I have been making many different things with my Cricut Cutting machine, but my latest and most favorite project now is creating DIY Custom T-Shirts with Iron On Vinyl! Have you ever wanted to know how to make iron-on transfers for t shirts? It’s a great way to show off your creative side and express yourself. With my step-by-step guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the process – from prepping materials to styling the most stunning designs possible.
Prepare Your Materials
Preparing your materials is the first step in making custom t-shirts with iron-on vinyl, which is also referred to as HTV (heat transfer vinyl). You will need a plain t-shirt, an iron-on vinyl of your chosen design, some sort of cutting machine (such as a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Maker), a lint roller, scissors, a weeding tool, a ruler, a cutting mat for your machine, and a braying tool (optional – but it makes fast work of securing vinyl to your cutting mat!). Make sure the t-shirt is clean and free of any dust or dirt before you begin.
Create Your Design
Once you have all of your materials ready, it’s time to start creating your design. And this is the super fun part! If you aren’t sure where to start, try doing a search for free printables or free SVG. There are so many different free options for finding some really incredible transfers.
Look at all of those options! You can also check out Cricut Design Space. If you have a Cricut cutting machine, you should already be linked up to Design Space. There are lots of options in there as well.
I found this horse transfer and then tweaked it a little bit to suit my needs. If you click on the link, it will take you to Design space, and you can access this FREE SVG file for yourself. I think it is so pretty, I just had to share it with you!
Whatever image you choose, make sure that the final design is clear and crisp before cutting it out with your machine.
Cut Out Your Design
Once you have decided on your image, the next step is to cut it out. In Design Space, you can change the size, add words, or whatever else your heart desires. The program is very user friendly, even for beginners. Now when you are ready to cut out your design, place your HTV vinyl onto the cutting mat making sure the shiny side of the material is facing down. Otherwise, you may cut the carrier sheet instead of your vinyl! Ask me how I know this…
Once you have the vinyl ready to go, make sure you click the mirror button in the sidebar. This is a VERY important step! Don’t forget to click the mirror button! This is because the transfer must be mirrored to appear as you want it on your t-shirt.
Weed the Unwanted Pieces of Vinyl From Your Design
After cutting out your design, you will need to weed the extra pieces of iron-on vinyl from your project. To do this, use a weeding tool and simply peel away the unwanted pieces in an upward motion that exposes the actual design. Be careful with this step – it’s important to make sure that you have removed the unwanted pieces of vinyl. Because once it’s transferred, those unwanted pieces will become a part of your design.
Heat Press Your Design on the T-Shirt
Now that all the extra bits have been weeded away, it’s time to press your design onto your t-shirt. There are different options that you can apply the vinyl, like an iron, easy press, or a heat press. I just got an automatic heat press from HTVRONT, and it is a game changer when it comes to creating custom t-shirts. I cannot give this machine enough praise – it is truly incredible! I love it so much that I did an in-depth review of it on my other website, True Whimsy. And if you do decide to buy an Auto Heat Press directly from HTVRONT, they will give you free vinyl!
Determine the length of time you will need to apply heat to your vinyl transfer. Every HTV vinyl will have different temperatures and lengths of time for the press. I made an easy cheat sheet for myself for when I am using HTVRONT HTV because that is the vinyl I use most of the time because it works so well.
How to Make Iron On Transfers for T-Shirts
Next, you press the vinyl for the specified length of time for your HTV. Lay down your t-shirt with the vinyl image on top. The carrier sheet will protect the vinyl, so you don’t need to add a Teflon sheet or parchment paper. But if it makes you feel better, go ahead and put the sheet on top of your vinyl. Be sure to position the design directly in the middle of the shirt to ensure an even application. If you want to be certain, you can use a ruler to make sure you are happy with your placement. Once you’ve got everything positioned just right, place the iron or heat press onto the vinyl, wait the amount of time as recommended, and then remove the heat source.
Allow to cool for the recommended length of time, and then peel the carrier sheet away. And that’s it! You have now created your own custom t-shirt with an iron-on transfer!
I have been having so much fun creating custom shirts for myself and my horsey friends too. And I have even been making vinyl stickers for my car, Plezant’s buckets, and brushes! And it all started when I got my first Cricut machine and made a stall name sign. To look back at how this journey started and how far I have come – is pretty awesome!
How to Make Iron On Transfers for T-Shirts
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