Today I’ll be sharing how I made a custom shirt for my daughter Madison using my Cricut machine, heat transfer vinyl and my iron. It is so easy!
If you would like to follow along and create your shirt with me, I’ll have all the instructions and a video tutorial below. You can download the cut file I used here, or create your own custom design using the Cricut Design Space.
Remember, if you’d like to use my design as a starting point, you can always adjust the the colors and sizing once opened in Cricut Design Space.
Creating a Custom Design in Cricut Design Space
Start by measuring the item you’re going to be placing your design on. I created a shirt for my daughter Madison’s spirit week at school. Given the space on her shirt, my design measured roughly 8 x 9 inches.
Once we have the measurements, we’ll create the design in the Cricut Design Space. I created the shape of a reindeer head using all of Santa’s reindeer names, antlers, and a circle for the nose.
I started by adding antlers. Select the antler image you would like using the search feature. Next, set the width of the image to the widest point of the design. My width was 8 inches, so I set it to be slightly smaller at 7.9 inches.
The names of Santa’s reindeers are:
Type each reindeer’s name into a different text box. Individual text boxes allow us to easily change the fonts, sizes and spacing of each word, independently. Using these words, we’ll create the shape of the reindeer’s head.
I used the following Cricut Design Space fonts and dimensions (in inches) in my design:
Dasher – October Twilight (3.26 x 7.66)
Dancer – Baylac (2.76 x 0.70)
Prancer – Caveman Carvings (3.70 x 0.89)
Vixen – Friday (2.75 x 0.94)
Comet – Confetti + Sprinkles (2.02 x 0.78)
Cupid – Girly Stencil (2.16 x 0.85)
Donner – Marker Felt ( 2.25 x 0.624)
Blitzen – County Life (3.47 x 0.62)
Rudolph – October Twilight (3.03 x 0.75)
After finalizing your design and placement for the names, you’ll want to add the nose. Again, using the image search feature, select a circle outline for the nose. Resize the circle and place it under the name Rudolph. In my design, I resized the circle to be 1.5 inches in diameter.
The next step is to change the color of each element of your design to match the corresponding color of vinyl you will be using for that item. Color coding your design helps to prevent mistakes while cutting, and instructs the program to cut items of the same color on the same mat.
Highlight the entire design and select attach. The attach tool is great because it allows you to cut your design exactly as shown on your screen.
Finally, double check the sizing of the design as a whole, and click make it.
Cutting Heat Transfer Vinyl
One of the most important steps when creating a design using heat transfer vinyl is to mirror the image. Mirroring the image flips the design properly so that the adhesive side of the vinyl is placed down on the shirt for ironing, and your design is correctly facing up. Once your design is flipped, click continue.
I used glitter vinyl as my cut material, so I selected the correspond glitter vinyl material in the Cricut Design Space. Then I set my Cricut machine cut dial to custom.
To prepare your mat for cutting, place your heat transfer vinyl shinny side down on your mat.
If you are using an older mat, you can reinforce your material with washi tape. Then, load your mat into your machine and press cut.
You’ll need to weed your project after your deign is finished cutting. Weeding is just carefully removing all of the unwanted pieces, such as the negative areas in A’s, O’s, and lower-case e’s, from your project. Think of weeding your design much like weeding a garden!
I started out by removing the largest pieces surround the cut design. I gently pulled the corners and unwanted vinyl away from the mat, leaving the design attached to the clear plastic.
After the majority of the unwanted vinyl was removed, I used my Cricut weeding tool to carefully pull out the remaining unwanted pieces of the design.
Ironing on Heat Transfer Vinyl
After weeding your design, it’s time to iron it onto your shirt.
Start by folding the shirt in half and lightly running the iron across the fold, creating a temporary seam. This creates a faint line down the middle of your shirt you can use to easily center your design.
Unfold the shirt and place down your design, ensuring the plastic side is facing up and the design is readable. Next, adjust your iron to the highest setting, typically linen, and start ironing the plastic backing. It took me about 3-5 minutes of ironing for the vinyl to properly transfer onto the shirt.
Carefully pull back the plastic. If there are spots that haven’t attached to the shirt completely, just place the plastic back down and re-apply your iron for a few more seconds. To help reinforce the vinyl, I always flip the shirt over (with the vinyl print facing down) and iron the back for a few seconds.
Allow your shirt to cool for a few minutes and than it’s ready to wear!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! If you have any questions regarding heat transfer vinyl, please leave them in the comments below.