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How to Make T-Shirts with Cricut Using Iron-On

Hello Daydreamers!

T-shirts are one of the most popular items people create when they own a Cricut machine. They are easy to make and are the perfect personalized gift for any occasion, whether a birthday, Christmas, or even matching t-shirts for the family!

T-Shirts made with the Cricut Machine (Adult and Youth) Featured Image

I have been creating t-shirts with Cricut for over five years, and in this tutorial, I will share all the tips and tricks I’ve learned during that time. By the end of this tutorial, you will feel confident and ready to make your first t-shirt.

This project is compatible with Cricut Maker, Explore, and Joy. Of course, there are some minor differences, but I will cover those specifications, so no matter what machine you own, this tutorial will guide you through the entire process.

If you stumble upon this tutorial and don’t know what a Cricut Machine is, read this fantastic guide I wrote!

Since I don’t want you to get lost, here are the topics I’ll cover in this tutorial:

  • Upload design for t-shirt in Cricut Design Space. I included a free cutting file (SVG) for you to follow along, but you can also use a different design.
  • Cricut Design Steps to prepare a design for a T-shirt, plus steps to send it to your machine.
  • The weeding and transfer process using an easypress and a regular household iron.
Discover the ultimate step-by-step guide on how to create stunning custom T-shirts using your Cricut machine and iron-on vinyl. Perfect for beginners! Compatible with Cricut Explore, Maker and Joy.
Pin it for later!

Tip: If you want to learn everything you need to know about iron-on (HTV) and master its use on different surfaces, make sure to check out this amazing tutorial I put together.

Tools & Materials

The materials for this project are very simple. Here is a list of everything I used:

materials and tools for making t-shirts.


  • Cricut Machine & Fine Point Blade¹
  • Weeder
  • Brayer – Scraper²
  • Green or very new blue mat.
  • EasyPress or Household Iron
  • Pressing mat or small towel³


  • Parchment Paper⁴
  • Prewashed Blank T-Shirts⁵
  • Iron-On⁶
  1. You can use any Cricut machine for this project; the “Fine Point Blade” is the blade the machine comes with (silver-gold housing). Learn more about Cricut Blades.
  2. I love the brayer for smoothing things on the Cricut mat, but you can also use a scraper or your hands.
  3. Whether you’re using an iron or EasyPress, you must use a towel if you don’t have a pressing mat.
  4. If you’re using a household iron, you’ll need parchment paper.
  5. It’s essential to prewash your T-shirts. They usually have chemicals to preserve them, and they shrink when you wash them, which can affect your project’s durability.

    I also love cotton, so I usually wear Gildan T-shirts. They are very affordable and popular for crafting. Something to keep in mind, though, is that they have heavy cotton or soft cotton styles. For extra comfy t-shirts, get the Softstyle.
  6. You can use any brand of Heat Transfer Vinyl (Iron-On). I like Cricut’s brand.

Download Follow Along File

There are two SVG files that we will be using:

  • MOM LIFE #thebestlife
  • BABY LIFE #tiredmom

Here’s the thing. Since both files are very similar, I will only explain the Cricut Design Space cutting and weeding steps with the first file, “MOM LIFE #thebestlife.”

However, for the transfer process, I will use both designs. For the “MOM LIFE” file, I will use the EasyPress. For the “BABY LIFE” file, I will use my household iron.

To download the file(s), you need to be on a desktop or laptop and click on the button to trigger a download file on your PC. However, I’ve noticed that I can also download them from my iPhone.

Depending on your browser settings, your PC sometimes asks where to save the file, although most files will be in your download folder.

If the image opens in a new window (this may happen because of your browser settings), right-click on it, select the option “Save Image As,” and choose where you want to save the file.

SVG files look like web page files when you download them.


Just so you know, I also have a library full of free SVG files and Printables for all my subscribers, a.k.a. Daydreamers. You can see a preview right here or get access by filling out this form.

Cricut Design Space Steps

Once you have downloaded the SVG files I provided for this tutorial, open Cricut Design Space.

If you are a beginner still figuring out Cricut’s software, I recommend this comprehensive and easy Design Space tutorial. 

Step 1: Upload & Prepare File

On a blank canvas, go to the “Upload” icon on the left panel, click “Upload Image,” and follow the prompts to complete the process.

When you finish uploading, the file will be available under “Recent Uploads.”

uploading image for t-shirt in Cricut Design Space

Select the uploaded “MOM LIFE” SVG and click “insert images.”Add to Canvas.”

As you can see below, on the layers panel, the design is in multiple layers. If you were to press on “Make” all the pieces would be scattered on the mat preview.

Before we can continue, we need to make this file into a single layer. Select it on the canvas and click “Weld,” located inside the “Combine” menu at the bottom of the layer’s panel.

welding t-shirt design in Cricut Design Space

As you can see, the design is in a single layer.

welded result in Cricut Design Space

Step 2: Measure your T-Shirt or Use Templates to Find the Best Size

Have you heard of the saying measure twice, cut once? Who knew some carpentry concepts would be helpful while making projects with our Cricut?!

Now, I don’t quite measure twice, but I will give you two ways to measure your t-shirt to resize your design properly.

The most straightforward way is to use a measuring tape. I usually do that because t-shirt sizes vary so much from brand to brand, and that way, I can be 100% sure my design will fit just right.

measure t-shirt to find out what vinyl size to use.

The second way is by using “Templates” in Cricut Design Space.

Click the “Templates” icon on the left panel and search for the type of design you want to personalize; in this case, “Classic t-shirts.”

Read my “Cricut Templates” tutorial.

selecting t-shirt template in Cricut Design Space

When you click or tap on a particular template, Design Space will bring you back to the design area, but you will see the template on the canvas this time.

Initially, you’ll see a menu that allows you to change the type, size, and color of your t-shirt. If you select “Custom” on the size drop-down menu, you can also change the proportions of your t-shirt. If the menu disappears, you can access it by clicking the template icon at the bottom of the layers panel.

changing template setting in Cricut Design Space

By measuring my t-shirt and using templates, I resized my design to 10 inches wide.

Tip: By keeping the little lock locked on the “Size” menu, Design Space will fill out the height. So make sure the proportions are locked.

resizing t-shirt in Cricut Design Space

Remember that Cricut does have a “limitation size” per machine. Check out the table below to stay within those “safe” ranges and avoid getting errors.

Mat/Max SizeMaker & ExploreMaker 3 & Explore 3JoyJoy Xtra
12×12 Mat11.5 x 11.511.5 x 11.5N/AN/A
12×24 Mat11.5 x 23.511.5 x 23.5N/AN/A
4.5 x 6.5 MatN/AN/A4.25 x 6.25N/A
4.5 x 12 MatN/AN/A4.25 x 11.75N/A
8.5 x 12 MatN/AN/AN/A8.75 x 12
Matless*N/A11.7 x 12ft4.5 x 488.5 x 48
*Must use Smart Iron-On Rolls.

Note: I didn’t include a “Venture” size because I don’t own that particular machine; it’s more of an industrial size, and I don’t know everything about it. However, rest assured you can cut even larger design sizes with it.

I personally prefer to use regular HTV rolls because they are cheaper, and I am not making t-shirts left and right every day. I also like weeding on the Cricut mat (you’ll see that later). Also, when you do “matless” cuts, you waste a lot of material because the machine needs something to grab onto.

However, many crafters love matless cutting, and I think I would probably prefer that method if I were making many t-shirts at a time.

Pick the method you like best as long as your machine is compatible!

Check out this placement infographic if you want to try different locations for your design.

Cutting Process

Right after you resize, click “Make” in the upper-right corner of the window to send your project to your machine.

Step 1: Mirror Image

The following window is called “Mat Preview.” From this interface, you can see where Cricut plans to make the cuts. You must place your material in that location.

Now, here’s one of the most important things you must do when working with iron-on.

Whenever you work with Iron-on (Or Heat Transfer Vinyl, it’s the same thing), you must mirror your image! This is because when you cut this material, you cut it upside down. Therefore, if you forget this vital step—as I have in the past—your design will look backward during the transferring process.

Not fun at all!


mat preview and mirror design for t-shirt in Cricut Design Space

Step 2: Select Materials and Send to Machine

At this point, your Cricut must be connected to your computer. I’ve always preferred a Bluetooth connection, but for some reason, it’s been giving me trouble, so I decided to move to a USB connection, and I am so happy I did.

If you experience connection problems, make the switch! If your machine is not connected, you won’t be able to select your material.

If you have a machine with a smart set dial, move it to “Custom” to follow along.

Now, select the specific type of iron-on you’re using. I am using “Everyday Iron-On.” If the material doesn’t appear, click “Browse All Materials” and search by keyword.

selecting Iron-on material in Cricut Design Space

You can leave “Pressure” as it is, but after many years of trial and error, I’ve found that I get better results when I set the pressure to “More.”

Step 3: Prepare Mat & Cut

I am using the green (standard) mat, but you can also use a fairly new blue mat. Keep in mind that as mats get older, they become less sticky, and when that happens, you’ll notice the vinyl won’t stay in place.

If you notice your vinyl is not staying in place, you can try washing your mat or getting a new one. The vinyl will move while the machine is cutting.

To cut your design to perfection, follow the next steps:

Step 1: Trim vinyl; ensure it’s large enough for your project to fit but small enough that you’re not wasting materials.

Step 2: Place iron-on vinyl on your mat shiny side down; this is very important. If you place it the other way, you will not cut the vinyl but the transparent material it is adhered to.

Note: For some brands, it’s hard to notice which side to cut. If you’re having trouble, use the weeder in a little corner to find the vinyl.

If the material seems to have bubbles, you can use a brayer (one of my favorite tools) or a scraper to gently smooth out the vinyl on the mat.

Step 3: Install the fine-point blade and load your mat into the Cricut by tapping the little arrows on your Cricut Machine. After you are done with this, go ahead and press the flashing go button to see the beauty happen.

Cricut Design Space will inform you when your design is 100% cut. When this happens, unload the mat to weed out the file.

Tip: I’ve noticed that Design Space says 100% and keeps cutting. Only unload the mat when the machine has stopped cutting altogether.

Weed Design

Step 4: Remove all of the negative parts of your design. I recommend reopening the image on your PC to ensure you cut out the right negative pieces.

I wish I had followed this advice! I removed the “LIFE” part of the file incorrectly and had to cut it again. So, take your time and enjoy the process.

I enjoy weeding from the mat because it always keeps the vinyl in place—it’s like an extra hand! If you decide to also weed from the mat, try not to overtouch the other sticky parts but rotate it as needed. The less contact the mat has with different surfaces, the longer it will last.

I started with the weeder but used my hands to get those large negative cuts out!

Tip: Sometimes, it’s hard to see where to weed; you can use a light pad or a flashlight! I like it simple, so I always use my phone!

Once you’re done weeding, bend the mat to release the material from it.

removing HTV Iron-on from the Cricut Mat

Transfer Iron-On (HTV) to T-Shirt

It’s transfer time!

For the “Mom Life” file, I will be using the EasyPress, and for the “Baby Life,” I’ll be using a regular household iron.

Iron-on designs ready to be transferred.

Transfer Iron-On with EasyPress

The temperature Cricut recommends for everyday Iron-On as a material and cotton as a base is 330 °F, so go ahead and preheat your EasyPress.

If you have another base material or type of vinyl, like foil or glitter, check Cricut’s heat guide for the most optimal results.

Step 1: Once your EasyPress is preheated, remove some of the wrinkles and press for about 5 seconds on the area where you plan to transfer your design.

Step 2: Quickly find the middle of the t-shirt, fold it in half, and press for a couple of seconds.

Step 3: Place the pressing mat (or towel) under the t-shirt.

Step 4: Fold the carrier sheet to make a mark in the middle of the cut file. Don’t fold vinyl; only the carrier sheet is needed. Also, ensure you’re going from edge to edge to the design, not the carrier sheet.

Step 5: Align the middle of your design with the t-shirt and press (medium pressure) for 30 seconds. Since my press was smaller than the design, I had to do two 30-second presses. If you think you’ll need to do more than 60 seconds because of the size of your design, I recommend protecting your t-shirt with parchment paper.

Tip: For adults and young children, place the top of the design 2-3 inches below the neckline. For babies and toddlers, place the top of the design anywhere between 1-2 inches below the neckline.

Step 6: Flip the T-shirt around and press for about 15 seconds on the back to finish the process.

Step 7: Wait a bit until the design has cooled enough, then peel it off while it is still warm to the touch. I like to remove the carrier sheet diagonally, which I feel is the most gentle way to do it.

Note: Some types of vinyl require design to be thoroughly cooled off before you peel. If you don’t wait, believe me, it will be a disaster.

Transfer Iron On with Regular Household Iron

When I first tried using a regular iron to make t-shirts, I had such a terrible experience that I didn’t attempt it for almost half a year.

No matter how many tips I saw online, nothing worked until it clicked! What if I use a towel as Cricut recommends with the Easypress? The result was mind-blowing.

If you plan on making t-shirts just a couple of times a year, you can use your household iron; just make sure it doesn’t have any water inside! My iron has steam holes; you don’t need a full plate.

Step 1: Preheat your regular iron to maximum heat. Once it is preheated, remove some of the wrinkles and press for about 5 seconds on the area where you plan to transfer your design.

Step 2: Quickly find the middle of the t-shirt, fold it in half, and press for a couple of seconds.

Step 3: Place the towel under the t-shirt, ensuring it won’t be in the way while you press.

Step 4: Place your design and cover it with a thin cloth or with parchment paper (my favorite).

I didn’t use parchment paper with the EasyPresss, but I recommend using it with an iron. With a regular iron, you usually require more heat presses. So, if you expose your T-shirt to the heat for that long, you will burn it.

It has happened to me, and it can happen to you!

Note: I’ve tested this method with 100% cotton materials. I wouldn’t use it with very expensive or delicate fabrics.

Step 5: Medium press for about 30 seconds on half of the design in a vertical way; then press for another 30 seconds on the right side. After pressing vertically, press horizontally on the top half of the design for 30 seconds, then the top bottom for another 30.

Sometimes, the design may be bigger than the one I have. You must ensure that you cover each area for 30 seconds vertically and 30 seconds horizontally because the heat of an iron is uneven, plus some of them have steam holes as well. A little overlap is okay, but try not to touch a particular area for more than 60 seconds at a time.

Step 6: Turn around the T-shirt and medium press the back of the onesie (with the parchment paper on top) for about 30 seconds.

Step 7: Wait a little bit until the design has cooled off enough, but peel it off while it is still warm to the touch.

Here’s a close-up of the t-shirts!

You couldn’t tell which one was made with the EasyPress or the regular iron!

Caring for Your T-Shirt

Always allow 24 hours before you wash your brand-new T-shirt.

Cricut recommends you dry inside out. However, I follow the garment washing and drying instructions of the base garment I used. Never Bleach!

T-Shirts made with the Cricut Machine (Adult and Youth) Featured Image

How to Make Custom T-Shirts with your Cricut

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • Iron On or HTV
  • Black Long Sleeve T-Shirt
  • Parchment Paper
  • Small Towel


  • Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore
  • Cricut EasyPress (Optional)
  • Regular Iron
  • Weeder and Scraper/Brayer


  1. Upload Design to Cricut Design Space
  2. Weld, resize, and Make it with Mirror ON* and follow the Cutting Instructions
  3. Load Mat with Iron-On material pretty side down** and Fine Point Blade
  4. Remove from Mat and weed design
  5. Transfer to your T-shirt*** and peel when the backing is still warm to the touch.
  6. Wait 24 hours before washing. Don't use bleach.


*Always make sure to turn Mirror ON when working with HTV; if not, your design will be backward once it is cut.

** Remember to place Iron On or HTV pretty or Shiny side down.

*** If using a regular Iron, heat to max temperature and cover the design with parchment paper to protect the garment. Use a towel to press against the t-shirt and the Iron.

If using the EasyPress, preheat to 330 °F and press for 30 seconds in front, then press for 15 seconds on the back. Use a Towel or Easypress Mat to press against the T-shirt and EasyPress.

Congrats – You are a Pro at making T-shirts with your Cricut

Discover the ultimate step-by-step guide on how to create stunning custom T-shirts using your Cricut machine and iron-on vinyl. Perfect for beginners! Compatible with Cricut Explore, Maker and Joy.
Pin it for later!

I hope this tutorial was handy for you. I would love to see your creations.

Do you know it takes me over 25 hours to complete a single Cricut article? I know it’s wild, but I want to make sure you understand everything!

I would appreciate your support on Instagram , Pinterest , and YouTube as I try to grow my audience and continue producing great content!


Wednesday 7th of September 2022

What font did you use? I'd like to make a COLLEGE LIFE shirt for my granddaughter's first year at college. Thanks


Wednesday 29th of June 2022

Thank you so much for this article!! I didn't know about using a towel inside the shirt, nor did I know about ironing the backside of the shirt after pressing the front - soooo helpful!!!


Wednesday 29th of June 2022

It's a game-changer! I am glad you learned new things!


Saturday 18th of June 2022

I followed this tutorial for my first ever iron on project and it worked flawlessly! I used my home iron and parchment paper. Thanks for the easy guide!


Monday 25th of July 2022

You’re very welcome :)


Saturday 9th of April 2022

Thank you for this precise tutorial on making t-shirts. Although I feel I know how to do all of these steps, reading step by steps sure helps to ensure what and how I do it is correct and that the results are fabulous. I really enjoy your tutorials, they have helped in so many ways.


Saturday 12th of March 2022

I follow all instructions and use an easy press 2 and easy press mat and the heat guide online, but after washing (days later) some of the edges of my HTV peel up and make the design scratchy. When I re-press, the HTV gets wrinkled. I have tried to make my own shirts using many different types of blanks. Good quality t shirts, Cricut vinyl. Please help me understand what I am doing wrong.


Wednesday 18th of May 2022

If you used Cricut's vinyl and the instructions to the T, they have a satisfaction guaranteed. I would call them and mention your issue.

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