Car air fresheners (sometimes called “felt freshies” or “car freshies”) have been really popular sublimation blanks in my shop lately. I wanted to take a moment to show you how to make car air fresheners with felt blanks, sublimation transfers, and your favorite fragrance or essential oils. These are really fun to make for gifts, or even to sell!
UPDATE: No sublimation printer? Scroll to the bottom to find more ways you can decorate these blanks!
While there are a lot of options for equipment and supplies, I will list the things I have personally used or heard of.
What You Will Need
Some of the items below are affiliate links for your convenience.
- Felt Blanks – I made an assortment of fun shapes, and you can even request something new!
- Graphic(s) – I will continue to add more free downloads in the Resource Library
- Sublimation Printer – I have the Sawgrass SG800 from Conde, but I have heard you can convert the Epson Ecotank or the 7720 with good results
- Sublimation Paper – I currently using A-SUB paper (Update, my printer decided it does NOT like A-Sub anymore) =(
- Heat press – I have a 16″ x 20″ clam shell
- DyeTrans Pro Spray (optional) – I get this from Conde, but I see that you can also get this kind from Heat Press Nation (Alternative option…Basting spray! I have not tested this myself, but it should work similarly, and is more readily available.)
- Parchment paper – I have heard packing paper or butcher paper works, too.
- Heat Tape (optional)
- Elastic Cord
- Packaging Bags (optional)
- Transfer Pipettes (optional)
- Fragrances (optional) – You can use your favorite essential oils (I love Plant Therapy oils) or fragrances used for candle & soap making
- Spray bottles (optional)
How to Make Car Air Fresheners with Felt Sublimation Blanks
First, set your press to the proper temperature, pressure, and time. I press at 400 degrees Fahrenheit with low to medium pressure for 60 seconds. When you test your settings you may find a different combination works better with your equipment, and that’s totally fine!
(Don’t forget to add some Scrap Packs if you order blanks from me…this way you can test different settings without ruining your good blanks!)
If you haven’t already, create the graphic you will be printing in whatever software you use. (You can access some of my FREE DESIGNS in the Resources Library!)
Remember to PRINT IN REVERSE (mirror!) (Also, if you are doing a double sided piece flip your design if necessary for the backside. Make sure the text remains in the proper format.) DO NOT worry if your print colors look off…this is normal!
Be sure you have some parchment or packing paper on the bed of your heat press to protect it. I usually design my graphics to be a bit larger than my blank so the print goes all the way to the edges (“full bleed.”) Place your image FACE DOWN on the felt blank. You will sandwich your blank and sublimation print in between “blow out paper” to soak up the extra ink because you don’t want to stain your heat press (see photo below)…excess ink on your press will ruin subsequent presses.
(I also have Teflon platen covers on my heat press, which are easy to wipe down if something gets on it.)
If you are pressing multiple blanks at a time I would suggest using a quick spritz of the DyeTrans spray. Heat tape might work, but I have found it to be a little TOO sticky for my liking. Another option would be Basting spray, which is much more easily accessible…you can find it at your local craft/fabric store! Full disclosure, I have not tried this yet, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. I will update when I get some and experiment. =)
Press for designated time and temp. (I usually do 400 degrees for 60 seconds. Remember, you can order a $1.00 Sample Scrap Pack from my shop so you don’t ruin your good blanks.)
When the time is up, carefully remove the pieces and check your image.
If you are printing on the backside repeat steps 4-6.
Next, cut your elastic cord to 12″ for each air freshener, tie and attach.
Finally, add a few drops of scent if desired.
- Be sure your print is mirrored. Don’t worry if the colors look off on your transfer.
- Test your scents with scraps to see how it might affect your print; Sometimes fragrances can leave oil spots, or it may discolor light or white areas of the design.
- If you are gifting or selling, consider including a small spray bottles of extra fragrance. This allows the recipient to refresh the felt as needed. (I have not found anything that works more than a couple days…if you do, let me know!)
As always, if you have any tips or tricks to share I would love to hear it! Also, I love seeing your finished projects, especially if you’re using my blanks! =)
Here are links to blanks and graphics I used in this tutorial: Some graphics are available for free in the Resource Library; otherwise I am providing the links to graphics I purchased.
- Cow Tag blank + Sunflower graphic on serape background,
- Cow Tag blank + Teal Flower on Leopard and Teal Background
- Circle blank – US Flag Wooden Background
- Horizontal Rectangle blank + “Love” Leopard Frame with Floral Accents on Teal Sequin Background (free download in the Resource Library)
- Beer Mug + Beer Graphic
- Awareness Ribbons + Pink Ribbon graphic for breast cancer; Pink/Blue Ribbon graphic for pregnancy/infant loss (free downloads in the Resource Library)
P.S. I am currently working on RESTICKABLE FELT FRESHIE STICKERS!!! I will update when they are available, in the meantime you might want to read about which adhesives work best with felt freshies.