Today I am going to show you how to use your Cricut machine to make this super cute T-Shirt using Iron-on Vinyl (aka heat transfer vinyl). This Cricut project is super easy and perfect for beginners!
If you are new to Cricut and looking for the perfect beginner project then making a t-shirt with iron on vinyl is the perfect place to start!
This Let’s Get Crafty t-shirt is SUPER easy to make and will give you a good intro into how to set up designs in Cricut Design Space, cut iron-on vinyl, weed iron-on vinyl, center iron-on decals on your shirt, and apply them to your shirt using a heat press.
We will cover everything you need to know to get started making your very own shirts!
You can grab this Let’s Get Crafty SVG cut file and a free iron-on decal sizing and placement guide at the bottom of the page.
I created a quick video showing you how to do this or you can scroll down a bit more to grab the written instructions. I also have a list of the supplies I recommend for this project listed below.
Don’t forget to grab the Let’s Get Crafty SVG cut files and printable sizing guide at the bottom of the page so you can make this shirt!
BASIC SUPPLIES NEEDED TO MAKE A SHIRT USING YOUR CRICUT
- Blank T-Shirt (I used this Gildan Softstyle uni T-Shirt in Heather Purple)
- White iron-on vinyl (HTV)
- Cricut cutting machine
- Standard grip cutting mat
- Weeding tool
- Brayer tool (optional)
- Cricut EasyPress
- Cricut EasyPress Mat
- Teflon protective sheet for Heat Press
- Measuring Tape
HOW TO MAKE A T-SHIRT USING YOUR CRICUT AND IRON ON VINYL
Step 1: Pre-wash your shirt
The first thing you need to do before you make your shirt is to pre-wash it. Shirts can shrink in the wash and you want to make sure that process happens before you apply iron-on vinyl. If you choose not to prewash your shirt, it could cause the iron-on vinyl to peel off or leave cracks in the design as the shirt shrinks in the wash. So always be sure to prewash your shirt.
I also recommend using shirts that are 100% cotton, 100% polyester, or a blend of the two.
Step 2: Measure your shirt
Now we can measure our shirt to see how wide we want our design to be on the shirt. I have a handy cheat sheet that you can download at the bottom of the page that will tell you what the standard design size is depending on what size shirt you are using.
This is a great place to start and then you can adjust the design size to meet your preferences. For the shirt size, I am using today, 10 1/2 inches is about perfect so we will stick with that size for our design.
Step 3: Create a new project in Cricut Design Space and Upload/Resize the SVG
Next, we are going to open up a new project in Cricut Design Space and upload our design.
The Design I am using for this project is available for free at the bottom of the page. If you need help uploading the SVG to Cricut Design Space, you can check out my video on how to do that here.
Once you have the design open, you can adjust the size to fit the shirt you are using.
Step 4: Prepare the design for cutting
Before we cut this design we will want to attach the different design elements. If I click make it before attaching everything, you can see that the design is all over the place. That is now what we want so we will go back and attach the design.
Since we are just using one color for this design, we can go ahead and select the entire design and click attach. This will keep the design together while we cut.
Now our design looks just how we want it. Since we are using Heat transfer vinyl we need to make sure to also mirror our design. So we will go ahead and click the mirror option.
Step 5: Place iron-on vinyl on a standard grip mat shiny side down
Next, I am going to place the heat transfer vinyl on my standard grip mat. You want to place the HTV with the shiny side down.
Then I like to use a brayer tool to make sure the material is really stuck on the matt well.
Step 6: Select your material type
Before we cut, we need to select our material type. I am doing this part on my tablet, but you can do it on your computer as well. If you are using Cricut brand Heat Transfer Vinyl, select the specific kind as your material type (ex. Everyday Iron-On). I am using a non-Cricut brand HTV so I am going to set my material to Heat Transfer Vinyl (non-Cricut).
If you are using an Explore machine, you will want to set the dial to Iron-On.
Step 7: Load your mat and start cutting
Once you select your material, the arrow button on your machine should start blinking meaning you are ready to load your mat.
Once the mat is loaded the Cricut button will start blinking and you are ready to start cutting.
Step 8: Unload your mat and remove the vinyl from the mat
When the machine is done cutting, the arrow button will start blinking again and you can unload the mat. To take the HTV off of the mat, you will want to flip over the mat and gently peel the mat back from the HTV. Peeling the HTV right off of the mat can cause the material to curl which is not what we want.
Step 9: Weed the design
Before I start weeding a design, I check to see if there are any large parts of vinyl that don't have cuts that can be trimmed off and used for other smaller projects in the future. I really dislike wasting vinyl so I try to do that anytime I cut a design.
Next, we are going to start weeding the design. I'm using a Cricut weeding tool for this part and I highly recommend you do as well. I've linked all of the materials I recommend for this project above.
When I am weeding, the first thing I do is get the bulk of the excess vinyl peeled off. When you are weeding, especially if you are new to all of this, take your time so you don't accidentally tear or weed the wrong parts of the design.
After I get the bulk of the excess vinyl off of the design I go back and get all of the smaller pieces in the letters and the rest of the design.
Make sure you look over your design a few times to double-check that there aren't any little pieces you missed when weeding. I can tell you from experience it is VERY frustrating to finish a project and realize you missed something when you were weeding and then it's too late to fix it.
Step 10: Set temperature and time on your heat-press
Now I am going to pull up Cricut's heat guide so I can figure out what temperature I need to set my Cricut EasyPress to. You can click here to access the Cricut Heat Guide.
For this project, I am selecting the EasyPress 2, then selecting Cricut Everyday Iron-on for the material because that is close enough to the type of HTV I am using. Then I select what type of material I am applying the HTV to in this case, cotton.
The heat guide recommends setting the temperature to 315 degrees for 30 seconds. Then after we heat the front of the design, we will also press the back of the shirt for 15 seconds.
If you scroll down on the heat guide, it will also provide you with helpful information like steps to apply the vinyl and how to care for the shirt after you have applied the iron-on vinyl.
It says here to allow 24 hours after application before washing. Wash and tumble dry inside out and do not bleach. This should allow your shirt to last for at least 50 washes which is pretty awesome!
So I am going to adjust my temperature on my heat press to 315 degrees and the time is already set for 30 seconds so we are ready to go.
Step 11: Center design on your shirt
To get the design lined up in the center of the shirt, I am folding the shirt in half and then applying heat.
This will put a crease on the shirt right in the center so I have a visible line to place my design on.
This also will preheat our shirt which Cricut recommends doing for 5 seconds before applying iron-on vinyl.
Next to line up the design, I am going to fold over the design and gently crease the top and bottom of the plastic backing sheet.
Then I can match those lines up to the line in the center of my shirt.
I like to place the design about 2-3" from the bottom of the neck on the shirt, but you can adjust this to your preference.
Step 12: Apply heat
Now that the design is lined up, we are ready to apply heat. I almost always use a protective sheet over my designs anytime I am using heat now to avoid any burned spots or discoloration in the shirt. I will link the sheets I use down below.
Once we place the protective sheet down, we are ready to use our heat press. Just place the heat press down on top of the protective sheet making sure you are covering your design.
If your heat press doesn't cover all of the design, you can heat the design in sections. Do half of the design for the specified time and then the other half for the same amount of time or you can do it in quarters.
Then we will flip over the shirt and press for 15 more seconds.
Step 13: Peel off the plastic backing sheet
The type of HTV I am using is a warm peel meaning you have to peel the plastic sheet away from the design while it is warm. The type of vinyl you purchase will specify if it is a warm peel or cool peel heat transfer vinyl.
Once you start to peel the plastic sheet away, if you notice any parts of the design not adhering to the shirt, just place the plastic sheet back down and go over that spot with the heat press again until it sticks. If you have an EasyPress mini, that works really well for small areas that aren't sticking.
And that's it! Wasn't that so simple? I love how this let's get crafty shirt turned out and can't wait to wear it when I am crafting! I hope you get a chance to make one too!
Don't forget to grab this free design and printable sizing guide below!
To download the free Let’s Get Crafty SVG cut file and t-shirt sizing guide, just fill out the form below and click “GET IT NOW!”
DOWNLOAD MY FREE LET’S GET CRAFTY SVG CUT FILE & DECAL SIZING GUIDE
HOW TO USE THESE CUT FILES:
You can use these files on your Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore, Cricut Joy, Silhouette Cameo, or other brands of electronic cutting machines that use these file types.
If you need help downloading the files and uploading them to Cricut Design Space, I have a quick tutorial on how to do that here: How to Download SVG Files and Upload them to Cricut Design Space
Please review the licensing information for these files by clicking the link below.
Don’t forget to save this project on Pinterest for later! Happy crafting!