My grandson is having his second birthday this month and my daughter has gone with a super cute “Two the Moon” theme for his party. What’s a grandma to do? I have to make him a custom “Two the Moon” t-shirt with my new Cricut!
I’ve never done an iron-on t-shirt project before, but it turns out it is SO easy. If you’re a complete Cricut beginner, this is the project for you to get going. I’ve included step-by-step instructions along with plenty of photos and screenshots so you know exactly how to create a custom, DIY iron-on.
Custom Iron-On T-Shirt Materials
Here are the materials and equipment you need to create a custom, DIY iron-on for a t-shirt using your Cricut machine:
- Cricut cutting machine
- Cricut Design Space on computer
- Cricut Heat Transfer Guide (make this a link to Cricut’s guide)
- StandardGrip machine mat
- Fine Point or Premium Fine Point blade
- Everyday Iron-On (in colors of your choice – I used Cornflower and Yellow for this design)
- Cricut EasyPress, heat press, or household iron
- Iron-On Protective sheet (optional)
- Base Material (t-shirt) – I LOVE using Threadsy, which offers a huge selection of blank t-shirts (and more) at incredible prices. The Rabbit Skins blank t-shirt I linked here is super soft! Another really soft option is Bella + Canvas.
Note: A lot of the Cricut materials will come with your machine, particularly if you purchase a bundle. Double-check the items in your bundle before purchasing extra!
How to Prep Before Creating a Cricut Iron-On
Before we get started with all the fun stuff, there are a couple of things you need to do in preparation:
- Pre-wash your t-shirt without fabric softener to pre-shrink and remove chemicals that may prohibit strong adhesion.
- Find your pressing surface. If it’s firm, flat, and around waist-high, you’re golden. Be sure to avoid flimsy ironing boards. I’m going to use my kitchen counter.
Step 1: Customize Your Iron-On
Note: Everyday Iron-On can be used in multi-layer designs. It can be applied on top of other Everyday Iron-On, or you can use it as base layers for other types of Iron-On. Keep this in mind as you create your design.
Here’s where the fun begins!
Open Cricut Design Space on your computer, go to Images, and search for #M34696E34 (our “Two the Moon” design).
Click on the design and click on ADD TO CANVAS.
A new project will automatically be created for you, and this image will now appear on your project.
There is a grid marked with inches so you can size your project exactly as you want it.
The image I created is very large so that you can size it to exactly what you want. For my size 2T t-shirt project, I want the image to be around 5 inches. So in the width box, I typed 5, hit enter, and it automatically resized the height to keep the design’s proportions.
If you are doing a larger size 4T-5T, you may want to go slightly larger with your design.
Here is a great general guide to t-shirt design sizing.
Next, let’s personalize this design for your child’s name!
Add your child’s name to the design by selecting the Text icon from the left menu.
Type your text. Resize using the arrow on the bottom left of the text box and place it on your image exactly where you want the text cut out.
Also, select the font you like. Cricut defaults to Cricut Sans, which is an easily readable font. If you have various fonts on your computer, you can play around with this until you have a look you want. I used the font “Seattle” in Canva Pro (a paid plan) to create the design for my shirt. A similar font within Cricut design space is “BFC Danger.”
Once you have the text where you want it, select the two items you now have on your design and click ATTACH in the bottom right corner of Design Space.
This will attach your words to your larger design so when it cuts the design, the words are cut in the correct location and not as a separate cut on two different pages. (I’ve made this mistake before!) I clicked on the color of my design next to Operation and changed it to white so you could see the text to be cut in the final design.
Now you are ready to MAKE IT!
Step 2: Make Your Iron-On
Click on MAKE IT in the top right corner of the screen.
On the left of the final cut screen, be sure to click on Mirror. This will flip your design to make it ready for the iron-on.
Click continue and select Everyday Iron-On from the list of materials if you are using a Cricut Maker machine. (If using a Cricut Explore machine, turn Smart Set Dial to Custom.)
Place Iron-on sheet, liner side (shiny side) down, onto the Cricut StandardGrip cutting mat. (If you’re using a Smart Iron-On, it may be loaded into the machine without a mat.)
Load it into the machine and cut your design.
I am going to cut my design out in yellow also so I can add a yellow moon and stars to the design. I’ll weed everything else off of the sheet and leave only those pieces I want in yellow.
When cutting the same pattern a second time, don’t click “finish” on your cut. Simply put new materials on the mat, reload into Cricut, and press the Cricut “start” button again. It will cut the same design again. This is a great trick if you are making multiples of anything.
Step 3: Weed Your Iron-On
Now, it’s time to weed your iron-on.
When weeding, use the Cricut weeding tool! It’s wonderful! Another trick to keep your iron-on piece flat is to weed it while it’s still attached to the mat. It’s so much easier to weed a flat piece that’s staying still.
Now, I’m ready to apply the design to my t-shirt.
Step 4: Apply Your Iron-On
Applying the iron-on can be done in just 3 easy steps!
- Preheat your base material as instructed in the Cricut Heat Transfer Guide. Place the cut design on the base material with the shiny liner side up. Apply heat as instructed (see Heat Transfer Guide). This is a fantastic guide! I plugged in my base material (t-shirt) and the iron-on I was using (Everyday Iron-on) and it told me to set the Easy press for 330 degrees for 30 seconds using light pressure. I used a towel under everything. I do not have the Easy Press Mat.
- Flip the base material over and apply heat to the back of the design as instructed (see Heat Transfer Guide).
- Allow the iron-on to cool before you remove the liner. I repeated the process a second time to put the yellow iron-on over the blue. It’s so nice that you can line everything up so easily since the iron-on lining is clear!
Note: If using a household iron, use the Cotton/Linen setting (generally the highest temperature setting). Make sure the steam setting is OFF. Preheat the application area of your base material for 10-15 seconds. Place the weeded image, liner side up, onto the preheated material. Apply medium pressure with the iron for 25-30 seconds. Flip the material over and apply medium pressure with the iron to the back of the material for an additional 25-30 seconds. Use a cool peel to remove the liner.
How to Care For Your Custom DIY T-Shirt
Make sure your iron-on stays intact with a few simple care instructions.
- Wait 24 hours before washing the embellished items.
- For the longest life, wash and dry the embellished item inside-out.
- If areas of Iron-On material lift after washing, simply follow the complete application instructions to reapply.
This was such an easy project that I now have an itching to make more t-shirts!
My husband and son were so impressed that they started making suggestions. Hey, can you do a shirt with an image of our cat on it? Hmmm, I think I need to look into that!