Okay, fellow crafters, who loves glitter as much as I do!? As much as I love it, it can get very messy very fast if you’re not careful. That’s why I love glitter vinyl so much. You get all the sparkle and shine and none of the mess. While I’ve used glitter vinyl for a few other projects like my Wooden Eggs with Glitter Vinyl, I’ve never used the glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) before. In case you’re not familiar, this is what you use to make DIY iron-on t-shirts. I was lucky enough to get some help from Happy Crafters to practice the whole HTV process so I can show you how to Personalize Your T-shirt with Heat Transfer Vinyl, too. Happy Crafters was kind enough to send me some gorgeous silver glitter HTV, some regular black HTV, and a black t-shirt to experiment with, but they aren’t paying me for my opinions, those are all my own, as usual.
On that note, I need to gush about that black t-shirt for a minute. I expected the standard Gilden or Hanes basic black t-shirt you find in all of the craft stores, but that’s not what I got. It’s listed as a “ladies cut” shirt but being a larger size, that usually means it will be skin tight and unflattering. This shirt not only fits well, it’s very flattering. It hugs my curves without being too tight, is a great length, and the sleeves fit perfectly. I plan to buy a few more of them, even if I don’t put HTV on them, they’re that awesome.
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This detailed, step-by-step tutorial is geared towards beginners. If you know how to use HTV and just like the design, please feel free to use my Glitter New Black project in Design Space.
Personalize Your T-shirt with Heat Transfer Vinyl
- 1 Sheet Silver Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl
- 1 Sheet Black Heat Transfer Vinyl
- 1 Black T-shirt
- Cricut Explore or Newer OR a Silhouette
- Cricut Easy Press or an Iron
- Ironing Mat or Board
Personalize Your T-shirt with Heat Transfer Vinyl Steps
1. Be sure to pre-wash and dry your t-shirt so that any shrinkage happens before you apply the heat transfer vinyl. Put your shirt on and use either straight pins or masking tape to mark the top right and left of where you want your design to start. If you’re blessed with a chest like me, you know that the placement of words is super important, lol.
2. (You can easily use a Silhouette to make your own shirt design, I just don’t know how to use that machine so the cutting instructions are for Cricut’s Design Space.) Open Design Space and start a new project. Type out whatever wording you’d like to have on your shirt.
3. Select the text and change the font to one or more that you want to use in your design. I highly recommend using thicker fonts for easier weeding and application. I used a font called Mistral from my computer for “Glitter” and the Cricut Sans font for “is the new black.”
4. For “Glitter,” we need to make a couple of adjustments. First, I decreased the letter space to -0.3 to join the cursive font.
5. Then I increased the size to 8 inches wide to fit within the pins I placed on the t-shirt.
6. And finally, I right clicked on the word and selected “Attach” to bond the letters together.
7. Now make the word’s Project Color gray over on the left. Just click the colored circle and change the color to the color of your vinyl. This lets the machine know you’re using two different mats or materials or colors.
8. For the block of words, Bold the font to make it thicker.
9. Next, You’ll center the text and then resize to 6 inches wide.
10. And finally, decrease the Line Space to -1.5 to draw the lines of text closer together.
11. Go ahead and plug in your Easy Press (or iron). There’s a Settings Reference Guide to help you figure out what temperature to use for your particular type of HTV. I’m setting mine for 320° for the iron-on glitter HTV on a cotton-poly shirt.
12. Now load your HTV onto mats, shiny sides down.
13. Go back to Design Space and Click Make it. You’ll notice I have two of each part. I’m making a second shirt for a friend, so it’s just easier to cut them both at once.
14. Set your machine dial to Custom and in Design Space, select Iron-on Glitter Vinyl. Then make sure to mirror your image!
15. Load your glitter mat and cut.
16. Now set the machine dial to Iron-on. Then make sure to mirror your image!
17. Load your black mat and cut.
18. Use scissors to cut out your images from the larger sheets.
19. Weed the negative space from around your images. You should be weeding the dull sides, not the shiny sides. What’s very cool about this HTV versus the big brand that shall not be named, is that I was able to weed both the glitter and the black HTV with just my fingers. It was that easy. It only took me maybe 10 minutes max, too. Yay!
20. Make sure to press out your shirt to iron out any wrinkles and warm up the fabric to receive the HTV better.
21. Place the “Glitter” HTV on to the shirt where you marked it with the pins. The clear plastic should still be on it. Set the Easy Press Timer for 15 seconds and place it firmly on top of the vinyl without rocking or wiggling it until the timer goes off.
22. Once the HTV has cooled, peel off the plastic sheet.
23. Now place the black lettering centered under Glitter. Reset your Easy Press to 305° and wait until it reads that temp. Set the timer for 20 seconds and place it firmly on top of the vinyl until the timer goes off.
24. You can peel off that plastic sheet once the vinyl has cooled.
TIP: See how smooth the letters are? They shouldn’t be smooth, they should show the texture of the shirt, that’s how you know they’ve set properly. I ended up adding about 5 seconds of heat.
And there you go! You can now Personalize Your T-shirt with Heat Transfer Vinyl or many other items for that matter. How fun would it be to have your own little t-shirt factory!? Imagine all the possibilities! Have you ever been less than thrilled with the t-shirt selections teams and organizations have to offer? Me, too. Now you can design and make your own! So what kind of t-shirt would you design?
Now let’s see the other 21 fun t-shirt projects from the Craft & Create Cricut Monthly Challenge! Which one is your fav? Also, don’t forget to enter the drawing below to win your own Heat Transfer Vinyl supplies from Happy Crafters!