How to Make T-Shirts With Your Cricut Using Iron-On

Today is your lucky day if you have ever wanted to DIY your own t-shirts! In this tutorial, I will show you the basic step-by-step method of how to make t-shirts with your Cricut. You will look into the best tips and tricks and learn how you can create cute, fashionable, and creative-looking T-shirts without having any art degree or industrial equipment.

All you need is a Cricut maker for shirts, this guide, and a little time and you are all set to design your own shirts! Let’s walk into this step-by-step tutorial now!

What Is Iron-On Vinyl?

Iron-On Vinyl is a special type of heat-sensitive adhesive vinyl material. The Cricut iron-on vinyl is used with many different materials like metal, paper, fabric, wood, and others. If you are familiar with Everyday Iron-On. You should know that it’s a versatile, durable, and user-friendly Cricut tee shirt maker. It’s a go-to iron-on material for daily use!

Everyday Iron-On is a cool peel. To apply Everyday Iron-On Vinyl, remove the backing. Apply when cool. There are different types of Iron-On Vinyl. Among them, these are a few popular ones:

SportFlex Iron-On:

It is a popular option for different purposes! They are best used with stretchy, athletic materials. One disadvantage of using SportFlex Iron-On is that you cannot use it for layering.

Patterned Iron-On:

Patterned Iron-On is the best if you want to add a little dimension to your t-shirt. It adds a pop color to your project. Various patterns come with this iron-on vinyl. As a base over vinyl, it won’t work well.

Glitter Iron-On:

Are you a fan of glitter and shine? Adding these elements will make your t-shirt look more attractive. Glitter Iron-On adds a little embellishment to the projects. Do not apply it as a layer. It will peel off after a few minutes.

Holographic Iron-On:

Make your design stand out. To add a layer, use Holographic Iron-On as a base. It works excellent on Everyday Iron-On.

Foil Iron-On:

It is a super popular Iron-On option! It is a cool peel. Wait for the backing to get cool after you are done ironing a foil design. After that, peel it off and apply.

Smart Iron-On:

It is the last type of Iron-On! Smart Iron-On has a thicker backing. It is only available for a Cricut Joy. A Smart Iron-On can be cut without using the mat.

What Tools Do You Need To Make Cricut Shirts?

For this project, you will need:

  • Iron-On Vinyl
  • Cotton T-Shirt
  • Cricut Machine or Cricut Maker
  • Standard Grip or Light Grip Cutting Mat
  • Weeding Tools
  • Cricut EasyPress/ Heat Press/ Household Iron
  • Cricut EasyPress Mat/ Cloth/ Folded Towel

Pro-Tip: 

Make sure the t-shirt you use is pre-washed. Adding fabric softeners will ruin the garment. Vinyl should be applied after the t-shirt is pre-washed. As a result, oils and dirt do not mix with the vinyl adhesive.

Reasons For Making Tee Shirts With Cricut?

Wondering why you are making t-shirts with your Cricut? The answer is straightforward. It’s fun!

There’s always something special in things that you create on your own! Whether you want a hilarious image or a unique design. The process of designing and ironing t-shirts can never let you down! If you are looking for some logical reasons, here you go:

1) You Don’t Need To Be a Pro:

It’s super easy! You don’t need to be professional to create a cute t-shirt. All you need is a creative mind and Pinterest ideas. And you are good to go!

2) Design Your Own Shirt:

Design what you want! Display your personal style, likes, and interests in your own way. Use a different color pallet to stand out in the crowd.

3) Long-Lasting:

Using the Cricut process for t-shirts is reliable! Wear your favorite Cricut tees for long-lasting. They won’t fade even after many washes.

4) Go-To Wear:

These are the perfect go-to wear for all casual places like family reunions, friends’ night out, birthdays, etc. Wear it in clubs, teams, or family activities. They are perfect for all.

5) Create a Side Business:

Online t-shirt businesses are profitable if you know how to sell correctly! They bring a lot of money.

Recommendations For Some Fun Project Ideas:

Here are a few from our side:

  • Gift your family, friends, colleagues, or team members adorable personalized t-shirts.
  • Twining in funny matching t-shirts makes you stand out at family reunions or events.
  • Promote your brand and advertise products by creating your own logo for your shirt.
  • Creating cute tees for kids and babies is the best idea!

How To Make Vinyl Shirts With Cricut?

The most popular reason for making vinyl shirts with Cricut is the decoration! Make custom shirts as you like! These vinyl shirts are one of the best crafts you can try. One of the few reasons is that vinyl shirts don’t require crafting experience. You got it, right?

Let’s explore what we are going to do next? Walk through the whole process step-by-step to know how easy it is to make Cricut t-shirts at home!

We Will Cover:

  • How to Cricut iron on a shirt
  • How to design a shirt in Cricut Design Space
  • How to cut iron-on vinyl
  • How to weed the design
  • How to apply iron-on vinyl to a t-shirt

Best Machine For Making Cricut Shirts?

An electronic cutting machine which cuts design! This electronic cutting machine cuts designs like a pro. Though it’s not a printer! It looks like it. Any design you send from your phone or desktop, you get them cut through it. What is the role of a Cricut Machine here?

There are many different Cricut machines in the market these days. To discover which is the best one? It’s difficult! All Cricut Machines are the new models. They all perform a great task cutting Iron-On Vinyl for T-shirts. It all comes down to the fine blade. It cuts iron-on vinyl for your t-shirt. Use available one for this process:

  • The Cricut Maker and Explore series cuts designs up to 11.5″ square on a standard mat.
  • The Cricut Joy (smaller than Cricut Maker) cuts designs up to 4.5″ wide and 12″ long on a 12″ mat.

Best T-Shirts For Iron-On Vinyl?

Use any material for Iron-On Vinyl. If you are looking for the best results, there are a few recommendations for you. Use smooth-textured and high-quality cotton t-shirts. Cotton t-shirts perform better for screen printing, heat transfer, and other iron-on projects. Other options include t-shirts like Tencel, Bamboo, or Nylon. Ensure the material has high resilience towards heat, iron, or EasyPress.

How To Make A Shirt With Cricut?

Follow these steps for making your own t-shirt using Cricut Machine at your home:

1) Create And Upload A T-Shirt Design:

Let’s begin! The first step to start making an Iron-On Vinyl Cricut Shirt is to create a design. Create anything you want. Use a Cricut Design Space to browse different existing projects. They are a great help for getting new ideas! Or you can create your own design!

If you are thinking about how to explore Cricut Design Space. Download it for free! No charges applied. Download it on your desktop on Mac or Windows. Thus, available for both iOS and Android users. Opt for any of these options to create a design that stands out. These options are:

Option A: Select A Pre-Made Design From Cricut Design Space.

Choose from a variety of pre-made designs available on Cricut Design Space. Pick out the best designs for your iron-on t-shirts. Click on the left-hand sidebar, search for the term “shirt”, and browse the results for your Cricut t-shirt.

Pro-Tip: If you are new to Cricut Design Space, start with a single-color, simple design. Large letters and simplest designs are much easier to weed.

Option B: Upload an Image or SVG file To The Cricut Design Space.

Upload the Image or SVG file in the Cricut Design Space! The Cricut Machine will cut out your design. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to upload the file in the Cricut Design Space? Click on the left-hand sidebar and upload the file to a new project. Yes, that’s it!

Pro-Tip: If you find more creative ways for your iron-on t-shirt, search on Etsy! There you can find a lot of aesthetic and funny SVG Files from different designers. And create a fantastic image for your t-shirt.

Option C: Make Your Own Design In Cricut Design Space.

Try creating your own design! It will be fun. Use tools in the Cricut Design Space, add text to your image, explore free images, text tools, and shapes to add a pinch of creativity to your file. There is a lot you can do in the Cricut Design Space. Create a floral design and add curved text to it! Explore the Layers Panel to find exciting ideas of layering that make up your design.

2) Cut Iron-On Vinyl with Cricut Machine:

Let’s move on to the second step! Prepare your vinyl and mat for cutting. The first step is to load the vinyl on the cutting mat. We suggest using an old StandardGrip (Green) cutting mat or a (Blue) LightGrip cutting mat. Now pour the vinyl and roll it using a brayer tool. It is essential to keep the vinyl flat and well-adhered to the mat.

Iron-On Vinyl is a dual-side adhesive! You will see a dull side and a shiny side. Both sides serve a different purpose. The shiny side is known as a plastic career sheet or plastic liner. The shiny side of the iron-on vinyl has a plastic backing sheet. You should always remember that the vinyl’s shiny side always goes down, facing the cutting mat. This is how the Cricut Machine cuts down the vinyl part, not the clear plastic layer.

Those trying patterned vinyl must remember to put the patterned side down. Now everything is ready! Press the button and load the mat into the Cricut Machine. Now place the design file in the same Cricut Machine. Here is the method of sending the file from the Cricut Design Space into the Cricut Machine:

How To Send The File To The Cricut Machine:

  • Look for the “Make It” button in the top right corner.
  • Next, click on the Green “Mirror” toggle button. Turn on the button and click continue. (Mirror all iron-on designs and cut).
  • Now select your base material. In this step, browse for different speciality types of vinyl. If you have access to the Cricut Explore Air 1 or 2. Turn the wheel to custom. It will allow you to use the drop-down menus.

Pro-Tip: Use Everyday Iron-On. Browse it from the Popular Materials List. After opting for this option, the Cricut Design Space will remind you to turn on the mirror tool and check if the shiny side of the vinyl is facing down.

  • Now load the fine and pointed blade and the mat. To cut the design, click on the “Flashing Go Button”. You did a great job!

3) Weed the Design:

Now the vinyl is cut down! Unload the mat and go further. Now, it’s time to weed the design. Grab your weed tools to remove all the remaining vinyl. You never want to transfer those little vinyl bits to your t-shirt. It is suggested to start with the corners first. The Hook-Shaped Weeding Tool can be best used for pulling the extra vinyl parts.

After you remove all the smaller parts. Take tweezers to weed the tiny bits. If your design is complex, it might take a longer duration to weed properly. Enjoy your time listening to your favorite music album! Work doesn’t feel a burden if you enjoy it.

4) Prepare It For Pressing:

Now let’s drive through the fourth step! Without any due, set your workstation! Yeah, it’s part of the process. Make sure it is flattened if you have a clean folded cloth/towel or an EasyPress mat. Try to place it on a sturdy, heat-resistant surface. Avoid using an ironing board.

Use Cricut Heat Guide for pre-heating the household iron or Cricut EasyPress. The guide will help you to measure the exact temperature according to fabric specifications, vinyl type, and fabric material. Pressing time for each fabric varies! 

Now lay down the pre-washed cotton shirt on a flat surface. Press it for 5 seconds. It will remove all the wrinkles from the t-shirt.

Pro-Tip: If you are using a household iron, make sure to turn off the steam setting. The higher temperature setting in iron is usually a cotton/Linen setting.

5) Apply Iron-On Vinyl To The T-Shirt:

The final step of the process is applying vinyl design. It is suggested to place the vinyl design on the center of the t-shirt. To measure the center portion, go 2 inches down from the collar (keeping the size of the shirt in mind.) After you place the vinyl design, next apply heat to it. Remember to keep the shiny side of the vinyl design up.

To apply heat, use the Heat Transfer Guide for good results! If you are using a cotton t-shirt, the heat applied should not exceed 315 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the pressure for 30 seconds and remove. Now flip the shirt to press the back side of the t-shirt. Apply heat again. Now for 15 seconds. Use light pressure on the backside of the design. The optimal temperature is again 315 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let the t-shirt be free! It will cool down after a few minutes. Now peel off the plastic sheet from the t-shirt.

How to Care for Iron-On Shirts?

Now, your iron-on t-shirts are all ready, set, and go! If you want your t-shirt to live for long. Use careful measures while laundering. If you run a wholesale online business for t-shirts, use Everyday Iron-On Vinyl. This is how it can last longer, for up to 50 washes. Additionally, for the highest quality t-shirt, our best recommendation is to opt for Gildan Wholesale T-shirts.

These are some advice for washing Iron-On Shirts:

  • Do not wash the t-shirt immediately after applying vinyl. Leave the t-shirt for 24 hours to get completely dry.
  • Turn the t-shirt inside out before washing. Do not use a machine dryer. Tumble dry cotton t-shirts for longer use.
  • Avoid high heat settings!
  • DO NOT use bleach or fabric softeners.

Troubleshooting and FAQs

What if Iron-On Vinyl does not stick to the t-shirt?

Re-apply heat for 10-15 seconds on both sides of the t-shirt. Place the t-shirt on a flat, sturdy surface to apply a proper pressure.

What to do if your vinyl peels right after applying?

Read the instructions carefully before applying. Do not rush! Peel off the plastic sheet at the right time.

How to deal with Vinyl that lifts off after washing?

If edges cause you trouble, re-apply the vinyl. Or, try the Teflon Cover sheet for better results!

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