How to make Cricut Tees and Cricut shirt ideas
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If you’re a fan of crafting and die-cutting, Cricut t-shirt designs are one of the craft projects you would definitely be on the constant lookout for.
In this article, we’ll show you some amazing designs for those that absolutely love crafting. But before we dive into the designs, for those who might be curious, we’ll show you how to make your own DIY Cricut t-shirts with your Cricut cutting machine and iron on vinyl.
Wait, do you even know what a Cricut machine is? Let’s assume you don’t.
What is a Cricut Machine?
A Cricut is an electronic cutting machine that can cut a plethora of awesome designs from different kinds of materials such as paper, vinyl, HTV (heat transfer vinyl or iron-on transfers), card stock, and many more. It’s a great companion if you love making shirts, crafting decor, gifts, etc.
“How’s that different from a scissors or an X-acto knife?” You might ask. Certain Cricut machines can cut leather, fabric, and wood. And it’s more precise and fast than your hand can ever be.
There are currently 5 types of Cricut machines on the market: Cricut Explore Air 2, Cricut Maker, Cricut Joy, Cricut Explore 3, and Cricut Maker 3. Choosing which machine to buy will depend on your budget and what types of project you’d like to make.
By popular opinion, the Cricut Maker 3 is ideal for all crafts including those who want to make t-shirts. If you’re a beginner on a budget, Cricut Joy might be the right option for you.
You might want to ask if there are other machines aside from Cricut. Yes, there are. We have others like Silhouette America and Brother. Cricut is just the most popular computer-controlled cutting machine. But all are fantastic.
How Does A Cricut Machine work?
Cricut machines work with free Design Space software which is cloud-based. Check out their website to download it to your computer or mobile device (iOS or Android) and sign up for an account. This is where you create your design. Then, you can send the design to the Cricut machine via USB or Bluetooth.
- First, select your cutting material and place it on the Grip cutting mat. (The cutting mat holds the material steady while the Cricut makes the cut). Load the mat into the machine.
- Next, choose the design you want to cut in Cricut Design Space. Select your material settings, and send the design to your Cricut machine.
- Press the flashing button on your Cricut machine to start cutting.
- Once the machine is done cutting, remove the mat from the machine, and the material from the mat.
How to make your own Cricut t-shirt
So we’ll cover the four major steps of designing a Cricut shirt in this section:
- First, how to design a shirt in Cricut Design Space
- Then, how to cut iron-on vinyl
- Weed the design
- Apply iron on vinyl to a t-shirt
Before we dive in, make sure your supplies are ready.
These are the materials you need for making a Cricut shirt
- A shirt (100% cotton)
- Iron-on vinyl (also called HTV)
- A Cricut machine
- Weeding tool to remove excess iron-on vinyl
- Cutting mat (Standard Grip mat or Light Grip mat)
- Household iron or EasyPress
- Towel or EasyPress mat
- Protective sheet
For your Cricut shirts, we would suggest, you wash them before beginning your design process so that all shrinkages would have happened before your lay your vinyl on them.
For iron-on vinyl, you have a lot of choices when making T-shirts with Cricut. Iron-on vinyl is in the crafts section of your local arts and crafts store available to purchase in sheets, rolls, and packs. Cricut has its own iron-on vinyl brand, but there are many other choices too called HTV (heat transfer vinyl) that will work too. There are numerous colors, patterns, and finishes (metallic foil and glitter) to pick from. Choose the one that suits your taste and T-shirt design. Check out the t-shirt color combinations.
Now, let’s get into designing!
Step 1: How to design a shirt in Cricut Design Space
Open your Cricut Design Space., click on the New Project button on the bottom left or the top right.
You can browse existing projects, upload an image or SVG to Cricut Design Space or design a new image.
- Option 1: Browse Existing projects
You would need a Cricut Access membership to find pre-made iron-on vinyl designs in Cricut Design Space. Once there, click on Projects in the left-hand sidebar. Enter the term shirt in the search bar and browse the result for shirt design ideas.
- Option 2: Upload Free SVG files
If you’ve downloaded an image or free SVG files or purchased one that you’ll like to use, you can upload it on Cricut Design Space.
Click Upload on the left-hand sidebar. The next screen you see is a library of images you might have uploaded and an Upload Image button. Click that.
Then select your image and what type of image it is. For beginners, you should choose a “simple” image type. As you go on, you can consider Moderately complex and Complex images. Save as Cut Image.
A message would appear telling you that your image has been successfully uploaded. You’ll find it in your gallery of images under recently uploaded images.
- Option 3: Create Your Own Design
You can explore the tools alongside the library of images and fonts within the Cricut Design Space to create your designs. This is especially great if you’re creating a text-based design. There are thousands of fonts in Cricut Design Space from script fonts, to serifs, slabs, and many more!
This is where you get creative/. However, you want to make sure your design is simple especially if this is your first time with Cricut T-shirt designs. A complex design will give you a hard time executing.
When creating T-shirts with Cricut, simplicity is how you can make a design attractive, stylish, and professional. Simple but well-made custom T-shirts with Cricut can be as appealing as complex designs.
Once your design is set, you can now make sure it is correctly sized for your t-shirt.
Select Template on the left-hand sidebar in Design Space Templates will let you visualize the design on a t-shirt before you cut it.
Browse the shirt options in the Templates. Classic T-shirt would be a great template. You can use the drop-down menu to select a shirt size and color.
With the template, you can see what the design will look like on a shirt and resize the design so it fits your shirt.
The best and easiest way to resize your design is to use the Resize Handle in the lower right corner. Click and drag that handle to make your design smaller or larger
You can also measure your shirt and insert specific measurements into the size boxes in the toolbar. You want to leave a few inches on either side of your shirt design so that it doesn’t run into the armpits of your shirt.
Once you’re satisfied with the position and scaling, it’s time to set your mat and vinyl for cutting. Check out some t-shirt design tips.
professional graphic design
Step 2: How to cut Iron-on Vinyl with Cricut
Now, place your vinyl material onto your Grip Mat. You can use a Light Grip cutting mat or StandardGrip cutting mat which is more advisable since it has less sticky.
Roll the vinyl with a brayer tool to make sure it’s evenly placed on the mat.
You might have noticed that the vinyl has a shiny and dull side. The shiny side has a plastic liner. Place the material with the shiny side down don’t the cutting mat. This allows the Cricut machine to cut the vinyl and not the plastic layer.
Now open up your Cricut machine using the Open button and load your mat into the machine.
Send your file from Cricut Design Space to the Cricut Machine.
Here’s how to do that:
- Click the Make It button in the top right corner
- On the Prepare screen, click the ‘Mirror” option before hitting Continue.
- On the Make screen, choose your material. Iron-on if you’re using Cricut Explore Machine or Everyday Iron-on if you’re using Cricut Joy or Cricut Maker.
Now it’s time to cut the design!
First, load the blade and make sure your Grip Mat is in position.
If your mat is well positioned, the “GO” button will begin to flash. Press the flashing Go button to begin cutting!
Tip: If the Go button isn’t flashing, check the Cricut Design Space to see if your Cricut is still connected to your desktop.
Once the cutting is complete, you will get a message on the Design Space that tells you to unload the mat. Press the flashing Unload button on the Cricut machine.
Step 3: Weed the Design
Once you unload the mat, get your weeding tool.
Use your Weeding Tool to remove all the extra bits of vinyl you don’t want to get on your t-shirt. For example, if you have a t-shirt design with tiny spaces (like the interior of letters in a typography design), you’ll definitely need to weed out those spaces.
Use the weeding tool to poke those areas gently. Use your hand to pull the extra vinyl.
Now you should have your final design uncovered
Peel the clear vinyl along with your design off the mat.
The next step is applying this to the T-shirt!
Step 4: Apply Iron-on vinyl to your shirt
Prepare your workspace. Place your EasyPress mat or towel on a flat, rugged, heat-resistant surface. You don’t want to use a frail ironing board here because of the pressure you’ll be applying.
If you have a Cricut EasyPress, preheat the EasyPress or your household iron. Toggle the iron to the cotton/linen setting and ensure the steam setting is off. All you need is the heat.
Lay the pre-washed T-shirt on the mat. Then, preheat the shirt for 10-20 seconds before you touch the design. This will remove the wrinkles that may be on the T-shirt.
Center your design on the t-shirt with the shiny side facing upwards.
Place your EasyPress or iron down firmly for about 20 seconds over part of the design.
Flip the T-shirt over and apply heat to the back.
Once you’re done, let the vinyl c0ol before touching it, then carefully peel off the plastic transfer sheet.
Now your Cricut vinyl shirt is ready! Check out some ultimate t-shirt design software for your use.
How to Care for Cricut Shirts
After making your Cricut shirt, it’s also important to note some care instructions. Cricut iron-on vinyl shirts seem to last for up to 50 washes. To make sure yours lasts up to that, here are some tips to follow:
- Wait at least 24 hours after applying the vinyl before you first wash your iron vinyl shirt.
- When you do wash graphic tee shirts, turn them inside out to prolong the life of your design.
- Do not use bleach.
Make sure to keep these Cricut T-shirt care instructions in mind with your new Cricut T-shirt.
Now that you know how to make Cricut shirts, you can go have fun creating multiple shirt designs!
Let’s show you some designs to get your creative juice flowing.
Cricut shirt design ideas
Below are some Cricut shirt ideas and free-cut files you can use for your own shirt.
Cricut shirt ideas for Harry potter fans
Show some for your favorite Hogwarts House and connect with other Potterheads. In addition to these, you can also find some cool Harry Potter inspiration on Cricut Design Space
Mascot design fot Cricut shirts
If you’re a fan of mascot characters with a little bit of weird, these would be ideal designs for your Cricut t-shirt.
Cricut shirt ideas for events
Celebrating a memorable day? Valentines? Christmas? Birthday? You can make a Cricut t-shirt to show how important it is to you and connect with others who are celebrating with you.
Cricut Shirt Ideas for Mom
New mom? Or making a Cricut t-shirt for your mom? These ideas are going to be awesome!
St Patricks’s Cricut shirt Ideas
Interested in joining the Irish in celebrating Saint Patrick’s day? Some of these designs might just come in handy!
Cricut shirt ideas for Nurses
It’s awesome to be a nurse, yeah? Any profession at that is awesome, we just happen to have gotten our hands n some lovely design ideas for nurses.
Cricut ideas for baby onesies
Cricut shirts would look lovely on your baby. You could try out these lovely designs for a try.
What Cricut T-Shirt Designs will you make?
There you have Cricut shirt ideas and a step-by-step guide for your DIY shirts.
These ideas are available for free download on different websites. However, it pays to check the websites on how to use them. You need to be sure you’re not infringing on copyrights. That could be really bad.
Regardless, now that you know how to make Cricut t-shirts, it might take a few hard times to get the process right, but once you master it, you can have a lot of fun while being creative with graphic tees.
Start with simple designs then try out more intricate Cricut shirt designs. You can also print designs on the front, side, and back of your t-shirt with multiple materials.
Cricut shirts FAQ
Where to find Cricut shirt ideas?
You can check out Pineapple Paper, Pinterest, and Envato Elements for free SVG cut files.
You can also check out Etsy for custom designs if you can bear the extra cost.
Why is Iron on vinyl not sticking to the shirt?
There are a few reasons why poor adhesion might happen. It might be due to dirt or oil on the T-shirt. That’s why it’s recommended to wash your shirt before getting your design on it.
Also, it might be the ironing process. Check to ensure you’re using the recommended temperature for the recommended time and a firm ironing board. Also ensure that seams, folds, or zippers are not interfering.
Why is Vinyl peeling after applying?
This often happens when you peel the plastic off the vinyl before it cools off. Check the package instruction to avoid peeling the plastic sheet at the wrong time.
Why is Vinyl lifting off after washing the shirt?
This might be that the adhesive vinyl is already worn out or they did not just adhere properly. Try to reapply the vinyl and use a Teflon cover since you most likely no longer have the plastic lining sheet anymore.