success rates.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Keeping Track of Hooks and Needles

A couple of months ago, I finally purchased a Loops & Threads case in which to store as many and diverse a set as possible of my loose crochet hooks. (I have a complete set of Boye steel crochet hooks, 00 to 14, in their own case, as well as a number of duplicates in the 12 to 14 range because they sometimes bend out of shape.) The Loops & Threads case has one side sized for steel hooks, and the other for aluminum hooks. With space for 10 aluminum hooks and 15 steel hooks, something has to give in terms of completeness. The oversized plastic hooks (sizes P and up) are obviously the first to go — but I rarely use them to begin with, and they're too big to get lost easily. But the collection of hooks I have in that case is not really the issue here...

The real issue is that the size of the hot pink, textured faux-leather zip-around case is not all that much smaller than the red, textured faux-leather zip-around case that holds my Loops & Threads set of circular knitting needles, with the result that the two get easily confused in low light (or when I'm "looking" with my hands rather than my eyes, which is frequently the case).

I decided to take advantage of my Cricut to mongram and label the two cases and (hopefully) avoid future confusion.

That said, most of us seamstresses and yarnies could really use better organization for our collections of hooks, Tunisian hooks, needles, circular needles, double-pointed needles, yarn needles, tatting shuttles, doll needles, tapestry needles, embroidery needles, and sewing needles... Especially when we have our own collections as well as those we've "inherited" from friends, relatives, and foremothers.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Is it really an EASY Press?

On Friday, July 27, Michaels stores across the country demonstrated the Cricut EasyPress for the nation's teachers.
Heat Press

As a home sewer and occasional iron-on-t-shirt maker, the EasyPress has been an interesting product to watch — although not necessarily one I really need. That said, our in-house guide said that the demonstrator should be an expert at the EasyPress so she can answer teachers' questions. So, I took a few hours the day before the event to familiarize myself with the EasyPress machine and its accessory EasyPress mat.

I came prepared with pre-cut designs for a couple of T-shirts, using several different types of Cricut and Siser heat transfer vinyls (aka "iron-ons") as well as a fabric iron-on and some fabric to which I'd previously applied HeatnBond® Ultrahold, my stocks of HeatnBond® Lite and HeatnBond® UltraHold, a few T-shirts, a baseball cap, my tailor's ham, my Quilter's Cut 'n Press and some scraps of polyester and linen, as well as a few rolls of various types of HTV (heat transfer vinyl) and scraps from my cuttings and weedings.

EasyPress Versus the Iron

My iron is still from the days where there's a dial setting that goes Low (Acrylic/Silk/Nylon), Medium Low (Polyester), Medium (Wool), Medium High (Cotton), and High (Linen), with steam options not kicking in until you get at least up to Medium heat. I've done enough burn tests on scraps to know what burnt silk, polyester, wool, cotton, and linen look like and smell like. That said, I didn't know how the EasyPress's maximum setting of 360° compares until I looked it up just now. [Update: on July 30, Cricut announced the Easy Press 2, which will debut Fall 2018. It will come in three sizes and heat up to 400°.] I do know that some customers have returned the EasyPress because it doesn't get hot enough for their needs — which is why I brought along both cotton and linen samples, which generally require the highest heat to press.

The EasyPress has a square sole plate with rounded corners, rather than the somewhat shoe-shaped standard household iron. As a presser, it has no vents — which means it heats more evenly (no more steam-hole marks in your ironing). Its larger area means it can potentially press larger, flat pieces of fabric more rapidly than an iron. It comes with a sample project: a glitter iron-on teacup and a 4" x 4" piece of canvas fabric.

The EasyPress is heavier than a regular iron, but that should mean you can just set it down on your iron-on. It seems to do OK that way for basic ironing, but it still left shadow creases in my cotton and linen samples. That's probably because linen and cotton usually require steam pressing, but the EasyPress is designed around keeping one's work as moisture-free as possible.

The size and weight of the EasyPress make it difficult to maneuver around curved pieces; the logo I tried to iron on a hat never managed to "take" correctly, and I ended pulling it off.

While the EasyPress might be useful for sheer cafe curtains, I wouldn't chuck my home iron for it.

The EasyPress Mat

EasyPressâ„¢ Mat, 12" x 12"
The 12" x 12" EasyPress Mat we were given is just a little bit larger than the EasyPress, enough to lay out the design area of an average meant-to-be-tucked-in adult t-shirt, and about the same size as my 12" x 12" Cut 'n Press. (Both 8" x 10" and 16" x 20" EasyPress mats are also available.) Continuing with the "as dry as possible" meme, the mat includes a heat-reflecting inner layer as well as a moisture wicking layer. The mat is flexible and could be rolled if needed.

Placed on a hard table, the EasyPress Mat is about as stiff as a padded ironing board, and not nearly as stiff as the padded side of the Cut 'n Press. The fluffiness of the mat is one reason most iron-ons require the user to press down on the EasyPress.

Setting Up the EasyPress

The EasyPress comes with a quick reference card of settings for the time and temperature needed to adhere different types of iron-on to different types of fabrics and non-fabric surfaces; a more complete chart is available on the website. No matter where you set it last, the EasyPress turns on to a default setting of 250F with a 30-second timer. You press the temperature or time button and the up-and-down arrows to set your temperature between 150 and 360F, and your time between 1 and 300 seconds (5 minutes). The device has a safety timer which will shut it down after 10 minutes of non-use.

While the charts suggest temperatures as low as 185F for delicate fabrics such as silk, and times as low as 10-15 seconds, the average iron-on appears to require 30 seconds at 340F — and as it turns out, the higher temperature didn't seem to harm either my polyester sample or vinyl-on-vinyl layering.

Testing

As noted earlier, my iron-on fabric did not adhere well to my baseball cap. It was fine on one of my t-shirts, though. I'm pretty sure the hat's curvature had a lot to do with that.

My other tests were: reflective HTV on canvas (took a lot of time) and on a t-shirt, regular and metallic HTV on a t-shirt; two varieties of HeatnBond on cotton, welded onto black linen; scraps of regular, metallic, and glitter HTV on linen, and regular HTV on polyester. No matter the heat setting or the amount of time, nothing seemed to burn, char, or do something else. That said, if I forgot to press the countdown button, or wait for the press to come up to temperature, and accidentally laid the press down on a sample, it held fast to the linen fabric when I removed the iron two or three seconds later and the Siser and Cricut carriers even peeled nicely!

Thoughts

The EasyPress is a fun and easy way to  add "iron-ons" to T-shirts, towels, and any surface that can be kept flat and wrinkle free. It's $149.99 price is comparable to a high-end iron, but you don't get the options of steam, spray, vertical steam, and/or cordless operation that those irons provide (and its cord does get in the way), so it's more of a companion tool than a replacement for your trusty household iron. That said, if you do a lot of iron-on, the amount of time it will save you might be well worth the price.

While I work for Michaels, my thoughts on the EasyPress are my own.